ByDhruv George, writer at
Dhruv George

10. Gilles Villeneuve

Villeneuve Sr. needs his own movie because he is considered as the greatest driver to never win a world championship. He was well known for his intense rivalry with his teammate Didier Pironi. He impressed on his Formula One debut in 1977, where he qualified 9th between his first teammates James Hunt and Jochen Mass despite the fact that he was on the older McLaren M23 and Hunt and Mass were on the faster M26 car. A year later he was let go by the British team only to be baited by Ferrari, his Ferrari debut wasn’t exactly spectacular but they insisted on keeping him. He rewarded their faith in him with a victory in Canada thereby being the first Canadian driver to win his home race, a title he holds to this day; even his son Jacques could not achieve that feat. The 1979 French Grand Prix was famous for the duel between Villeneuve and René Arnoux for 2nd. Another notable achievement was during a soggy practice session in the United States Grand Prix where he was 11 seconds faster than the entire field!!! Sadly his untimely demise in 1982 during the qualifying session of the Belgian Grand Prix came as a big blow to the Formula One world. Villeneuve’s rivalry with Pironi is definitely worthy of depiction on the big screen

9. John Surtees

Surtees is unique in his own way because he is the only person to have won the Formula One World Championship and a MotoGP World Championship. Now a transition from 4 wheels to 2 wheels is understandably difficult because Valentino Rossi tested for the Ferrari Formula One Team once and Casey Stoner tried his hand at V8 Supercars after his retirement from MotoGP but Casey did not really set the 4 wheel stage alight, meanwhile Rossi decided that Formula One wasn’t for him. John Surtees is a different case altogether, it is one thing for a Formula One world champion to race in MotoGP but quite another for him to actually win the MotoGP World Championship. Surtees won the MotoGP World Championship 4 times and the Formula One World Championship once.

8. Sebastian Loeb

The Frenchman is one of the most successful and recognized figures in motorsports and rally racing in particular. He has competed against fierce drivers like Marcus Gronholm, Mikko Hirvonen, Petter Solberg and others. Rally racing is one of the most difficult sports because the cars have to navigate the most difficult terrain ranging from tarmac to gravel to snow covered roads and mountainous regions. Loeb has won the World Rally Championship a record 9 times in a row, a dominant run similar to Michael Schumacher during his Ferrari days. Loeb would eventually retire from full time rallying but participate in select events. He later joined the World Touring Car Championships where he had a fairly successful run.

7. Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Dale Earnhardt, better known as “The Intimidator” was highly regarded as the most successful NASCAR driver of all time. He has won 7 Winston Cup titles and several other accolades. His nickname was chosen due to his driving style that had an aggressive stance. He continued racing until his tragic fatal accident in 2001 where he hit the wall head on during a 3-car pileup. On that dark day NASCAR lost one of it’s brightest sparks. Now his legacy is continuing to thrill audiences in the form of his son Dale Earnhardt Jr, it seems only fitting if Earnhardt Sr’s life were chronicled as a tribute to him

6. Dan Wheldon

Another upcoming talent who was lost too soon, Dan Wheldon was a well-known and well-liked IndyCAR racer. The popular Briton was the IndyCAR series champion in 2005 and a double winner of the Indianapolis 500. He even had an interest in racing in Formula One although the opportunity never materialized due to his commitment to IndyCAR. In 2011 Wheldon was involved in a horrific 15-car accident in Las Vegas, which ultimately ended his long and successful life. Dan was well respected not only in Indy, but also NASCAR and Formula One. His achievements that were attained in such a short lifespan should warrant a movie about him.

5. Giacomo Agostini

Agostini is by far the most successful MotoGP World Champion with achievements far exceeding that of his admirer Valentino Rossi who is a legend in his own way. “Ago” as he is fondly called has 122 victories and 15 World Championship titles to his name. Like Surtees before him he also had a small stint in Formula One although he did not meet the same amount of success as Surtees or even Mike Hailwood. Nevertheless he remains successful in MotoGP with his 15 titles in the 350cc and 500cc categories. His achievements are enumerable and he deserves a movie.

4. Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello is undoubtedly the unluckiest driver in Formula One as well as the most underrated. He is considered one of the best wet weather drivers especially after the German Grand Prix where a stellar drive from 18th on the grid and opting to stay on the dry tires which was a risky strategy as parts of the track were still damp eventually landed him his maiden victory which was an emotional one indeed. In 2000 Ferrari signed him up alongside Michael Schumacher.The turning point of his career was THAT race in 2002 where the team forced Barrichello to move over and let Schumacher take the win for the sake of the championship. Neither driver took the decision well with a humiliated Schumacher deciding to place more deserving teammate on the top step and himself line up second. Since that race his relationship with Ferrari soured and he endured a torrid Ferrari stint playing second fiddle to Schumacher and later in Honda and Brawn GP again second fiddle to Jenson Button in 2009. His final stint was with Williams where he had a quiet couple of seasons before retiring at the end of 2011. Barrichello’s unlucky career is worth documenting because it provides an insight to what it is like for a number 2 driver.

3. Mika Hakkinen

The original Iceman who served as one of Michael Schumacher’s fiercest adversaries was one quick driver. He won the 1998 and 1999 World Championships both for McLaren. 2000 was the year that Schumacher started his dominant streak but Hakkinen was there to keep him on his toes. In his final year in 2001 he had a wretched season before announcing that he would go on a sabbatical, which later culminated in a full-fledged retirement. Hakkinen’s loss was McLaren’s gain as the man replacing him was fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen whom he believed was destined for great things. Hakkinen’s driving style was a car with plenty of oversteer where he could throw the tail end of the car into the corners. Michael Schumacher has rated Mika as one of his most formidable rivals and that it was a pleasure racing against him.

2. Mark Webber

Webber is another driver who was treated like a number 2 driver. His debut season for the backmarker team Minardi got off to an incredible start with a points finish in a chaotic Australian GP. Although the rest of the season was uneventful Jaguar racing were impressed by him and signed him up for a 2-year contract. 2003 was a black stain in his Jaguar debut after a serious crash in a rain soaked Interlagos track saw Fernando Alonso also crash heavily on the debris left behind by the stricken Jaguar prompting a red flag. Another incident was at the British Grand Prix where a priest called Neil Horan sprinted onto the track waving banners and Webber nearly collided with the Irishman. His Red Bull days started off decently with the Aussie driver outpacing most of his teammates until the arrival of a certain young German by the name of Sebastian Vettel. Webber held the record for the second highest number of starts without a win with the highest number going to Barrichello. When Vettel joined Red Bull their earlier friendship soured during the 2013 season when the team ordered them to maintain position but Vettel disobeyed and overtook an infuriated Webber in an incident similar to the Gilles Villeneuve-Didier Pironi fiasco. Webber also had a sneaking suspicion that Red Bull favored Vettel over him. Any film maker would have a field day with Webber’s Formula One career.

1. Michael Schumacher

Of course no list is complete without mentioning the Red Baron himself, Schumi had the most interesting career where he not only became the most successful driver with 7 Drivers titles to his name but one of the most controversial figures in motorsport. During the 1994 season he and Damon Hill repeatedly traded blows throughout the season and the climax was the season ender in Australia where Schumacher clobbered the barrier and collected the Briton Damon Hill as he limped back to the pitlane ending their races and sending the title to the German. A year later he successfully defended his crown albeit in a cleaner fashion. 1997 was the season where Schumacher’s antics finally bit him where it hurt with the title going to Jacques Villeneuve. 1998 and 1999 were dry spells for Schumacher and once 2000 started he was back with his first title for Ferrari. But he didn’t stop there he seized the top honors until 2004 where he won his final championship. 2002 Austrian Grand Prix was one of the most controversial races where Schumacher was gifted the win by his teammate who was ordered to do so by the team. 2003 and 2004 went off without a hitch but 2006 saw Michael up to his old tricks as he stopped the car at the Rascasse chicane preventing rival Alonso from securing pole position however the FIA were having none of it and demoted him to the back of the grid. Schumacher’s retirement and return to racing with the Mercedes team proved to be an embarrassment for him but all said and done no driver will be able to surpass his records for a long time and he is an ideal candidate to have a movie chronicling his career

There are so many candidates who deserve to have their careers documented but this list is just my personal opinion. I took the liberty to explore many major motorsports leagues and this was the best i could come up with.


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