There have been 71 occasions when a Formula 1 driver has raced on their birthday. From those 71 occasions, two have won a Grand Prix, six have finished on the podium and sixteen have scored points. Here are all the statistics!
Drivers who won on their birthday
In Formula 1 history, there have been only two drivers who have won a Grand Prix on their birthday: James Hunt and Jean Alesi.
Racing on his 29th birthday, Hunt won from second on the grid at Zandvoort in the 1976 Dutch Grand Prix on August 29th. This was Hunt’s fourth of six victories in his title-winning season. Nineteen years later, on June 11th, Alesi won the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix. It was the only win of his career and came on his 31st birthday.
Drivers who finished on the podium on their birthday
In addition to Hunt and Alesi, four other drivers have finished on the podium on their birthday. Chris Amon, Carlos Pace and Carlos Reutemann all finished as runner-up on their birthdays. Amon did so at the 1968 British Grand Prix, Pace finished second at the 1974 United States Grand Prix and Reutemann finished as runner-up at the 1981 Argentine Grand Prix. The most recent, and only other, time a driver has finished on the podium on their birthday was in 2004, when Rubens Barrichello scored a third place result.
Drivers who raced at home on their birthday
Reutemann is the only driver who has scored a podium finish at his home Grand Prix on his birthday, but four other drivers have made home race appearances on their birthdays. The first to do so was Toulo de Graffenried at the 1952 Swiss Grand Prix, who finished just outside the points in sixth place. American Chuck Arnold competed in the 1959 Indianapolis 500 – the penultimate time that it was a round of the Drivers’ Championship – where he finished fifteenth. It was nineteen years before another driver made a home appearance on their birthday. The driver to do so was Bruno Giacomelli, who finished fourteenth at Monza in the 1978 Italian Grand Prix. Since Reutemann’s podium finish at home on his birthday, there has been only one more driver who celebrated their birthday with a home appearance. Pierluigi Martini raced in the 1989 San Marino Grand Prix on his birthday. Though given the title of ‘San Marino’ Grand Prix, the event was held at the Imola circuit in Italy. Martini drove only six laps before retiring with gearbox problems.
Drivers who started from pole on their birthday
Two drivers have started a Grand Prix from pole position on their birthday. Gerhard Berger did so at the 1995 Belgian Grand Prix and Mika Hakkinen did so at the 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix. On both occasions, neither driver reached the end of the race. Berger retired after 22 laps at Spa in 1995, while Hakkinen – who started from pole for the first time in his career – retired at the Nurburgring in 1997 after 43 laps.
Drivers who made the most birthday appearances
There are only six drivers who have raced on their birthday on more than one occasion. Andrea de Cesaris and Fernando Alonso are the only drivers who have raced on their birthday three times. De Cesaris retired on all three birthday appearances, while Alonso finished in the top ten on all three of his birthday appearances with a best result of fifth at the 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Chris Amon made two birthday appearances, at the 1962 and 1968 British Grands Prix. He could have made a third birthday outing at the 1974 British Grand Prix, but he missed races in the mid part of that season due to illness. Nelson Piquet, Gerhard Berger and Rubens Barrichello are the other drivers who have raced on their birthdays twice.
Youngest and Oldest birthdays celebrated
The youngest driver to celebrate their birthday by racing in a Grand Prix is Lance Stroll, who turned nineteen on the day of the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix. On the other end of the scale, the oldest drivers to start a Grand Prix on their birthday are Reg Parnell and Carlos Reutemann who each turned 39 on the day of the 1950 French Grand Prix and the 1981 Argentine Grand Prix respectively.
Multiple birthdays celebrated in a race
The 1989 Belgian Grand Prix is the only race in which multiple drivers on the grid were celebrating their birthday. On that day, Derek Warwick celebrated his 35th birthday, while Gerhard Berger celebrated his 30th birthday. Warwick picked up a point in sixth place, but Berger retired. It was the Austrian’s tenth retirement in a row.
Drivers who could have raced on their birthdays
There are two drivers who could have raced on their birthday, but failed to qualify for the Grand Prix. The first was Jochen Mass at the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix, who missed out on a spot on the grid by just 0.064s. The second was Aguri Suzuki at the 1991 Italian Grand Prix. He qualified 30th and last in the qualifying session, 0.841s away from the pace which was needed for a place on the starting grid.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen had a particularly unlucky birthday in 2003. After lining up fifteenth on the grid, Frentzen made his way through two formation laps. A faulty launch control for Cristiano da Matta meant that there were three formation laps that afternoon. At the start of the third formation, Frentzen had clutch issues and there was no time to set up the spare car. It meant that Frentzen did not start the race.
Drivers who made their only appearance on their birthday
Robin Montgomerie-Charrington, who raced in the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix, is the only driver who made his only Grand Prix start on his birthday. He retired from the race after seventeen laps.
Another driver who made his only F1 appearance on his birthday was Channoch Nissany, who made his only outing in Free Practice for the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix. On the day he turned 42, he became the first driver from Israel to participate in an F1 weekend. Nissany’s lap times were almost seven seconds off the pace of his Minardi team-mate Christijan Albers. He spun out of the session, and was unable to take the steering wheel out after his spin. That meant that his car had to be recovered with him sitting in it.
The full list of Formula 1 drivers who raced on their birthday:
Below is a full list of drivers who have raced in a round of the Formula 1 World Championship on their birthday.
Date Race Driver Result Birthday Celebrated
January 1st 1968 South African Grand Prix Jacky Ickx DNF 23
January 29th 1978 Brazilian Grand Prix Jody Scheckter DNF 28
March 4th 2001 Australian Grand Prix Jos Verstappen 10th 29
March 18th 2012 Australian Grand Prix Timo Glock 12th 30
March 26th 2017 Australian Grand Prix Stoffel Vandoorne 13th 25
April 9th 2000 San Marino Grand Prix Jacques Villeneuve 5th 29
April 12th 1981 Argentine Grand Prix Carlos Reutemann 2nd 39
April 17th 1983 French Grand Prix Riccardo Patrese DNF 29
April 17th 2016 Chinese Grand Prix Romain Grosjean 19th 30
April 21st 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix Max Chilton 20th 22
April 23rd 1989 San Marino Grand Prix Pierluigi Martini DNF 28
April 25th 2004 San Marino Grand Prix Felipe Massa 10th 23
May 4th 1980 Belgian Grand Prix John Watson DNF 34
May 10th 2009 Spanish Grand Prix Nick Heidfeld 7th 32
May 12th 1991 Monaco Grand Prix Stefano Modena DNF 28
May 15th 1988 Monaco Grand Prix Luis Perez-Sala DNF 29
May 18th 1952 Switzerland Grand Prix Toulo de Graffenried 6th 38
May 18th 2003 Austrian Grand Prix Heinz-Harald Frentzen DNS 36
May 23rd 1993 Monaco Grand Prix Rubens Barrichello 9th 21
May 23rd 2004 Monaco Grand Prix Rubens Barrichello 3rd 32
May 29th 1994 Spanish Grand Prix Ukyo Katayama DNF 31
May 30th 1959 Indianapolis 500 Chuck Arnold 15th 33
May 30th 2004 European Grand Prix Gianmaria Bruni 14th 23
May 31st 1981 Monaco Grand Prix Andrea de Cesaris DNF 22
May 31st 1987 Monaco Grand Prix Andrea de Cesaris DNF 28
May 31st 1992 Monaco Grand Prix Andrea de Cesaris DNF 33
June 11th 1995 Canadian Grand Prix Jean Alesi 1st 31
June 18th 1967 Belgian Grand Prix Denny Hulme DNF 31
June 22nd 1952 Belgian Grand Prix Robin Montgomerie-Charrington DNF 37
June 27th 2010 European Grand Prix Nico Rosberg 10th 25
July 1st 2018 Austrian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo DNF 29
July 2nd 1950 French Grand Prix Reg Parnell DNF 39
July 3rd 2016 Austrian Grand Prix Sebastian Vettel DNF 29
July 7th 1968 French Grand Prix Jo Siffert 11th 32
July 13th 1986 British Grand Prix Thierry Boutsen DNF 29
July 13th 1997 British Grand Prix Jarno Trulli 8th 25
July 20th 1963 British Grand Prix Chris Amon 7th 20
July 20th 1968 British Grand Prix Chris Amon 2nd 25
July 24th 2005 German Grand Prix Tiago Monteiro 17th 29
July 27th 1986 German Grand Prix Philippe Alliot DNF 33
July 29th 2001 German Grand Prix Fernando Alonso 10th 20
July 29th 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix Fernando Alonso 5th 31
July 29th 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix Fernando Alonso 8th 37
August 5th 1962 German Grand Prix Richie Ginther 8th 32
August 6th 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix Vitantonio Liuzzi DNF 26
August 8th 1982 German Grand Prix Nigel Mansell 9th 29
August 17th 1980 Austrian Grand Prix Nelson Piquet 5th 28
August 17th 1986 Austrian Grand Prix Nelson Piquet DNF 34
August 27th 1989 Belgian Grand Prix Derek Warwick 6th 35
August 17th 1989 Belgian Grand Prix Gerhard Berger DNF 30
August 27th 1995 Belgian Grand Prix Gerhard Berger DNF 36
August 27th 2006 Turkish Grand Prix Mark Webber 10th 30
August 28th 2016 Belgian Grand Prix Valtteri Bottas 8th 27
August 29th 1976 Dutch Grand Prix James Hunt 1st 29
September 1st 2019 Belgian Grand Prix Carlos Sainz DNF 25
September 2nd 2001 Belgian Grand Prix Olivier Panis 11th 35
September 2nd 2018 Italian Grand Prix Marcus Ericsson 15th 28
September 5th 1971 Italian Grand Prix Clay Regazzoni DNF 32
September 8th 1985 Italian Grand Prix Stefan Johansson 5th 29
September 10th 1978 Italian Grand Prix Bruno Giacomelli 14th 26
September 11th 2005 Belgian Grand Prix Antonio Pizzonia 15th 25
September 17th 2017 Singapore Grand Prix Esteban Ocon 10th 21
September 28th 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix Mika Hakkinen DNF 29
September 30th 2018 Russian Grand Prix Max Verstappen 5th 21
October 1st 1978 United States Grand Prix Jean-Pierre Jabouille 4th 36
October 1st 1995 European Grand Prix Jean-Denis Deletraz 15th 32
October 3rd 1971 United States Grand Prix Andrea de Adamich 11th 30
October 5th 2014 Japanese Grand Prix Kevin Magnussen 14th 22
October 6th 1974 United States Grand Prix Carlos Pace 2nd 30
October 19th 2008 Chinese Grand Prix Heikki Kovalainen DNF 27
October 29th 2017 Mexican Grand Prix Lance Stroll 6th 19
After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fifth 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 GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.