Andrea de Cesaris
- May 31, 1959
- October 05, 2014
- Not Active
- Alfa Romeo,McLaren,Jordan,Brabham,Tyrrell,Ligier,Minardi
Andrea de Cesaris was the famous Italian Formula 1 driver who still holds a record of most races without a win in the most popular racing series. After his long F1 career, de Cesaris remains best remembered as a daredevil who caused many accidents on the track.
He was born in Rome, on 31st of May 1959, and first racing steps made in karting. After he has won many titles, Andrea went to the United Kingdom where he has started to compete in Formula 3. He became the series vice champion and quickly stepped up to Formula 2 racing, driving for Project 4, team of the future McLaren boss Ron Dennis.
Formula 1 debut arrived too early
Not so surprisingly, de Cesaris got an opportunity to drive in Formula 1 in 1980, mainly because his father, who was ranked high in the hierarchy of the tobacco empire Phillip Morris, provided him lucrative sponsorship. Inexperienced Italian appeared in the last two races of the year, in Canada and in the US, driving for Alfa Romes, but he failed to finish both races.
Earning an ugly nickname
In 1981 de Cesaris became a member of McLaren. British team surely regretted the decision to hire Italian youngster after he had 19 crashes that year. The Italian completely deserved nickname ’Andrea de Crasheris’. Sixth place at Imola was his best result and only point scored for McLaren which decided not to retain the services of the problematic driver. McLaren was so disappointed with de Cesaris that they even decided to withdraw his car from the Dutch Grand Prix fearing of another crash.
Return to Alfa Romeo
The following season de Cesaris returned to Alfa Romeo and spent two seasons with them. The start of 1982 was promising as he became the first Alfa Romeo pilot to take pole position since 1952. That had happened at Long Beach but the Italian couldn’t finish the race because he has crashed. Anyway, in 1982 he scored his first podium finishing third in Monaco and later scored a point in Canada.
Despite some signs of improvement, Andrea still was a real danger on the track and continuously caused many accidents. In 1983, de Cesaris twice took the second place, in Germany and South Africa, finished fourth at Brands Hatch and at the end he was 8th in the Drivers’ championship what was a pretty good achievement, knowing that he failed to finish 9 of 14 races he has entered that year. Frankly speaking, de Cesaris also missed a pinch of luck in some races. For example, at Spa, he was leading all the way but engine on his car blew up and he had to retire.
Andrea de Cesaris spen two years with Ligier Formula 1 team
French side Ligier was the next stop in Andrea’s career. He spent two years with Ligier and the results weren’t even close to those he has achieved with Alfa Romeo. During two years de Cesaris only thrice was in the points and finished at 18th and 17th position in the championship respectively. Again, de Cesaris had too many accidents, with one in Austria as most memorable, so the team boss Guy Ligier decided to fire the Italian before the end of the season.
That was probably the last chance for the unpredictable Italian to secure a place in the competitive team. After parting ways with Ligier, he mainly was driving for the smaller teams which weren’t able to compete at the highest level.
Disastrous years with Minardi and Brabham
After inglorious departure from Ligier, Andre de Cesaris found a new engagement with the Italian team Minardi. In 1986, he had to drive a car which was many classes below the rest of the grid and that wasn’t surprising that the results were abysmal. He has not only failed to score a single point but he finished only one of 16 races that season, taking 8th place in Mexico.
In 1987, driving for Brabham team owned by Bernie Ecclestone, de Cesaris took third place in Belgium and finished 8th in Austria what were the only two races he has completed that year. At the end of the season, he was ready for another and signed with another outsider, Rial Racing team from Germany. This time, he has finished five out of 16 races what was an improvement and earned points in Detroit where he was 4th.
F1 years with Dallara and Jordan gave glimmer of hope
De Cesaris’ journey through the Formula 1 caravan continued in 1989 when he became a pilot of Dallara’s BMS Scuderia Italia team. He finished third in Canada what was his last podium finish. He had some more solid performances in 1989 but hasn’t scored more points. The results in 1990, his second year in the seat of Dallara, were awful – no points and only two out of 16 completed races.
Video - One of many stupid accidents caused by Andrea de Cesaris
Newly formed Jordan team was the next stop for the already veteran driver. Ford powered car looked pretty good and allowed the experienced pilot to have a couple of very strong performances. For the first (and the last) time in his career, de Cesaris was able to have more finished races than retirements and for the first time, he scored points in three consecutive races. At the end of the year, he was 9th what was a nice result, his best since 1983.
Ups and downs with Tyrrell
Due to conflict of sponsorships, de Angelis had to leave Jordan at the end of the season but the Italian quickly was hired by Tyrrell. That proved to be a good decision after Andrea performed well and pulled out a maximum from the car. He again managed to score in four races and repeated a success from the previous campaign taking 9th position in the championship.
Unfortunately, the season of 1993 was completely different. The old Tyrrell car was outdated while the new 021 model wasn’t prepared well, so for the third time in his career de Cesaris finished a season empty handed.
Farewell to Formula 1
Before the start of 1994, it was obvious that the end of de Cesaris’ career is near. When the season has started he was without a team. Before the San Marino Grand Prix, he was called by Jordan to replace suspended Eddie Irvine in two races. Andrea retired at Imola but finished fourth in Monaco. Sauber team then decided to sign experienced Italian for the rest of the season as a substitute for the injured Karl Wendlinger. For the last time in his career, Andrea de Cesaris scored a point in France, finishing 6th before retiring from the remaining seven races that year.
Holder of the inglorious record
That was the end of the long and not so successful journey, but de Cesaris still managed to set one Formula 1 record. He has competed in 208 Formula 1 races but failed to take a win, becoming a driver with most starts but without a triumph.
When he left racing, de Cesaris became currency broker in Monte Carlo and passionate windsurfer. In 2005 he has appeared in the new Grand Prix Masters, the competition for the retired Formula 1 drivers. Unlike many of his colleagues, de Cesaris was in good physical condition.
Death in a traffic accident
Sadly, his life ended on 5th of October 2014. Riding his 600cc Suzuki motorbike, Andrea was killed in a traffic accident near Rome. Despite a reputation as F1’s enfant terrible, he was a likable fellow. People still mention a nervous facial twitch and how often his eyes would roll up until just the whites showed. Interestingly, that problem disappeared when he retired from racing.