They passed and… did not rest from Formula 1!

They passed and… did not rest from Formula 1!

And yet, there have been many examples of drivers who found themselves in Formula 1 in one way or another. And they were able to run free trials. Some at the same time and only, some for more. What they all have in common is that – quite simply – no one remembers them, even if it’s been a few years since we saw them on the slopes. Not all, of course, since free trials in Greece have only been shown since 2011, so at least half of the protagonists of our topic were never … brought to the audience of the Greek Formula 1.

Matteo Bobbi

In the early 2000s Matteo Bobbi found himself in Minardi as a test. In 2003, however, he agreed with the Italian team to pay one million dollars, to participate in four sessions of free trials! After all, his first and last participation was at the Imola circuit! Jos Verstappen, in fact, explained the situation in the team as follows: “It doesn’t make sense for Bobbi to drive this car, just because it’s too slow.”

Ryan Briscoe

As European Formula 3 Champion in 2001, Australian Ryan Briscoe was from 2002 to 2004 in Formula 1 with the Toyota team in a test role. At the end of his three seasons with the Japanese, he had the opportunity to drive at five Formula 1 circuits (Hungary, Belgium, Italy, China and Brazil) only in Friday free practice. Later in his career he was heavily involved in Le Mans and Supercars prototypes.

Chanok Nissan

Israel’s Chanoch Nissany participated in many motorcycle events in Hungary, where he had moved with his family. He started… his career in motorsports somewhat… late, when he drove a race car for the first time at the age of 38! He turned 42 during the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prixa his birthday and as a gift to him he took part in Friday’s tests with Minardi. For a while, of course, as he came out 6.5 seconds faster than his teammate, Christijan Albers. When asked why he got out, he left the journalists speechless saying: “Because the car had too much power”!

Alexander Premat

Alexandre Premat in 2005 won the title with the French team at the A1 Grand Prix. In the same year he participated in GP2, where in 2006 he was third in the final standings of the season. But at the level of Formula 1 his only participation was recorded in the first free tests of the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix with Spyker F1. It was a season in which the British team used a total of five different drivers in Friday’s tests, Adrian Sutil, Markus Winkelhock, Giorgio Mondini, Ernesto Viso and of course Premat.

Neel Jani

Neel Jani of Switzerland is known for his great success at Le Mans as well as other GT or prototype races. Few remember that in 2006 he was the third pilot of Toro Rosso, participating in all the first sessions of free tests. However, he could not progress to Formula 1 level.

Michael Ammermuller

In the same year, the German Michael Ammermuller was Red Bull. Champion in GP2, Ammermuller in 2007 became the third driver in the Austrian team, taking part in the free trials of three races (China, Japan, Brazil). Seeing that he would not have much luck in the single seats, he turned his career around and for the last three years he is … the permanent champion in the Porsche Supercup!

Robert Wickens

Canadian Robert Wickens in 2011 was a test rider for the Virgin team. In the last race of the season, the Amxpo Derby, he had the opportunity to drive the team’s car in free practice. It was his only participation in the Formula 1 race…

Ma Qing-Hua

During the 2012 Grand Prix, Ma Qing-Hua made history by becoming the first Chinese driver to participate in a free Formula 1 race with the HRT team. With the Spanish team he participated in free trials of three other races (Singapore, Abu Dhabi, USA). A few months later, in the spring of 2013, he took second place, at the Shanghai circuit, this time with Caterham. It was also the last time we saw him in a Formula 1 car.

Adderley Fong

Born in Vancouver, Canada but originally from Hong Kong, Adderly Fong joined Sauber in 2014 as a test driver, driving the Swiss car for 99 laps during a development test at the Valencia circuit. His only involvement in a three-day race came late in the season, when he drove in the Friday race in Abu Dhabi.

Fabio Leimer

Swiss Fabio Leimer in 2013 won the GP2 title. But he could not work in Formula 1, since in the middle of the last decade few pilots from GP2 got a “chance” in the crown of motor sports. So his only participation was in free practice for the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix with Manor