CART drivers who raced in F1: From Andretti to Zanardi part 8

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Mika Salo, Toyota, Montreal, 2002, 470150

After being dumped by Toyota in 2002 Mika Salo later ended up in Champ Car racing.

He was one of several drivers who might have done better in F1 with better machinery. Danny Sullivan’s excellent CART record after a single season for Tyrrell in F1 suggests he also belongs in that group.

Hector Rebaque

After one start for Hesketh in 1977 he entered his own car from 1978-9. Rebaque joined Brabham for the second half of 1980 as the team wanted a non-threatening team mate to Nelson Piquet. He fulfilled the same role throughout 1981, scoring 11 points and ending the year tenth overall as Piquet claimed the championship.

The following year he did six races in Champ Car, scoring a fortuitous win at Road America when several of his rivals ran out of fuel. A heavy crash at Michigan shortly after that persuaded him to ply his trade elsewhere.

Eliseo Salazar

Chilean Eliseo Salazar was best known for his involvement in one of F1’s greatest ‘blooper reel’ moments. He tangled with Piquet as the Brazilian driver lapped him while leading the German Grand Prix, and as the cars came to a rest the champion leapt from his Brabham and threw punches and kicks at Salazar.

That was Salazar’s second year in F1 and after two races for RAM in 1983 he left the championship. He briefly dropped down to Formula 3000 and arrived in Champ Car in 1995. Fourth in that year’s Indianapolis 500 was his best finish in two seasons.

Read more about Eliseo Salazar: Eliseo Salazar biography

Mika Salo

Salo was often considered one of the best F1 drivers who never really got a decent stint with a top team. After two outings for Lotus in 1994 he spent three years with Tyrrell and then one with Arrows in 1998.

After being left on the sidelines in 1999 he stepped in at Ferrari when Michael Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone. He gave up what would have been his first F1 win to Eddie Irvine in the German Grand Prix, and never came close to winning another race (and nor did Irvine’s extra points ultimately win him the title).

A year with Sauber in 2000 provided little and Salo gambled his future on Toyota, spending a year on car development ahead of the team’s arrival in 2002. But he was dropped by Toyota at the end of the season. Underlining his talent and adaptability, Salo finished third in his second of four Champ Car races in 2003 for PK Racing.

Domenico Schiattarella

Schiattarella made little impact in either category. In F1 he made seven appearances for Simtek in 1994-5. He also did two races for Project Indy in both those years, and one more in 1998.

Vern Schuppan

Schuppan, from Australia, started nine F1 races from 13 attempts between 1972 and 1977, and managed to get disqualified from consecutive races at Anderstorp (Sweden) and Zandvoort (Netherlands) in 1974.

He raced in Champ Car from 1979-82, with consecutive fifth places at Pocono and Mid-Ohio the highlight of his 19 starts.

Chico Serra

The Brazilian Serra was a Formula Three rival of Nigel Mansell’s but his brief F1 career with the lowly Fittipaldi and Arrows teams from 1981-3 yielded only 18 starts from 33 appearances. He scored a single point in the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder and three years later made his single Champ Car start at Portland.

Vincenzo Sospiri

Sospiri won the 1995 Formula 3000 championship but picked the worst possible team to make his F1 debut with in 1997. Lola only appeared at one race, at Melbourne, and were miles off the pace. Sospiri’s qualifying time was 11.6s slower than pole sitter Jacques Villeneuve, but at least that was 1.1s closer than team mate Ricardo Rosset managed.

Sospiri, who also tested for Benetton, the Italian making four appearances for All American Racers.

Danny Sullivan

Sullivan did a single F1 season with Tyrrell in 1983, only managing to score once, finishing fifth at Monaco. But his Champ Car career was very successful.

He won three times on his return to the category in 1984 (having also competed in 1982), ending the year fourth overall. He was fourth again in 1985 with two wins having moved to Penske, including a triumph in the prestigious Indianapolis 500. Another pair of wins in 1986 saw him finish third in the championship.

After a win-less 1987 he bounced back in 1988 to claim the title for Penske, winning at Portland, Michigan, Nazareth and Laguna Seca. But he failed to defend his championship the following year, slumping to seventh overall despite winning twice. He continued to win races on into the 1990s, ending his Champ Car career at PacWest in 1995. By the he had won 17 times from 170 starts.

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3 comments on CART drivers who raced in F1: From Andretti to Zanardi part 8

  1. Brar Soler said on 10th June 2008, 7:53

    For stats the record.

    Sullivan was the only driver to spun at Indy and win the race.

  2. Rohan said on 10th June 2008, 9:57

    Was Sullivan dropped from Tyrrell because he didn’t score enough points or were there other reasons? Also, it seems strange that after his 1984 ChampCar performance he didn’t get another chance in F1, although I guess maybe he didn’t necessarily want one.

  3. Steve K said on 10th June 2008, 19:31

    Not only did Sullivan win Indy in 85, but he did a complete 360 full speed on the track and saved the car and took it to victory lane. Amazing video if you look it up in Youtube.

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