Andrea de Cesaris 1959 – 2014

It is with considerable sadness that I have to report the death of Andrea de Cesaris in a motorcycle accident at the age of 54. The delightful Italian spent 14 years racing in F1 in the 1980s and early 1990s, with spells at Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Ligier, Minardi, Brabham, Rial, Dallara, Jordan, Tyrrell and Sauber. He never managed to win a race, despite leading on a number of occasions, but he had a great deal of natural talent. He had a rather alarming twitch which many believed caused some of the many accidents that he used to have, indeed he is remembered at McLaren for having crashed in every single race he did for the team. He was fortunate in that he enjoyed the support of Philip Morris Italy for many years and so did not fade out of the sport as quickly as might have been the case. In the end he competed in more than 200 Grands Prix and scored five podiums. He later took part in Formula Masters races, but spent his life trading currency each winter and then windsurfing each summer.

According to reports from Italy, de Cesaris was killed when he crashed his motorcycle near Rome.

39 thoughts on “Andrea de Cesaris 1959 – 2014

  1. Oh no! just when I thought today couldn’t get any worse. Was lucky enough to have seen him race many times during that ‘golden era’. OK, he DID take a lot of criticism during his F1 career however, I agree with Simon B – the best way of remembering him is as a true underdog who really did deserve better at Spa 1991 in that wonderful green Jordan, in which he really shone. Would have loved to have seen him win that one – if only………May he rest in peace.

  2. Very sad, on top of a horrible day at Suzuka.
    AdeC was a part of my early viewing of F1 races on TV.
    Despite his lack of success there was always something exciting about having him in racing.


    1. +1
      Started watching F1 in the 80s and although I followed Senna, Prost, Mansell et al, de Cesaris was often featuring in some way or another. His barrel rolls at the Austrian GP (85?) was one such example.
      Though he seemed a bit wild in the car, sounds from your post that he was quite a good guy out of it, Joe?
      RIP Andrea.


  3. Very sorry to hear this. de Cesaris was driving when I first started watching F1 on a regular basis in the very early 1980s. I fondly remember James Hunt harshly branding him a “mobile chicane” in commentary but I also remember how his driving eventually settled down, particularly after he joined Jordan. Very much a one-off and will be missed, I’m sure.

  4. So sad to hear about the death of Andrea de Cesaris. Especially after the terrible and avoidable accident that befell Jules Bianchi’s today. He was one of my absolute heroes in F1. He was a wonderfully flawed character, who endeared himself to many race fans.Maldonado is probably the nearest to him among the present line up of drivers. It’s a sad day for Formula 1. Lets hope that Jules makes a full recovery from his injuries.

    1. No Brendan, he wasn’t like Maldonado, he was much, much better a driver than that. I saw a lot of him in F3 and F2 in the late 1970’s, and he was very fast and neat in fact, not wild in the races I saw him in. he was a very good overtaker, and an all round nice guy as well. It’s very sad, especially on top of Bianchi’s accident too. I hope Andrea’s family can draw some comfort from the fact that Andrea gave a lot of pleasure to motorsport fans around the world, was highly regarded by thousands of people, will be fondly remembered by us fans who saw him race back then, and will remain in our hearts and minds and not be forgotten.

      1. I would liken Andrea morer to Grosjean. A bit wild at first with many crashes (nicknamed Andrea de Crasheris), but later on he matured into a very competent fast driver.
        Sad news on a sad day. R.I.P. Andrea.

  5. What terribly sad news. His driving was always exciting, I think he was ace. And he was mighty in that Alfa and that’s a fact. God bless him.

  6. One of those days you when you wish it would end. Motorsport journalism is tough at the best of times (I guess), but having to report events of today must be awful. Joe, you’ve reported these events with total respect and class and I can’t commend you highly enough for it.

  7. Horrible, horrible day. I’ve felt totally wrong somehow the whole time. The very strange driver move situation I think is also reflecting a much deeper problem. I’m just worried.

    That green Jordan was a sweet memory indeed. And really very recent. We just busy with out lives, as we do, and only imagine the memories are old. They never are, not the good ones. RIP Andrea, may you cheer the heavens.

    If we constrict this sport any more, where will all the “forgotten” good guys come from, or how will they arrive?

  8. Very sad news indeed.

    I was having a chat to Casey Stoner a few weeks ago (at a RC circuit, he’s really into RC racing now) and asked him if he did much riding on the roads, his comment to me was, “Mate, it’s more dangerous to ride a motorcycle on the roads, than it is to ride in any professional motorcycle race “

    1. That’s very true until you come to the IoM TT which still claims lives almost every year.

      I gave up motorcycle riding back in my mid 20s. ( Early 1970s before they had headlights on in daytime) When, after having taken all sorts of daredevil risks on a daily basis, without any consequence except scaring myself, I had two accidents fairly close together, I was hit, T boned by a car turning right that “didn’t see me mate” and later a tanker that pulled out across my path, in Dartford also having not seen me or couldn’t be bothered. Lying on the road, I though, “I’ve got to get a car” . I was late at work that day, the bike straightened out roughly but made it to Croydon.

      Sad news AdC always seemed to be the support driver, rarely given an equal chance at glory. I have the feeling that many F1 drivers are also motorbike riders.

  9. Thoughts and condolences to the de Cesaris family. Also extended to anyone whose lives were touched Andrea.

    Thoughts to you Joe, especially given your location and activities at the time. I wasn’t aware of the news regarding Andrea as I sat stunned watching the GP broadcast, waiting for some positive news on Jules Bianchi condition.

    A harsh reminder that there is no telling when we might depart this mortal coil, whether we are at a track, on the road or sitting at home on the sofa.

    There are no words to bring Andrea back, but he will live eternal in the hearts and minds of many. Unfortunately it is only in death that we become truly immortal.

  10. My condolences on the loss of a good friend Andrea. I pray that your mind is full of good memories of him now and forever.

  11. Oh, a very sad piece of news to see on Monday morning. One of my favorite drivers, not least for his ‘de Crasheris’ reputation. As it was he turned into something of an elder statesman and became a very swift and reliable driver for Jordan, Tyrrell and Sauber in the latter part of his career. Although his reputation was rather justified early on, he was a very good driver on his day and by all accounts a very nice chap who was enthusiastic in all he did on and off the track. One of the most exciting/saddest F1 memories I have was of his Jordan closing in on Senna for the lead at Spa in 1991, but then the next image being his car stopped by the side of the track. A good guy, sadly gone, but a life well lived.

  12. hello did you ever write anything on Len Terry who passed away on the 25th aug 2014, at the age of 90? regardslawrence

    1. We wrote a huge amount in GP+. If you look back on the blog I am pretty sure I did as well. You are able to scroll back or search so feel free to do so.

  13. Horrible news. As a kid I always used to love watching ‘De Chrasheris’ as we affectionately called him. Like Alesi, he always seemed more exciting to watch. Dark times indeed. RIP Andrea.

  14. Still remember the weekend he joined Sauber. The team treated the event with great respect and ceremony since it was A de C’s 200th GP. Cake and lettering on the car.
    A remarkable pole position in Long Beach in the early ’80’s, piloting and Alfa, surprised many, but his Jordan drive in Spa, is still a stand out, in one of the most beautiful f1 cars ever produced.

  15. I was lucky enough to see AdC in a few F2 and F1 events. He was excitement plus in the early days, and let’s not forget extremely quick! Such a shame he is gone at a relatively young age. All the best to his family.

  16. This turned out to be a genuinely tragic weekend . First Jules accident and now this .

    Granted Andrea spent more time off the track than on in F1 . But he was a mainstay for a good long time not to mention always entertaining and yes one of the last of the genuine characters in F1 . And to go like this ?

    Very sad indeed .

  17. Very sad news indeed. In some ways it seems poetic that his life should end in such a way, since his F1 career will always be remember for his accidents. That doesn’t diminish the tragedy or sadness though. He was always a showman, and very quick – and will no doubt be missed.

  18. F1 drivers are not, by nature, shy, retiring people. They don’t leave racing and become accountants or librarians. They are risk-takers and thrive on adrenaline. It’s very sad when a likable individual like Andrea de “Crasherous” dies, but, unfortunately, not completely unexpected.

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