Some great F1 racers sadly never get the chance to stand on the top step of the podium, even though they deserved to score a race victory.
Sometimes the puzzle pieces just never fall into place. Whether it’s near misses, cruel defeats or bad luck, there have been some brilliant F1 drivers who have never finished first in a race. Here are seven drivers who should’ve won a race.
Amon was highly rated in F1 but sadly he never stood on the top step of the podium, despite 11 podium finishes in his career. He took victory in various non-championship rounds and several big sports car races (including the 24 Hours of Le Mans) but never claimed an F1 win.
The New Zealander is renowned for being arguably the greatest F1 driver to never finish in first place, picking up a reputation for having unfortunate bad luck when it came to hunting for the win. He was entered in F1 races 108 times for teams like Cooper, Ferrari, March, Matra and Tyrrell. Sadly he passed away from cancer in August.
Now known around the world for his F1 commentary, Brundle enjoyed a lengthy career in F1 and success in endurance racing – including first place at Le Mans and a World Sportscar title. He finished a close second to Ayrton Senna in British Formula 3 before making it to F1, giving everyone a glimpse of just how quick he was.
But while Senna went on to race for front-running teams, Brundle spent a big chunk of his career at midfield outfits and teams struggling financially. After stints at Tyrrell, Zakspeed and Brabham, he got his chance at a top team in 1992 at Benetton alongside Michael Schumacher and scored five podiums.
He picked up a few more podiums over the next couple of seasons for Ligier and McLaren before ending his F1 career with Jordan in 1996, still without a win. He has the third most starts in F1 without a victory.
Heidfeld enjoyed a long and moderately successful career in F1, having previously won various feeder championships – including German Formual 3 and International Formula 3000. He debuted in 2000 with the uncompetitive Prost team, before moving to Sauber and Jordan.
In 2005 he got a good shot at racing nearer the front with Williams, but the first F1 win still eluded him. Heidfeld then followed BMW to its factory team after taking over Sauber and this gave him his best chance of a win, but it never arrived (he finished second on eight occasions.
His last F1 appearance was with Lotus Renault in 2011. He entered 185 races in total but never claimed a victory, despite being nicknamed “quick Nick”.
Bianchi’s F1 career was tragically cut short by his accident at the 2014 Japanese GP. He died from his injuries nine months later. The Frenchman was arguably one of the brightest young stars to join the F1 grid, after winning titles and races throughout his career in feeder championships.
He was a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and completed testing Ferrari and Force India, before moving up to F1 with the Marussia team. At the 2014 Monaco GP he scored Marussia’s first ever points with ninth place. Despite uncompetitive machinery, he still managed to shine and was tipped for future success.
Andrea de Cesaris
De Cesaris holds the recover for the most F1 race starts without a win, with 208 races and 214 entries in the series. The Italian picked up the nickname “Andrea de Crasheris” early in his career due to several incidents, gaining a reputation for being extremely quick but at times erratic.
As he progressed in his career, de Cesaris calmed down, but he still couldn’t pick up that first F1 win despite stints at teams like McLaren and Brabham. Most of his career was spent at midfield or backmarker teams, which didn’t help matters. In total he scored five podiums. Sadly he passed away in 2014 after a road accident on his motorbike.
Cheever was entered in 143 F1 races and started 132 of them. The American was a quick driver but things never came together for him, scoring nine podiums in total. He enjoyed more successful stints at teams such as Ligier, Renault, Benetton and Arrows but also suffered some tough seasons with struggling F1 outfits as well.
Despite never winning an F1 race, Cheever still achieved a lot in his varied motorsport career, winning sports car races, finishing runner-up at Le Mans twice, racing in CART and standing on the top step of the podium in IndyCar and winning the famous Indianapolis 500 in 1998. So it wasn’t all bad.
Warwick is fourth on the list of starts without a win in F1. The Brit won at Le Mans and claimed the World Sportscar title in 1992, but never achieved the same level of success in F1 despite a strong career in junior categories – including British F3, which he won in 1978.
His first two F1 seasons at Toleman were extremely tough but the third yielded better results. Depsite sub-par machinery he proved he was quick enough for a top team, moving to Renault in 1984 and claiming all four of his F1 podiums.
Brabham, Arrows, Lotus and Footwork many points-scoring results but Warwick failed to return to the podium. He later went on to race in the British Touring Car Championship and sports car championships, as well as Grand Prix Masters.