While world champions are remembered for years and years to come, there are certain drivers who despite of not winning a world championship, have managed to have an impact over the sport. Many of them deserve to be called a champion despite winning none of them. Here we bring you a list of top F1 drivers without a championship, but are truly deserving of one.
#10 Didier Pironi
In the 1980 season, Didier Pironi’s impressive performances in the unheralded Ligier caught Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari’s eye. The Italian offered Pironi a seat with his team for the 1981 Formula One season. But the 1982 season was the year when Pironi really came into his own. The Ferrari driver led the drivers’ championship by nine points after 11 races. He sat out of the Belgian Grand Prix out of respect for teammate Gilles Villeneuve’s death during qualifying.
Pironi qualified on pole at the 1982 German Grand Prix but the race was a different story. During the practice session, Pironi collided with Alain Prost’s slow-moving Renault at 170mph in a heavy downpour. The Ferrari flew nearly 200 feet and then came crashing down nose-first crushing both his legs.
Pironi underwent months of painful surgeries before he could walk again. Sadly, his legs weren’t strong enough to resume racing. Enzo Ferrari placed a specially designed cup next to his bed which read ‘Didier Pironi – the true 1982 World Champion.’ But the statistics declared Keke Rosberg as the 1982 champion. It was disheartening for Ferrari as they had 2 drivers who were champion material but fate had other ideas.