Unluckiest driver pairings?

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    Profile photo of Nick

    The greatest ever driver pairing thread has listed a number of great driver pairings, which went on to win races and championships or at least contended in powerful fashion.

    On the other hand, we’ve also seen driver pairings which looked great on paper, but simply didn’t end up being as successful as those mentioned in the other thread.

    What I personally consider unlucky, are pairings which failed to deliver on their promise. Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya were great drivers, but with Ferrari’s dominance and them not getting along too well, Williams never really contending for the title outside of 2003, they never ended up winning an awful lot.

    The same goes for a pairing like Alesi and Berger. Loved by many, but Ferrari’s early 90s form, Williams’ dominance and later Benetton as well, not to mention the amount of times either of them ran in the top 3 and retired due to a mechanical failure, they never got lucky either.

    Another pairing that springs to mind is Villeneuve-Pironi. While they got some good results, their story is pretty much known; climaxing in Gilles’ death and Pironi’s terrible accident later in 1982.

    What unlucky pairings can you think of? I can’t seem to remember any great driver pairings who were unlucky in the sense of being good drivers, but at a terrible team off the top of my head.

    Profile photo of DC

    How about Schumacher – Rosberg. They did some great stuff on the track, but the car itself has failed to deliver, especially in the 2012. Schumi was great in the qualifying and the first part of the race only to have his car broken. Although Rosberg did better with 3 podiums and a win.
    Also Button – Barrichelo during Honda years
    Peterson – Ickx at Lotus in 1975
    Mansell – de Angelis at Lotus from 1980 – 83

    Profile photo of Matthijs

    I’d say: Sospiri – Rosset (Lola 1997) :D

    No seriously:
    Rosberg – Schumacher (2010-2012)
    Villeneuve – Pironi is one as well

    Profile photo of Antonio Nartea
    Antonio Nartea

    M. Schumacher – Rosberg and R. Schumacher – Montoya are probably two of the best examples.

    I can also think of:
    Villeneuve – Zonta (99-00) – had a lot of promise considering the massive hype around Villeneuve’s move at the time and Zonta signing with BAR after being literally hunted by Jordan and Sauber. Wore out pretty quick due to that BAR being a disastrous car from the off.
    Heidfeld – Kubica (07-09) – always close, but never quite there.
    and to some extent: Hill – Frentzen (99) – with Hill commiting career suicide and Frentzen missing out on his single best shot at the title.

    Profile photo of Tomsk

    Alesi and Heidfeld in 2000. A strong driver line-up, and that year’s Prost was a great looking car, but a bit of a disaster out on the track. I think that was the final year for Peugeot (and most of the sponsors).

    Profile photo of Kingshark

    Schumacher and Rosberg. Both were great drivers who really out-performed their machinery on many occasions, but Mercedes failed them 3 years in a row.

    Profile photo of Nick

    Just thought of a couple more, definitely liked your submissions!

    Webber and Heidfeld at Williams in 2005. Mark Webber was considered to be a very talented driver wasting his talents at Jaguar. Moving to Williams would surely make him a race winner, while Nick Heidfeld was rewarded for a great season in the Jordan. Despite some good results, Williams was starting to drop off, BMW had their sights set on Sauber and Renault, McLaren and often Ferrari were simply too quick for them to match.

    Salo and Verstappen at Tyrell in 1997. While neither of them were WDC material, even in their good days, they both often managed to put in very good performances when the stars did align and their cars didn’t break down. Sadly, the 1997 Tyrrell wasn’t very reliable, nor very fast. Ahead of the Minardi’s, but often found competing with the Stewarts with their more powerful Ford engines, but that battle was decided early on when Barrichello took 2nd in Monaco, while Arrows benefited from having Hill on board. Salo went on to show his skill at Ferrari in 1999, replacing Schumacher, while Verstappen put in some amazing performances with Arrows in 2000 and 2001. I’d like to imagine these drivers could have done wonders for a team like Benetton in 1998.

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