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F1

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F1 discussion

France's second-best racing driver

This topic contains 14 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of GeeMac GeeMac 3 years, 9 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #128544
    Avatar of VettelS
    VettelS
    Member

    I’ve just been watching an old episode of Top Gear (s13e05), which featured Olivier Panis. Now Jeremy Clarkson jokingly referred to him as “France’s second-best racing driver”- presumably after Alain Prost.

    But is this true. Personally I rank Jean Alesi above Panis. So had Clarkson forgotten about Alesi, or just wasn’t being serious, or is this what he actually thinks. Really my question is, is there a case for calling Panis France’s second best F1 driver, rather than third or even fourth?

    #151743
    Avatar of Chippie
    Chippie
    Participant

    Interesting point. I’d always assumed Panis had just won more races/got more podiums than Alesi becuase Clarkson had said that. However, looking at the stats now it isn’t even close:

    Panis won one race (Monaco 96): Alesi won one race (Canada 95)

    Panis had 5 podiums: Alesi had 35!

    Panis had 76 career points from 157 starts: Alesi had 241 points from 201 starts.

    Panis never finished higher than 9th in the WDC standings (96+97*): Alesi managed 4th twice (96+97*)

    * – considering Schumacher’s disqualification.

    My conclusion is that Jeremy was being polite, though 3rd best in your whole country is nothing to be ashamed of, and to win the Monaco GP is a great achievement!

    #151744
    Avatar of sw6569
    sw6569
    Participant

    According to some, Alesi was one of the unluckiest drivers in F1. His one win should have been many wins and he was a match for any of the top flight drivers of the day.

    Panis never got the chance to shine quite like Alesi did, given that Panis was in less good cars, but there is probably a reason for this. And, with all due respect for Panis, his one win was an exercise of keeping the car on the road and bringing it home.

    #151745
    Avatar of sw6569
    sw6569
    Participant

    And, according to Wikipedia, he chose to go to Ferrari over Williams because of his racing passion. He’d have been in the dominant car of the 90′s!

    #151746
    Avatar of Scribe
    Scribe
    Participant

    Francois Cevert?

    #151747
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Alesi, Cevert, Arnoux, Depailler, Laffite and Pironi could arguably be rated higher than Panis.

    “According to some, Alesi was one of the unluckiest drivers in F1. His one win should have been many wins and he was a match for any of the top flight drivers of the day.”

    I’ve always believed that people make their own luck but felt that Alesi was always better than his statistics suggested. He was completely loyal to Ferrari and I felt given a betetr car he may have won championships but that’s just my opinion and who knows he could have got a great car but then been like Fisi :P

    #151748
    Avatar of glue
    glue
    Participant

    Panis was unlucky with his 97 crash which hindered his racing ability, but up until then he was supreme in those underperforming Ligier and Prost cars..his start of the 1997 season was brilliant, he would’ve been the 99-Frentzen in that season if he hadn’t broken his legs..but that’s a case of ‘what would’ve been’ which, shame to say, is the same as far as Cevert is concerned

    I think Alesi was the best French driver after Prost, but being half-italian, which was obvious in his driving and passion for racing (which was not at all bad, I loved seeing him drive and Canada 95 was brilliant for me), I rate Arnoux as the second-best French driver

    #151749
    Avatar of jihelle
    jihelle
    Participant

    To say that Alesi was “half-italian” is a little bit like saying that Hamilton is half-grenadian or Prost “half-armenian”. Alesi was born in France and though close to his sicilian origins has never said or implied that he could be anything but French. I wouldn’t rank him as “France’s second best racing driver”. Laffite was better, Arnoux as good and Jean Behra certainly is the most worthy of this honour.

    #151750
    Avatar of glue
    glue
    Participant

    I was merely referring to his driving style, which was more Italian than French..it came out wrong..anyway, nothing taken away from either of them, I generally rate French racing drivers very highly and, among other seemingly odd preferences, I consider Prost to have been better than Senna..but that’s another discussion

    #151751
    Avatar of paulgilb
    paulgilb
    Participant

    French drivers ranked by number of wins:

    Prost 51

    Arnoux 7

    Laffite 6

    Pironi 3

    Depailler 2

    Jabouille 2

    Tambay 2

    Trintignant 2

    Alesi 1

    Beltoise 1

    Cevert 1

    Panis 1

    Arnoux is definitely the second-best from a statistical point of view – although ironically he scored a win in 1982 by disobeying team orders, clearly considering himself to be the #1 French driver!

    #151752
    Avatar of sbl on tour
    sbl on tour
    Participant

    my favorite frenchies were/are

    cevert, depailler, pironi, arnoux and henri pescarolo

    and had alot of respect for jabouille

    didnt much care for monsieurs prost, tambay, alesi, but my numero uno has to be

    that little twerp who snubbed mb on the grid on sunday……

    sblot

    #151753
    Avatar of KlBD
    KlBD
    Member

    I always thought he had been referring to Loeb as France’s #1….

    #151754
    Avatar of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    But is this true. Personally I rank Jean Alesi above Panis. So had Clarkson forgotten about Alesi, or just wasn’t being serious, or is this what he actually thinks.

    It was just Clarkson being Clarkson. You can’t read too much into his comments.

    #151755
    Avatar of Dan Thorn
    Dan Thorn
    Participant

    ” And, with all due respect for Panis, his one win was an exercise of keeping the car on the road and bringing it home.”

    I disagree. He was quickest in the dry morning warm up, overtook four cars on track and on some laps was four or five seconds quicker than anyone else. Yes, he was lucky that Hill and Alesi retired, but he was catching Alesi at over a second a lap anyway.

    Other great french drivers, how about Jean Pierre Wimille? He was held in very high regard just after the war and could have been the man to challenge Fangio were he not killed in 1949.

    #151756
    Avatar of GeeMac
    GeeMac
    Participant

    1. Prost

    2. Cevert

    3. Alesi

    4. Pironi

    5. Panis

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