Formula 1’s nearly men and an odd one out!

heinz_harald_frentzen Formula 1's nearly men and an odd one out!

Why do fans follow Formula 1 so closely? Some people love the sound of roaring engines while others prefer the sheer speed of racing cars but most fans fall in love with superstar drivers who make the most of their superior motor vehicles.

You know, these are the likes of Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen. We definitely understand this kind of passion for the best Formula 1 drivers, but we aren’t here to elaborate on their achievements.

In contrast, we believe it’s time to mention some long-forgotten names that left a huge mark on F1 racing history but are all but forgotten. There’s a whole list of names prepared just for you – and we bet some of them are going to surprise you.

1. Jean Alesi

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 17: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing is presented with the Pirelli Pole Position award by Jean Alesi in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 17, Formula 1's nearly men and an odd one out! in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Jean Alesi is a former Formula 1 driver from France. His career spanned over three decades from 1989 to 2001. The single most important Alesi’s characteristic was his aggressive driving style that left many spectators breathless.

Jean’s breakthrough moment came in 1990 when he achieved a stunning second-place finish in the United States Grand Prix. The way he controlled the race from start to finish surprised everyone, and it took none other than Ayrton Senna to beat Jean that day. Alesi changed several teams in Formula 1 (Sauber and Benetton, to name but two).

Though he failed to achieve the ultimate championship success, Alesi still remains a symbol of determination in the most competitive racing caravan.

2. Fred Gamble

Fred Gamble – Formula 1's nearly men and an odd one out! | The “forgotten” drivers of F1

Number two on our list is Fred Gamble. This guy is not particularly famous even among diehard Formula 1 followers, but we decided to add him to the list for a very specific reason. Namely, Fred’s surname matches our second most loved pastime – gambling (with the first being car races, of course).

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But what’s with our boy Frankie Gamble? Well, he just briefly touched the F1 caravan by competing in a single race. The American took part in the 1960 Grand Prix in Italy where he finished tenth overall. However, this position did not earn him any Formula 1 championship points at the time. Today he .

3. Heinz-Harald Frentzen

Sauber Schumacher Wendlinger Frentzen

Heinz-Harald Frentzen was born in 1967 in Mönchengladbach, Germany. We mostly remember Frentzen by his brave early career races in Sauber as these were the events that convinced other teams to pay attention to him. Heinz-Harald had a highly analytical approach to car development, which often helped him drive cars to the upper limit.

Frentzen rose to prominence during his time with Williams (1997/98) where he played a crucial role as a reliable teammate to Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve. However, his career peak came in 1999 with Jordan. That year, Heinz-Harald won a couple of Grand Prix races and finished third in the Drivers’ Championship.

But F1 isn’t just about results. The thing everyone noticed about Frentzen was his intelligence on and off the track. He continuously provided feedback to engineers, so they could adjust little details that people outside the track just couldn’t see.

4. Chris Amon

chris amon

Chris Amon (born in 1943) was a racing driver from New Zealand. You probably don’t know anything about him, but you ought to: Amon left an indelible mark on Formula 1 as one of the sport’s most gifted but also unfortunate competitors.

He used to drive for several F1 teams from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. During this period, Chris showcased exceptional skill behind the wheel. However, he never won a single race due to countless unfortunate events. For instance, Amon often faced mechanical failures or team-related challenges that prevented him from ending up first.

However, no one can dispute that Amon consistently delivered strong performances that secured him 11 podium finishes. To this day, the history of F1 remembers Chris Amon as one the most proficient drivers who never won a race (let alone the Championship).

5. Rubens Barrichello


The last spot on the list goes to our personal favorite. We strongly believe that Rubens Barrichello is by far the finest F1 participant who just couldn’t win the Championship. He contributed to five constructors’ titles with Ferrari and finished second overall in 2002 and 2004 behind his teammate Schumacher.

Rubens had a remarkably long career (1993 to 2011) and he still holds the record for the driver with the most Grand Prix starts in Formula 1. Despite being a consistent front-runner, he narrowly missed out on the championship due to team dynamics. His 11 career victories as well as 68 podiums attest to his professional resilience.


The history of Formula 1 is so long and fruitful that we have inspiration for at least a few dozen names. But we have to stop at some point and also let you express your thoughts regarding this topic. Who do you think deserves to be mentioned on the list of forgotten F1 heroes? Share your thoughts in the comments!