Claudio Langes – the man who holds the ignominious honour of the most ever failures to prequalify without starting a race – is celebrating his 50th birthday today.
Born in Brescia, Italy, Langes was a pay driver in the true sense of the word, and one of a host of drivers to have a crack at making the F1 grid in the late 1980s, at the height of them being extremely oversubscribed.
Italian 125cc karting champion in 1978, he had graduated to European F3 and then later Formula 3000, spending several seasons in each category with the occasional good result and the odd win to boot.
By 1990, he mustered all of his funds and bought a seat with EuroBrun, undoubtedly the worst address in the pit lane on the back of it failing to prequalify for every single event in the 1989 season.
In what I will generously describe as ambitious, the EuroBrun team decided to expand to a two-car operation over the winter, and Langes was partnered with Roberto Moreno.
While Roberto would occasionally surprise many by making the grid twice, Langes was hopelessly off the pace – sometimes over 10 seconds slower than Bertrand Gachot in the deplorably bad Coloni Subaru.
After 14 rounds and with scarcely a result worthy of the name, EuroBrun shut up shop after three embarrassing seasons in the sport. Langes was out in the cold, and Moreno was drafted into Benetton to replace the injured Alessandro Nannini, promptly finishing second on debut in Japan. If that didn’t prove what an awful combination the EuroBrun-Judd was, then nothing ever would…
[Original image via F1 Rejects]