Marco Apicella

Some drivers have very short careers in Formula 1 and one of the shortest belongs to Italian Marco Apicella, who joined the Jordan team for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in September 1993. He qualified 23rd on the grid and at the first corner he was caught up in someone else's accident and retired. That was the end of his F1 career as the seat went to Emanuele Naspetti in Portugal a couple of weeks later and to Eddie Irvine at the Japanese Grand Prix. While Irvine was able to use the opportunity to launch his F1 career, Apicella's career in F1 ground to a halt. Such is fate.

In his early days of racing it had looked that Marco might go all the way to the top. He was good in karting and jumped straight into Formula 3 in 1984. Having shown his speed he was hired by the Coperchini team in 1985 and finished fourth in the Italian F3 title with a couple of wins to his name. He was hired by Enzo Coloni to be Nicola Larini's team mate in 1986 and finished runner-up to Larini in the series.

The following year he went to Formula 3000 with the Euroventurini team although it was not a great success. But he also did his first F1 test in a Minardi in Estoril. He moved to First Racing in 1988 and in 1989, despite not winning a race, he finished fourth in the championship behind Jean Alesi, Erik Comas and Eric Bernard. In 1990 he got a test drive with the Modena Team in F1 and later in the year went to Japan and did some of the earliest Bridgestone F1 tests in a specially-built Reynard-Mugen F1 prototype. He also did some more F1 testing with Minardi. His fifth season in Formula 3000 in 1991 was with Paul Stewart Racing but he finished fifth in the series and so headed off to Japan and joined Dome. He won races in 1992 and 1993 and it was this that got him his Jordan chance.

Apicella was back in Japan in 1994 and won the All Japan Formula 3000 series that year. He stayed on in the series in 1995 and 1996 and still hoped for a chance in F1, testing the prototype Dome-Mugen Honda F1 car. He raced sports cars at Le Mans in 1995 but in the late 1990s was not seen much, although he won races in the new Italian Formula 3000 series in 1999. In 2000 he went back to Japan to race touring cars and since then has been a regular in the Japanese GT series, with Porsche, Lamborghini, Toyota and in 2005 and 2006 with the Lamborghini Murcielago in the GT300 class. In 2006 he gave the car its first victory.