top of page
  • Writer's pictureTatiana Žišková

Ex-F1 drivers who found success in different racing series

Five ex-F1 drivers, who made their appearance in other racing series and found success there.
1. Kimi Räikkönen

We're starting off with a Finnish driver, Kimi Räikkönen, a 2007 F1 world champion and currently a NASCAR driver in the USA. Back in 2001, after signing a contract with Sauber, he was considered a driver with a lack of experience. Fortunately, his licence was granted and overall, his debut year in F1 was more than successful. Between the years 2002 and 2006, he switched teams and eventually found his seat in McLaren. For seasons 2007 - 2009, he moved to another team; this time, it was Ferrari. Long story short, Räikkönen took a break from Formula 1 during the years 2010 and 2011 but quickly returned to one single-seaters in 2012. There he stayed until 2021 when he decided to retire. These are the teams he switched to after his short break: Lotus (2012–2013), Ferrari (2014–2018), and Alfa Romeo (2019–2021).

Throughout his career, he tried rallying as well as NASCAR (2011)! Just last year, it was announced that the Finn would take part in NASCAR Cup Series for the very first time.

The Ice Man went from being an inexperienced driver to a driver with an incredible amount of experience.

2. Antonio Giovinazzi

Now, who could forget about Antonio Giovinazzi? He definitely stole the show, mostly thanks to this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he won with his teammates James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, all of them driving for team Ferrari – AF Corse. I find it important to mention that this was Ferrari's first win since 1965.

His F1 debut is dating back to 2017 when he replaced the injured Pascal Wehrlein. Later, he became a reserve/test driver for numerous F1 teams.

From 2019 to 2021, he signed a contract with Alfa Romeo as a full-time driver. This made him the first Italian driver to drive in F1 since 2011.

"I'm proud to be an Italian back in F1 after a long eight years, For an Italian driver, to race for an Italian brand like Alfa Romeo, it's something more, a good combination, and now I can't wait to race at Monza. It was always my dream." - Antonio Giovinazzi

3. Marcus Ericsson

Who would have thought that this Swedish racing driver would be the Indy 500 winner one day? For those who still remember, Ericcson was part of the Formula 1 paddock between the years 2014 and 2018. His F1 debut happened thanks to the Caterham F1 Team. In 2015, he signed a contract with Sauber alongside Felipe Nasr. He stayed there until 2018 when he was replaced by Antonio Giovinazzi. But as we know...all's well that ends well, and he switched to IndyCar, where he drove for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Currently, he is racing for team Chip Ganassi Racing. And of course, Marcus Ericsson won the Indy 500 in 2022!

"It's a great honour to be picked as one of the drivers at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and IndyCar for the 2019 season, It feels like a perfect step for me and my career after five years in F1." - Marcus Ericsson

4. Stoffel Vandoorne

Now, let's talk for a bit about the one-time 2022 Formula E champion from Belgium, Stoffel Vandoorne. His Formula 1 career didn't last long, but as soon as he left...well, he became a world champion. His Formula E debut happened in the 2018/2019 season, only three weeks after leaving F1.

In the years 2019 - 2022, Vandoorne was driving for Mercedes-Benz EQ. Then, in 2023, he switched to team DS Penske.

As for his career in F1- he stayed for two years in McLaren-Honda (2016 to 2019). At first, he substituted Fernando Alonso for Bahrain GP. Surprisingly, he "exceeded expectations, becoming the first stand-in debutant to score a point since Vettel at the 2007 United States GP" (source)

Later that year, it was announced that Vandoorne would replace Jenson Button and become Alonso's teammate. In 2023, he joined Aston Martin as a reserve/simulator driver and also became a reserve driver for McLaren.

5. Graham Hill

A British racing driver, father to Damon Hill, two-time Formula 1 world champion, and the only driver to have the Triple Crown (winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500, and 24 Hours of Le Mans) Interestingly enough, he started as a mechanic for Team Lotus and later was given a chance to compete. His first F1 entry happened at Monaco Grand Prix (1958), and his first win awaited him at Dutch Grand Prix (1962). Four years later, he took the victory at the Indy 500 (1966), and in 1972, he won 24 Hours of Le Mans, completing the already mentioned Triple Crown. On November 29 1975, the motorsport world suffered a great loss when Hill (aged 46) crashed with a light aircraft carrying other 5 people. Unfortunately, no one survived. However, Hill's legacy lives on.

Interesting fact: Graham Hill didn't pass his driving test until he was 24 years old.

This is just a glimpse of former F1 drivers who competed in other racing series and found success there. But there are many, many of them!



Ivory Beige Minimalist Typography Logo.png

Thanks for checking us out!

Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Instagram - Bílý kruh
  • Twitter - Bílý kruh
bottom of page