From over 1,000 Formula 1 Grands Prix, there have been only 381 in which no Finnish drivers competed – and only three of those have been in the last 33 years. We take a look back at the most recent F1 races in which no Finnish drivers competed!
Finland is one of Formula 1’s most successful nations. Three Finnish drivers have won Formula 1 titles: Keke Rosberg in 1982, Mika Hakkinen in 1998 & 1999 and Kimi Raikkonen in 2007. With over 50 victories, the nation has the fifth-most wins of any country in Formula 1, with Valtteri Bottas, Heikki Kovalainen and the three Finnish champions sharing those victories.
With 95 fastest laps, there can be no doubt that the so-called Flying Finns live up to their name! Only the United Kingdom and Germany have recorded more fastest laps than Finnish drivers. Only those nations have scored more points that Finnish drivers, too.
2010 Spanish Grand Prix
It has been over a decade since the last Formula 1 race to not feature a Finnish driver. This happened at the 2010 Spanish Grand Prix. With Kimi Raikkonen on his first of two seasons away from F1, Heikki Kovalainen was left as the only Finn on the grid. Kovalainen raced with the uncompetitive – and inexperienced – Lotus team. His first fruitless season with the backmarker team resulted in one Did Not Start – the result of a gearbox failure at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
2005 United States Grand Prix
Between 2003 and 2007, Kimi Raikkonen was the only Finnish driver on the F1 grid. He would have started every race in that period, if not for the tyre fiasco at the 2005 United States Grand Prix. Concerns about the safety of the Michelin tyres meant that none of the cars using the French manufacturer’s tyres were able to start the race. Of the six drivers who did start – on the Bridgestone tyres – none of them were Finnish. Raikkonen’s DNS in this race was the only time between 1994 and 2010 that no Finnish drivers started a Grand Prix.
1994 Hungarian Grand Prix
For the first time since the end of the 1990 season, there were no Finnish drivers present on the grid at the 1994 Hungarian Grand Prix. JJ Lehto and Mika Hakkinen both made appearances in the 1994 season, but neither were in action at the Hungarian Grand Prix. While JJ Lehto made sporadic appearances with Benetton and Sauber in the 1994 season, Frenchman Philippe Alliot deputised at McLaren for Hakkinen, with the Finn having been handed a one-race suspension.
Hakkinen had been involved in a collision with Rubens Barrichello at the end of the British Grand Prix, picking up a one-race ban suspended for three races. However, at the next race – the German Grand Prix – Hakkinen collided with David Coulthard, in an incident which would see the one race ban enforced for the Hungaroring race.
1990 Australian Grand Prix
After Keke Rosberg retired from Formula 1, there was a drought of Finnish drivers in the late 1980s. JJ Lehto would be the nation’s next F1 star, making his debut with the back-marking Onyx team. Lehto’s first appearance would be at the 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix – the first race to have Finnish involvement since Rosberg’s swansong at the 1986 Australian Grand Prix. However, Lehto did not qualify for the Estoril race, instead making his debut at the following race – the 1989 Spanish Grand Prix.
Lehto remained with the team for 1990, however Onyx ran into financial troubles midway through the 1990 season and made their final entry at the 1990 Hungarian Grand Prix. There followed a run of six races with no Finnish drivers on the grid. That would end at the season-opening 1991 United States Grand Prix, where both Lehto and Mika Hakkinen were on the grid; marking the start of a new era for Finnish drivers in Formula 1.
This article was originally published in May 2021 and has since been updated.