I was watching Jacques Villeneuve racing in the ‘V8 Supercars’ on the weekend and thinking what a shame it is that people who showed such potential when they started, all end up retired and their services relegated to the history books. I want this thread to recognise some of the forgotten personnel of Formula 1, or those who seemingly disappeared during the transition between seasons. Basically, if you remember a team, a driver or a key team member who is no longer as or at all prominent in the F1 paddock, please share your curiosity below.
I’ll get the ball rolling by asking; whatever happened to Patrick Head? Since Sam Michael took over as technical director, I don’t think I have seen or heard from him again! Patrick used to be great to listen to as he would always say it as it was – kind of like Eddie Jordan, although he isn’t such a flamboyant figure as the latter! To see what I am talking about, watch the 2003 season review DVD, where the ‘big 4’ (Brawn, Briatore, Dennis and Head) team owners were present at a press conference discussing the legality of tyres.
Another person I would like to draw attention to is Mika Salo. He spent several years languishing at the back of the pack with small teams, before being thrusted into Michael Schumacher’s seat in 1999 after the German broke his legs in Silverstone, and produced some reasonably impressive results during his short stint with Ferrari. In fact, he should have won the German Grand Prix, had it not been for team orders dictating he move aside for Eddie Irvine. But after those few glorious months of fame, he seemed to drop off the radar. Sauber signed him for a disastrous 2000, after which he left the team to help establish the new Toyota team for the 2002 season alongside Allan McNish (another forgotten soul), where he produced yet another lacklustre season, despite scoring points on the team’s debut in the farcical Australian Grand Prix. His below par performances ensured his replacement for 2003. He was never seen again…
There are many other drivers that spring to mind; I can see Giancarlo Fisichella appearing on a list like this someday as well when his rapid exit out of F1 is not so fresh in our memories. Anyway, please show your respect to the rejects and forgotten personnel of Formula 1!