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Aussies’ long history in Formula 1 continues

29/02/2024 by Mark Schneider in Lifestyle

Fans of Formula 1 motor racing will be feeling the excitement building as the start of another season revs up with the Bahrain Grand Prix on the 2nd of March. This year, if all goes well, there will be two Australians on the grid, Daniel Ricciardo, and the up-and-coming Oscar Piastri. They’ll be carrying on a tradition in Formula 1 that’s seen 18 Aussies take to the track, starting with pioneering driver Tony Gaze in 1952.

Gaze was a dashing Second World War flying ace, who flew for the RAF before turning his hand to motor racing in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Gaze had three starts in Grand Prix racing but failed to finish on the podium.

Jack Brabham

Following in his footsteps was Australia’s most decorated racing driver, Sir Jack Brabham. Brabham had 126 starts in Formula 1 from 1955 to 1970, winning the championship in 1959, 1960, and 1966, with 14 race wins and 31 podium finishes in all. Formula 1, and motor racing more generally, became a family tradition, with sons David and Gary also trying their hands. While David got 24 starts without a podium finish, Gary was less successful, achieving two entries without getting a start.

Another Aussie champion was Alan Jones, who drove to championship victory in 1980 in a Williams FW07 after winning 7 races and mounting the podium 10 times for the ceremonial wasting of the champagne. His on-and-off career in Formula 1 continued until his retirement in 1986, at which stage he’d recorded 12 race wins, 6 pole positions, and that world championship.

More recently Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo have tasted considerable Formula 1 success over long racing careers. In a career stretching from 2002 to 2013, Webber had a remarkable 215 starts for 9 wins and no less than 42 podium finishes, in a testimony to his consistency behind the wheel. His 13 pole position starts equals Jack Brabham’s achievement. Webber even finished second in the 2015 24 Hour Le Mans. The winner of numerous honors and awards, these days he’s a highly successful businessman and charity worker.

Daniel Ricciardo

The other great Aussie Formula 1 driver is WA’s own Daniel Ricciardo, who’s been in Formula 1 since 2011 and has recently returned to the sport with the rather inelegantly named Visa Cash App RB team, formerly known as Alpha Tauri. While he’s had some lean years recently, Ricciardo is one of the most successful drivers in Formula 1 in recent years, having enjoyed 8 wins and 32 podium finishes from his 239 starts to date. With his trademark wide grin, laid-back disposition, and that now famous “shoey”, he’s widely admired as one of the nicest guys in Formula 1, but on the track he’s fiercely competitive. Fleetcare has an association with him that goes back a long way through its support of motor racing. Fastlane Racing was a major sponsor of young Daniel in his early days racing Formula Fords.

Today he’s been joined on the track by the latest Aussie sensation, 22-year-old Oscar Piastri. He attracted attention in his first year in the sport by winning 2 podium finishes and taking out 9th position overall, as well as a couple of Rookie of the Year Awards in the process.

2024 is shaping up as an enticing year for Aussie fans of Formula 1 with two strong drivers in the field. Will veteran Daniel Ricciardo regain the driving form he was famous for and get back on the podium with his Visa team? And will young up-and-coming star Oscar Piastri take the next step in his impressive career thus far and start chalking up some big wins?

Watch this space!

Written by
Mark Schneider

Mark is a successful copywriter with over 20 years of professional writing experience.

We welcome him as a guest blogger to Fleettorque.

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