De Cesaris was a driver who polarised opinion - a torrid first season with Mclaren earned him the nickname 'decrasheris' but he matured into a fast, reliable racer who delivered points for nine of the ten teams he eventually raced for. The Andrea De Cesaris fan club was the largest of any driver during his career, a sign of the popularity of a driver whose bravery and commitment often overstepped his own and his car's abilities.
Eddie Cheever, then a Renault driver, remarked after following De Cesaris' Alfa Romeo at Kyalami
in practice "I had to let him go, I was sure he was going to have a big accident at every corner", the following day De Cesaris drove the evil handling Alfa to second place.
|Spa, 1991 - victory lost through a lack of oil|
That season at Jordan in 1991 and the following season at Tyrrell a year later were undoubtedly Andrea's best in the sport. He had retained the speed of his youth, but added a maturity and level of circumspection to his driving which yielded benefits to both teams in terms of much needed points.
|At Alfa Romeo in 1982 Andrea demonstrated his speed|
After retiring De Cesaris became a very successful currency trader and a semi-professional surfer. His death at 55 is a tragic loss.
For me, Andrea De Cesaris was one of my all time favourite drivers. I remember his pole position at Long Beach in 1982 - the youngest driver to have achieved that at the time - and the euphoria that followed. The balancing of sponsors hats on the podium at South Africa in 1983, pushing his Jordan over the finish line in Mexico but mostly someone who raced flat out all the way.
Fifteen seasons, 208 races and never boring. Thank you for all the great racing Andrea, rest in peace.