The 27 best and worst F1 trophies you never knew existed

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

F1 trophies

Pictures of the best and worst F1 trophy designs over the last few years.

There’s some beauties and some shockers!

Formula 1 trophies

Getting on the podium or winning a Grand Prix is a huge achievement for any Formula One driver. So it’s only right that they should be awarded with a beautiful piece of silverware that can take centre stage in their trophy cabinet.

And, typically, the FIA has some rules governing the design of the trophy. From Appendix 5 Article 4 of the FIA Sporting Regulations:

“The trophies, which must be in the form of traditional cups…”

So the traditional cup design that we’ve seen for so long in the motorsport world isn’t there just because of tradition, it’s there because it’s baked in to the rule book. But as you’ll see below, many of the trophy designs don’t conform to the rule.

Who gets trophies in F1?

At each Formula 1 event, silverware is awarded to the top 3 drivers and the winning constructor.

But Formula 1 drivers don’t always keep them. Often they’ll give them to their teams to keep at their factory, or they’ll be returned to the event organisers.

The best and worst

Below I’ll post 27 of the best and worst trophies that F1 has seen in the last few decades.

I’ll start with the best and then move on to the worst, saving the most horrendous for last.

Best F1 trophies

2002 French GP

It’s not often that you see a fully glass trophy, such is the delicacy of the award. But that’s what Michael Schumacher driving for Ferrari received.

Quite what the significance of Pegasus is I’m not entirelysure, but either way it’s a sight to behold.

2002 French GP trophy

2006 Japanese GP

The trophy for the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka was in keeping with the FIA’s rules for following a traditional cup shaped design.

But the dark red colour and three supporting arms separating the cup from the rest of the structure made it a much more pleasant sight.

2006 Japanese GP award

Image licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

2007 Malaysian GP

Designed to replicate the huge umbrella like canopy that covers the final corner on the Sepang circuit, the 2007 design was a real beauty.

2011 Chinese GP

A different take on the traditional cup shape, the winner at the Shanghai International circuit in 2012 received this beautiful award with incredibly intricate Chinese patterns and wonderful blue and green colours.

2011 Chinese Grand Prix trophy

2012 Bahrain GP

As you’ll see below, Bahrain’s previous attempts at making a contemporary winner’s awards didn’t go very well at all.

But for 2012 they got their act together and presented this beautiful and much more traditional design, similar to the one we see at Silverstone.

Vettel Bahrain 2011

Image licensed under CC BY 2.0

2018 Belgian GP

As the next section will show, it’s often the designs commisioned by the title sponsor that can result in some of the worst designs.

But for the 2018 round at Spa Francorchamps the title sponsors Johnnie Walker got it right. The angular metallic sculpture of the man from their logo looked right at home on the podium.  

2019 French GP

This is probably the most controversial Formula 1 trophy of all time. The infamous Pirelli Gorilla from the 2019 French Grand Prix.

It was designed by French sculptor Richard Orlinski who is famous for his animal sculptures. At Circuit Paul Ricard, where the French event was held, there were a couple of his larger Gorrilla statues already dotted around the track.

So when he was given free reign on the design, he decided to leave his mark.

Some love it, some hate it. I’m in the love it camp, so that’s why it’s in this list.

2021 Dutch GP

Trophies that are connected to motorsport history are often the most coveted by drivers. The 2021 Dutch GP trophy design was inspired by the winning cup from the 1939 race at Zandvoort. Just this time it was made from recycled beer bottles.

Even though the dark green is a nod to title sponsor Heineken, the design is great and it’s a very lovely thing to take home.

2021 Japanese GP

Unfortunately COVID stopped the 2021 Suzuka round happening. And what a shame when you see how beautiful the trophy was, designed and built by title sponsors Honda.

In the end it was gifted to Red Bull. What a stunner.

Mexican GP

It’s not often spoken about but the silverware for the winner of the Mexican Grand Prix is one of the most beautiful.

Designed to replicate an abstract eagle it’s a very classy design that looks fast even when it’s standing still.

Mexican Grand Prix trophy

Hungarian GP

The Hungarian Formula 1 organisers have long strayed away from the traditional silverware. Instead their prizes have been beautifully ornate porcelain vases painted with different patterns each year.

The only problem is that porcelain is breakable, as Max Verstappen found out in 2023 when his trophy fell over on the podium and broke in two.

Abu Dhabi GP

In 2019 the Abu Dhabi GP trophy got a redesign. Incorporating the identity of the UAE’s national bird, the saqr falcon, the design is sleek, classy and contemporary.

2019 Abu Dhabi F1 trophy

Singapore GP

This is one of the most beautiful Formula One trophies ever. Commisioned by the title sponsor Singapore Airlines it incorporates their logo of a bird in flight. But the design doesn’t sacrifice beauty, and the result is this absolute stunner.

First released in 2014 it undoubtedly inspired the Abu Dhabi design above.

2014 singapore f1 trophy

British GP

The RAC Gold Cup is almost as traditional as the British Grand Prix itself. 

Presented to the winner at Silverstone since the early 1970s, it’s steeped in history. Read on below to see the uproar that occured when the sponsors tried to replace it with their own monstrosity in 2014.

Australian GP

One of the few dishes on the calendar, the Australian GP award is also one of the very best.

Inspired by the steering wheel of Sir Jack Brabham’s 1959 title-winner Cooper Climax, it has a wooden rim and embossed steering wheel spokes.

This is one of the most sought-after pieces of silverware on the calendar and one that every driver would love to hold.

1993 European GP

Here’s a bonus. And possibly the best.

For one year only, in 1993 the European Grand Prix was held at Donington Park in the UK.

Ayrton Senna performed a legendary drive in the torrential rain to take the win. And his prize? The Sonic the Hedgehog sculpture provided by title sponsors SEGA.

Worst trophies

Marlboro steering wheel

For a period in the early 2000s Marlboro was a lead sponsor of the Formula 1. And for certain races the podium finishers received a large silver version of an F1 steering wheel.

Some people like this but I think it’s a bit unimaginative, and for it to be presented at multiple races also reduces its appeal.

Marlboro steering wheel F1 trophy

2004 Bahrain GP

For the first ever Bahrain GP the race organisers decided to commision a trophy that resembled one of the large buildings at the track.

Unfortunately they neglected to put a top on it, meaning the winner was instead presented with something that resembled a trash can.

2004 Bahrain GP trophy

Image licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

2009 Brazilian GP

This design was made out of recycled plastic taken from the first day of the 2009 Brazilian race weekend and presented to the winner a day later.

As the info sheet below shows, it was as much of a PR exercise for the sponsors Braskem as anything else. I don’t like the design and I don’t like that it’s plastic. It’s a no from me.

2009 Braskem Brazilian F1 award

2009 Spanish GP

That is not a trophy. That’s a bent metal skewer attached to some wood. Poor show.

2009 Spanish GP trophy

Image licensed under CC BY 2.0

2010 Singapore GP

Whilst they’ve currently got their trophy design so perfect (see above), it wasn’t always that way. In 2008 the Singapore GP trophy design had a number of curved pewter panels on a large metal structure. 

It was supposed to look like a chequered flag. It looked more like something thrown together from the scrap metal bin.

2008 Singapore GP trophy

2011 Hungarian GP

Before their beatiful porcelain vase came along, the Hungarian GP created this strangely small and intricate trophy for the 2011 race. Silly, weird and too complicated for my liking.

2014 Austrian GP

An ill-fitting combination of wood and metal, this kind of resembles a brake disc and also kind of resembles something out of a Tim Burton film.

2014 British & German GPs

We’ve got Santander to thank for some of the worst prizes ever seen on the F1 podium.

This was what they presented to the winner of the 2014 Grand Prix at Britain and Germany. A red plastic thing that actually broke on the Silverstone podium, much to Lewis Hamilton’s displeasure as he openly asked for the old Gold cup to be brought back.

Santander Flame

As if the one above wasn’t bad enough, for years Santander kept forcing their rubbish logo on the F1 drivers. Their flame design made more appearances than I care to imagine.

Santander flame F1 trophy

2022 Miami GP

I feel like the Miami GP could have done so much with their trophy’s design, even if it was made by Tiffany.

Instead they when for a metal rectangle with a roof that resembles the Hard Rock Stadium. Oh and a few palm trees for good measure. Very original.

Miami GP trophy

2018 German GP

Ok so I’ve saved the best (or worst) until last.

The 2018 German GP trophy was a shocker, and for me the worst the world has ever seen. Obviously they were trying to be cool but in the end they produced a metallic scribble where the 1 looks more like a 7.

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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