Formula One is a sport of individuals. Despite the famous racing teams and the huge amount of work that goes into every single race, in the end it all comes down to whoever is sat behind the wheel. The talent it takes to drive that fast, that accurately, it’s something that few people possess.
So when it comes to finding the next generation of talented drivers, it’s not surprising that they often come with the same surname. A combination of having the connections and access needed to make an entry into the sport, but also perhaps a bit of those genetic qualities that make you able to react and race at high speeds.
One of the most unique cases in Formula 1, Keke Rosberg won the F1 Championship in 1982 despite only having won a single race. Fiercely competitive, 11 drivers won a race in the 16 event season, with a win in Switzerland enough to hand Keke the title.
His son Nico made his debut in 2006. After a few seasons with Williams, his move to Mercedes in 2010 is when his career really got going. A rivalry soon formed with his teammate Lewis Hamilton, before he won the championship in 2016. This would prove to be his last season as he decided to retire from the sport. With 23 wins, he won over four times as many races as his father, who secured 5 wins.
Damon Hill was one of the most famous F1 drivers in the 90s. His battles with Schumacher made the sport headline news, and his victory in 1996 was celebrated by British motorsport fans. His win would make the Hills the first father and son winners of the championship, but sadly Graham wasn’t around to see it.
A star of the sport from 1958 to 1975, Graham Hill won two world championships, finishing second on a further three occasions. Graham only passed his driving test at the age of 24, taking up motorsport a year later. Sadly Graham died in a plane crash in 1975, meaning he would never see his son’s success.
While football gets all the attention, Brazil also regularly produces some of the best F1 drivers on the planet. Emerson Fittpaldi is one of their greatest, having won 2 championships in the 1970s, no mean feat considering this was the era of Hunt and Lauda. He also won the Indy 500, making him a Le Mans 24 Hour win away from the motorsport triple crown.
His grandsons Enzo and Pietro are a part of motorsport today, with Pietro acting as a reserve driver for Haas and making his debut in 2020, as well as regularly racing in the IndyCar championship. Pietro currently races in Formula 2 and will be hoping to find an opportunity to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.
Max Verstappen is possibly the most exciting racer in Formula One at the moment, having taken the mantle and title from Lewis Hamilton last season. Having started racing in F1 at just 17 years old, he looks likely to be competing at the top of the sport for many years to come.
His father, Jos, found greater success in Formula 3, but had a decent career in the headline sport. Racing for a number of teams, including Benetton, Stewart and Arrows, he had 2 podium finishes in 106 starts. But perhaps he saw the talent in his son at an early age, buying him a go-kart when he was just 4 years old!
One of the most iconic names in Formula One, second only to Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna is seen as the greatest of all time, despite not having as many titles as other names in the sport. Three championships, 41 wins, the stats just scratch the surface on Senna’s impact.
It was an emotional moment when Bruno Senna took to the F1 track for the first time in 2010. Living up to his father’s reputation was always going to be a tough ask. In the end, Bruno’s career would be short-lived, with just 3 seasons in the sport.
Finally, we come to the Schumacher racing dynasty. Until recently, Michael Schumacher was way ahead of the field as the most successful, and possibly greatest, F1 driver of all time. 7 world championships, 91 wins and 155 podiums, Michael dominated the sport in the early 00s.
While not having the same success as his brother, Ralf Schumacher was a fixture in the sport from 1997 to 2007, with 6 race victories in his career.
In today’s field, we have Mick Schumacher, Michael’s son. Joining the sport in 2021, he has yet to match the heights his father or uncle reached. But hopes are high that he may one day have the fraction of the career that his forebears have had.