Most Successful Nations in F1 History
It’s a quiet time of year for F1 fans. With the tires of the 2022 season now having cooled, many supporters may be turning their attention towards the 2023 campaign and assessing the offers available at the best new betting sites..
Initially promising to be a closely fought battle, the 2022 season ultimately turned into something of a procession for Max Verstappen and Red Bull in the closing weeks. A fine achievement for the Belgium-born Dutchman, and just a second F1 Championship success for the Netherlands – the first of course coming when Verstappen claimed his maiden title in 2021.
With so much international flavour surrounding the FIFA World Cup at present, it got us thinking about international success in F1. With a total of five wins, Brazil may be the most successful nation in football’s biggest competition, but which country has prevailed more often than any other on the F1 scene, in terms of winning the Drivers Championship? Here we present the eight countries that have most often hit the F1 news headlines for all the right reasons.
T5: Australia – 4 Wins
Royal Australian Air Force mechanic Jack Brabham was the first to take the driver’s title down under when driving for Cooper back in 1959 and following up in the same car the following year. Fast forward to that great footballing year of 1966, and Brabham was at it again, this time in his very own Brabham vehicle – the first and only man to win the title when driving his own car.
Australia’s quartet of wins was completed in 1980 when Alan Jones became Williams first ever World Champion.
T5: Austria – 4 Wins
Austria’s debut success came with the 1970 win of Jochen Rindt. Despite possessing German citizenship, Rindt drove under an Austrian licence when guiding his Lotus to victory. Rindt’s story however has a tragic end. Killed during practice for the 1970 Italian Grand Prix, he is the only driver to be posthumously crowned champion.
The bulk of Austria’s successes were of course recorded by legendary driver, Niki Lauda. Twice champion for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977 – surviving a horrific incident at the 1976 German GP in between – he then returned to the top of the table with McLaren in 1984.
T5: Finland – 4 Wins
Keijo Erik Rosberg, known to all as “Keke”, was the first Finn to make an impact in F1 - climbing the ranks with a number of teams, before landing the title in his first season with Williams in 1982. If the name sounds familiar, Keke is indeed the father of Nico Rosberg who gets a mention later in this list.
Finland had to wait 16 years for their next champion, with Mika Häkkinen winning back-to-back championships in 1998 and 1999 for McLaren. Rounding out the list of flying Finns is Kimi Räikkönen who claimed his only title for Ferrari in 2007.
T5: France – 4 Wins
France’s four world Driver’s Championships all belong to one man – the brilliant Alain Prost. A true racing great, Prost won the first of his titles for McClaren in 1985, before following up in 1986, and making it three in 1989. A perennial rival of the Brazilian duo of Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet during what was a golden era for the sport, Prost came out of semi-retirement to show he still had what it takes when winning with Williams in 1993.
4: Argentina – 5 Wins
Next on the list comes a nation that hasn’t won the driver’s championship for 65 years. It may have been some time since an Argentinian claimed the title, but the first decade of the sport belonged to one man – Juan Manuel Fangio. World Champion in 1951, 54, 55, 56, and 57. The car seemed to make little difference to Fangio, who spread those successes across four different teams. Holder of the highest win percentage in Formula One history, Fangio fully merits his nickname of El Maestro (The Master).
3: Brazil – 8 Wins
Argentina may have been the first South American nation to produce a world champion, but their tally of five has since been surpassed by neighbours Brazil.
Emerson Fittipaldi was the first to have his name up in lights, recording a pair of victories in 1972 and 1974 with Lotus and McClaren – initially being handed his big chance as number one following the death of Jochen Rindt in 1970.
Then came an illustrious period for the Brazilians between 1981 and 1991 – a spell which saw the title head to South America on no fewer than six occasions. Having finished as runner-up in 1980, Nelson Piquet went one better with Brabham a year later, before bagging his second success with the team in 83. A further win with Williams in 1987 saw him become the most successful Brazilian driver in history.
By 1991 Pique would be sharing that record with one of the most naturally gifted drivers of all time – the late, great, Ayrton Senna. Winning his first title in 1988 in his first season with McLaren, Senna lost out to teammate Alain Prost in 89, before roaring back with successive wins in 90 and 91. Then came the events at Imola in 1994, which took this sporting icon much too soon.
2: Germany – 11 Wins
Considering the fact that a German driver did not win the title until 1994, the nation has made a rapid ascent towards the head of the rankings.
It was Michael Schumacher who broke Germany’s duck when winning back-to-back titles with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 before making the switch to Ferrari in 96. The title eluded Schumacher between 96 and 99, but when he reclaimed the championship, he was in no mood to relinquish his grip – winning five in a row between 2000 and 2004. That tally of seven titles remains a joint record to this day.
The next spell of German dominance came between 2010 and 2013 when Sebastian Vettel proved impossible to stop in his Red Bull, with Nico Rosberg’s 2011 success for Mercedes rounding out the list.
1: Great Britain – 20 Wins
Barring a 1980’s dominated by Brazil and France, a British driver has won at least one World Championship in every decade since that inaugural season back in 1950.
Mike Hawthorn was the first to get the job done in his Ferrari in 1958, whilst Graham Hill (1962,1968), John Surtees (1964), Jim Clark (1963, 1965) and Jackie Stewart (1969) followed up in the 60s.
The 70s brought two further successes for Stewart in 71 and 73, with James Hunt claiming his only championship in 76. The 90s then saw singles from Nigel Mansell (92) and Damon (son of Graham) Hill in 96.
Jenson Button claimed a title for Britain in 2009, but it has been the exploits of a certain Lewis Hamilton which have resulted in Great Britain forging clear as the most successful nation – at least in terms of drivers – in the history of the sport. Winning his first with McLaren in 2008, Hamilton has since added six with Mercedes (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020), thus tying Michael Schumacher’s record tally of seven championships. And he may not be done yet!
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