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RANKED: Formula 1’s nightmare debuts

RANKED: Formula 1’s nightmare debuts

F1 News

RANKED: Formula 1’s nightmare debuts

RANKED: Formula 1’s nightmare debuts

5. Mauricio Gugelmin - Brazilian Grand Prix, 1988 Gearbox failure, startline

Brazilian Gugelmin would go on to start 74 F1 races but his first, for Leyton House March, was not one he would care to remember.

The Adrian Newey designed March 881 turned out to be an unexpected success, but it was also fragile – and that proved to be its downfall on this occasion when Gugelmin launched off the line and the gearbox immediately broke.

His debut lasted the few metres it took to reach the pit exit just a few seconds into the race. Disappointment turned to joy at the same track a year later, however, as he picked up his first and only F1 podium – also in a March 881.

4. Mike Thackwell - Canadian Grand Prix, 1980 Removed from car, re-start

New Zealander Thackwell was classified as the youngest driver to start an F1 race when making his debut after stepping up from his Tyrrell test role to join the grid in Montreal – but due to what happened after, the claim is contestable.

On the opening lap, a first-corner collision between Alan Jones and Nelson Piquet instigated a multi-car crash. The race was red-flagged and, as a result of being less than two laps long, declared null and void.

Thackwell made it back to the grid for another start, but with Tyrrell’s other cars too badly damaged, he had to make way for team-mate Jean Pierre Jarier. He did eventually start a race properly four years later but retired after 29 laps.

3. Adrián Campos - Brazilian Grand Prix, 1987 Disqualified, lap 3

Spaniard Campos had tested for Tyrrell the year before stepping into the Minardi seat alongside Alessandro Nannini for his F1 debut, so he at least had some previous experience to draw from.

He lined up 16th on the grid but had forgotten to fit his earplugs when he left the garage. By the time he put them in, the rest of the field had set off on the formation lap and left him alone on the grid.

He weaved his way through to his original position to take the start, instead of staying at the back, and he was disqualified. He is classified as completing just three laps and of his subsequent 20 races, he only finished two.

2. Frank Gardner – British Grand Prix, 1964 Crashed out, on the grid

Australian Gardner is best known as a three-time British Touring Car champion, but his exploits in his first F1 race were far less successful.

More used to racing Ford Cortinas in the British saloon car championship than F1 machinery, he turned up at Brands Hatch in Kent when his Willment team decided to field a Brabham Formula Two car in the British race.

He stepped up to the plate, but collided with another competitor on the grid and never managed to get beyond the start.

1. Hans Heyer - German Grand Prix, 1977 Disqualified / Retired, lap 10

German Heyer had limited experience in single-seaters, but lots of friends in the marshalling team at his home track. So when the national touring car driver failed to qualify for his debut race, he went to line up on the grid anyway.

He completed 10 laps in the second Penske car of new German team ATS before his gearbox broke. But he was later disqualified anyway, once the confusion was sorted out.

He became the only driver to be credited with a DNQ, DNF and DSQ in the same race. He never attempted another race in a single-seat car.

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