Think Haas have a youthful line-up this year? Here's 10 even younger duos from F1 history
Much has been made of the prospect of Haas fielding two rookies for the 2021 season, with Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin both set to be 22 when they make their F1 debuts in Bahrain on March 28. But while with a combined age of 44, the Schumacher/Mazepin pairing is certainly a young one, it’s by no means the youngest ever to be seen in Formula 1. Here are 10 of F1’s most junior line-ups…
1. Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso
First race together: 2015 Australian Grand Prix
Combined age: 37
Toro Rosso’s policy of championing youth has earned them several entries in this list. But it also saw them field the youngest ever driver line-up in F1 history, when 17-year-old Max Verstappen was paired with reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion Carlos Sainz for the 2015 season.
Verstappen stands as F1’s youngest ever starter, having been 17 years 5 months and 13 days old on his debut at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, while Sainz himself was just 20 years 6 months and 14 days – the Spaniard the 20th youngest ever F1 starter. In fact, their combined age of 37 was just two more than the actual age of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen at the start of 2015.
2. Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi – Toro Rosso
First race together: 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix
Combined age: 39
Sebastien Bourdais’ fractious exit from the Toro Rosso squad midway through the 2009 season left a hole in the team alongside 20-year-old Sebastien Buemi. That hole was eventually filled by 19-year-old Formula Renault 3.5 racer and Red Bull junior Jaime Alguersuari, who became – at that time – the youngest ever Grand Prix driver when he made his debut at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard would see out the season with the team, dovetailing his Toro Rosso duties with his Formula Renault campaign. Alguersuari, who wasn’t able to test before his Hungaroring outing, would later describe his first F1 experience as “like going to the slaughterhouse”.
3. Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein – Manor
First race together: 2016 Belgian Grand Prix
Combined age: 40
When Rio Haryanto – himself just 23 at the time – failed to secure sufficient financial backing to keep his place in the struggling Manor team in 2016, French racer and reigning GP3 champion Esteban Ocon got the call-up to replace the Indonesian driver alongside 21-year-old Pascal Wehrlein.
Ocon – who’d beaten Max Verstappen to the European Formula 3 title two years before – was just 19 when he made his F1 debut for the squad at the Belgian Grand Prix, while he impressed sufficiently throughout the rest of his season with Manor to earn a spot with Force India for 2017, as Manor themselves headed into administration.
4. Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin – Williams
First race together: 2018 Australian Grand Prix
Combined age: 41
Lance Stroll had become the second-youngest driver ever to race in F1 when he was signed up by Williams to partner Felipe Massa for 2017, with the Canadian just 18 years four months and 25 days old when he made his Australian Grand Prix debut.
But after Massa hung up his racing boots at the end of the season, Williams replaced him with 22-year-old Russian racer Sergey Sirotkin for their youngest ever line-up. Results for the pair – with their combined age of just 41 – were hard to come by, alas, with the drivers netting just seven points all season.
5. Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso
First race together: 2014 Australian Grand Prix
Combined age: 42
Daniil Kvyat was a slightly surprise choice to get the nod to drive for Toro Rosso alongside Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne for the 2014 season – with Antonio Felix da Costa having been favourite for the seat before his 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 season faltered. That saw Red Bull promote their GP3-driving junior Kvyat up to F1, the Russian aged 19 years 10 months and 18 days when he made his 2014 debut alongside 23-year-old Vergne.
6. Jan Lammers and Elio de Angelis – Shadow
First race together: 1979 Argentine Grand Prix
Combined age: 42
Stepping back in time now, Elio de Angelis became one of the youngest drivers to ever start a Grand Prix when, backed by his father’s wealth, he made his F1 debut at the 1979 Argentine Grand Prix.
Although technically de Angelis and stable mate Jan Lammers raced Shadow cars for separate entities in Buenos Aires – de Angelis driving for the Interscope Shadow Racing Team, while 22-year-old Lammers competed for the Samson Shadow Racing Team – the pair’s combined age of 42 was nonetheless remarkably young for the time.
7. Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso
First race together: 2012 Australian Grand Prix
Combined age: 43
Having joined forces earlier in this list, Toro Rosso’s Alguersuari/Buemi pairing was jettisoned in one fell swoop at the end of 2011, meaning an all-new line-up was required for 2012. The task fell to 22-year-old Daniel Ricciardo – already a veteran of 11 F1 starts with HRT in 2011 – and 21-year-old Jean-Eric Vergne, who moved up from Formula Renault 3.5, having finished second in the previous year’s championship.
8. Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris – McLaren
First race together: 2019 Australian Grand Prix
Combined age: 43
Having been part of F1’s youngest ever line-up in 2015, four years later 24-year-old Carlos Sainz found himself in the team leader role at the illustrious McLaren squad for the 2019 season.
With Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne having both moved on from McLaren at the end of 2018, Sainz was paired up with F2 graduate Lando Norris, who become the fourth youngest driver to ever start an F1 race at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, aged 19 years four months and four days. And lo, F1's most famous 'bromance' was born...
9. Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso
First race together: 2016 Spanish Grand Prix
Combined age: 43
Daniil Kvyat gets himself a (presumably unwanted) second entry on this list, thanks to what happened to the Russian driver in 2016. Having been promoted the previous year to the top Red Bull team, Kvyat was moved back down to Toro Rosso in favour of Max Verstappen for the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix after a spate of high profile misdemeanours.
Joining up with Carlos Sainz – in his second season at Toro Rosso – the pair combined for an age of just 43, with Kvyat then watching on as Verstappen won on his first outing for Red Bull.
10. Rupert Keegan and Hector Rebaque – Hesketh
First race together: 1977 German Grand Prix
Combined age: 43
The entry list for the 1977 German Grand Prix lists 21-year-old Mexican debutant Hector Rebaque as the sole entrant for Hesketh Racing, while 22-year-old Rupert Keegan’s own vice-ridden entry was with the Penthouse Rizla Racing squad.
In truth, both came from the Hesketh stable, the pair forming one of the youngest ever line-ups when they headed out on track at Hockenheim. Neither driver would finish the infamous encounter, however, which also saw notorious ATS racer Hans Heyer banned from F1 for life for sneaking onto the grid and starting the race despite failing to qualify.