An­drea de Ce­saris 1959 – 2014

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

The popular Ital­ian packed plenty of drama into his 15-year F1 ca­reer.

pays trib­ute

Mau­rice Hamil­ton

De­spite spec­tac­u­lar crashes and a lack of sig­nif­i­cant re­sults dur­ing an F1 ca­reer span­ning 214 GPs, a flow of heart-felt trib­utes said ev­ery­thing about An­drea de Ce­saris as a gen­uinely like­able man. Even al­low­ing for the shock of his fa­tal motorcycle ac­ci­dent in Rome on 5 Oc­to­ber, the sin­cer­ity and breadth of the mem­o­ries re­flected his im­pact in ev­ery sense dur­ing time spent with ten teams spread across 15 sea­sons.

A for­mer kart­ing cham­pion, de Ce­saris fin­ished sec­ond in the 1978 Bri­tish F3 cham­pi­onship. A step up to F2 with Ron Den­nis and Project Four in 1980 led to his F1 de­but with Alfa Romeo at the end of the sea­son, fol­lowed by a per­ma­nent seat with Den­nis’s McLaren team in 1981. While team-mate John Wat­son won a race and con­sis­tently scored points, de Ce­saris drove his me­chan­ics to despair with a re­lent­less se­ries of in­ci­dents that en­cour­aged the nick­name ‘de Crash­eris’.

Three years with Alfa Romeo hit a high note early on at Long Beach in 1982 when he be­came the youngest driver to take pole – only to crash out. He would have won Monaco that year had Alfa Romeo not con­trib­uted to a bizarre fin­ish by hav­ing their car run out of fuel.

Pe­ri­ods at Ligier, Mi­nardi, Brab­ham, Rial and Dal­lara pro­duced some points, two podi­ums and a depth of ex­pe­ri­ence per­fect for Jor­dan’s de­but in 1991. Im­me­di­ately at home there, de Ce­saris scored points in Canada, Mex­ico, France and Ger­many. In a re­mark­able drive at Spa, he was clos­ing on Senna’s lead­ing McLaren when his Cos­worth V8 ran out of oil.

De Ce­saris re­turned to Jor­dan in 1994 (after two sea­sons with Tyrrell) to fin­ish fourth in Monaco as Ed­die Irvine’s stand-in. He re­tired at the end of that year to split his time be­tween cur­rency broking and wind­surf­ing. The warm wel­come ac­com­pa­ny­ing his vis­its to the pad­dock said ev­ery­thing about his true F1 legacy.

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