F1 teenagers, from Amon to Nor­ris

Promis­ing em­bryo Lando Nor­ris is young. But he’s not the youngest F1 pi­lot ever…

CAR (UK) - - Contents -

IN THE DAYS BE­FORE foren­sic data anal­y­sis and NASA-spec sim­u­la­tors, driv­ers needed time-tem­pered ex­pe­ri­ence to be fast in F1. Tech­nol­ogy is mak­ing it pos­si­ble to get quicker faster, but as this count­down shows, the pres­ence of teenage driv­ers in F1 isn’t a 21st-cen­tury phe­nom­e­non.

Se­bas­tian Vet­tel De­but Grand Prix: USA, 2007

Age: 19 years, 11 months, 14 days

The pointy- in­gered win­ning/moan­ing ma­chine was still a teenager when he stood in for BMW’s in­jured Robert Ku­bica at In­di­anapo­lis, in­ish­ing in the points in the process.

Este­ban Ocon De­but Grand Prix: Bel­gium, 2016

Age: 19 years, 11 months, 11 days

To put the Force In­dia driver’s youth­ful­ness in con­text, F1’s cur­rent old­est driver, Kimi Raikko­nen, was nearly 17 when Ocon was born.

Chris Amon De­but Grand Prix: Bel­gium, 1963

Age: 19 years, 10 months, 20 days

Can you imag­ine a more in­tim­i­dat­ing F1 de­but than the old Spa cir­cuit, in the wet? Amon re­tired af­ter an oil ire. Con­sid­ered one of the sport’s un­luck­i­est driv­ers, many reckon Amon had the ta­lent to be a world cham­pion.

Mike Thack­well De­but Grand Prix: Canada, 1980

Age: 19 years, ive months, 29 days

So pre­co­cious was Kiwi driver Thack­well’s ta­lent that he was still a teenager when he got his irst F1 break, but Lady Luck never al­lowed him more than a hand­ful of GP drives. He was still in his twen­ties when he walked away from F1.

Ri­cardo Ro­driguez

De­but Grand Prix: Italy,

1961 Age: 19 years, six months, 27 days

One of the tragedies of mo­tor­sport’s most lethal years, Ro­driguez lost his life aged only 20 in a crash at his home Grand Prix in Mex­ico. The younger brother of fel­low F1 hero Pe­dro, he’d al­ready in­ished sec­ond at Le Mans.

Fer­nando Alonso De­but Grand Prix: Aus­tralia, 2001

Age: 19 years, seven months, four days

Lando Nor­ris will sit in the re­cently va­cated McLaren left by the com­bat­ive Spa­niard. Al­ready test­ing F1 cars at the turn of the mil­len­nium, Alonso turned heads by wring­ing ine re­sults from an un­der­dog Mi­nardi in his de­but sea­son. Sev­en­teen years later, he’s o£.

Este­ban Tuero De­but Grand Prix: Aus­tralia, 1998

Age: 19 years, 10 months, 14 days

Ar­gen­tine Tuero didn’t ex­actly ‘do an Alonso’ when he too de­buted for Mi­nardi as a 19-year-old. The Faenza team re­port­edly planned to run him for a sec­ond year be­fore he un­ex­pect­edly an­nounced his re­tire­ment.

Daniil Kvyat De­but Grand Prix: Aus­tralia, 2014

Age: 19 years, 10 months, 18 days

Toro Rosso driver Kvyat grad­u­ated to Red Bull in 2015 when Vet­tel upped sticks to Fer­rari, but was de­moted back to the ju­nior squad mid-sea­son in 2016 af­ter a run of crashes and poor form. Still one of F1’s youngest driv­ers to score a podium, he’s cur­rently a re­serve driver at Fer­rari.

Lando Nor­ris

De­but Grand Prix:

Aus­tralia, 2019

Age: 19 years, four months, four days

A pro­tege of McLaren CEO Zak Brown, the Bris­tol-born 18-yearold has a glit­ter­ing record in rac­ing’s lower ech­e­lons, with ti­tles in For­mula Re­nault and F3. He’ll be 19 when he makes his GP de­but – the pre­vi­ous youngest Brit to start a Grand Prix was Jen­son But­ton at 20. For now he’s tus­sling for the F2 ti­tle with Mer­cedes ju­nior driver Ge­orge Rus­sell. Alonso’s re­tire­ment has cat­a­pulted him into F1 early, but McLaren will need to make a huge leap this win­ter if Nor­ris is to be at the sharp end next year.

Jaime Alguer­suari De­but Grand Prix: Hun­gary, 2009

Age: 19 years, four months, three days

A mem­ber of the Red Bull young driver academy from the age of 15, but lost his Toro Rosso seat in mu­si­cal chairs be­fore 2012. Many felt he de­served more time in F1.

Lance Stroll De­but Grand Prix: Aus­tralia, 2017

Age: 18 years, four months, 26 days

Like Nor­ris, a wealthy back­ground has greased the wheels of Stroll’s F1 ca­reer but he has an en­vi­able record in ju­nior for­mu­lae, in­clud­ing ti­tles in F4 and F3. He was ini­tially spot­ted by a Fer­rari ta­lent scout.

Max Ver­stap­pen De­but Grand Prix: Aus­tralia, 2015

Age: 17 years, ive months, 15 days

The youngest of F1’s early starters: su­per-ag­gres­sive Ver­stap­pen is the sport’s only 17-year-old driver to date. He’d al­ready raced in 14 GPs by the time he passed his road-car driv­ing test.

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