What is the greatest comeback made by an F1 driver?

Which driver made the greatest comeback in F1?

  • Niki Lauda 1982 with Mclaren

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Nigel Mansell 1991 with Williams

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Alain Prost 1993 with Williams

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Michael Schumacher 1999 turning up at Sepang

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Gerhard Berger 1997 wins at Hockenheim

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Kimi Raikkonen 2012 with Lotus! - 2 years out doing rallying

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Romain Grosjean 2012 with Lotus - 2 years out competing GP2 and testing

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Mika Hakkinen 1996 with Mclaren following practice crash in Adelaide

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Felipe Massa 2010 - Ferrari after his accident at Hungaroring

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Robert Kubica 2019 - Williams - 8 years after almost losing his arm

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other drivers comeback

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    7

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Hulkenberg coming back to F1 this weekend and Alonso due back in 2021 with Renault has made me think about the comebacks of F1 where they seem to fall into the following

i) Fairy tales we will talk about in F1 or declare it was greater than Lazarus. Here is hoping Hulkenberg gets a podium
ii) What are they doing ? They should have stayed retired to avoid embarrassing themselves further :o:teary::facepalm:

So to start this thread here are the rules to validate a comeback

- They retired and did a U turn
- They took a sabbatical and then came back
- They came back from a career threatening crash and illness/ personal tragedy
- Their team folded unexpectedly so they had no drive available

- It must be based around their F1 career not what they achieved afterwards

Not included are drivers who have been dropped or sacked and subsequently end up in a better car the following season does not count because that happens to all drivers even the best ones

Over to you
 
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Johnny Carwash

Champion Elect
Contributor
I think this is the aftermath of Graham Hills crash.
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Il_leone

Champion Elect
The ones I remember

Lauda - 1976 - he was about to be given last rites and he defied the odds to comeback at Monza. Apparently his balaclava was covered in blood post race. A near death experience will change people and unfortunately what happened with him and Ferrari was a shameful episode. Immortalised by the film Rush

Lauda -1982 - having been fed up with driving around in circles and the politics of F1 he quit in 1979 but then came back in 1982 persuaded by Ron Dennis (probably Marlboro driven) with Mclaren . At first not as competitive as Watson but he used all his experience and guile to defeat Prost in 1984 for the title. Drove one more season by then he had nothing to prove not even Stewart's win record motivated him enough

Mansell - at Silverstone 1990 announced his retirement from F1 due to seeing his chances of being world champion ending after enduring a season of wretched liability at Ferrari. 3 months later he made a u-turn after Frank Williams convinced to come back to Williams and promised he would be competing for the world championship. 1991 - season starts poorly for him with teammate Patrese outqualifying him for first 7 races with rumours that Prost or Senna could replace him and also enduring poor reliability. He came back with marvelous hat trick and fought Senna almost to the end of the season with some memorable overtakes

Prost 1993 - fired by Ferrari and decided to take a sabbatical given no drives left. Secretly was testing in a Ligier but also negotiated a seat at Williams in 1993 and winning his 4th title before retiring again

Button 2009 - Having failed to reach his potential or made most of his opportunities as Mansell quoted due to the Honda not being a consistent front runner. After a poor 2008, and being promised 2009 was going to be a great car led by Brawn. Honda's sudden withdrawal left him without a drive and a late buyout turning the team into Brawn with a botched job car bolted with a Merc engine lead to his title and greatest story in F1. Further cemented his reputation as a top F1 driver afterwards against the very best

Schumacher 1999 - crashed on lap 1 at Silverstone trying to overtake Irvine created by tension within the team that Eddie was not so keen being no 2 anymore. Was meant to be ruled out for the rest of the season until Tyre gate at Nurburgring forced Di Montezemolo to call him at his home in Switzerland. His daughter answered the phone and told Luca he was playing football in the garden. Luca promptly told him to come back , he shows up at Sepang - a circuit no one has driven before and is over 1 second faster than anyone and has to drive slowly to let Irvine win

Berger 1997 - I remember this as he had suffered appendcitis so was replaced by Wurz who luckily was able to fit into his car being of similar build and showed impressive race craft keeping up with Alesi. Also his father had died and rumours circulated he was going to be replaced by Wurz, he come back at Hockenheim with the grand slam. It was popular and impressive and makes you wonder why Gerhard could not do that all the time

Hakkinen 1996 - I remember seeing pictures of his practice crash at Adelaide in 1995 where his face was covered in blood after smashing his helmet on the steering wheel. Stories were going around he had died so for him to be back racing at the start of 1996 was impressive although it took him a while to get going
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Graham Hill never really properly recovered from that accident and although he race o n until 1975 he really wasn't any good anymore.

I've cast my vote for Niki in '76. If you read any of the stuff he went through to get back in to a car only a few weeks later it was astonishing. I recall reading that he had to have fluid removed from lungs, which was very painful so they did it every hour. He asked if he would get better, sooner if they drained the fluid more often? Well, yes, came the answer. Then do it every 20 minutes said Niki.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
I've gone for Lauda as well. Coming back from the brink of death to win two more world titles was an incredible story.

I would like to make a special mention for David Purley. How he got back into the car after witnessing Roger Williamson's death at the Dutch GP is beyond me. I would have given up on F1 and probably motor racing there and then it was me.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
I would like to make an honorable mention to David Coulthard . He was involved in a plane crash prior to the Spanish GP in 2000 , he and his then girflfriend survived but Paul Morgan - one half of Ilmor team was killed in the crash - that lead to Ilmor division merged into Mercedes corporate which created a lot of internal problems with the engines

DC - competed in the race less than a week later finishing second , it was only at the next race at Nurburgring when it was realised he actually had broken ribs
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
I would like to make an honorable mention to David Coulthard . He was involved in a plane crash prior to the Spanish GP in 2000 , he and his then girflfriend survived but Paul Morgan - one half of Ilmor team was killed in the crash - that lead to Ilmor division merged into Mercedes corporate which created a lot of internal problems with the engines

DC - competed in the race less than a week later finishing second , it was only at the next race at Nurburgring when it was realised he actually had broken ribs

whilst it’s true that Coulthard survived a plane crash, this was not the same crash that led to the loss of Paul Morgan’s life. (He died almost a year later).

i believe that the pilots lost their lives in Coulthard’s crash - having seen the photos, I don’t know how anyone survived that crash.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
whilst it’s true that Coulthard survived a plane crash, this was not the same crash that led to the loss of Paul Morgan’s life. (He died almost a year later).

i believe that the pilots lost their lives in Coulthard’s crash - having seen the photos, I don’t know how anyone survived that crash.
Apologies now I do remember Morgan died in 2001 after DC dedicated his win at A1 ring as it was then to him
 
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