Who Was The Best Underrated Formula One Driver?

Illustration for article titled Who Was The Best Underrated Formula One Driver?
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Not every great driver can be a world champion. Only one person can come out on top, and that person needs as much skill as they do a solid car and a strong team. Some drivers shine despite the odds, but they may not always be the ones we immediately recognize as the best.

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I have a pal who firmly believes in the unsung glory of former Formula One driver Bruno Giacomelli. This pal, Josh, has spent his free time writing the unofficial Bruno Giacomelli biography (cleverly titled the Autobiomelli), to which there will soon be a sequel. And you know what? I respect it.

Probably because I have a similarly firm belief that François Cevert is the best underappreciated F1 driver. A member of team Tyrrell from 1970 until his death in 1973, Cevert was Jackie Stewart’s understudy and was set to take over the team after Stewart’s retirement. He was a hell of a respectful driver that understood his position but was also ready to take on the challenge of leading the team. He was quick. He was a quick learner. He may have only won a single race before his death, but Stewart himself was under the impression that Cevert would have won several more, if only he’d have been a bit more selfish. In his last year, Cevert was often quicker than his teammate.

So now I’m passing the question to you. (It doesn’t have to be an F1 driver, of course.) Who’s the best underrated racing driver?

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

DISCUSSION

From the “modern” era, I’m going with Jean Alesi and Robert Kubica. Alesi was betrayed by inferior equipment and poor reliability more times than I can count. I still believe Kubica has champion-level skill, it’s just a shame he got hurt so badly in that rally accident. Ironically, both drivers have only one win to their name, which is better than a lot of drivers can claim, but they both had the talent to do so much more.