Schumacher and F1’s oldest ever drivers

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Has the old boy got it in him to do another victory leap?
Has the old boy got it in him to do another victory leap?

At 40 years, seven months and 20 days, Michael Schumacher will be the oldest F1 driver to start a Grand Prix in 14 years when he makes his highly-anticipated return at Valencia next month.

But that doesn’t bring him anywhere near the record for an oldest Grand Prix starter. He’ll have to come back in 2024 if he wants to break that…

Oldest F1 race starters

Here are the ten oldest drivers to start a round of the F1 world championship:

1. Louis Chiron, 55y 9m 19d, 1955 Monaco Grand Prix
2. Philippe Etancelin, 55y 6m 8d, 1952 French Grand Prix
3. Arthur Legat, 54y 7m 20d, 1953 Belgian Grand Prix
4. Luigi Fagioli, 53y 22d, 1951 French Grand Prix
5. Adolf Brudes, 52y 9m 19d, 1952 German Grand Prix
6. Hans Stuck, 52y 8m 17d, 1953 Italian Grand Prix
7. Bill Aston, 52y 4m 5d, 1952 German Grand Prix
8. Clemente Biondetti, 52y 16d, 1950 Italian Grand Prix
9. Louis Rosier, 50y 9m, 1956 German Grand Prix
10. Rudolf Schoeller, 50y 3m 7d, 1952 German Grand Prix

Record-holder Chiron, who was born in the 19th century, did make a subsequent attempts to qualify for the further races. His last was in 1958, aged 58, again at Monaco.

It’s plain that in the 1950s Formula 1 racing was the preserve of a much older generation of drivers. At the other end of the scale, last weekend saw the debut of the youngest F1 driver ever, Jaime Alguersuari, less than half Schumacher’s age.

But it’s not as if younger drivers did not also compete. Peter Collins entered the 1952 Swiss Grand Prix at the age of 20 years, six months and ten days. Troy Ruttman was four months younger when he raced in the 1950 Indianapolis 500, then a round of the world championship.

The last driver older than Schumacher to start a race was Nigel Mansell, who was 41 years, nine months and six days old when he made his final, ill-fated appearance for McLaren in Spain in 1995.

Since then Channoch Nissany, a 41 year-old Israeli businessman, bought a Minardi test in 2005.

Oldest champion racers

Schumacher will not even rank among the top 100 oldest F1 drivers of all time. And the record for the oldest Grand Prix winner is a long way out of sight, too: Luigi Fagioli claimed that in the 1951 French Grand Prix, aged 53 years and 22 days.

However Schumacher will be the seventh oldest former champion to start a race:

Giuseppe Farina, 48y 7m 6d, 1953 Belgian Grand Prix
Juan Manuel Fangio, 47y 12d, 1958 French Grand Prix
Graham Hill, 45y 11m 11d, 1975 Brazilian Grand Prix
Jack Brabham, 44y 6m 23d, 1970 Mexican Grand Prix
Mario Andretti, 42y 7m 28d, 1982 USA Grand Prix (Las Vegas)
Nigel Mansel, 41y 9m 6d, 1995 Spanish Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher, 40y 7m 20d, 2009 European Grand Prix*

*Race yet to be run

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99 comments on “Schumacher and F1’s oldest ever drivers”

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  1. I’m wondering, if Schumacher does indeed make a successful comeback and decides to stay on further, who can he drive for next year? That is assuming Massa is staying at Ferrari and Alonso is on his way in to replace Kimi. Can Ferrari cancel Alonso’s contract before it commences as I highly suspect Ferrari would prefer to have schumacher rather than Alonso. Or maybe I’m just getting wayy too ahead of myself…

  2. HounslowBusGarage
    31st July 2009, 21:57

    Huh? Those are grooved tyres.

    That can’t really be mp4-19b, he hasn’t got red eyes!

    1. well, you’re right, the video is a fake. I don’t know if they’re allowed to use slicks, but I’ve had a look at the complete video and Mugello has no bridges.
      The footage is from Fiorano.

  3. There’s only 1 thing I don’t like of Schumacher coming back, and it’s that this won’t be his last race :)

    surfing around youtube I found this interesting video of a helmet camera
    … totally offtopic but cool. If only DC didn’t crash at brazil last year we could have enjoyed it during the whole race.

  4. Video of Schumi testings in Mugello today:

  5. Bernification
    1st August 2009, 3:49

    Hey guys, lets face it, if any guy has been allowed dispensation in their racing career, then it’s Schumi. And yes, I am talking about Ferraris veto ability.

    But also I’m talking about his incident with Hill, the probability that Benetton ran under height and with TC in the same season, the fact he ran (tried) JV off the track, his Monaco affair with parking, the fact he ignored black flag conditions at Silverstone, race fixing to Ruebens detriment, numerous ‘weaving’ incidents.

    Should I go on?

    Really, put him in, in the same place as Jaime.

    It’s only fair.

    1. Bernification
      1st August 2009, 3:57

      BTW, Micheal gave stupid amounts of money to charity in his career (and still does).

      I just want to see him compete on a level playing field. I will have utmost respect for him then.

  6. Bernification
    1st August 2009, 3:54

    And before we go any further,

    Forza Felipe.

    Mate, we all want you to be well. I have so much respect for you. You are the most important thing. A good human being.

  7. Let’s not forget that Mario Andretti drove two races in 1982, as a replacement for the injured Didier Pironi. The American took part of the Italian and Las Vegas Grand Prix. He started from Pole Position and finished third at Monza!

  8. Some images from Schumacher Muggello test on 31st July 2009

    1. thats Mugello*

  9. Mp4,

    I read few of your ridiculous comments. I cannot believe you have such an opinion. Schumi is the best F1 driver ever lived and he is the reason that thousands are formula 1 fans. (including myself)

    He did not kill F1. That Nazi FIA boss is the main reason and their politically motivated rules. Drivers like Michael and Lewis are hard to find and they elevate the entire sport to a different level. Something like Lance Armstrong did for the sport of bicycling.

  10. I agree that Schumi should have some testing time is the new car – and no I don’t really like him as a driver. When he was winning and I don’t take anything away from him, it was a procession every race which is not really exciting for the spectators – although I never missed a race. However for safety reason surely he should have the chance to get used to the new car so that there is a lower risk of a mistake that could cause an accident. I total respect his ability but these cars are very different from the last time that he actually raced.

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