The best Australian F1 drivers ever: Piastri, Brabham, Ricciardo…

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Australian F1 drivers - Daniel Ricciardo, Jack Brabham, Oscar Piastri

Australian F1 drivers: Quick stats

Here’s an overview of some general statistics about all the F1 drivers that have come from Australia:

  • Number of F1 drivers: 20
  • World championship titles: 4
  • Grand Prix competed in: 723
  • Race wins: 43
  • Podiums: 132
  • Pole positions: 35
  • Fastest laps: 62
  • Number of Australian drivers on current F1 grid: 2 – Oscar Piastri, Daniel Ricciardo
Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo on the podium

Image licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Best Aussie Drivers

I can’t go in to full detail for all 20 Aussie drivers otherwise we’ll be here all day, but I can highlight a specific few.

So below is my list of the 5 best F1 drivers from Australia. Not in any particular order, but just 5 greats who I believe are worthy of a proper mention,

Oscar Piastri

  • Current team: McLaren
  • First season: 2023
  • World championships: 0
  • Wins: 0 (1 sprint race win)
  • Podiums: 2
  • DOB: 6th April 2001
  • Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

The newest Aussie racing driver to the Formula 1 paddock is Oscar Piastri, and what a splash he made in his rookie season. He won the Qatar sprint race and took two Grand Prix podiums in his first year.

But his immediate success and evident talent should come as no surprise. His motorsport CV is one of the best out there. He won last three championships he competed in – Formula Renault, Formula 3 and Formula 2 – before making the final step up to F1.

His ascendancy to the F1 grid wasn’t without its drama, however. Originally signed as a reserve driver for Alpine in 2022, he looked all set to be one of the two main drivers for the French team come the start of the 2022 season.

Piastri had other ideas. Oscar publicly shunned Alpine’s press release which stated he was their new driver, and instead he announced he’d be racing for the McLaren team come 2023.

Put the drama to one side, and it worked out for the best for Oscar. He timed his arrival at McLaren with their return to form and quickly established himself as an F1 driver to be reckoned with. Many, me included, are now tipping him to be a future champ.

Daniel Ricciardo

  • Current team: AlphaTauri
  • Previous teams: McLaren, Renault, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, HRT
  • First season: 2011
  • World championsips: 0
  • Wins: 8
  • Podiums: 32
  • Pole positions: 3
  • DOB: 1st July 1989
  • Hometown: Perth, Australia

This bloke needs no introduction. One of the most likeable, smiley and charismatic Formula 1 drivers ever to compete in the sport, the Honey Badger is one of the all time greats.

He’s been around the block a good few times now and has driven for his fair share of teams over the years. After a long stint with Red Bull where his best championship position was 3rd, he made a surprise (but very lucrative) change to Renault. 

Despite outscoring both his teammates, he had two fairly quiet seasons with the French manufacturer before jumping ship to McLaren where, despite a special bromance with teammate Lando Norris and one win at Monza, he again departed after a couple of years of lacklustre form.

2023 saw him out of a drive and left us F1 fans wondering if that was the end of the road for Danny. But he got a mid-season call up to replace the rookie Nick deVries in the AlphaTauri, and Ricciardo showed great form until breaking his hand at Zandvoort.

Is he still capable of delivering the goods, or can he no longer take it to the best drivers? I think this season will reveal all. 

Mark Webber

  • Previous teams: Red Bull, Williams, Jaguar, Minardi
  • First season: 2002
  • Last season: 2011
  • World championships: 0
  • Wins: 9
  • Podiums: 42
  • Pole positions: 13
  • Number of Grand Prix starts: 215
  • DOB: 27th August 1976
  • Hometown: Queanbeyan, Australia

Mark Webber competed in twelve seasons of F1, and for seven of those he drove for Red Bull.

Whilst he was with Red Bull, Mark had to witness his teammate Sebastian Vettel win the driver’s championship four times. 

And that, sadly, is how most people remember Webber’s time in F1; locked in a fierce and tense battle with Seb, but always playing second fiddle to the driver the other side of the garage, despite his undeniable talent and tenacity.

Tensions boiled over between the teammates multiple times. There were disobeyed team orders including the ‘Multi-21’ fiasco, and a crash between the two of them at the Turkish Grand Prix in 2010 that took Webber out of the lead and Vettel out of the race.

Webber had three 3rd-place championship finishes in 2010, 2011 and 2013 but could never get any closer to the title. Now he’s a familiar face on our TV screens as a no-nonsense commentator and pundit.

Alan Jones

  • Previous teams: Embassy Racing, Surtees, Shadow Racing Team, Williams, Team Haas
  • First season: 1975
  • Last season: 1986
  • World championships: 1 (1980)
  • Wins: 12
  • Podiums: 24
  • Pole positions: 6
  • Number of Grand Prix starts: 116
  • DOB: 2nd November 1946
  • Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

Alan Jones is the second Australian driver to win a world title, doing so in 1980 driving the ground-effect Williams FW07.

Alan Jones australian F1 driver

Image licensed under CC0 1.0

Before that he’d raced for a few other F1 teams including both Graham Hill’s Embassy Racing and John Surtees’ own F1 team. He found his feet in the Williams and their 1980 car which he won the title with was the class of the field.

Jones retired fairly early at the end of 1981, missing out on the opportunity to drive the newer vision of the Williams car which his replacement, Keke Rosberg, went on to win the title with.

He briefly came out of retirement in 1983, ’85 and 86′ but the cars he was driving weren’t very competitive, so he called it a day for good at the end of 1986. 

Jack Brabham

  • Previous teams: Cooper Car Company, Brabham Racing Organisation
  • First season: 1955
  • Last season: 1970
  • World championships: 3 (1959, 1960, 1966)
  • Wins: 14
  • Podiums: 31
  • Pole positions: 13
  • Number of Grand Prix starts:123
  • DOB: 2nd April 1926
  • Hometown: Hurstville, Australia

Sir Jack Brabham holds a unique statistic. He’s the only Formula 1 driver to win the World Championship in a car with his name on it, the Brabham BT19 in 1966.

That was his third World Championship title, coming 6 years after his two previous titles which he won in a Cooper F1 car.

Jack Brabham

Image licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By either number of championship titles or GP wins he’s the most successful Australian driver ever to have competed in the sport.

He eventually retired at the end of the 1970 season after seeing too many friends and colleagues being killed behind the wheel, 15 years after he first entered the series.

A legend and a pioneer both on and off the track who will go down in Australian history as the all time great.

 

Australian Grand Prix Circuit - Albert Park

Australia’s Formula One Grand Prix track is Albert Park circuit in Melbourne. The race is always one of the first on the F1 calendar.

Albert Park is a street circuit layout that gets converted to a race track once a year, and has been host to the Australian Grand Prix since 1996.

Fans can buy tickets to watch the Australian GP live from the grandstands which are named after famous drivers, most of whom are Aussies. Brabham, Jones, Webber and Ricciardio all have their own stands. 

No Australian driver has ever won their home race, but with Piastri on the grid in a competitive McLaren then surely it’s only a matter of time.

Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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