As Formula 1 reaches its 1,000th World Championship event, we look back at the sport’s golden oldies – the oldest drivers to have had success in F1, and the oldest drivers still living today.
THE OLDEST CHAMPION
Oldest driver to be crowned champion: We’re unlikely to see another driver crowned champion at the age which Juan Manuel Fangio won his fifth and final title in 1957. Born in June 1911, the Argentine clinched his final championship victory while driving for Maserati at the 1957 German Grand Prix, just over one month after his 46th birthday. He won the event, marking the final Grand Prix victory of his World Championship career. Fangio is one of 32 drivers to have competed in Formula 1 over the age of 46.
Oldest living World Champion: The oldest World Champion still alive is Jackie Stewart, who celebrates his 80th birthday in 2019. Twenty of the 33 drivers to have won the Drivers’ World Championship are still alive in 2019.
THE OLDEST GP WINNER
Oldest driver to win a Grand Prix: The oldest winner of a World Championship F1 Grand Prix is Luigi Fagioli. He won the 1951 French Grand Prix at the age of 53, in a shared drive with Juan Manuel Fangio. Fagioli drove twenty laps of the 77-lap race, with Fangio driving the other 57.
Oldest living Grand Prix winner: Stirling Moss is the oldest living winner of a Grand Prix. Moss celebrates his 90th birthday on 17th September. He took sixteen wins in World Championship F1 races between 1955 and 1961, the last coming at the 100th Formula 1 race – the 1961 German Grand Prix.
THE OLDEST POLESITTER
Oldest driver to have taken Pole Position: Formula 1’s first World Champion, Giuseppe Farina, is the oldest driver to have taken pole position in the sport. He was 47 years old when he took pole for the 1954 Argentine Grand Prix, beating Ferrari team-mate José Froilán González’s time by just 0.1 second.
Oldest living polesitter: As well as being the oldest living Grand Prix winner, Stirling Moss is also the oldest living driver to have taken pole position at World Championship Formula 1 events, claiming sixteen poles in his 66-race career.
THE OLDEST GRAND PRIX LEADER
Oldest driver to have led a Grand Prix: The 1950 Belgian Grand Prix – only the fifth race in Formula 1’s championship history – is the Grand Prix which saw the sport’s oldest Grand Prix leader. That was Luigi Fagioli, who led only one lap of the treacherous nine-mile Spa Francorchamps circuit in his Alfa Romeo. The race was eventually won by his team-mate Fangio, while Fagioli finished as runner-up.
Oldest living Grand Prix leader: Once again, Stirling Moss is the oldest driver still alive to have led a Grand Prix. In total, he led 1,181 racing laps in his career – seventeenth on the all-time list of most Grand Prix laps led.
THE OLDEST FASTEST LAP SETTER
Oldest driver to have set Fastest Lap: Driving for Maserati, Juan Manuel Fangio became the oldest driver to set the fastest lap of a Grand Prix at his home event in 1958. At 46 years of age, Fangio led 24 laps of the Argentine race, but a misfire saw him finish only fourth. Stirling Moss’ victory in this event marked the first victory for a rear-engined car in a Formula 1 race.
Oldest living driver to have set Fastest Lap: Hans Hermann is the oldest living driver to have set the fastest lap of a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Hermann, who celebrated his 90th birthday in 2018, set the only fastest lap of his career at the 1954 French Grand Prix.
THE OLDEST POINTS SCORER
Oldest driver to score a point in F1: By finishing fifth in the 1950 Italian Grand Prix, Philippe Etancelin became the oldest driver to score World Championship points. The 53 year-old Frenchman had lined up sixteenth on the grid for the race at Monza.
Oldest living driver to have scored a point in F1: Paul Goldsmith is the oldest living man to have scored points at a Formula 1 event. He only competed in the Indy 500, scoring points in both 1959 and 1960. The oldest driver to have scored points in a Grand Prix is Hermano da Silva Ramos. He scored the only points of his F1 career by finishing fifth in the 1956 Monaco Grand Prix.
THE OLDEST PODIUM FINISHER
Oldest driver to finish on the podium: In the race in which he became F1’s oldest race winner, Luigi Fagioli also became the sport’s oldest podium finisher at the 1951 French Grand Prix.
Oldest living podium finisher: The oldest podium finishers to still be alive today are all mentioned above, Goldsmith is the oldest, Hermann the second oldest and Moss the third oldest.
THE OLDEST GRAND PRIX DRIVER
Oldest driver to have started a Grand Prix: At 55 years and 292 days, Louis Chiron is the oldest driver to have competed in a Grand Prix. Born in 1899, the Monegasque driver’s final appearance in a World Championship Grand Prix came at his home event – the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix. Chiron held the record of being the only Monegasque driver to have finished on the podium in Formula 1, until Charles Leclerc equalled his best result at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix. Chiron took his first Grand Prix win twenty years before the Formula 1 Championship began. The above picture shows him in action at the 1936 Monaco Grand Prix.
Oldest living Grand Prix starter: At 98 years old, Ken McAlpine is the oldest living driver to have competed in a Formula 1 race. He made seven appearances between 1952 and 1955, finishing a best of thirteenth in the 1956 German Grand Prix.
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, and sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.