List of the week – National Pride

November 27, 2008

Which country is the most successful in the 58-year history of the Formula 1 World Championship? The following list is a breakdown of race winners by their nationality. I’ve not worked out percentages, as the picture would be overly-complicated by the rules in the 1950s, which allowed shared drives.


The first era of the great manufacturer teams – Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Mercedes-Benz – was also the happiest hunting ground for Italian drivers. Three of the first four Championship titles were won by racers from Italy, with Alberto Ascari’s 1953 triumph still the most recent drivers’ champion from his country. Despite this, they can only muster 3rd place, thanks to the brilliance of Juan Manuel Fangio and the emerging talent from Great Britain.

ARGENTINA 26 (by 2 drivers: Juan Manuel Fangio, José Frolián Gonzalez)
GREAT BRITAIN 24 (by 4 drivers: Mike Hawthorn, Stirling Moss, Peter Collins, Tony Brooks)
ITALY 21 (by 5 drivers: Guiseppe Farina, Luigi Fagioli, Alberto Ascari, Piero Tauruffi, Luigi Musso)
AUSTRALIA 2 (both by Jack Brabham)
FRANCE 2 (both by Maurice Trintignant)
NEW ZEALAND 1 (by Bruce McLaren)
SWEDEN 1 (by Joakim Bonnier)


The manufacturer era was killed off by the revolutionary thinking of British constructor teams such as Cooper, Vanwall, Lotus and BRM. As such, the 1960s were completely dominated by British teams and drivers, with only the only other titles going to America (Phil Hill, 1961) and Britain’s great Antipodean rivals Australia (Jack Brabham, 1960, 1966) and New Zealand (Denny Hulme, 1967). In the mid-sixties, British dominance was such that English and Scottish drivers won eighteen consecutive races between 1962 and 1964, including all ten events in 1963. They were almost as dominant in 1965, only Richie Ginther’s victory in the last round preventing another clean sweep. Meanwhile, Jochen Rindt’s solitary win for Austria in 1969 heralded the beginnings of something big for the country in the 1970s.

GREAT BRITAIN 61 (by 6 drivers: Stirling Moss, Innes Ireland, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Jackie Stewart)
AUSTRALIA 11 (by Jack Brabham)
NEW ZEALAND 8 (by 2 drivers: Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme)
UNITED STATES 8 (by 3 drivers: Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Richie Ginther)
BELGIUM 3 (by Jacky Ickx)
ITALY 3 (by 3 drivers: Giancarlo Baghetti, Lorenzo Bandini, Ludovico Scarfiotti)
GERMANY 2 (by Wolfgang von Trips)
AUSTRIA 1 (by Jochen Rindt)
MEXICO 1 (by Pedro Rodriguez)
SWITZERLAND 1 (by Jo Siffert)


A much more balanced picture in the 1970s, with British drivers heading up the list again only due to a series of what-might-have-beens. What if Jochen Rindt had not died before he knew he was the 1970 World Champion, driving the revolutionary Lotus 72? What if François Cevert had lived to assume Jackie Stewart’s mantle as the Tyrrell team leader? What if Jacky Ickx’s cars hadn’t gradually declined in competitiveness? Nevertheless, Austria and Brazil arrive on the scene in a big way, although for one it would be as good as it got. France, too, are starting to be very much in evidence, a result of the huge glut of talented French drivers who came through the European Formula 2 championship in that decade, plus big investments in talent by Elf and Renault. Italy, however, had a dismal 10 years, Vittorio “The Monza Gorilla” Brambilla’s shock win in the rain-shortened 1975 Austrian Grand Prix their sole success.

GREAT BRITAIN 25 (by 4 drivers: Jackie Stewart, Peter Gethin, James Hunt, John Watson)
AUSTRIA 22 (by 2 drivers: Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda)
BRAZIL 15 (by 2 drivers: Emerson Fittipaldi, Carlos Pace)
UNITED STATES 14 (by 2 drivers: Mario Andretti, Peter Revson)
SWEDEN 11 (by 2 drivers: Ronnie Peterson, Gunnar Nilsson)
SOUTH AFRICA 10 (by Jody Scheckter)
ARGENTINA 9 (by Carlos Reutemann)
FRANCE 8 (by 5 drivers: François Cevert, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Jacques Laffite, Patrick Depailler, Jean-Pierre Jabouille)

AUSTRALIA 6 (by 2 drivers: Jack Brabham, Alan Jones)
SWITZERLAND 6 (by 2 drivers: Jo Siffert, Clay Regazzoni)
BELGIUM 5 (by Jacky Ickx)
CANADA 4 (by Gilles Villeneuve)
NEW ZEALAND 3 (by Denny Hulme)
GERMANY 1 (by Jochen Mass)
ITALY 1 (by Vittorio Brambilla)
MEXICO 1 (by Pedro Rodriguez)


The turbo era boiled down to a battle between France and Brazil. France win mainly due to the exploits of Alain Prost, who won 21 races before finally securing his and his country’s first world crown. Prost’s 3 titles were eclipsed, however, by the Brazilian effort. Nelson Piquet secured 3 world titles in 1981, 1983 and 1987, whilst Ayrton Senna’s emergence in the 1984 season was the decade’s big story. Britain, meanwhile, went through an uncharacteristically lean spell. For the first time since the Championship began, no British driver won a World Title during the decade, and in 1980, 1984 and 1988 British drivers failed to win any races at all. Towards the bottom of the table, one can also spot the emergence of Finland, finally starting to reach their all-conquering motorsport tentacles into the single seat arena.

FRANCE 53 (by 6 drivers: René Arnoux, Didier Pironi, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Jacques Lafitte, Alain Prost, Patrick Tambay)
BRAZIL 41 (by 2 drivers: Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna)
GREAT BRITAIN 19 (by 2 drivers: John Watson, Nigel Mansell)
AUSTRIA 13 (by 2 drivers: Niki Lauda, Gerhard Berger)
ITALY 10 (by 4 drivers: Riccardo Patrese, Elio de Angelis, Michele Alboreto, Alessandro Nannini)
AUSTRALIA 7 (by Alan Jones)
FINLAND 5 (by Keke Rosberg)
ARGENTINA 3 (by Carlos Reutemann)
BELGIUM 2 (by Thierry Boutsen)
CANADA 2 (by Gilles Villeneuve)


Britain were back on top in the 1990s, a consequence of weight of numbers as well as Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill’s world titles. Germany, though, appear out of virtually nowhere. A country which had only scored three successes up to this point was suddenly awakened by Michael Schumacher’s exploits. The floodgates open, German drivers would come to dominate Grand Prix entry fields towards the end of this decade and the next. Brazil’s total, whilst respectable, would surely have been higher had it not been for Ayrton Senna’s death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

GREAT BRITAIN 51 (by 5 drivers: Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert, David Coulthard, Eddie Irvine)
GERMANY 38 (by2 drivers: Michael Schumacher, Heinz-Harald Frentzen)
BRAZIL 24 (by 2 drivers: Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet)
FINLAND 14 (by Mika Häkkinen)
FRANCE 14 (by 3 drivers: Alain Prost, Jean Alesi, Olivier Panis)
CANADA 11 (by Jacques Villeneuve)
AUSTRIA 5 (by Gerhard Berger)
ITALY 4 (by Riccardo Patrese)
BELGIUM 1 (by Thierry Boutsen)


The story of Formula 1 in the noughties is accurately summed up by the numbers here: Michael Schumacher blasting to win after win and a series of young challengers trying to usurp him. The most successful people at doing this have come from Finland and Spain. Brazil’s position is artificially inflated by Schumacher’s final seven seasons in the sport being accompanied by a Brazilian teammate to pick up his crumbs after the title was in the bag. The current decade is also notable for another British lean-spell, although Lewis Hamilton has started to undo a lot of the damage, and the appearance of a number of new countries on the list. Spain is the one which stands out thanks to Fernando Alonso’s two world titles, but Colombia and Poland also register for the first time.

GERMANY 64 (by 3 drivers: Michael Schumacher, Ralf Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel)
FINLAND 24 (by 3 drivers: Mika Häkkinen, Kimi Räikkönen, Heikki Kovalainen)
SPAIN 21 (by Fernando Alonso)
BRAZIL 20 (by 2 drivers: Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa)
GREAT BRITAIN 17 (by 3 drivers: David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton)
COLOMBIA 7 (by Juan Pablo Montoya)
ITALY 4 (by 2 drivers: Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli)
POLAND 1 (by Robert Kubica)


GREAT BRITAIN 197 (19 drivers; 10.37 wins-per-driver)
GERMANY 105 (6 drivers; 17.50 )
BRAZIL 100 (6 drivers; 16.67)
FRANCE 77 (12 drivers; 6.42 )
FINLAND 43 (4 drivers; 10.75)
ITALY 43 (15 drivers; 2.87)
AUSTRIA 41 (3 drivers; 13.67)
ARGENTINA 38 (3 drivers; 12.67)
AUSTRALIA 26 (2 drivers; 13.00)
UNITED STATES 22 (5 drivers; 4.40)
SPAIN 21 (1 driver; 21.00)
CANADA 17 (2 drivers; 8.50)
SWEDEN 12 (3 drivers; 4.00)
NEW ZEALAND 12 (2 drivers; 6.00)
BELGIUM 11 (2 drivers; 5.50)
SOUTH AFRICA 10 (1 driver; 10.00)
COLOMBIA 7 (1 driver; 7.00)
SWITZERLAND 7 (2 drivers; 3.50)
MEXICO 2 (1 driver; 2.00)
POLAND 1 (1 driver; 1.00)


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