Top 5 worst F1 drivers of the 21st century

11 Jul

So, after deciding that Christijan Albers was the greatest driver in F1, me and Tom decided to expand on the idea, and this time posed the question:
Who are the 5 worst drivers of the 21st century?
After taking our time to think of a shortlist, we finally managed to get an order for our five.  Amazingly, this one is a bit more serious than the Albers post, but I still think you might be a bit surprised at who pops in at number one.

5) Giorgio Panatano. Ah Giorgio, the one time Italian Formula one ace (In 2004) who never seemed to be able to get it in the top 10, no matter what happened. Having been outdone in every single race both him and his teammate finished, he was eventually booted off the team to be replaced with Timo Glock. Whilst Nick Heidfeld was busy actually scoring points for Jordan, Giorgio never made it any higher than 13th, a position he acquired in the second race of the season, Malaysia, and then at the european GP as well.  It says something when the driver who replaces you scores points on his debut, when you’ve not scored anything. OK so Glock scored becuase Williams and Toyota were disqualified, but would Pantano have scored in that situation? Precisely. After he was booted off three races from the end, it was the last we saw of the Italian in Formula 1.

4) Zsolt Baumgartner. So, it would seem 2004 is a good season for finding really bad drivers. Our Hungarian friend here managed to get a drive with Minardi due to funding from the Hungarian government (Reminds me of a certain Vitaly Petrov, with Russina funding of course). He’s the only person in our top 5 to actually score a point, that coming as an 8th place in the USA GP. That might sound great, but only 8 drivers actually finished, so really Zsolt was actually last. Oops. No problem, he also managed to grab a 9th place in the Monaco GP. Oh yeah, he was also last there. In fact, the only thing going for poor old Zsolt was that he was half decent at actually finishing races, which is the whole reason he did ‘well’. In both USA and Monaco his teammate Bruni retired. It’s not all bad for Zsolt, he managed to outdo Bruni a massive 2 times during the season (Retirements not included of course). Just as a quick reference, in one race Timo Glock managed to outscore Zsolt’s entire season, and Timo didn’t even come last when he got his points.

3) Luca Badoer. This being the worst drivers of the 21st century, I want you to forget everything that happened before the year 2000, including Luca Badoer’s time with Lola, Minardi and Forti, even though he was pretty poor in those cars aswell (In those 4 seasons, he scored nothing, his highest championship finish being 23rd, when he actually bothered to finish it.)
It must have been a dream come true for Badoer to inherit Felipe Massa’s seat at ferrari in 2009, but after 10 years out of an F1 car it was quite possibly the worst decision Ferrari have ever made. Making his Ferrari debut at Valencia, Badoer qualified a credible last, 1 and a half seconds slower than Jamie Alguersuari, who was the place ahead of him, and an incredible 2 and a half seconds slower than his teammate. The race was equally as disastrous- whilst Raikkonen finished on the Podium in 3rd, Badoer finished last. Oh. Come Belgium, and things got even worse, with Badoer qualifying a full 3 and a half seconds behind Grosjean in 19th, and finished the race in last again (What a surprise), whilst teammate Raikkonen went on to win the race. I don’t think it is possible to have a bigger gap between two people in your own team, and so Badoer was kicked off the team after just two races, and Fisichella was brought in. To Badoer’s credit, he did get the honour of being the fastest driver through the speed trap that race weekend. Unfortunately he only got that because he forgot to brake. Yes you heard me, he forgot to brake.

2) Yuji Ide. Now here is a man who really deserves to be here. Yuji Ide entered the world of F1 in 2006 for the (not so Super) Super Aguri team. Just 4 races later he not only found himself without a drive, but had also been stripped of his superlicense. You know you’re a bad driver when someone who doesn’t even finish the race (That would be Jenson Button) manages to finish ahead of you (JB finished 10th, Ide 13th and last). Not one to dissapoint, Yuji completed his first qualifying session in F1 a mere 3 seconds behind his teammate Takuma Sato, and was the only person not to break the 1m40 barrier other than Raikkonen who didn’t set a time. The race went even worse, with him running last throughout until an engine blowout finally ended his misery. Malaysia and Australia went much the same for Ide, with him qualifying last in each of them. Australia was particularly bad, with Ide a mind-bending 4 (Yes 4) Seconds off Sato ahead of him. He actually finished the Australian GP, albeit a lap behind his teammate.

Then we reach Imola, which will forever go down as the day Yuji Ide lost the plot. No surprises Ide qualified last, but it seems he really wanted to make up places during the race. Best way to do that? Well it’s simple, don’t bother braking when driving round corners, and you’ll be fine. Well, I think it’s safe to say, that’s not the way to go around things. I can picture Yuji attempting to hit the brake and flooring it accidentally instead, that’s how bad he is. The only thing stopping him from being the worst on our list is the fact he only had 4 races in F1, and the fact he barrel rolled the world’s greatest F1 driver, Christijan Albers. He did also only have straight line testing, which might explain why he drove straight into Albers. In the end, it seems Yuji Ide is just too shit good for an FIA superlicense.
(Here is that infamous Imola incident: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xab9ie_tonneau-de-christijan-albers-a-imol_auto#.Ud76c_mmj4Y)

1) Gaston Mazzacane. HERE WE ARE. So, the Argentine maestro himself Gaston Mazzacane takes the top spot. He takes the award on the basis that he had a whole season (And a bit more) to prove himself, something which he failed miserably at. Now, an eighth palce finish in the 2000 European GP placed him ahead of Prost man Jean Alesi in the standings, but somehow, out of the 12 races he managed to finish, he finished last in a grand total of 7 of them, and finished behind teammate Marc Gene in every single race they both finished. Considering the Prost was the worst car on the grid in 2000, you would expect him to at least outdo them. Not so! The mighty Nick Heidfeld, in his debut season, managed to finish 8th once and 9th twice, whilst Gaston could only manage 1 8th, in a race where 13 drivers retired. Even Gene managed two 8ths and a 9th.  Oh dear. Now you’d think getting outdone by your teammate in every race, finishing last in over half of the races you finish and being outplaced by a Prost would be bad enough, but wait until what I show you next.

In Mazzacane’s debut race, Australia 2000, he managed to spin off the track on the outlap of qualifying. Yes, the outlap. No surprise to find that he qualifyed 22nd and last in that race then, 4 seconds off pole, 1 and a half behind Gene and a full second behind Jenson Button in 21st.

Fortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg. As amazed as I was to find this out, in 2000 Gaston Mazzacane failed to qualify any higher than 21st in every single race except one, that race being Imola where he qualified 20th. That is more than embarrassing, in a whole season he never moved off the back row of the grid. A whole season, and he only managed it once. Gene managed to get off the back of the grid 5 times, qualified 19th at one point and only ever qualified last twice. Mazzacane qualified last 12 times. That is enough to grab him the top spot by itself, but combined with everything else that he’s managed to do, he’s certainly our winner. Add to that the fact he was kicked out of the Prost team in 2001 because the team would rather go bust that have him driving for them (Mazza came with a lot of funding from Argentina), after some more shocking qualifying times (He was easily a second, if not more, behind teammate Alesi in each of his 4 races) you really have the recipe for a drvier that never belonged in F1 to start with.

The only thing I can credit Gaston with is the fact he seemed to be able to keep the car on the road. Oh yeah. he couldn’t do that either.

Gaston Mazzacane then ladies and gentlemen, the worst F1 driver of the 21st century.
Mazzacane

To those of you who might actually support any of these drivers (I myself quite liked our Argentine warrior), you should feel honoured they made our list.

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