F1’s famous names return

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The classic names of F1 are all returning to the sport: Senna, Mansell, Prost, Piquet, Lauda and more could all be a feature on the grid one day.

A quick search threw up 20 such drivers in the lower echelons of motor sport that could break into F1.

Can you think of any others? Two more and we’ve got a grid full…

Adrian Tambay

Famous relative: Patrick Tambay (father)

The elder Tambay was a good friend of Gilles Villeneuve and took his place at Ferrari when the Canadian lost his life.

Anthony races as number 27 just as his father and Villeneuve did. He earned a place on BMW’s Young Driver Scholarship Programme for 2007 and is currently eighth in Formula BMW Germany.

Nicolas Prost

Famous relative: Alain Prost (father)

Nicolas has a hell of a reputation to live up to – father Alain won four F1 titles, more than anyone bar Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio.

He began racing in 2003. Currently in his second year of Spanish Formula Three he ranks fifth in the championship.

Alain Prost biography

Bruno Senna

Famous relative: Ayrton Senna (uncle)

Have Bruno and Nicolas met? Perhaps it’s best they don’t…

Bruno is surely a top candidate for an F1 drive or test seat. He was third in British Formula Three last year, but graduated to GP2 and scored his first win in the Barcelona support race.

Recently he showed up at a Ferrari race at Silverstone and blew everyone away. This despite having put his racing career on hiatus following his uncle’s death before recently resuming it again.

Ayrton Senna biography
Bruno Senna on Maximum Motorsport

Vanina Ickx

Famous relative: Jacky Ickx (father)

Ickx senior could have been F1 champion and until recently held the record for the most Le Mans 24 Hour victories.

Daughter Vanina – sadly the only woman on this list – seems to be more interested in skiing than motor racing, and has struggled awfully in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM).

Vanina Ickx on Maximum Motorsport

Mathias Lauda

Famous relative: Niki Lauda (father)

Three times F1 champion Niki Lauda famously got little support from his wealthy family when he embarked on his racing career. Son Mathias has had a similar experience.

But Mathias failed to impress in F3000 (in 2004) or GP2 (2005) and moved to the DTM. He was beaten by team mate Susie Stoddard last year and yet, to the surprise of many, got chosen over her for a more competitive ride this year. He’s yet to deliver on that promise, though.

Niki Lauda
Mathias Lauda on Maximum Motorsport

Greg & Leo Mansell

Famous relative: Nigel Mansell (father)

British hero Nigel Mansell has two of his three children racing – Greg and Leo, but not daughter Chloe. Their dad was the only driver to score back-to-back F1 and Champ Car titles, in 1992 and 1993.

After an inconclusive season in Formula BMW UK last year, the Mansells are in British Formula Three this year. On balance the results have gone Greg’s way, but there’s not much sign yet that either can make the jump to F1 on merit.

Nigel Mansell biography
Greg Mansell on Maximum Motorsport
Leo Mansell on Maximum Motorsport

Tomas Scheckter

Famous relative: Jody Scheckter (father)

The last man to win the championship for Ferrari before Schumacher was Jody Scheckter in 1979. Today he is a highly regarded organic farmer, and his son Tomas races in the United States.

Tomas’s chance at F1 came and went during Jaguar’s unhappy time in F1. While a test driver for the team he appeared in court and pleaded guilty to soliciting a prostitute, after which his contract was terminated.

His driving reputation mirrored his fathers in some ways – after some wild moments in his youth his style has noticeably matured over the years. He races in the Indy Racing League.

Jody Scheckter biography
Tomas Scheckter on Maximum Motorsport

Christian Jones

Hard-as-bricks Australian Alan Jones gave Williams their first championship in 1980. He retired the next year after a spat with team mate Carlos Reutemann, but made two ill-starred attempts to return in the next six years.

Son Christian has not had a great start to his racing career, with some dismal appearances for the Australia team in A1 Grand Prix.

Alan Jones biography

Nelson Piquet Jnr

Famous relative: Nelson Piquet (father)

Nelson Piquet won three F1 titles but his racing career petered out and was finally ruined by a horrible accident in Indy Cars. He put a lot of backing into son Nelsinho’s motor racing.

Nelson Piquet Jnr won the British Formula Three title in 2004. His second season of GP2 in 2006 was supposed to be his year – but a kid called Lewis Hamilton came along and blew him away.

Now’s he’s a test driver for Renault and hammering on the door with both fists to get into a race seat. Will we then see the Hamilton-Piquet rivalry re-kindled?

Nelson Piquet biography
Nelson Piquet Jnr biography

Henry Surtees

Famous relative: John Surtees (father)

John Surtees remains the only driver to have won F1 and motor cycling world championships. Today he runs Britain’s A1 Grand Prix team.

Despite his F1 title being 43 years ago, son Henry is only getting started now and lies fourth in the UK Formula BMW championship.

John Surtees biography

Anthony Comas

Famous relative: Eric Comas (father)

Frenchman Eric Comas raced in F1 from 1991-4 but never got behind the wheel of a competitive car. His best result was fifth at his home race in 1992, driving an appropriately Gallic Ligier-Renault.

Son Anthony races in the same Formula BMW category as Henry Surtees and is currently 15th in a 19-strong championship. He’s got a long way to go.

Freddie Hunt

Famous relative: James Hunt (father)

James Hunt, 1976 world champion, was famous for more than just his racing. He had put his wilder days behind him when he died suddenly of a heart condition in 1993.

Son Freddie was only six at the time and decided to make a start in motor racing last year. He started the 2007 UK Formula Ford championship late due to a lack of sponsorship and is working hard to make up for lost time.

James Hunt biography

Jolyon Palmer

Famous relative: Jonathan Palmer (father)

Being the son of the man who owns some of Britain’s best racing circuits has its advantages – Jolyon first drove a racing car at father Jonathan’s Bedford Autodrome.

He moved on to T Cars and this year races in – what else – Formula Palmer Audi. He is currently tied for fourth in the championship having won his first race in the series two weeks ago.

Alex Brundle

Famous relative: Martin Brundle (father)

Martin Brundle, just like Jonathan Palmer, picked up the microphone when his F1 career ended. But while Palmer proved more adept at his business ventures Brundle has become a firm favourite with F1 fans and is in his 11th season of F1 commentating.

Son Alex’s motor racing career has been closely tied with Jolyon Palmer’s. The younger Brundle is 11th in Formula Palmer Audi this year.

Martin Brundle biography

Marco Andretti

Famous relatives: Michael Andretti (father), Mario Andretti (grandfather)

The Andretti dynasty is one of America’s great motor racing family. F1 fans remember Michael’s abortive effort with disdain but both he and father Mario enjoyed great success in the States. Mario, of course, was F1 champion in ’78.

What of Marco? He had a scintillating debut season for his father’s team in the Indy Racing League last year and nearly won the Indy 500 at his first attempt. But 2007 has not been kind to him so far.

He’s tested for Honda but a season of GP2 would do him a power of good before embarking on F1.

Mario Andretti
Michael Andretti
Marco Andretti on Maximum Motorsport

Graham Rahal

Famous relative: Bobby Rahal (father)

Bobby Rahal had a brief career as an F1 driver but a longer tenure when he returned to lead Jaguar’s race team. Sadly it wasn’t any more successful.

Graham has raced in A1 Grand Prix (for the Lebanon team owing to his descent) and is currently Sebastian Bourdais’ team mate in Champ Cars. He’s had a bit of a rough start to the season but couldn’t have a better team mate to learn from.

Graham Rahal on Maximum Motorsport

Markus Winkelhock

Famous relatives: Manfred Winkelhock (father), Jo Winkelhock (uncle)

Markus is another driver who has entered a sport that killed a close relative of his. For Markus it was father Manfred, an F1 driver of the early ’80s who was killed in a sports car race at Mosport in 1985.

Manfred’s brother Joachim had a brief and unsuccessful F1 career but won the British Touring Car Championship in 1993.

Markus raced in Formula Three from 2001-3 and the DTM in 2004. In 2005 he finished third in the World Series by Renault behind Robert Kubica and Adri???n Vall???s. The following year he became a test driver for MidlandF1 and remains with the team, now Spyker, where Vall???s is also a tester.

Anthony Beltoise

Famous relative: Jean-Pierre Beltoise (father)

Jean-Pierre Beltoise scored only one victory in his F1 career. But of all the races to win he triumphed at Monaco, in pouring rain, in 1972.

Son Anthony entered French Formula Renault in 1993, finishing tenth. Two years later he was second in French Formula Three but then he moved from single seaters to tin-tops. In 1999 he won the Spa 24 Hours with Fr???d???ric Bouvy and Emmanuel Collard in a Peugeot 306.

Since then he has raced Porsches and this year he made a one-off appearance in the World Touring Car Championship in the French round.

Anthony Beltoise on Maximum Motorsport

Kazuki Nakajima

Famous relative: Saturo Nakajima (father)

Saturo Nakajima got his F1 break courtesy of Honda in 1987, who placed him in Lotus alongside Senna. But son Kazuki got his F1 break thanks to Honda’s rival Toyota, who got him a test drive with Williams this year.

Those who’ve made it already

F1 has already seen two F1 drivers’ sons crowned champions – Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve. Nico Rosberg, son of 1982 world champion Keke, races today, as did Christian Fittipaldi, nephew of two times champion Emerson.

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Tags: f1 / formula one / formula 1 / grand prix / motor sport

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “F1’s famous names return”

  1. It is probably too late for him to enter F1 (I could be wrong!), but Derek Hill, the son of Phil, raced in F3000 in 2001, 2002 and 2003. He has recently competed in Grand-Am. At the 2006 Goodwood Revival, he won the Freddie March Memorial Trophy Race.

    In the The Times with Paul Kimmage, Damon Hill said his son Joshua is interested in following in his footsteps.

    With all due respect, Christian Fittipaldi is the nephew of Emerson Fittipaldi.

    Many thanks.

  2. Well spotted! Fixed it.

    And Derek Hill makes 21…

  3. Johnny Cecotto Jr is racing in International Formula Master. Looks competent but unexceptional.

    Can tell you that on the basis of what I saw at Knockhill a couple of years back, neither of the young Mansells will ever make it to F1. One of them doesn’t really even look they should have made it to F3.

  4. Idle thought – if you want to go back a little further, Alberto Ascari’s father was a pretty successful racer in his own right

    (and though never champion, Stirling Moss was also the son of a racing father – his dad competed at the Indy 500 in the 1920s).

  5. Cecotto makes 22! But are there more?

    There are also a few brothers and the like not on here – Wilson Fittipaldi, Ian Scheckter, Jacqes Villeneuve Snr…

  6. There is the daughter of Piero Taruffi, Prisca, who is competing in the 80th anniversary of hte Mille Miglia. However, that’s historic racing.

  7. To add to patrick’s point, sadly, both Ascaris died driving a car very fast.

    Hmmm… Who else can we add?

  8. Kevin Magnussen and Jules Bianchi is all that pops to mind.

Comments are closed.