Wasted Talents

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    3 who raced and died in the 1970s

    Tom Pryce

    Roger Williamson

    Tony Brise

    Perhaps im being swayed by David Tremayne on this, but all were winners in the lower formulas and all killed before they had a chance to really prove themselves. Pryce perhaps got the ‘better’ chance with his performances in the Shadow team with some podiums (and i think a pole?).

    Il go with G.Villeneuve ’82 could have eneded so differently if he & Pironi not had their fatefull relationship post-Imola.



    Timo Glock.



    Olivier Panis – always stuck in mid-pack cars, plus broke his legs during a decent season iirc

    Martin Brundle – was great in his early career, then smashed his legs up and wasn’t as fast afterwards

    Anthony Davidson – always thought he deserved a better car, he would have made a great 2nd driver for a top team

    Robert Kubica – in case he doesn’t return, team pulled development during his best season, then provided a dog the next year when his talent was beginning to peak

    Alessandro Nannini – The definition of wasted talent I think, was a promising driver then got his arm cut off in a helicopter accident (very similar to Kubica’s recent escapade)

    That’s of course ignoring all the talented drivers who lost their lives, too many to list them all.



    Ive heard people say before that DC would have been a champion had he not been in the Hakkinen/Schumacher era, hardly a wasted talent though, he had a very good career. Many other promised so much more including Giorgio Pantano, Jan Magnussen, Tonio Liuzzi, JP Montoya, Justin Wilson and perhaps three who didnt even have an f1 career, Tom Kristensen(showed what he can do with multiple le mans wins), Dario Franchitti(excellent in IndyCar) and Jamie Green(his Junior career was excellent, but he ended up in the DTM. Hes been there too long to do a di resta).



    Jacques Villenueve



    I find it hard to put a career-threatening injury in as “wasted” as to me “wasted” implies that the best was not made of their talent.

    I would say Alan McNish for one, king in sports cars but his only F1 drive was in a crappy Toyota. I would agree with the call for Raikkonen – should have been a multiple WDC. Although totally contradicting my first point, I would say Olivier Panis.

    I think Tomas Schekter and Tomas Enge – I remember watching them in F3000 dominating Hockenhiem and it always sticks in my head. The former of course was dropped as test driver for Jaguar as he was caught with his trousers down and Enge was caught in a folding Prost.



    Up until 2009, Jenson Button. I can only speculate how things would’ve been if Fry/Brawn had given him a great car to begin with and kept him in one, not that Earth Dreams nonsense.


    sbl on tour

    sjm – youve got it in 3, brise, williamson and pryce.

    also as i,ve it said before and i,ll say it again, and also to anyone who cares to listen…..the one and only tommy byrne

    also if only herbert hadnt had his accident at brands…


    sbl on tour

    also the panasonic toyota team, had too much and wasted it away



    Montoya, Glock, Roseberg.



    Thinking outside the box a bit, I would say Dario Franchitti and Will Power. They probably wouldn’t have been champions but they would have been genuine midfielders and podium getters.


    Dan Thorn

    Definitely the likes of Alesi, de Angelis Brundle, Nannini, Gilles, Panis, Trulli etc as others of mentioned.

    I’d also add Fisichella – epic in slow cars, average in quick ones

    Berger – Unlucky to come up against the likes of Prost and Senna, terrific driver

    Verstappen – Thrown in at the deep end and went backwards, but epic in the rain and a great racer

    There are so many drivers you could add to this list…



    @Ned Herbert was regarded in the same light as Senna in his early career. His accident at Brands was horrific and it was renowned that he carried a limp for years afterwards. There is a video of the accident on youtube somewhere. Certainly his level of success given the accident was remarkable though. For a modern comparison, no other than Kubica would be appropriate.

    Jean Alesi is the natural choice for this topic. I’d add in his long term teammate Berger too – those drivers often had unreliable machinery but were able to compete with the best when it worked. Jacques Villeneuve too – although it can be said that he chose money over success (it’s said that he had a McLaren drive for ’98/’99 if he wanted it).

    Liuzzi and Magnussen are also strong candidates because of their lower series records. I still don’t understand why Magnussen wasn’t a great F1 driver – although from memory he didn’t take his career very seriously (he smoked…!). He’s great in ALMS though. His son though is doing rather well in the junior categories, its worth watching out for him.


    Fred Pink

    Corrado Fabi, Derek Warwick, Eddie Cheever or Mark Blundell.



    Sebastien Bourdais

    If his engine didn’t fail in Australia, loose a podium on the last lap at Spa, stall from 4th at Monza and loose his points after a nonsense penalty at Japan he could’ve perhaps lived up to his Champ Car name instead being know as the guy who got put in his place by Buemi.

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