Andrea de Cesaris

Born:
31st May 1959
Rome, Lazio
Died:
5th October 2014 (Aged 55)
Rome, Lazio, motorcycle accident
Nationality:
Italian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

"Andrea de Crasheris" as the uncharitable British press chose to christen him, enlivened Formula 1 for 14 years as seemingly an accident waiting to happen. With a father whose position as a cigarette distributor in Italy gave him influence at Marlboro and other companies, de Cesaris was always backed by ample sponsorship funds. He suffered from a pronounced facial twitch which prompted many to assume that this caused the accidents for which he would become famed. But his raw pace, talent and bravery could not be denied.

Successful early career

Winner of the 1976 Junior World Cup in karts, de Cesaris moved straight into British Formula 3 for his car racing debut in 1978. That was with Tim Schenken and Howden Ganley’s Team Tiga. He won six times during 1979 but only finished as runner-up to Chico Serra with the Italian left to rue some avoidable mistakes.

He was also sixth on his Formula 2 debut at Vallelunga that year – a one-off initially – but de Cesaris remained with Ron Dennis’s Project Four Racing for a full campaign in 1980. Among the fastest of the March 802-BMWs, he won at Misano and finished the championship in fifth overall.

Formula 1 with Alfa Romeo and McLaren

After just three seasons in the sport, Andrea de Cesaris made his Formula 1 debut in the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix with the newly expanded Alfa Romeo team. He qualified an excellent eighth and when Dennis acquired the struggling McLaren team that winter de Cesaris was signed for a full F1 campaign in 1981.

His pace was evident but so too were the accidents. He moved back to Alfa Romeo for 1982 and qualified on pole position at Long Beach only to crash again when running second. But his day of days so nearly came at the following season’s Belgian GP. The class of the field at Spa-Francorchamps, he lost certain victory due to a tardy pitstop and subsequent mechanical gremlins. Second place finishes in Germany and South Africa during 1983 would remain the best results of his F1 career.

Extended Formula 1 stay with diminishing returns

Two seasons with the Gitanes-sponsored Ligier team were terminated after a high-speed barrel-roll during the 1985 Austrian GP. De Cesaris joined Minardi in 1986 although he was generally outdriven by rookie team-mate Alessandro Nannini and only finished once. A move to Brabham-BMW for the following season included a rare podium finish when third in Belgium despite running out of fuel.

De Cesaris then joined Günther Schmid’s Rial Racing in 1988 and survived a race of attrition in Detroit to finish a fine fourth. The highlight of the next two seasons spent with BMS Scuderia Italia was third in the wet 1989 Canadian GP after his Pirelli-shod Dallara F189-Ford had various off-track excursions.

A last chance with Jordan Grand Prix

But, ever prolonging his career, de Cesaris joined the new 7Up Jordan team for 1991 and promptly enjoyed his finest season. There was a new maturity and he almost finished second at Spa-Francorchamps only to retire in the closing laps. After two further respectable seasons with Tyrrell he replaced the suspended Eddie Irvine for two races at Jordan in 1994 – finishing fourth in the Monaco GP. De Cesaris also drove a Sauber that year when Karl Wendlinger was injured in what proved to be the final act of his F1 career.

He briefly came out of racing retirement for the 2005/06 GP Masters for veterans and finished fourth in the inaugural race at Kyalami. That aside, de Cesaris worked as a currency trader after his professional racing career had ended. He was a passionate windsurfer but one of the sport's true characters lost his life in a motorcycle accident in his native city in October 2014.

The 208 GPs of Andrea de Cesaris' career yielded just 22 points finishes as incidents all too-often blighted his Sunday.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2006 Grand Prix Masters
Grand Prix Masters
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
2005 Grand Prix Masters
Grand Prix Masters
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1994 F1 World Championship
Sasol Jordan
Sauber Mercedes
Broker Sauber Mercedes
11 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 4
1993 F1 World Championship
Tyrrell Racing Organisation
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1992 F1 World Championship
Tyrrell Racing Organisation
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
9th 8
1991 F1 World Championship
Team 7Up Jordan
15 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
9th 9
1990 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Italia
15 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1989 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Italia
15 (1) 0 1 0
0% win rate
16th 4
1989 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Mussato Action Car
1 0 0 0 0
1988 F1 World Championship
Rial Racing
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 3
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Mussato Action Car
1 0 0 0 0
1987 F1 World Championship
Motor Racing Developments
16 0 1 0
0% win rate
14th 4
1986 F1 World Championship
Minardi Team
15 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1986 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Martini Racing (Lancia)
3 2 1 0 34th 15
1985 F1 World Championship
Equipe Ligier Gitanes
11 0 0 0
0% win rate
17th 3
1985 World Endurance Championship
Martini Racing (Lancia)
1 0 1 0 32nd 12
1984 F1 World Championship
Ligier LOTO
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 3
1983 F1 World Championship
Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo
14 (1) 0 2 0
0% win rate
8th 15
1982 F1 World Championship
Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo
16 1 1 0
0% win rate
17th 5
1981 F1 World Championship
Marlboro McLaren International
14 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 1
1981 World Endurance Championship
Martini Racing (Lancia)
4 0 1 0 85th 27.5
1980 F1 World Championship
Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1980 European F2 Championship
Project 4 Racing
11 1 4 1
10% win rate
5th 28
1980 World Championship of Makes 1 0 0 0 0
1979 European F2 Championship
Project 4 Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
21st 1
1979 European F3 Championship
Marlboro Team Tiga
1 1 0 0
0% win rate
0
1978 European F3 Championship
Marlboro Team Tiga
2 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 3