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  • Writer's pictureMartijn Bäumer

The young starters! | Starting a GP at an early age.

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

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With the current new rules and points on your racing license, it is difficult these days to start early at a Formula 1 Grand Prix. At which age started some drivers their F1 career? Is this something of the last 10 years or was it also earlier days.

Changing the rules to enter Formula 1 all started because Max Verstappen was 17 years and 166 days old when he was at the start of a Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne in 2015. He was even 16 years old taking part in practice in Suzuka in Japan 2014. It gave a lot of discussion with teams, drivers and the FIA.

This is why in the last few years the FIA came with extra rules to enter Formula 1. Besides Max Verstappen there we some other drivers who also started their F1 career at a young age. Drivers like

Lance Stroll who was only 18 years and 148 days old before he started his Grand Prix in Australia 2017. Also Lando Norris is topping the top-3 with 19 years and 124 days old at the Grand Prix of Australia in 2019.

When you go a bit into the history we can remember Esteban Tuero who drove during the 1998 season for the Minardi squad. He made his debut when he was 19 years and 324 days old. Somewhere he only did one season and left Formula 1 very quietly.

In 1980 we had Mike Thackwell who started his first race when he was 19 years and 182 days old. He pumped up from the Formula 3. And even in 1961 at Monza Ricardo Rodriguez started and F1 Grand Prix at the age of 19 years and 208 days. We also should not forget Fernando Alonso who was 19 years and 218 days when he started at the Australian Grand Prix 2001 in a Minardi.

What can we learn from this? It seems to be from all-time that there are coming drivers to F1 at a very young age. It is not something of the last couple of years. What we do know is that the record of Max Verstappen will hold for a while as the current drivers in F1 need to be 18 years old and need to have driver license for the road as well.

What do you think? Should the FIA remove the rule of 18 years old? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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