Formula 1 Drivers Who Raced on Their Birthday

There have been 74 occasions when a Formula 1 driver has raced on their birthday. From those 74 occasions, two have won a Grand Prix, six have finished on the podium and 17 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.

James Hunt celebrates victory at the 1976 Dutch Grand Prix, held on his 29th birthday.
James Hunt celebrates victory at the 1976 Dutch Grand Prix, held on his 29th 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 took pole position on their birthday

There have been three previous occasions on which a driver has secured pole position for a Grand Prix on their birthday. Rene Arnoux was the first driver to do so, on his 33rd birthday, at the 1981 French Grand Prix. Nigel Mansell secured the 11th pole of his Formula 1 career in qualifying for the 1987 Hungarian Grand Prix on his 34th birthday.

The last driver to take pole on his birthday was Ralf Schumacher, at the 2001 French Grand Prix. It was the first pole position of his Formula 1 career. He took his first pole on the day of his 26th birthday – though his brother Michael would go on to win the following day’s Grand Prix.

Drivers who made the most birthday appearances

There are only seven 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, Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel 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

Heinz-Harald Frentzen failed to make the start of the race on his birthday in 2003. (Image: Martin Lee, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)
Heinz-Harald Frentzen failed to make the start of the race on his birthday in 2003. (Image: Martin Lee, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

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

No driver has made their only Grand Prix appearance on their birthday, but there is one driver who had their only F1 outing on their birthday. That 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.

DateRaceDriverResultBirthday Celebrated
January 1st1968 South African Grand PrixJacky IckxDNF23
January 29th1978 Brazilian Grand PrixJody ScheckterDNF28
March 4th2001 Australian Grand PrixJos Verstappen10th29
March 18th2012 Australian Grand PrixTimo Glock12th30
March 26th2017 Australian Grand PrixStoffel Vandoorne13th25
April 9th2000 San Marino Grand PrixJacques Villeneuve5th29
April 12th1981 Argentine Grand PrixCarlos Reutemann2nd39
April 17th1983 French Grand PrixRiccardo PatreseDNF29
April 17th2016 Chinese Grand PrixRomain Grosjean19th30
April 21st2013 Bahrain Grand PrixMax Chilton20th22
April 23rd1989 San Marino Grand PrixPierluigi MartiniDNF28
April 25th2004 San Marino Grand PrixFelipe Massa10th23
May 4th1980 Belgian Grand PrixJohn WatsonDNF34
May 10th2009 Spanish Grand PrixNick Heidfeld7th32
May 12th1991 Monaco Grand PrixStefano ModenaDNF28
May 15th1988 Monaco Grand PrixLuis Perez-SalaDNF29
May 18th1952 Switzerland Grand PrixToulo de Graffenried6th38
May 18th2003 Austrian Grand PrixHeinz-Harald FrentzenDNS36
May 23rd1993 Monaco Grand PrixRubens Barrichello9th21
May 23rd2004 Monaco Grand PrixRubens Barrichello3rd32
May 29th1994 Spanish Grand PrixUkyo KatayamaDNF31
May 30th1959 Indianapolis 500Chuck Arnold15th33
May 30th2004 European Grand PrixGianmaria Bruni14th23
May 31st1981 Monaco Grand PrixAndrea de CesarisDNF22
May 31st1987 Monaco Grand PrixAndrea de CesarisDNF28
May 31st1992 Monaco Grand PrixAndrea de CesarisDNF33
June 11th1995 Canadian Grand PrixJean Alesi1st31
June 18th1967 Belgian Grand PrixDenny HulmeDNF31
June 22nd1952 Belgian Grand PrixRobin Montgomerie-CharringtonDNF37
June 27th2010 European Grand PrixNico Rosberg10th25
July 1st2018 Austrian Grand PrixDaniel RicciardoDNF29
July 2nd1950 French Grand PrixReg ParnellDNF39
July 3rd2016 Austrian Grand PrixSebastian VettelDNF29
July 3rd2022 British Grand PrixSebastian Vettel9th35
July 7th1968 French Grand PrixJo Siffert11th32
July 13th1986 British Grand PrixThierry BoutsenDNF29
July 13th1997 British Grand PrixJarno Trulli8th25
July 20th1963 British Grand PrixChris Amon7th20
July 20th1968 British Grand PrixChris Amon2nd25
July 24th2005 German Grand PrixTiago Monteiro17th29
July 27th1986 German Grand PrixPhilippe AlliotDNF33
July 29th2001 German Grand PrixFernando Alonso10th20
July 29th2012 Hungarian Grand PrixFernando Alonso5th31
July 29th2018 Hungarian Grand PrixFernando Alonso8th37
August 5th1962 German Grand PrixRichie Ginther8th32
August 6th2006 Hungarian Grand PrixVitantonio LiuzziDNF26
August 8th1982 German Grand PrixNigel Mansell9th29
August 17th1980 Austrian Grand PrixNelson Piquet5th28
August 17th1986 Austrian Grand PrixNelson PiquetDNF34
August 27th1989 Belgian Grand PrixDerek Warwick6th35
August 17th1989 Belgian Grand PrixGerhard BergerDNF30
August 27th1995 Belgian Grand PrixGerhard BergerDNF36
August 27th2006 Turkish Grand PrixMark Webber10th30
August 28th2016 Belgian Grand PrixValtteri Bottas8th27
August 28th2022 Belgian Grand PrixValtteri BottasDNF33
August 29th1976 Dutch Grand PrixJames Hunt1st29
September 1st2019 Belgian Grand PrixCarlos SainzDNF25
September 2nd2001 Belgian Grand PrixOlivier Panis11th35
September 2nd2018 Italian Grand PrixMarcus Ericsson15th28
September 5th1971 Italian Grand PrixClay RegazzoniDNF32
September 8th1985 Italian Grand PrixStefan Johansson5th29
September 10th1978 Italian Grand PrixBruno Giacomelli14th26
September 11th2005 Belgian Grand PrixAntonio Pizzonia15th25
September 17th2017 Singapore Grand PrixEsteban Ocon10th21
September 28th1997 Luxembourg Grand PrixMika HakkinenDNF29
September 30th2018 Russian Grand PrixMax Verstappen5th21
October 1st1978 United States Grand PrixJean-Pierre Jabouille4th36
October 1st1995 European Grand PrixJean-Denis Deletraz15th32
October 3rd1971 United States Grand PrixAndrea de Adamich11th30
October 5th2014 Japanese Grand PrixKevin Magnussen14th22
October 6th1974 United States Grand PrixCarlos Pace2nd30
October 19th2008 Chinese Grand PrixHeikki KovalainenDNF27
October 29th2017 Mexican Grand PrixLance Stroll6th19
November 13th2022 Sao Paulo Grand PrixLando NorrisDNF23

Header image: Rick Dikeman, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

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