F1 Drivers ages.


Super Hero And All Round Good Guy
Started by Bill Boddy we had I think a rather fun game / topic of which drivers were over 30 when they started in F1. I have been browsing through a F1 book and already have several entries. But some thing that I also find interesting is the large number of drivers that never even made it to 30 before loosing their life.

Here is your starter for 10 :

Drivers stared racing over 30:
Philippe Alliot 30
Michael Andretti 31
Peter Arundell 30
Jean Behra 31
Jean-Pierre Beltoise 31
B Bira 36
Felice Bonetto 46
Slim Borgudd 35 (ABBA's drummer)
Vittorio Brambilla 37
Louis Chiron 51
Christiano da Matta 30
Emmanuel de Graffenried 36

Drivers died before 30:
Stefan Bellof 28
Tony Brise 23
Chris Bristow 23
Eugenio Castellotti 27
Piers Courage 28
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Should LouisChiron, or other pre-war driver be included though? Chiron was a Grand Prix driver way before they began calling it F1 and won the 1931 Monaco so I'm not sure he should be called a 51 year-old rookie?...

DIT And where's Fangio???
(which kinda contradicts my own point... ah well)
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Bira started racing in 1935 at Brooklands, despite his pseudonym the press quickly picked up the favt that he was a Thai prince, Birabongse Bhanutej. He raced cars owned by his cousin Chula Chakrabongse up until and after the Second World War. Chula wrote a couple of books about Bira's racing experiences, I got them out of the library and found the whole subject facinating. These books seem to be extinct, I would love to get my hands on them again.

His first win came on 11 April 1936 at the Monaco Grand Prix driving the "Bira blue" Era. Whether that qualifies as a GP I do not know, but he also raced in the BRDC championship, which I think must have been in 1936 since it was a fight between himself and Dick Seaman; Seaman moved to Mercedes in 1937 and raced mainly on the continent.

I find it rather frustrating that there is so little known about Bira nowadays, there was much more to his success than I can find on the web. However, he was so experienced and drove in at least near GPs that he must classify as having been of at least GP quality in his prime. The world did not start with F1!
Fangio was winning GPs in South America during the war, he was by no means a novice when he started racing in Europe in 1948.
Fangio was 39 in 1950, the first F1 season.
Retired in 1958.

Alberto Ascari was 31 in 1950. Died 1955.
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It appears that I was mistaken (what's new?). :embarrassed:The books about Bira are there as long as you look for Chula Chakrabongse. There are some available on Amazon and a few of ebay, the ebay ones are mostly at highly inflated prices. :disappointed:
I wonder how many drivers lied in public about their age though, back in the days when it was an easier thing to do.
Gilles Villeneuve took two years off his age when he set his sights on bigger things to come because he worried that being in his late twenties would limit his opportunities.
He can't have been the only one and there must have been plenty of others for whom their actual age never came out.
Yes, Alan Stacey.

I just read a driver profile about him. Apparently after the lower part of his leg was amputated in motorbike crash he began adapting his gear lever on cars he subsequently drove to incorporate a motorbike throttle, with which he would control them.

Incredibly his early career problems in adapting to this way of driving were exacerbated by the fact his chief mechanic... only had one arm.

Talk about overcoming adversity...
Tazio Nuvolari only started racing cars when he was 32; granted he had racing experiencing in 2 wheels but I guess the leap is not straight-forward. He went on to race on GPs winning a lot of them, including the "Impossible Victory" at the Nurburgring in 1935 driving an obsolete Alfa Romeo P3 versus the all-conquering German cars in front of a crown of 300,000. Representatives of Third Reich were not impressed. After the war we continued racing until just before the start of the 1950 F1 championship (he was 58!!!).
Who could forget Jean-louis Schlesser?
First Grand Prix at the age of 39 and he certainly made an impact, even though it was mostly against Senna's right rear-wheel, thus giving Ferrari a one-two at Monza.
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