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Andrea de Cesaris (born May 31 1959) is an Italianmarker former race car driver. He holds two distinctions in Formula One: the longest career without a race victory (208 grand prix starts), and also his unofficial title of 'Andrea de Crasheris', owing to a string of accidents early in his career. Though this reputation remained, he matured into a fast and reliable driver, though rarely had the machinery to match his speed.

In 2005 and 2006 he competed in the Grand Prix Masters formula for retired F1 drivers.

Driving career

Pre-Formula One

De Cesaris was born in Romemarker on May 31 1959. A multiple karting champion, he graduated to Formula 3 in Britainmarker, winning numerous events before his tendency to make careless mistakes cost him dearly, and he finished 2nd in the championship to Chico Serra. A wheel banging incident with Nigel Mansell broke the Briton's neck, and did little to improve Andrea's wild reputation. From Formula 3, he graduated to Formula 2 with future McLarenmarker boss Ron Dennis' Project 4 team.

Formula One

Alfa Romeo (1980)

Related article: Alfa Romeo in Formula One


In 1980, de Cesaris was then picked up by Alfa Romeo for the final events of the 1980 World Championship, replacing Vittorio Brambilla who had, in turn, replaced Patrick Depailler when he was killed testing at Hockenheimmarker. At just 21 years old, his first race in Canadamarker ended after eight laps because of engine failure. His second race in the United Statesmarker was a sign of things to come. He crashed on lap two.

McLaren (1981)

Related article: McLarenmarker


However, the pair of races was the start of a 14-year Formula One career, thanks in large part to family connections with the Marlboro cigarette brand. Having ready access to what, for many years, was Formula One's most lavish paymaster helped sustain the Italian's career through some depressing troughs. Only during his time with Ligier and Brabham was Andrea's helmet free from the bright red Marlboro chevron.

His reputation within the sport was cemented in his early years. Driving for McLarenmarker in 1981, the paddock rumour of the time was he was causing so much damage to his cars that his mechanics refused to repair them. In 14 races he crashed or spun off six times, a single point at Imolamarker was not enough to convince the resurgent McLaren team to keep him on. It was at this point that the nickname "Andrea de Crasheris" was coined. De Cesaris touched wheels with the Alfa Romeo of Mario Andretti at the start of the 1981 Monaco Grand Prix. Both cars retired.

In July 1981 de Cesaris and Henry Pescarolo finished second to the team of Riccardo Patrese and Michele Alboreto in a6-hour endurance race at Watkins Glen, New Yorkmarker. Both teams drove Lancia cars with de Cesaris and Pescarolo finishing two laps behind.

Alfa Romeo (1982-1983)

Related article: Alfa Romeo in Formula One


Moving back to Alfa Romeo in 1982, de Cesaris showed to be more capable than his latest result would have suggested. He became the youngest man ever at that point to take pole position, at the Long Beach Grand Prixmarker. De Cesaris was also only the second Alfa Romeo driver to capture a pole since 1952. But his immaturity was also on display. Lapping a slower car, de Cesaris waved his fist wildly, only to miss a gear and let Niki Lauda get past. He crashed out later on the fifth of twelve turns near the midway point of the race. De Cesaris was not injured but flames emanated from the rear of his Alfa Romeo as heclimbed out of its battered cockpit.

From this point onwards, de Cesaris was nearly always seen by most in the paddock as prone to occasional brilliance but more often than not, erratic behaviour. 1982 saw a podium finish at Monte Carlomarker and another point in Canada. At the 1982 Monaco Grand Prix Didier Pironi retired on the final lap with electrical trouble on his Ferrari. De Cesaris ran out of fuel at the same point, allowing Riccardo Patrese to win his first Formula 1 race in71 starts. At the start of the Austrian Grand Prix, de Cesaris, concentrating on trying to pass the car in front of him, veered across the entire width of the track and rammed his teammate Bruno Giacomelli into the wall, taking both out.

His reputation began to improve in 1983, when his Alfa Romeo now used a turbo engine. He took two second places to improve on his career-best results - at Hockenheimmarker in the 1983 German Grand Prix. . (his first points of the season) and to Riccardo Patrese in the season-closing 1983 South African Grand Prix at Kyalamimarker, 9.319 seconds behind. De Cesaris rarely produced a mediocre performance. He came close to winning at Spa-Francorchampsmarker, after leading for much of the race before a botched pit stop and later a blown engine put paid to his chances.

Ligier (1984-1985)

Related article: Ligier




The momentum was not sustained in 1984 when he moved to Ligier, despite its promising Renault turbo engines. Three points were little reward for a season of hard charging.

1985 was even worse. A strong fourth place at Monaco showed early promise but the season turned into a dismal one. At the Austrian Grand Prix de Cesaris suffered a massive crash after 13 laps. He left the track on an ultra-fast left-hander. On a corner without tyre walls or armco-barriers, Andrea met a sloping grass bank, dug in, and tumbled end over end. He was lucky to emerge from the wreck covered in splattered mud. Still stiff and sore, he was off-form in the next race in Holland. Hot-headed team boss Guy Ligier lost patience and de Cesaris was fired. A classic Ligier quote from this time, "I can no longer afford the services of this young man".

de Cesaris was in a minor collision with Philippe Alliot on the 10th lap of the 1985 Canadian Grand Prix. Alliot was forced to withdraw his RAM Racing car on the 33rd lap, after he spun into a wall.

Minardi (1986)

Related article: Minardi


Trying to rebuild his career, in 1986 de Cesaris paid to drive for Italian minnows Minardi. In an overweight, slow and unreliable car, Andrea did little to improve a fast growing reputation as a blocker when being lapped. Worse still, he was more often than not outpaced by up and coming countryman Alessandro Nannini. For the first time in his career, de Cesaris went an entire season without scoring a point.

Brabham (1987)

Related article: Brabham


At the time, the reason Brabham-BMW took on de Cesaris was said to extend into seven figures, a massive amount of sponsorship for a driver to bring to a team at the time. But it was with the Bernie Ecclestone-owned team that Andrea began to show his raw speed. At the 1987 Belgian Grand Prix, at Spa, Belgiummarker, de Cesaris placed third behind Alain Prost and Stefan Johansson, his first points in nearly two years. He wouldn't finish another race that season. He usually qualified well, but the super-powerful BMW turbo would often end its races by exploding in flames, making a consistent points haul impossible.

Rial (1988)

Related article: Rial


For 1988 Brabham pulled out of Formula One and de Cesaris was again looking for a new home. He found it at the new Rial team, run by volatile German Gunter Schmid, the former boss of the ATS outfit. The car was extremely slimline, with de Cesaris looking awfully exposed. But, with Cosworth power and brave driving, Andrea often qualified well, and took an outstanding fourth place in the Detroit Grand Prix. He also twice ran out of fuel in the last laps while running in the points, in Canada and Australia.

Dallara (1989-1990)

Related articles: Dallara, BMS Scuderia Italia


For 1989, de Cesaris moved to a team where he looked most at home: the red and white Marlboro-sponsored Dallara squad. Early results were again promising. A Monaco expert, Andrea was on course for a podium position in Monte Carlo, before being taken out by triple world champion Nelson Piquet at the Lowes Hairpin. De Cesaris lost his cool in a massive way. As the cars were locked together, he screamed and waved wildly, before berating Piquet's Lotus team upon returning to the pits. Two races later it was Andrea's turn to play the villain. After an early delay he was being lapped by Dallara team-mate Alex Caffi when he ran his fellow Italian into the wall, robbing the team of another podium. He made amends at the next race in Canada, finishing third behind Williams drivers Thierry Boutsen and Riccardo Patrese in a rain-soaked race. It would be the last time de Cesaris stood on the Formula One podium.

Dallara's promise wasn't repeated in 1990. With a number of teams now using either Ford or Judd customer V8s, the midfield had become much tighter. Reliability was a problem, and he again failed to score a point all season, even failing to qualify for the German Grand Prixmarker.

Jordan (1991)

Related article: Jordan Grand Prix


It seemed after a decade of erratic endeavour that the writing was finally on the wall for Andrea de Cesaris. Dumped for JJ Lehto at Dallara, he was signed by Eddie Jordan for his team's first season in Formula One. Always a talent spotter, Jordan had run de Cesaris in Formula 3, but was typically direct in his reason for signing the Italian: experience and Marlboro money.

The Jordan 191 was one of the most striking and attractive cars seen in Formula One. Its beauty was complemented by its mechanical simplicity and speed. Sadly at the season's first race in Phoenixmarker de Cesaris selected the wrong gear in the short pre-qualifying session, buzzed the engine and was out.

That result was no indication of what was to come. De Cesaris was again strong at Monaco, forcing his way past the Benetton of Roberto Moreno and was running in the points when the Jordan's throttle cable snapped.

In the next race in Canadamarker he delivered finishing a strong fourth. De Cesaris then rebuffed anyone who thought this was a fluke by repeating the result next time out in Mexicomarker. The following race in Francemarker he finished sixth. Suspension failure in Great Britainmarker led to a massive crash but the Italian bounced back to qualify seventh and finish fifth in Germanymarker.

He did not score again after this midseason purple patch, but his day of days came during the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Franchorchamps. The Belgian circuit is widely recognised as the greatest test of driver skill in modern racing. It was a place de Cesaris has always excelled. Despite the pressure of being outqualified by debutant team-mate Michael Schumacher de Cesaris was on a mission all weekend. While Schumacher's inexperience resulted in a burned out clutch on lap one, de Cesaris moved through the field to take second position. He was in second position when his car's Ford HB V8 blew. A communication problem between Ford and the Jordan team meant the oil tank in the car was too small to service a new type of piston ring which used more lubricant.

de Cesaris finished the season 9th in the standings was his best since 1983, and it was more than anybody expected of the package. His speed had never been in doubt, but de Cesaris was now driving with his head much more than his heart, and a restraint that had been missing during much of his first ten years in Formula One. A fast and friendly car helped, but Andrea's maturity behind the wheel was now in no doubt.

Tyrrell (1992-1993)

Related article: Tyrrell Racing


Despite Eddie Jordan's desire to keep de Cesaris for the 1992 season, financial realities meant it wasn't possible. Jordan had built up significant debts in his debut season. He was able to secure sponsorship from Barclay Cigarettes, but the brand was in direct conflict with Andrea's Marlboro backing. Something had to give, and the Italian left the team where he'd driven his strongest season yet.

Ken Tyrrell was quick to snap up Andrea and his sponsorship and his faith was quickly repaid when de Cesaris took a fifth in the second race of the season in Mexico. The drive was spectacular. After being caught up in early spin, he battled through the field, even slip-streaming past the factory Ferrarimarker of Jean Alesi.

The Ilmor V-10 powered Tyrrell 020 was a handy machine, and de Cesaris was in the points three more times during the season culminating in an impressive fourth place in the Japanese Grand Prix.

1993 was very different. The Ilmor engine had been replaced with free Yamaha V10s which changed the dynamics and reliability of the car. The 020 was by then very old and was replaced mid-season by the 021. This car, featuring active suspension, was not a success. For the third time in his career, de Cesaris failed to score a point and left Tyrrell at the end of the season.

Jordan and Sauber (1994)

Related articles: Jordan Grand Prix, Sauber


In 1994, for the first time since 1980, de Cesaris started the season without a Formula One drive. Talks with several small teams came to nothing and as the circus left for Brazilmarker, Andrea was on the sidelines. But it was an event during the Brazilian Grand Prixmarker that revived his career. Irishman Eddie Irvine was blamed for starting a massive accident which saw Jos Verstappen barrel roll over the top of Martin Brundle. On appeal, Irvine was banned for three races. At the Pacific Grand Prix, Aguri Suzuki drove Irvine's vacated Jordan. But for the next race, the San Marino Grand Prixmarker, Eddie Jordan brought de Cesaris back to the team where he had earned his best results back three seasons earlier.

The return didn't start well when de Cesaris wrote off a chassis during testing. He crashed again during the tragic event at Imola due to poor fitness having not driven a race distance in six months.

But, ever the Monaco specialist, he bounced back in Monte Carlo. In a mature drive, de Cesaris stayed away from trouble and away from the barriers to take a superb fourth place. Irvine returned for the next race but Sauber had noticed the Italian's form, and signed him to replace the injured Karl Wendlinger in the Mercedes-powered machines.

Andrea's first race for Sauber was his 200th Grand Prix in Canada. Although he retired after 24 laps, he was again in the points at the next event, the French Grand Prixmarker at Magny-Coursmarker. However the emergency changes to technical regulations made the Sauber a handful to drive.

The career of Andrea de Cesaris then ended much as it began, when he retired with throttle problems during his last race, the 1994 European Grand Prix. After this, Sauber kept his promise to return the car to Karl Wendlinger if he was fit enough. In the end he wasn't, but de Cesaris was unreachable on holiday, so JJ Lehto replaced him for the final two Grands Prix.

Legacy

He participated in 214 grands prix, debuting on September 28, 1980. He achieved 5 podiums, one pole position, and scored a total of 59 championship points, but remains the driver with the most GP starts (208) to his name without a win. He also holds records for the most consecutive non-finishes, 18 across 1985 and 1986 (although many of these were mechanical failures), as well as the most successive non-finishes in a single season, 12 in 1987. Similarly, no driver has had more than his 14 DNFs in a 16-race season [43512]. He scored points for 9 out of 10 teams he raced for: McLaren, Alfa Romeo, Brabham, Rial, Tyrrell, Jordan, Ligier, Scuderia Italia and Sauber; failing to do so for Minardi only.

Retirement

Since retiring from motor-racing, de Cesaris has become a successful currency broker in Monte Carlomarker. It has been reported that he spends six months of the year in this occupation, the other on windsurfing around the world. In the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquakemarker and subsequent tsunami, de Cesaris gave a substantial donation to a sail manufacturer whose factory in Sri Lankamarker had been destroyed in the disaster.

Racing revival

Long absent from the Formula One paddock, Andrea appeared at the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix, and was welcomed back with a warm hug from former Brabham team boss and Formula One czar Bernie Ecclestone. A few months later it was announced de Cesaris would race in the new Grand Prix Masters series for retired Formula One drivers. While some drivers had spent their retirement years accumulating kilos, Andrea is still in top physical condition. And in October he proved he had lost none of his speed, setting fastest time in the first Grand Prix Masters test at the Silverstonemarker South circuit in England.Autosport magazine Grand Prix editor Mark Hughes predicted that de Cesaris would be one of the strongest drivers in the Masters field. In the first race at the Kyalami circuit in South Africa, de Cesaris qualified well and raced to fourth, after a fierce battle with Briton Derek Warwick.

Complete World Championship Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position / Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points
1980 Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 179 Alfa Romeo V12 ARG

BRA

RSA

USW

BEL

MON

FRA

GBR

GER

AUT

NED

ITA

CAN

Ret
USA

Ret
NC 0
1981 Marlboro McLaren Internationalmarker McLarenmarker M29F/M29C Ford V8 USW

Ret
BRA

Ret
ARG

11
SMR

6
BEL

Ret
18th 1
McLarenmarker MP4 Ford V8 MON

Ret
ESP

Ret
FRA

11
GBR

Ret
GER

Ret
AUT

8
NED

DNS
ITA

7
CAN

Ret
CPL

12
1982 Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 179D Alfa Romeo V12 RSA

13
17th 5
Alfa Romeo 182/182B Alfa Romeo V12 BRA

Ret
USW

Ret
SMR

Ret
BEL

Ret
MON

3
DET

Ret
CAN

6
NED

Ret
GBR

Ret
FRA

Ret
GER

Ret
AUT

Ret
SUI

10
ITA

10
CPL

9
1983 Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 183T Alfa Romeo V8T BRA

EX
USW

Ret
FRA

12
SMR

Ret
MON

Ret
BEL

Ret
DET

Ret
CAN

Ret
GBR

8
GER

2
AUT

Ret
NED

Ret
ITA

Ret
EUR

4
RSA

2
8th 15
1984 Ligier Loto Ligier JS23/JS23B Renaultmarker V6T BRA

Ret
RSA

5
BEL

Ret
SMR

6
FRA

10
MON

Ret
CAN

Ret
DET

Ret
DAL

Ret
GBR

10
GER

7
AUT

Ret
NED

Ret
ITA

Ret
EUR

7
POR

12
18th 3
1985 Equipe Ligier Gitanes Ligier JS25 Renaultmarker V6T BRA

Ret
POR

Ret
SMR

Ret
MON

4
CAN

14
DET

10
FRA

Ret
GBR

Ret
GER

Ret
AUT

Ret
NED

Ret
ITA

BEL

EUR

RSA

AUS

17th 3
1986 Minardi Team Minardi M185B Motori Moderni V6T BRA

Ret
ESP

Ret
SMR

Ret
MON

DNQ
BEL

Ret
CAN

Ret
DET

Ret
FRA

Ret
GBR

Ret
GER

Ret
NC 0
Minardi M186 Motori Moderni V6T HUN

Ret
AUT

Ret
ITA

Ret
POR

Ret
MEX

8
AUS

Ret
1987 Motor Racing Developments Ltd. Brabham BT56 BMW L4T BRA

Ret
SMR

Ret
BEL

3
MON

Ret
DET

Ret
FRA

Ret
GBR

Ret
GER

Ret
HUN

Ret
AUT

Ret
ITA

Ret
POR

Ret
ESP

Ret
MEX

Ret
JPN

Ret
AUS

8
14th 4
1988 Rial Racing Rial ARC-01 Ford V8 BRA

Ret
SMR

Ret
MON

Ret
MEX

Ret
CAN

9
DET

4
FRA

10
GBR

Ret
GER

13
HUN

Ret
BEL

Ret
ITA

Ret
POR

Ret
ESP

Ret
JPN

Ret
AUS

8
15th 3
1989 BMS Scuderia Italia Dallara F189 Ford V8 BRA

13
SMR

10
MON

13
MEX

Ret
USAmarker

Ret
CAN

3
FRA

DNQ
GBR

Ret
GER

7
HUN

Ret
BEL

11
ITA

Ret
POR

Ret
ESP

7
JPN

10
AUS

Ret
16th 4
1990 BMS Scuderia Italia Dallara F190 Ford V8 USAmarker

Ret
BRA

Ret
SMR

Ret
MON

Ret
CAN

Ret
MEX

13
FRA

DSQ
GBR

Ret
GER

DNQ
HUN

Ret
BEL

Ret
ITA

10
POR

Ret
ESP

Ret
JPN

Ret
AUS

Ret
NC 0
1991 Team 7UP Jordan Jordan 191 Ford V8 USAmarker

DNPQ
BRA

Ret
SMR

Ret
MON

Ret
CAN

4
MEX

4
FRA

6
GBR

Ret
GER

5
HUN

7
BEL

13
ITA

7
POR

8
ESP

Ret
JPN

Ret
AUS

8
9th 9
1992 Tyrrell Racing Organisation Tyrrell 020B Ilmor V10 RSA

Ret
MEX

5
BRA

Ret
ESP

Ret
SMR

14
MON

Ret
CAN

5
FRA

Ret
GBR

Ret
GER

Ret
HUN

8
BEL

8
ITA

6
POR

9
JPN

4
AUS

Ret
9th 8
1993 Tyrrell Racing Organisation Tyrrell 020C Yamaha V10 RSA

Ret
BRA

Ret
EUR

Ret
SMR

Ret
ESP

DSQ
MON

10
CAN

Ret
FRA

15
NC 0
Tyrrell 021 Yamaha V10 GBR

NC
GER

Ret
HUN

11
BEL

Ret
ITA

Ret
POR

12
JPN

Ret
AUS

13
1994 Sasol Jordan Jordan 194 Hart V10 BRA

PAC

SMR

Ret
MON

4
ESP

19th 4
Sauber Mercedes Sauber C13 Mercedes V10 CAN

Ret
FRA

6
GBR

Ret
GER

Ret
HUN

Ret
BEL

Ret
ITA

Ret
POR

Ret
EUR

Ret
JPN

AUS



References

  1. Villeneuve First At Monte Carlo In Ferrari as Only 7 of 20 Finish, New York Times, June 1, 1981, Page C11.
  2. Lancia wins endurance race at Watkins Glen, Doylestown, Pennsylvania Intelligencer, July 13, 1981, Page 13.
  3. Lauda, Driving a McLaren, Captures Long Beach Grand Prix, New York Times, April 5, 1982, Page C2.
  4. Lauda, Driving a McLaren, Captures Long Beach Grand Prix, New York Times, April 5, 1982, Page C2
  5. Italian Prix driver wins in a crawl, Chicago Daily Herald, May 24, 1982, Page 28.
  6. Arnoux's Ferrari Wins in Germany, New York Times, August 8, 1983, Page C7.
  7. Patrese wins race, but Piquet wins title, Syracuse Herald Journal, October 15, 1983, Page 9.
  8. Alboreto Wins Canadian Grand Prix, New York Times, June 17, 1985, Page C7.
  9. Prost Ties Record With 27th Victory, New York Times, May 18, 1987, Page C11.



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