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Which is the most successful country in Formula One?

July 7th, 2009

Michael Schumacher, 2005The German Grand Prix, to be held at the Nürburgring on Sunday, will be the home Grand Prix for five drivers.

There are more Germans on the Formula One grid than any other nationality and this got me wondering how successful different countries have been in Formula One.  Which country has produced the most World Champions and which nationality has won the most races?

If we look at the number of Drivers’ Championships won then Britain tops the list with thirteen Championships won by nine different drivers.  Brazil comes a distant second with eight Championships split between Nelson Piquet (3), Ayrton Senna (3) and Emerson Fittipaldi (2).

Third and fourth places are each the result of a single driver that dominated their time in the sport.  Juan Manel Fangio won the Drivers’ Championship five times between 1951 and 1957, a record that stood until Michael Schumacher broke it on the way to his seven World Championships.

Drivers’ Championships won by nationality

Country Drivers Total Drivers by name (titles)
United Kingdom 9 13 Jackie Stewart (3), Jim Clark (2), Graham Hill (2), Mike Hawthorn (1), John Surtees (1), James Hunt (1), Nigel Mansell (1), Damon Hill (1), Lewis Hamilton (1)
Brazil 3 8 Nelson Piquet (3), Ayrton Senna (3), Emerson Fittipaldi (2)
Germany 1 7 Michael Schumacher (7)
Argentina 1 5 Juan Manuel Fangio (5)
Finland 3 4 Mika Häkkinen (2), Keke Rosberg (1), Kimi Räikkönen (1)
Australia 2 4 Jack Brabham (3), Alan Jones (1)
Austria 2 4 Niki Lauda (3), Jochen Rindt (1)
France 1 4 Alain Prost (4)
Italy 2 3 Alberto Ascari (2), Nino Farina (1)
USA 2 2 Phil Hill (1), Mario Andretti (1)
Spain 1 2 Fernando Alonso (2)
Canada 1 1 Jacques Villeneuve (1)
New Zealand 1 1 Denny Hulme (1)
South Africa 1 1 Jody Scheckter (1)

Looking at the total number of races won, the Brits are even more dominant with almost twice the number of Grand Prix wins than the Germans in second place.

France moves up into fourth place and many more countries make the list, including Mexico.

Races won by nationality

Country Wins Drivers
United Kingdom 206 19
Germany 106 6
Brazil 99 6
France 79 12
Finland 43 4
Italy 43 15
Austria 41 3
Argentina 38 3
USA 33 15
Australia 26 2
Spain 21 2
Canada 17 2
New Zealand 12 2
Sweden 12 3
Belgium 11 2
South Africa 10 1
Colombia 7 1
Switzerland 7 2
Mexico 2 1
Poland 1 1

This Mexican racing car driver was Pedro Rodríguez. His brother, Ricardo, also raced motorbikes and cars and the two of them were known as “The Little Mexicans”.

Pedro’s first F1 victory came in only his ninth race, in South Africa in 1967 and he went on to win again in Belgium in 1970.  He was a great all-round driver, competing in CanAm, NASCAR, rallies and even ice racing.  He won at Le Mans in 1968 in a Wyer-Gulf Ford GT40.

In 1971, when he was just 31 years old he was killed in a Ferrari 512M at the Norisring in Nuremberg, Germany.

The first hairpin at Daytona International Speedway is named the Pedro Rodriguez curve, and the Mexico City autodrome is named after him and his brother, who was also killed while practicing for the 1962 Mexican Grand Prix.

Pedro Rodriguez, Nurburgring, 1968

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  1. October 17th, 2009 at 00:45 | #1

    Who were the “other” 5 German GP drivers (were they pre WWII ?)

  2. October 17th, 2009 at 10:22 | #2

    The other German winners were:
    Ralf Schumacher (1997-2007)
    Sebastian Vettel (2007- )
    Heinz-Harald Frentzen (1994-2003)
    Jochen Mass (1973-1982)
    Wolfgang von Trips (1956-1961)

    Had he not been killed in a terrible accident at the 1961 Italian Grand Prix, von Trips would likely have become the first German World Champion, more than 30 years before Michael Schumacher.

  3. May 23rd, 2011 at 14:56 | #3

    Great info, but it doesn’t take into account team nationality rather than Driver. If you total up the number of wins for each country (both team wins & drive wins) and then show that as a percentage of total races entered, that would be an interesting set of figures to look at…

  4. Gary G
    October 2nd, 2011 at 19:10 | #4

    where is Jenson Button in this?

  5. October 3rd, 2011 at 09:23 | #5

    This post was from 2009 – while Jenson Button was on his way to his first championship.

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