Karl Wendlinger

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Karl Wendlinger
Nationality Austria Austrian
Born (1968-12-20) 20 December 1968 (age 45)
Kufstein, Austria
2014 FIA GT1 World Championship
Debut season 2010
Current team Swiss Racing Team
Car no. 3
Starts 20
Wins 0
Poles 0
Fastest laps 0
Best champ.
finish
43rd in 2010
Previous series
2004–09
2002–03
2001
1999
1998–99
1997
1996
1991–95
1990–91
1990–92
1989–90
1988–89
1988
FIA GT Championship
DTM
V8Star Series
American Le Mans Series
FIA GT Championship
Italian Superturismo
Super Tourenwagen Cup
Formula One
International Formula 3000
World Sportscars
DTM
German F3
Austrian F3
Championship titles
1999
1989
1988
FIA GT Championship
German F3
Austrian F3
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 19911995
Teams Leyton House, March, Sauber
Races 42 (41 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 14
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1991 Japanese Grand Prix
Last race 1995 Australian Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 1991–1992, 1996–2001, 2008
Teams Team Sauber Mercedes, Peugeot Talbot Sport, Porsche AG, Roock Racing, Viper Team Oreca
Best finish 3rd (1996)
Class wins 2 (1999 and 2000)
Wendlinger (in the back) at the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix

Karl Wendlinger (born 20 December 1968 in Kufstein[1]) is an Austrian sportscar racing and former Formula One driver.

Mercedes Juniors[edit]

Wendlinger started his career in karting and in Formula Ford before entering the German Formula 3 Championship in 1988. After managing tenth place in that inaugural season, Wendlinger won the crown in 1989, which earned him also a drive in the Mercedes-Benz sportscar team for 1990.

Driving the Sauber-Mercedes C11 - alongside Michael Schumacher, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Mauro Baldi and Jean-Louis Schlesser - the quintet managed to achieve fifth place in the 1990 World Sportscar Championship standings.

In 1991, he continued to race with Mercedes sportscars - alongside a Formula 3000 programme with the Helmut Marko team. Towards the end of the year, Mercedes' team boss Jochen Neerpasch placed two of his protégés in Formula One. Schumacher went to the Jordan team before signing for Benetton, whilst Wendlinger made a low key Formula One debut with the Leyton House outfit for the final two Grands Prix of the season.

Formula One[edit]

1991–1992: Leyton House/March[edit]

Wendlinger's Formula One debut came at the 1991 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, bringing some money to the beleaguered Leyton House team in place of long-serving Ivan Capelli. He qualified in 22nd place in a field of 26, but was unable to convert that into anything more, after he retired due to a big collision at turn one, between himself, J.J. Lehto, Andrea de Cesaris and Emanuele Pirro. His second race didn't fare much better as the Adelaide circuit was a wash-out, torrential rain leading to a curtailed event. Wendlinger was classified in 20th place, two laps down on eventual winner Ayrton Senna, after aquaplaning on some of the huge puddles of water present that day.

Wendlinger was kept at the renamed March team in 1992, alongside Paul Belmondo. The team were struggling financially due to the withdrawal of the Leyton House organisation, the only modifications to the 1991 car being reworking the cockpit to accommodate Wendlinger's tall frame. The results were very encouraging, including starting 7th at the opening South African Grand Prix but results were limited by the team's financial restraints. For example, at the Spanish Grand Prix the drying track at the start saw the Footwork team make a late change of tyres to their cars on the starting grid, incurring a fine but finishing 5th and 7th. Wendlinger was 8th, March being unable to afford the fine for changing his tyres at the same time. However, at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal a race of attrition allowed Wendlinger to bring the car home in fourth position, albeit a lap down - but nonetheless a huge result considering the financial troubles his team were in. These three points allowed Wendlinger to finish 12th in the drivers championship ahead of respected names such as Ivan Capelli, Thierry Boutsen, Johnny Herbert and former Brabham and Tyrrell driver Stefano Modena.

1993–1995: Sauber[edit]

For 1993, Wendlinger was re-united with Peter Sauber, who that year had become a Formula One team owner. Much was expected of the team and early on Wendlinger and team-mate JJ Lehto mixed with the front runners. Initially he was out-paced by the Finn, who scored points in two of the first four races though some of this was down to bad luck; Wendlinger had qualified 5th at Donington for example, only to be eliminated by Michael Andretti on the first lap. At the Monaco Grand Prix Wendlinger and Lehto collided, the team blaming the Finn. After that, Wendlinger's results improved. He scored his first point of the season in the next round and added three more points scores - the best being 4th at the Italian Grand Prix after a long battle with Andretti. Other points finishes in Portugal and Hungary helped give Wendlinger 12th in the Drivers' Championship again with seven points - two points and a place ahead of the more experienced Lehto.

For 1994 Wendlinger was retained as Mercedes made their official return to Formula 1, buying a stake in Ilmor and becoming the team's engine suppliers. Heinz-Harald Frentzen arrived in place of Lehto. The season started well for Wendlinger; he scored a point in the first race of the year at Interlagos and drove to fourth place in the San Marino race, an event marred by the deaths of both Wendlinger's countryman Roland Ratzenberger and the multiple world champion Ayrton Senna.

The next race was in Monaco for the fourth round of the Championship. During the first practice session, Wendlinger exited the tunnel and lost control of the car under braking for the Nouvelle Chicane. The Sauber hit the wall sideways with considerable force. Wendlinger's head struck a water-filled barrier within the metal crash barrier. FIA doctors found Wendlinger unconscious, and although his vital signs were quickly stabilized, he remained in a coma for several weeks and did not drive in a race for the rest of the year.[2] He had planned to make his comeback at the Japanese Grand Prix but pre-race testing revealed his neck was not strong enough.

Wendlinger recovered from his injuries before the start of the 1995 Formula One season, where he would be driving at Sauber (now with Ford engines) alongside Frentzen. However, he performed poorly and was reluctantly replaced in the team before the Monaco Grand Prix, a year on from the accident, by Jean-Christophe Boullion. Peter Sauber then recalled Wendlinger for the final two races of the season in one last attempt to regain his pre-accident form, without success. These were his last races in Formula One.

After Formula One[edit]

Since then, he has competed successfully in sports cars and touring cars,[3] winning the FIA GT Championship (with Olivier Beretta) in 1999. After a spell racing for Abt-Audi in DTM in 2002 and 2003 he raced for JMB Racing in FIA GT again, driving a Maserati MC12 with Andrea Bertolini.

Since 2006, Wendlinger has been part of the JetAlliance Racing team, competing again in the FIA GT Championship. His team-mate in 2006 was Phillip Peter, and in 2007 his team-mate was Scottish driver, Ryan Sharp.

2008[edit]

Wendlinger has been competing for JetAlliance Racing in 2008 alongside Ryan Sharp. They started well at the RAC Tourist Trophy round from Silverstone. Wendlinger and Sharp won the GT1 class and overall race ahead of Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini's Maserati MC12.

Racing record[edit]

Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1991 Leyton House Racing Leyton House CG911 Ilmor V10 USA BRA SMR MON CAN MEX FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN
Ret
AUS
20
NC 0
1992 March F1 March CG911 Ilmor V10 RSA
Ret
MEX
Ret
BRA
Ret
ESP
8
SMR
12
MON
Ret
CAN
4
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
16
HUN
Ret
BEL
11
ITA
10
POR
Ret
JPN AUS 12th 3
1993 Sauber Sauber C12 Sauber V10 RSA
Ret
BRA
Ret
EUR
Ret
SMR
Ret
ESP
Ret
MON
13
CAN
6
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
9
HUN
6
BEL
Ret
ITA
4
POR
5
JPN
Ret
AUS
15
12th 7
1994 Sauber Mercedes Sauber C13 Mercedes-Benz V10 BRA
6
PAC
Ret
SMR
4
MON
DNS
ESP CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR EUR JPN AUS 19th 4
1995 Red Bull Sauber Ford Sauber C14 Ford V8 BRA
Ret
ARG
Ret
SMR
Ret
ESP
13
MON CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR EUR PAC JPN
10
AUS
Ret
NC 0

24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1991 Germany Team Sauber Mercedes Germany Michael Schumacher
Germany Fritz Kreutzpointner
Mercedes-Benz C11 C2 355 5th 5th
1992 France Peugeot Talbot Sport Belgium Eric van de Poele
France Alain Ferté
Peugeot 905 Evo 1B C1 208 DNF DNF
1996 Germany Porsche AG France Yannick Dalmas
Canada Scott Goodyear
Porsche 911 GT1 GT1 341 3rd 2nd
1997 Germany Roock Racing France Stéphane Ortelli
United Kingdom Allan McNish
Porsche 911 GT1 GT1 8 DNF DNF
1998 France Viper Team Oreca Belgium Marc Duez
Netherlands Patrick Huisman
Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT2 28 DNF DNF
1999 France Viper Team Oreca Monaco Olivier Beretta
France Dominique Dupuy
Chrysler Viper GTS-R GTS 325 10th 1st
2000 France Viper Team Oreca Monaco Olivier Beretta
France Dominique Dupuy
Chrysler Viper GTS-R GTS 333 7th 1st
2001 France Team PlayStation Monaco Olivier Beretta
Portugal Pedro Lamy
Chrysler LMP LMP900 298 4th 3rd
2008 United Kingdom Aston Martin Racing Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Italy Andrea Piccini
Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 339 16th 4th

Partial DTM results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 DC Points
2002 Abt Sportsline Abt-Audi TT-R HOC
QR

10
HOC
CR

6
ZOL
QR

12
ZOL
CR

18
DON
QR

7
DON
CR

5
SAC
QR

21†
SAC
CR

DNS
NOR
QR

Ret
NOR
CR

12
LAU
QR

10
LAU
CR

Ret
NÜR
QR

6
NÜR
CR

12
A1R
QR

13
A1R
CR

16
ZAN
QR

9
ZAN
CR

19
HOC
QR

4
HOC
CR

Ret
14th 3
2003 Abt Sportsline Abt-Audi TT-R HOC1
15
ADR
12
NÜR1
16
LAU
13
NOR
11
DON
15
NÜR2
11
A1R
16
ZAN
8
HOC2
17
16th 1
  • † — Retired, but was classified as he completed 90% of the winner's race distance.

Complete GT1 World Championship results[edit]

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Pos Points
2010 Swiss Racing Team Nissan ABU
QR

9
ABU
CR

14
SIL
QR

15
SIL
CR

Ret
BRN
QR

12
BRN
CR

10
PRI
QR

21
PRI
CR

15
SPA
QR

16
SPA
CR

12
NÜR
QR

14
NÜR
CR

10
ALG
QR

Ret
ALG
CR

20
NAV
QR

14
NAV
CR

Ret
INT
QR

17
INT
CR

18
SAN
QR

7
SAN
CR

Ret
43rd 2
2011 Swiss Racing Team Lamborghini ABU
QR

10
ABU
CR

7
ZOL
QR

4
ZOL
CR

4
ALG
QR

10
ALG
CR

5
SAC
QR

12
SAC
CR

Ret
SIL
QR
SIL
CR
NAV
QR
NAV
CR
PRI
QR
PRI
CR
ORD
QR
ORD
CR
BEI
QR
BEI
CR
SAN
QR
SAN
CR
16th 31

Helmet[edit]

Wendlinger's helmet is yellow with 2 blue parallel lines in the middle of the helmet, a blue circle on the top and 3 red white red arrows between the parallel lines.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Franz Binder
Austria Formula 3 Cup champion
1988
Succeeded by
Josef Neuhauser
Preceded by
Joachim Winkelhock
German Formula Three champion
1989
Succeeded by
Michael Schumacher
Preceded by
Klaus Ludwig
Ricardo Zonta
FIA GT Champion
1999 with:
Olivier Beretta
Succeeded by
Julian Bailey
Jamie Campbell-Walter