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Persistent non-winner



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Andrea De Cesaris (Pierluigi Martini)


Jordan-Hart 194 (Minardi-Ford M193B)




1994 Monaco GP


After a long and generally undistinguished career Andrea De Cesaris returned to Jordan in 1994 for what looked like his curtain call. Replacing Eddie Irvine, Andrea dropped out of the black San Marino GP before scoring three well-earned points here at Monaco, the event destroying Karl Wendlinger's career. With Irvine returning from his three-race ban, Andrea was a free agent again. So, De Cesaris was picked up for more duties by Sauber who had to find a replacement for Wendlinger. Andrea's last trick turned out to be lacklustre, only scoring a single point in nine tries.

His best shot for glory came in his early days as a Grand Prix driver, when remarkably his reputation as a well-budgeted wild man was at its highest. Two near misses for Alfa in 1982 and 1983 prevented him from joining the greats in the victory records. At Alfa Romeo he was probably at his best but a change of hands in the Alfa team - the works squad taken over by Euroracing in 1984 - saw him leave for Ligier where he returned to his old habits. His career looked on the rocks when he was sacked by Ligier in mid-1985 after another tub-destroying shunt. A reprieve at Minardi in 1986 put him back into contention, although he was outgunned by his young team mate Sandro Nannini.

It was the first of many unexpected comebacks. Just when everyone thought he would be left in the cold for next season, he was he was thrown a lifeline by Brabham, by Rial, by Scuderia Italia, by Jordan, by Tyrrell, back to Jordan and then finally by Sauber. In the autumn of his career the memory of 'Andrea De Crasheris' was long gone, the Roman turning into a solid contender.

The spark we saw at Alfa was ignited again shortly at Jordan in '91, with some amazing performances, especially at Montreal and Spa. His last few seasons gave the impression he was just doing a job. After quitting at the end of an amazing string of 208 GPs without a single win - an unenviable record - Andrea showed some pride, however, by not going the usual ex-F1 driver's route to GTs or touring cars. He simply said goodbye, never to return on the international motor racing scene again.

Reader's Why by Oleg Jmarine

De Cesaris' performance was a blend of brilliant outings as well as absolutely ridiculous mistakes and incidents. His nature appeared already in 1979 when he managed to loose a F3 champion title with 6 wins. In 1980 he joined Ron Dennis' Project 4 and had some good races in New Zealand. Those vicories let him to get a seat in McLaren newly acquired by Dennis for 1981. Things started bad in the first race when he authored a crash with Prost. Despite his 'crashing' performance he received an invitation from Alfa Romeo, the team in which de Cesaris made his F1 debut in 1980. Although there were still many moments of desperation, in his two seasons with the team de Cesaris came up with some excellent performances, including a great drive at Spa in 1983 when he comfortably led the first half of the race until the engine failed. With the Alfa operation siphoned off to Pavanello's Euroracing in 1984, Andrea switched to Ligier from which he was replaced in 1985 by Philippe Streiff. Then he started to change his teams with impressive frequency: Minardi, Brabham, Rial, Dallara. And when it seemed that his career is over he signed a contract with Jordan. Surprisingly, he drove better than ever before, coming very close to a 2nd place at Spa before his engine broke. Then he went to Tyrrell where he helped to get some much-needed points for the British team. 1993 was disastrous. In 1994 he was given a chance to drive 2 races for Jordan as Eddie Irvine was suspended because of an accident in Brazil. The Italian did well to finish 4th in Monaco and it enabled him to sign a contract with Sauber that season. De Cesaris was to replace Karl Wendlinger, who was seriously injured during a practice session in Monaco.