Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Where have all the good men gone? // Ex-F1 drivers make their way to the World Endurance Championship

Published by PeteS2K

Formula 1 is a difficult place for a driver to get to, and often when they do get there, the stay is not a long or prosperous one. So what happens to the talent that the F1 gods reject? This year eight drivers with experience in the big leagues will be fighting it out for a different crown as the World Endurance Championship gets under way.

Allan McNish

17 GPs, best F1 result: 7th

The shining light of Petit Le Mans
The shining light of Petit Le MansCredit: Audi USA

McNish has probably the best shot of all the ex-F1 drivers to win the WEC title. The 2-time Le Mans winner teams up with 7-time Le Mans

winner Tom Kristensen and 3-time Le Mans winner Rinaldo “Dindo” Capello in the Audi R18 Ultra. This diesel powered car will be switched at Le

Mans with the new R18 e-tron quattro that uses a Williams Hybrid Power flywheel system that powers the front wheels at speeds over 120km/h.

Audi will run one hybrid car after Le Mans, but if it is McNish that will be using it has yet to be announced.

Alex Wurz

69 GPs, best F1 result: 3rd (x3)

Wurz, the youngest ever Le Mans winner and current driver coach at WilliamsF1 will compete in the Toyota TS030, but as the car is brand new and still under development, it won't see the competition until the second race at Spa. Toyota may also start to use a hybrid later in the season, most likely at Le Mans. Wurz teams up with Nicolas Lapierre and Japanese driver...

Kazuki Nakajima

36 GPs, best F1 result: 6th

It was no surprise that Nakajima got this ride, after all, his time at Williams F1 just happened to coincide with their use of Toyota engines!

Anthony Davidson

24 GPs, best F1 result: 11th (x3)

The former 5Live and now Sky F1 commentator will be racing in the second Toyota TS030 after the shock decision of Peugeot to pull out of the WEC. It was a very wise choice for Toyota to pick up Davidson, he was the most successful driver in the WEC predecessor, the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, winning pretty much everywhere but Le Mans. His performances at the Spa 1000kms and Imola 6 hours last were mighty impressive, nobody could touch him for raw speed. Davidson teams up with Japanese GT driver Hiroaki Ishiura and...

Sébastien Buemi

54 GPs, best F1 result: 7th (x2)

Buemi settles in
Buemi settles inCredit: Toyota Motorsport GmbH

As if being both the Red Bull and Torro Rosso reserve driver this year was not enough, Buemi adds a third team to his 2012 job list as he teams up with Davidson in the second Toyota.

Nick Heidfeld

186 GPs, best F1 result 2nd (x7)

After being punted out of LRGP last year to make way for Bruno Senna, Quick Nick has found a new home at Rebellion Racing and will drive one of their Lola-Toyota. He'll be joined be Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost, who has an obvious F1 connection himself. Heidfeld has started once before at Le Mans, however the less said about the Mercedes CLR in 1999 the better!

Karun Chandhok

11 GPs, best F1 result 14th (x2)

Chandhok will be racing with JRM in the Honda Performance Development RX-03A, and in a situation that Karun will be familiar with, the car is not built yet and will only likely be finished in the garage at Sebring! This is because JRM took a very late decision to proceed with the new tub made by Wirth Research (yes, that's Nick Wirth of Virgin and Simtek fame).Teaming up with Karun will be Scottish driver Peter Dumbrek who was Heidfeld's team-mate and the man driving that ill-fated CLR in 1999 when it back-flipped into the trees. The third driver in the JRM will be...

David Brabham

30 GPs, best F1 result: 10th

The former Simtek driver and son of 3-time Formula One World Champion Jack Brabham, David has won Le Mans overall once, with a further two victories in the GT1 class. He also won the 2009 and 2010 American Le Mans Series.

There are plenty of other other F1 connections throughout the field so if you fancy playing some F1/WEC Only Connect at home, the World Endurance Championship gets under way in Sebring which, as it's also an ALMS race, will have around 60 cars racing. There is also due to be a race in Bahrain, but the ACO are visiting Bahrain in the next few weeks and have said they have a 'Plan B'. The big race of year at Le Mans scores you double points and the Toyota drivers needn't worry about missing the first race either as only the best 6 out of 8 results score.

12 Hours of Sebring17th March
6 Hours of Spa5th May
24 Heures Du Mans16th & 17th June
6 Hours of Silverstone26th August
6 Hours of São Paulo15th September
6 Hours of Bahrain29th September
6 Hours of Fuji14th October
6 Hours of Shanghai27th October