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Who has been the most undeserving Formula 1 world champion?

Keke and Nico Rosberg are only the second father-son to win F1 world championship. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images)
Keke and Nico Rosberg are only the second father-son to win F1 world championship. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images)
Vatsal Vora
ANALYST
Modified 02 Apr 2021
Feature

Formula 1 has only seen 33 drivers claim the world's drivers championship since its inception in 1950. The list of winners includes legends and world renowned drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Ayrton Senna, just to name a few.

However, sometimes due to sheer luck, an overpowered car or other favourable circumstances, an average driver has gone on to become the Formula 1 world champion. Which makes you ask: who is Formula 1's most undeserving world champion?

The most undeserving Formula 1 world champion

Formula 1 has been around since 1950 and finding a world champion who is not deserving of his crown can be a tricky task. However, a strong case can be made for Keke Rosberg, who won the 1982 Formula 1 world championship with Williams Racing. Keke Rosberg was the first world champion from Finland.

He became only the second Williams world champion after Alan Jones, who won the championship in 1980.

There are multiple reasons why Keke Rosberg can be termed the most undeserving Formula 1 world champion. Firstly, the Finn only won one out of 16 races on the calendar, secondly he only stood on the podium another 5 times.

The 1982 season will always be remembered for the demise of Gilles Villeneuve, who, in his Ferrari, was considered by many to be the favourite for the championship. Villeneuve died during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

Another driver who was a rival to Keke Rosberg for the championship was Villeneuve's Ferrari teammate Didier Pironi.

Pironi had already won 2 races that season, but just like his teammate he also suffered a major accident. During the qualifying for the 1982 German Grand Prix in the wets, Pironi hit the back of Alain Prost's Renault. Though he survived the initial crash, major injuries kept him for the rest of the season and he never raced in Formula 1 again.

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This helped Keke Rosberg in a massive way. With two of his title rivals out of the picture, the Finn easily coasted to the world championship. Didier Pironi finished a mere 5 points behind Keke Rosberg. So it is safe to assume that had Pironi not suffered the crash, he could have easily beaten Rosberg to the championship.

Son emulating his father

34 years after Keke Rosberg won the world championship, his son Nico Rosberg emulated him by winning the 2016 Formula 1 world championship, clinching it in the final race against teammate Lewis Hamilton.

This made Keke and Nico Rosberg only the second father-son pair to win the world championship after Graham and Damon Hill. Nico Rosberg, though, is considered a worthier world champion than his father in the eyes for Formula 1 fans worldwide.

Published 02 Apr 2021, 19:55 IST
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