Formula One drivers from Australia
There have been seventeen Formula One drivers from Australia, fourteen of which have taken part in at least one race since the championship began in 1950, with three more failing to qualify. Two drivers have won the World Drivers' Championship: Jack Brabham, who won it three times, and Alan Jones, the most recent Australian world champion. One driver is currently active in the sport.
World champions and race winners
Two Australian drivers won the World Drivers' Championship, Jack Brabham in 1959, 1960, and 1966, and Alan Jones in 1980. Brabham is the only driver to win the title in one of their own cars, a Brabham in 1966. Twelve other Australian drivers have started a race with Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo being the only two to have won at least one grand prix.
In 2011 Daniel Ricciardo became the first West Australian to race in Formula One. He had joined Red Bull in 2009 as a test driver and was promoted to reserve driver for the following year. He was loaned to HRT in the second half of the 2011 season and joined Toro Rosso as a full-time driver in 2012. After staying with Toro Rosso for 2013, Ricciardo moved to Red Bull Racing for 2014.
Jack Brabham is the most successful Australian driver in history, having won three world titles. He entered one grand prix in each of the 1955 and 1956 seasons, eventually becoming a full-time driver with Cooper. He finished on the podium in five of eight races in 1959, including two victories. That brought him his first title, which he retained the following year by winning five successive races. Regulation changes in 1961 saw a shake-up of teams and Cooper did not adapt; Brabham only finished two races. His knowledge of mechanics gave him the opportunity to set up his own outfit from 1961, and Brabham would become a significant team in F1. History was made in 1966 when Jack Brabham became the first person to win the title in a car bearing their name.
Jack Brabham had three sons, two of whom went into Formula One. David Brabham took part in two seasons – 1990 with Brabham and 1994 with Simtek – but only finished seven races with a best result of 10th. Gary Brabham failed to qualify in two attempts during the 1990 season.
Alan Jones entered Formula One in 1975 when Graham Hill's team brought him in to replace the injured Rolf Stommelen. He impressed enough to secure a full-time drive with Surtees but was not retained for a second season. He instead signed to the Shadow team after the death of their driver Tom Pryce and secured his first win at the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix. In 1978 he joined Williams for their first season with a purpose-built chassis, finishing just over half the races and standing on the podium once. His second year with the team brought considerable success and Jones won four races on his way to third in the championship. He won the title in 1980, winning five races and featuring on the podium ten times, thereby becoming the first world champion for Williams. A difficult relationship with team mate Carlos Reutemann caused enough trouble within the team for Nelson Piquet to beat them both to the title in 1981 and Jones subsequently retired from Formula One. He made a one-off appearance for Arrows in 1983 but did not finish the race, then drove four races for Lola in 1985. He stayed with the team for the 1986 season but only finished five of the 16 races before retiring for good.
Mark Webber has competed in more races than any other Australian driver and has three times finished third in the Drivers' Championship. He began his career with Minardi in 2002 before a two-year stint with Jaguar. Offered the choice of driving for Williams or Renault, Webber opted for the former, a team with many previous successes. Renault, however, produced a championship-winning car for the next two seasons as Fernando Alonso won the 2005 and 2006 Drivers' titles. Webber only managed to finish 10th and 14th in the championship and soon returned to his previous team, now running under the name Red Bull. In his third season with the team (2009) Webber scored his maiden race wins at Nürburgring and Interlagos. The following year he came close to winning the title, losing it after a poor pit stop in the final race pushed him down to seventh place with team mate Sebastian Vettel taking that year's honour. Webber remained with Red Bull for the next three years, finishing 3rd, 6th and 3rd in the championship.
Tim Schenken is one of only five Australian drivers to have stood on a podium step. His Formula One career began in 1970 when Frank Williams gave him a contract. He took part in four races for De Tomaso, leaving at the end of the season to join Brabham alongside Graham Hill. He achieved his only podium finish at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix and left the team at the end of the year because of his concern about the management ability of new Brabham boss Bernie Ecclestone. However, his new drive with Surtees proved to be a bad move and he only managed to finish half of the twelve races he started. He was then unable to secure a full-time drive and only started eight races over the next two seasons for three teams.
Tony Gaze was the first Australian driver to compete in Formula One. A former World War II pilot with a dozen aerial victories, Gaze is considered to have been amongst the country's greatest flying aces. He started three races in the 1952 but only finished one, coming in 14th.
Other former drivers
Seven other drivers have competed in at least one race:
Two further drivers took part in at least one qualification session but did not start a race:
|Frank Gardner||1964–1965, 1968|
|Vern Schuppan||1972, 1974–1975, 1977|
|Larry Perkins||1974, 1976–1977|
|Alan Jones||1975–1981, 1983, 1985–1986|
|David Brabham||1990, 1994|
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