From the Stewarts to the Schumachers: The brothers who raced in F1
Brothers Charles and Arthur Leclerc will contest the second instalment of the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series on Sunday April 5 as team mates for the FDA Hublot Esport Team. But while it will be fascinating to see how Ferrari Driver Academy member Arthur gets on alongside his distinguished older brother, they won’t be the first fraternal pairing to make an impact in F1. Here are nine brothers from F1 history who managed to get themselves on a Grand Prix entry list – with varying degrees of success…
Michael and Ralf Schumacher
Arguably the most famous Formula 1 fraternity, Michael and Ralf Schumacher were both to be found at or near the front of the F1 grid in the early noughties. Michael had entered F1 with Jordan in 1991, and was followed six seasons later by his six-year-younger brother Ralf, who debuted with the same team. Ralf was the reigning Formula Nippon champion and, like his brother, a previous winner of the prestigious Macau Grand Prix.
But while Ralf and Michael (in that order) took the accolade of the first brotherly one-two in F1 history at the 2001 Canadian Grand Prix, perhaps inevitably, Ralf’s record paled next to his seven-time champion brother’s, as he bowed out of F1 in 2007 with a still-respectable six wins and 21 podiums to his name.
Gilles and Jacques (Sr) Villeneuve
Having become a fan favourite after debuting in F1 in 1977, cult F1 hero Gilles Villeneuve was joined in the sport briefly, and not very successfully, by his younger brother Jacques. On paper, Jacques Senior's junior record compared favourably to his more celebrated bro's, after he won two straight Formula Atlantic titles in 1980 and 1981 (Gilles also won the IMSA series twice between 1976-1977).
But Jacques' F1 sally didn’t go so well. He tried, and failed, to qualify for three F1 races: the 1981 Canadian Grand Prix (where he nearly collided with his brother during qualifying) and Caesars Palace Grand Prix with Arrows, and the Canadian race again in 1983 with RAM, a year after the death of his brother at Zolder. “I don’t think he’s going to be as good as I am,” Gilles had said ahead of his brother’s debut in Montreal. “But that’s quite natural.”
Jody and Ian Scheckter
Gilles Villeneuve’s team mate for much of his time at Ferrari, 1979 world champion Jody Scheckter, also had his own family ties in Formula 1, racing from 1974 to 1977 alongside his older brother Ian.
While Ian couldn’t quite distinguish himself on the level of his younger sibling – achieving a best ever finish of 10th at the 1977 Dutch Grand Prix, a race where Jody finished on the podium in third – he at least managed to carve out a decently long career in the sport, starting 18 Grands Prix in Lotus, Tyrrell, Williams and March machinery. Ian’s Formula 1 career would end with a whimper, however, with his failure to start the 1977 Japanese Grand Prix – after being deported from Japan for visa reasons – signalling the end of his tenure in the championship.
Jackie and Jimmy Stewart
A full 12 years before Jackie Stewart made his Formula 1 debut with BRM, his brother Jimmy had put the Stewart name on the Formula 1 grid, starting his one and only Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1953. Wearing a tartan shirt (!) and driving a Cooper-Bristol fielded by Ecurie Ecosse, Stewart qualified 15th, but was up to a strong sixth by Lap 79 of 90 when he spun off in the wet at Copse. It was still a creditable performance in a field that featured the likes of Alberto Ascari, Mike Hawthorn and Juan Manuel Fangio.
Sadly, that was it in F1 for Jimmy, who carved out a more successful career in sports cars. And while Jackie would go on to be considered one of F1’s greatest of all time, with 27 Grand Prix wins and three world championships to his name, he’d later touchingly credit his brother for his success. "What do I owe Jim? I owe him almost everything, because when I was a youngster struggling at school [with dyslexia], the world seemed an extremely dark place. I… found my real salvation in motor racing, and I found it because, in my difficult time of need and confusion, it was my elder brother who carried the torch and selflessly showed me the way.”
Teo and Corrado Fabi
Perhaps the most bizarre fraternal appearance on our list, Italian brothers Teo and Corrado Fabi managed the achievement of starting 76 Grands Prix between them from 1982 to 1987 (64 for Teo, 12 for Corrado) while never once appearing in the same race.
In the case of the 1984 season at least, there’s a very good reason for that. With Teo dovetailing a season at Brabham with racing in the CART series, every time he wasn’t available to drive the BT53, he’d send along his younger brother Corrado to race the car in his place, with the junior Fabi brother contesting the Monaco, Canadian and Dallas Grands Prix that year, in his final season of F1 racing. Teo, meanwhile, distinguished himself by taking the record for the most pole positions (three) without ever leading a lap of a Grand Prix.
Emerson and Wilson Fittipaldi
Family allegiance might be one of the reasons that Emerson Fittipaldi didn’t add to his tally of two world championships. Why? Because having both driven and won titles for first Lotus and then McLaren, in 1976 Emerson decided to join up with his brother Wilson to race for the family-run Fittipaldi squad (luckily for James Hunt, who inherited Emerson’s drive at McLaren and claimed that year’s championship).
Wilson had debuted in F1 during the 1972 season in which his younger brother claimed his first title. He raced up until 1975, driving his final season in his own Fittipaldi FD01, having set up the team with Emerson and backing from the Brazilian Copersucar company.
And although some talented individuals would pass through the Fittipaldi squad – Keke Rosberg raced for them, while the 1980 F8 car was designed by Harvey Postlethwaite and a young Adrian Newey – a trio of podiums was all the team had to show for themselves when they closed their doors in 1982, the highlight being Emerson’s second place at home at Interlagos in 1978.
Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, home of the Mexican Grand Prix, is named for the country’s most famous racing brothers. The younger of the two, Ricardo, was the first to make a foray into F1, becoming the youngest ever driver to start a race at the 1961 Italian Grand Prix (and qualifying second to boot).
He’d start a further four races for Ferrari in 1961 and 1962, achieving a best of fourth at the 1962 Belgian Grand Prix, only to lose his life later that year, aged just 20, at the non-championship Mexican Grand Prix held at the track that would later bear his name.
Brother Pedro would make his own Grand Prix debut a year later, starting 54 races and claiming two wins and five podiums before losing his own life in a sports car race in West Germany in 1971.
Manfred and Jo Winkelhock
The Bros. Winkelhock bookended the 1980s in F1, with Manfred starting 47 races for ATS, Brabham and RAM from 1981 to 1985 (he tried and failed to qualify for the 1980 Italian Grand Prix with Arrows too), while Jo failed to pre-qualify for the first seven races of the 1989 season, before his AGS team replaced him with Yannick Dalmas – who similarly failed to pre-qualify the #41 car for the remainder of the season.
Sadly, Manfred would die in a sports car race at Mosport in Canada in 1985, while Jo would achieve more success in touring and sports cars, winning the 1999 Le Mans 24 Hours – alongside Yannick Dalmas, no less! Meanwhile, like the Villeneuves, Brabhams and Fittipaldis, a third member of the Winkelhock dynasty would hit the grid in 2007 when Manfred’s son Markus started, led and then retired from his only F1 race with Spyker.
David and Gary Brabham
All three sons of three-time world champion Jack Brabham – that’s Geoff, David and Gary – became racing drivers, but only the latter two managed to make it onto the entry list of a Formula 1 Grand Prix.
David started 24 races across 1990 and 1994, fittingly contesting the 1990 season for Brabham (despite the family ties having long-since been severed), while he was team mates with Roland Ratzenberger at Simtek when the Austrian had his fatal crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Gary, meanwhile, debuted in the same 1990 season as his brother, but failed to pre-qualify the Life F190 (we admit, our memory’s a little hazy too...) for the first two races of the year.