Over the last seven decades, the F1 grid has been blessed by talent and world champions like Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
While these names will forever be remembered in history for their great performances, some drivers end up being memorable for all the wrong reasons.
In no particular order, here are eight of the worst F1 drivers (so far).
1. Alex Yoong
After mediocre success in Formula 3, Formula 3000 and Formula Nippon, Alex Yoong entered Formula 1 in 2001 thanks to a sponsorship from a government-backed corporation.
Yoong was known as a ‘pay driver,’ and he secured a seat with Minardi as the first Malaysian driver to compete in F1 at the 2001 Italian Grand Prix.
Yoong was joined at Minardi in 2002 by superstar racer, Mark Webber, who consistently outclassed him despite both sharing a competitive car.
After a horrible final three races, Yoong was dropped amid claims of unpaid sponsorship funds.
2. Yuji Ide
Thirty-one year-old Yuji Ide was quite old for a rookie in F1.
Ide had a decent racing background, unfortunately, none of this seemed to apply to Formula 1.
At the season opener in Bahrain, the Japanese driver looked like he was struggling to even keep the car on the track.
During his third race in Australia, Ide spun a number of times and became an obstacle to drivers in qualifying.
After plowing into Christijan Albers on the first lap at Imola, Ide was dropped by the FIA and is the only driver in F1 history to have his Super License revoked.
3. Jean-Denis Délétraz
“What is Délétraz doing?”, a classic line of Murray Walker commentary from the Nürburgring in 1995 that summed up the Swiss driver’s brief F1 career.
Délétraz had only 3 races, the 1994 Australian GP for Larousse, and the Portguese and European GPs in 1995 for Pacific.
In qualifying for Australia, he was a staggering 10 laps down before retiring.
When he joined the Pacific team at the end of 1995, things became even worse.
Nürburgring was Délétraz’s final outing.
A failed sponsor payment saw him dropped ahead of the final three rounds and his lack of pace prompted F1 to introduce the 107% qualifying rule.
4. Taki Inoue
Taki Inoue had distinctly average driving.
However, it was the unusual and comical incidents in Inoue’s career that made him one of the worst F1 drivers.
During a qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix, Inoue went off and stalled the car.
While being towed back to the pits, a safety car slammed into Inoue and flipped him upside down.
During the Hungarian Grand Prix, Inoue experienced an engine failure.
While attempting to help the marshals retrieve a fire extinguisher, he was knocked off his feet by a course car.
Fortunately, Inoue was unharmed in the semi-terrible accident but retired from F1 at the end of the season.
5. Al Pease
Al Pease was a British-Canadian racer and he makes this list for having one of the most ridiculous tales in F1 history.
Initially, his career appeared to be on the right track.
Pease had even been inducted in the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.
But it was in F1, that things took a bad turn.
The height of it all was in 1969 in the Canadian GP.
As a consequence of fighting with race leaders despite being several laps behind, Pease was shown the black flag.
The Canadian racer was disqualified and his F1 career came to an end.
6. Chanoch Nissany
Nissany was a very successful Hungarian-Israeli businessman who made his dream of driving a race car a reality when he bought himself a seat for the Minardi team.
Unfortunately, Nissany would never make it past his first race.
While most F1 drivers start training at a very young age, Nissany started training at 38, before making his F1 debut at a practice for the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix at age 41.
During the race, Nissany was far off the pace and spun into a gravel trap.
Unable to remove the steering wheel, Nissany remained seated in his car while being craned off the circuit.
7. Ricardo Rosset
Ricardo Rosset’s career shouldn’t have been as bad as it was.
In 1995, he was a runner-up in his debut year in Formula 3000.
This earned him an F1 drive with Footwork and made a teammate to Jos Verstappen the following year.
Rosset couldn’t match the pace of his Dutch teammate, only qualifying for a few races before being let go.
In 1997, he joined MasterCard Lola, but the team failed to qualify and folded as a result.
And so, Rosset’s career faded away.
8. Luca Badoer
As a former F3000 champion and Ferrari’s longest-serving test driver, it would seem strange that a driver with this kind of resume would appear on this list.
However, for Italian driver Luca Badoer, the statistics speak for themselves.
Badoer raced for numerous Formula 1 teams between 1993 and 2009, but he goes down in F1 history as a driver who competed in more Grand Prix (58 in total) than any other driver without scoring a single point.
Other F1 Driver Facts
Who is the most dangerous F1 driver?
Romain Grosjean is considered one of the most dangerous drivers of the 21st century.
He became the first driver to receive a race ban since Eddie Irvine in 1994 for dangerous driving and causing a multi-car pile-up at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix.
Who is the most unsuccessful F1 driver?
Marco Apicella is considered the most unsuccessful F1 driver.
Apicella was an established Italian racing driver who raced for the Jordan F1 team at the 1993 Italian Grand Prix but only made it 800m into the first lap before retiring from the race due to a collision and later being replaced.
Despite having some of the best legends in the sport, F1 still has its fair share of Sunday drivers, road hogs and pay drivers.
While this is by no means an offense against these drivers, it just goes to show how much mental toughness and physical skill it takes to drive competitive cars in Formula 1.