Formula one’s mostly forgotten stand-in drivers part 1

Blog Stand-in drivers Top stories

Stand-in drivers, the drivers we mostly forget about though play sometimes a huge roll for teams. They are often at short notice in the car for most various reasons. During the covid pandemic, we have seen several stand-in drivers, well not really stand-in like Russell taking place in the Mercedes because of Hamilton or Kubica instead of Kimi. However, do you remember Anthony Davidson who stand-in at Minardi in 2002 and BAR 2005? Probably you forget that. This article is dedicated to these drivers with the story.

Nico Hülkenberg
Raced in 2019 for the Renault F1 Team though his contract would not be extended with the team. For 2020, Nico had no contract. However, 2020 will always be known as the Covid-19 year. During the British Grand Prix Hülkenberg replaced Sergio Perez at Racing Point because Perez was diagnosed with covid. Sadly, he did not start the race due to an engine failure. The next week the Formula One was again at Silverstone for the 70th anniversary where he would finish in the points as 7th. During the Eifel Grand Prix Lance Stroll didn’t feel well which meant that Nico would replace him as well. Finishing the race as eighth.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2020 British Grand Prix13thDNSRacing Point
70th Anniversary Grand Prix3th7thRacing Point
2020 Eifel Grand Prix20th8thRacing Point

Anthony Davidson
Perhaps you remember Davidson, already in 2000 he appeared in the Formula One. In late 2000, he became the test driver for BAR during the years he would stay as test driver for the team. However, in 2002 he made his debut on the grid for Minardi. For Hungary, the team was to replace Alex Yoong after he failed to qualify for three races. Justin Wilson was to replace Yoong. However, Wilson was too tall for the cockpit, which gave Davidson the advantage to race for the team.  He would race two races for the team. In 2005, Davidson would re-appear on the grid again replacing Takuma Sato at Malaysia when he became unwell. In 2007 and 2008, he would race for Super Aguri.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2002 Hungarian Grand Prix20thRetMinardi
2002 Belgian Grand Prix20thRetMinardi
2005 Malaysian Grand Prix15thRetBAR

Paul Di Resta
Paul raced from 2010 until 2013 for Force India F1 Team. After 2013, he would not return on the grid for Force India. Two years later, he signed a deal with the Williams team to become their test and reserve driver. In 2017, Di Resta returned on the grid to replace Felipe Massa when he became ill after the free practice.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2017 Hungarian Grand Prix19thRetWilliams

Alexander Wurz
In 1997 Wurz would have his first taste as F1 driver. He replaced Gerhard Berger for three races. Even finishing once at the podium. Well known for his time at Benetton where he came as the new big talent. After 2000, Wurz would not return to Benetton. Instead, he became one of the test drivers for the McLaren Team.  He was close to replace Mika Häkkinen before Kimi Räikkönen was assigned. In 2005 he replaced Juan Pablo Montoya after he was injured. He finished the race eventually as 3rd after both BAR drivers were disqualified.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
1997 Canadian Grand Prix11thRetBenetton
1997 French Grand Prix7thRetBenetton
1997 British Grand Prix8th3thBenetton
2005 San Marino Grand Prix3th7thMcLaren

Giancarlo Fisichella
Once praised as one of the future world champions in the Formula One, the reality in 2009 he was far from a world champion. In 2009, he drove for the Force India F1 Team the results were poor and then the Belgium Grand Prix happened. He finished the race as second and it was enough to make his dream come through to become a Ferrari driver. He replaced Luca Badoer who replaced Felipe Massa after the Hungarian Grand Prix where he was hit by a spring.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2009 Italian Grand Prix14th9thFerrari
2009 Singapore Grand Prix18th13thFerrari
2009 Japanese Grand Prix16th12thFerrari
2009 Brazilian Grand Prix20th10thFerrari
2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix20th16thFerrari

Antonio Giovinazzi
In 2017 Giovinazzi made his debut in the Formula One with the Sauber F1 Team. When they asked him to be their stand-in. He replaced Pascal Wehrlein who felt ill in Australia where he got ill. He replaced Pascal as well the next race in China.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2017 Australian Grand Prix16th12thSauber F1 Team
2017 Chinese Grand Prix15thRetSauber F1 Team

Sebastian Vettel
In 2007 he was the test driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team. When Robert Kubica had his big shunt in Montreal Vettel was to replace him in United States Grand Prix.  He finished his debut race as eight. Later on Vettel would replace also Scott Speed. Due to poor results.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2007 United States Grand Prix7th8thBMW Sauber F1 Team
2007 Hungarian Grand Prix20th16thScuderia Toro Rosso
2007 Turkish Grand Prix20th19thScuderia Toro Rosso
2007 Italian Grand Prix16th18thScuderia Toro Rosso
2007 Belgian Grand Prix17thRetScuderia Toro Rosso
2007 Japanese Grand Prix9thRetScuderia Toro Rosso
2007 Chinese Grand Prix12th4thScuderia Toro Rosso
2007 Brazilian Grand Prix13thRetScuderia Toro Rosso

Marc Gené
In 1999 Gené made his debut in the Formula One with the Minardi team. Six years after his older brother Jordi was to debut in the Formula One with the Bravo F1 Team. In his first year he scored one point for the team by finishing 6th during the European Grand Prix. In 2000 he would race as well for Minardi.  For 2001, he failed to find a seat so he accepted the role as test and reserve driver at Williams. In 2003, Marc would be the stand-in for Ralf Schumacher. He finished the race as fifth. In 2004, Gené replaced Schumacher after his accident during the United States Grand Prix.  He drove two races before Antonio Pizzonia would replace him. In November 2004, he announced he would become Ferrari’s test driver.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2003 Italian Grand Prix5th5thWilliams F1 Team
2004 French Grand Prix8th10thWilliams F1 Team
2004 British Grand Prix13th12thWilliams F1 Team

Jenson Button
While Jenson Button retired at the end of 2016 he would make his comeback as a stand-in a year later. During the Grand Prix at Monaco, he was the stand-in for Fernando Alonso who tried his luck to win the prestige Indy 500. In 2017, both races clashed in the same weekend.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2017 Monaco Grand Prix9thRetMcLaren

Stoffel Vandoorne
In 2016 Vandoorne was the reserve driver for McLaren. After the big shunt Alonso had in Australia, Stoffel would replace Fernando Alonso during the Grand Prix at Bahrain. He managed to qualify himself in front of his teammate Jenson Button. By finishing tenth, he scored his first point in the Formula One.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2016 Bahrain Grand Prix12th10thMcLaren

Mario Andretti
Andretti left the Formula One at the end of 1981 as he was not happy with the new ground effect cars that appeared in the Formula One. Leaving the Formula One to return to the IndyCar in 1982, it didn’t take long before Andretti would appear on the grid again in the Formula One. Williams offered him a one off to replace Carlos Reutemann. Who suddenly left the Formula One. At the end of the Season Enzo Ferrari asked Mario to replace the heavily injured Didier Peroni. In Italy, he took pole and finished the race as third.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
1982 United States Grand Prix West14thRetWilliams
1982 Italian Grand PrixPole3thFerrari
1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix7thRetFerrari

Martin Brundle
In 1984 Brundle made his debut in the Formula One with Tyrrell. However, in 1988 his F1 career stalled. Instead, he was racing in the World Sportscar Championship and would become the test driver for the Williams team. While winning the Sportscar Championship he would replace Nigel Mansell at the Belgium Grand Prix after he was struck down with chickenpox. Brundle was to replace Mansell as well in Italy. However, due to his commitments he was unable to race.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
1988 Belgian Grand Prix12th7thWilliams

Jean-Louis Schlesser
In 1983 Schlesser had his first taste in the Formula One when he bought a drive in the March – RAM 01. During the years, he was testing for the Williams team. In 1988, he got the big chance to race for Williams. After Brundle replaced Mansell, he was to race in Italy as well. However, due to his career in the IMSA he had to thanks for the Italian Grand Prix.  Williams asked Schlesser to race in Italy.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
1988 Italian Grand Prix22th11thWilliams

Robert Kubica
Is well known for his rally accident in 2011 where he had a massive crash. It almost meant the end of his carreer. However, he managed to overcome his injuries and with technical help, he was able again to race.  Since 2016, he is active in the Formula One again. In 2019, he drove a full season for Williams. Since 2020, he is the test driver for Alfa Romeo. In 2021, Robert Kubica replaced Kimi Räikkönen during the Dutch Grand Prix and the Italian Grand Prix.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2021 Dutch Grand Prix18th15thAlfa Romeo
2021 Italian Grand Prix19th18thAlfa Romeo

George Russell
Russell has been a Mercedes protégé for a couple of years. In 2020, he raced for Williams. During the Grand Prix of Bahrain Mercedes asked him to replaced Lewis Hamilton as he was struck by covid-19. This stand-in for Mercedes meant he will race in 2022 for the team.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2020 Sakhir Grand Prix2nd9thMercedes

Jack Aitken
In 2020 was Jack Aitken one of the reserve drivers for the Williams Grand Prix Team.  During the Grand Prix in Bahrain Russell was to replace Hamilton at Mercedes. Which meant that Williams had to look for a stand-in for Russell. Soon they came at Jack Aitken. It was, so far, his only Grand Prix.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2020 Sakhir Grand Prix18th16thWilliams

Pietro Fittipaldi
Pietro Fittipaldi is one of the test and reserve drivers for the Haas F1 Team.  During the Bahrain Grand Prix Romain Grosjean had a horrific crash which he wonder well survived.  Because of his injuries, Grosjean was unable to finish his last season in the Formula One. For the last two races of the season, Pietro Fittipaldi was to replace Grosjean.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
2020 Sakhir Grand Prix20th17thHaas F1 Team
2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix19th19thHaas F1 Team

Roberto Moreno
Perhaps Moreno is the stand-in of all the stand-ins. Back in 1982 Moreno was racing in several series and did this pretty well with winning races. He was also one of the test drivers for Team Lotus, however he did not much of testing which would be his Achilles heel. Moreno was asked by Chapman to replace Nigel Mansell at the Dutch Grand Prix when he broke his wrist in Canada. Moreno barely had drove with the new Lotus 91. He failed to qualify the Lotus for the Dutch Grand Prix.

Five years later Moreno would receive a call from the small AGS team if he was willing to replace Pascal Fabre at AGS for the last two races. While he failed to qualify at first for the Japanese Grand Prix, though again Mansell injuring himself he was allowed to start his first Grand Prix. The Grand Prix In Adelaide Moreno managed to finish 7th with his AGS JH22. However, due to Senna’s disqualification Moreno finished sixth and scoring his and the teams’ first point.

With the help of Ferrari Moreno would race for Coloni in 1989. In 1990, he made the move to EuroBrun, both seasons were without any decent results. The team would not even do the last two races of the season. However, Nannini had his accident with the chopper nearly losing his hand. Benetton called Moreno to replace Nannini.  His results, with a podium finish, gave Benetton enough confidence to contract him for 1991.

However, he would be ditched by Briatore after the Belgium Grand Prix, where he finished fourth, in favour of Michael Schumacher. However, he would race for Jordan in Italy and Portugal that year. The last race of the season he would race for the Minardi team. In 1992 he would race for Andrea Moda. Three years later he re-appeared on the grid this time for Forti Corse.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
1982 Dutch Grand PrixDNQ (  +6.916)DNSTeam Lotus
1987 Japanese Grand Prix27thRetAGS
1987 Australian Grand Prix25th6thAGS
1991 Italian Grand Prix9thRetJordan
1991 Portuguese Grand Prix16th10thJordan
1991 Australian Grand Prix18th16thMinardi

Mika Salo
Salo like Giancarlo Fisichella would end up racing for the Scuderia as a stand-in doing only a much better job. However, his first entry in the Formula One was in 1994 with the nearly bankrupted Team Lotus. Replaced Éric Bernard for the last two races. After leaving Arrows at the end of 1998 he was without a job. Though, he would soon replace Ricardo Zonta at BAR who was injured. He drove three races for the team before Zonta returned. After the shunt of Schumacher in Silverstone where he broke his leg, Salo was asked to replace Schumacher. He would do six races for the Scuderia and scoring two podiums.

Grand PrixQualificationRaceTeam
1994 Japanese Grand Prix25th10thTeam Lotus
1994 Australian Grand Prix22thRetTeam Lotus
1999 San Marino Grand Prix19th7thBAR
1999 Monaco Grand Prix12thRetBAR
1999 Spanish Grand Prix16th8thBAR
1999 Austrian Grand Prix7th9thFerrari
1999 German Grand Prix4th2ndFerrari
1999 Hungarian Grand Prix18th12thFerrari
1999 Belgian Grand Prix9th7thFerrari
1999 Italian Grand Prix6th3thFerrari
1999 European Grand Prix12thRetFerrari