Formula One's most underrated driver (who wasn't a World Champion)

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
OK all, the overrated thread seems to have reached no firm conclusion due to a host of different views and opinions and no one seemingly able to decide what "overrated" actually looks like in the first place.

Let's try something different then and go for the opposite. Who do we think is F1's most underrated driver?

Who did wonders with terrible bits of kit, who was great but never got the right drive at the right time or, the wrong drive at the right time?

As you can see from the title, I have put one caveat into this disccussion, no world champions. As far as I'm concerned, every driver in F1, no matter how far down the grid, wants to be a world champion. If you win one, you've done your job. You've met the expectations of your team and achieved the goal.

Let's look at those who had all the right stuff but were stuffed into the wrong teams, cars and situations.

Over to you. Let the games begin.
 

F1Brits_90

Race Winner
Nico Hulkenberg - the best driver ive seen that has never stood on a podium. absolutely brilliant driver. a person who the opposite to perez. but he was dogged with bad luck at the critical times. stuck it on pole in Brazil 2010 shouldve won it 2 yrs but taken out by Hamilton. then finished 2018 B race world champion despite having retire from 3 of the last 5 races. unsure why a big team never picked him up as he was more than capable
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Jean Pierre Jarier. I think (happy to be corrected) he led more laps in F1 without winning than any other driver.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Patrick Tambay - was said to be very talented

- Never got a competitive drive until he was given the opportunity of a lifetime to drive for Ferrari

He did an admirable job and helped them win the constructors in 1983 but then was replaced by Alboreto


Derek Warwick

- supposedly better than Mansell but made some poor career choices although his move to Lotus was blocked by Senna
 

Legs

Points Scorer
Ukyo Katayama - his qualifying performances in 1994 were astonishing.

Olivier Panis - Monaco 1996 was a bit of a fluke, but his races in early 1997 (Spain in particular) were great and I was gutted when he had that terrible crash in Canada.
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
Ivan Capelli - pre Ferrari

Ivan Capelli is an interesting one - before he moved to Ferrari, he was being spoken about as a possible world champion... then he moved to Ferrari, and everything collapsed, and he was humiliated by Alesi...

After Ferrari, he moved to Jordan, and and was humbled by Barrichello (and dropped after only 2 races)

It's possible that Capelli's abilities were exaggerated by the colossal Adrian Newey designed chassis that he had at March - after all, he was never really massively ahead of Gugelmin at March
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
The Artist..... Do you know I was thinking about the same ..for Vettel on the overrated driver thread

Back to Capelli - He was brilliant in 1988 but awful in 1989 scoring NIL points . He 'd shown a resurgence in form in Paul Ricard and Silverstone where it was amongst the front runners

His dream move at Ferrari did not work because the politics destroyed his confidence especially people don't really look out for you and unfortunately he was one of those drivers who's spell at Ferrari has finished their career off

He could not recover when Jordan offered him a seat via his old manager Ian Phillips and subsequently was dropped
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
That 1990 performance at Paul Ricard was even more extraordinary, given that he had failed to qualify in the previous race!

Then March introduced a new floor, and suddenly the March Footwork was close to the front again! Adrian Newey was is really a genius! - the fact that he's still penning winning cars 30 years later is just extraordinary!
 
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Legs

Points Scorer
Capelli...was brilliant in 1988 but awful in 1989 scoring NIL points . He 'd shown a resurgence in form in Paul Ricard and Silverstone where it was amongst the front runners
Capelli wasn't really that bad in 1989 but the reliability of the March was diabolical. Capelli only saw the chequered flag once in 16 races, and team-mate Gugelmin only 5 times. For the rest of the time, they were typical mid-field fodder. With points only down to sixth, how may points-scorers would there have been last year?

Then March introduced a new floor, and suddenly the March Footwork Leyton House was close to the front again! Adrian Newey was is really a genius! - the fact that he's still penning winning cars 30 years later is just extraordinary!
FTFY
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
Legs - yes you're absolutely right! Here's me forgetting the random changes of names of F1 teams in the late 80s... Footwork=Arrows. Leyton House=March... (They even re-renamed themselves March for the start of the 1992 season... and didn't turn a wheel (if my memory's correct - which it probably isn't!)
 

Legs

Points Scorer
With points only down to sixth, how may points-scorers would there have been last year?
I've just surprised myself; there'd actually have been 17 point-scorers, though 9 of them would have scored just between 1 and 6 points.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
Chris Amon. He had the talent to be a WDC, yet never managed to win a race, thanks to Ferrari reliability being horrible.
 

F1Brits_90

Race Winner
Two of the people referenced there have a higher opinion of their own capabilities than reality.

Joylon palmer was fortunate. but Perez i think is underrated the best on looking after his tyres & bar the year at mclaren has impressed everywhere he's been & at critical moments at palmer says has always delivered.
 
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