Formula One drivers from South Africa

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Jody Scheckter at Monza in 1979

There have been 17 Formula One drivers from South Africa who have started at least one grand prix, though only four of them started more than four races. Jody Scheckter is by far the most prolific and successful South African driver, being the only one to have won a race. During his nine year career Scheckter won ten races and the 1979 World Drivers' Championship. There has not been a driver from South Africa in Formula One since 1980.

Current drivers[edit]

There are no South African drivers currently competing in Formula One, and none have competed in the sport since 1980. Jody Scheckter was the last person to enter a race having started the 1980 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.[1]

Former drivers[edit]

A total of 17 South African drivers have started in at least one race, but only three of them have ever scored any points. Some other drivers have entered Grand Prix events but did not qualify or otherwise make it through to start the race. That includes Desiré Wilson, one of the few female drivers in Formula One.[2]

Notable former drivers[edit]

Jody Scheckter in the six-wheeled Tyrrell P34 at the 1976 German Grand Prix

Jody Scheckter's early career gave people cause to label him as a "fast but borderline reckless racing driver"[3] and an "erratic, crash-prone wild man".[4] He debuted with a one-off drive for McLaren in 1972 and was brought for five events the following year. Ken Tyrrell signed Scheckter for the 1974 season, replacing world champion Jackie Stewart. After a slow start he found his form, winning two races and finishing on the podium four other times on his way to third in the championship. He fared less well in 1975 with only one victory, but again came third in the title race of 1976. During that year he drove the unusual Tyrrell P34 and became the only driver to win a Formula One race in a six-wheeled car. His move to new start-up Wolf saw him win three races and finish second in the championship but he fared less well in 1978, finishing on the podium just four times.[3] This was enough for him to seek a drive elsewhere and he was signed by Enzo Ferrari for what would prove to be his championship-winning 1979 season. Having achieved this goal he became somewhat uninterested in the sport, driving in the 1980 season to see out his contract before retiring.[4] Across his the ten seasons Scheckter drove in 111 races and won ten times.[3]

Ian Scheckter, Jody's elder brother, drove in a six races for with different cars between 1974 and 1976. He landed a full-time drive with March for the 1977 season but only managed to finish in two races with in a best position of tenth place. He left the sport and returned to his home country, finding great success and winning six titles in Formula Atlantic.[5]

Tony Maggs impressed enough on his two drives for Lotus in 1961 to be signed by Cooper for two seasons. He finished second in the French Grand Prix in both 1962 and 1963 but stood on the podium on only one other occasion. He was dropped in favour of Phil Hill and moved to BRM for 1964. After starting just three races with the team he had a one-off drive for Lotus at the 1965 South African Grand Prix, moving instead to sports car.[6]

British-born Dave Charlton moved to South Africa when he was young. He started 11 races over eight years starting from 1967, most of which were in South Africa. He was most active in 1972 when he entered four races but was unable to finish in any of them.[7] Though he never finished higher than 12th place he is statistically the country's fourth most experienced driver.[2][7]

Other former drivers[edit]

Additional to those detailed above the following drivers started at least one race:[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Collantine, Keith (30 January 2009). "Formula 1's lost nations: South Africa". F1 Fanatic. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "South Africa Drivers". StatsF1. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Jody Scheckter". EPSN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Donaldson, Gerald. "Jody Scheckter". Formula One World Championship Limited. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "Ian Scheckter". EPSN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Tony Maggs". EPSN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Dave Charlton". EPSN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 8 November 2012.