We remember Andrea de Cesaris



As Murray Walker put it, Andrea de Cesaris is “the man who has won more Grands Prix than anyone else without actually winning one of them.”

De Cesaris was the youngest driver when he made his debut in 1980 for McLaren in Canada and would end up as the driver who drove the most races without a win.

He gave the fans the pleasure of seeing many F1 cars crash and through his 15 seasons of F1, drove for some 10 teams, scoring points for nine of them.

He would also score unlikely podiums too.  He scored his first podium for Alfa Romeo in 1982.  It was at Monaco, the infamous race that no one wanted to win.  Driver spun and ran out of fuel.  De Cesaris led in the closing couple of laps before his Italian chariot ran out of fuel.

He did go on and score a couple of second places in 1983 for Alfa Romeo, a third for the ailing Brabham team in 1987, and a podium for Scuderia Italia in Canada in 1989.


He had a habit of scoring points where he shouldn’t have.  Including with Rial in 1988 and had a string of point scoring positions with Jordan in 1991 and Tyrrell in 1992.

He had lost none of his pace when he retired from racing in 1994, having scored for both Jordan in Monaco and Sauber in France.

His pace through was usually shadowed by his ability to crash.  Nicknamed Andrea de Crasheris and his 1984-85 team boss, Guy Ligier famously said that “I can no longer to employ this man”.

He absolutely destroyed one of Ligiers cars at Austria in 1985 when he left the road on a fast section.  Overnight rain saw the car dig into the grass and De Cesaris rolled end over end over end.  He had his fair share of mechanical issues too, with 18 consecutive DNFs with Minardi’s troublesome Motori Moderni engine, the Ligier Renault and the Brabham BMW.



De Cesaris would also dip is toe into sportscar, having raced for Lancia with Henri Pescarolo, with the duo finishing second in the 1892 Watkins Glen 6 Hour.

He would also race in the Grand Prix Masters Series that briefly ran in 2006.  He also wind surfed, took up currency trading in racing retirement and it wasn’t unknown for him to give philanthropic donations to those in times of need.

His untimely death in a road accident in Rome saw him pass on a sad weekend for Formula 1 with Jules Bianchi’s crash in Japan.

There is also an irony that the man named ‘de Crasheris’ on the track and survived everything that wast thrown at him would perish in a road crash.

His talent was perhaps never fulfilled in F1.  His pace that saw him taken on by McLaren in 1980 was always there but he could never string it together over a few races without some sort of bad luck.

Without a doubt though, the sport is better for him being here and it is terribly sad that he is gone before his time.


By Sam Tickell,  October 2014

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