This year, for the first time, there are four sons of ex-GP drivers on the Formula 1 grid
writer Peter Higham
When Jacques Villeneuve made his Formula 1 debut in the 1996 Australian Grand Prix he became the eighth son of a former F1 driver also to race in the championship. That was the year in which team-mate Damon Hill became the only man so far to emulate his father’s feat of winning the world title – something Nico Rosberg hopes to achieve this year. Just a year later, Villeneuve became the only second-generation driver thus far to have won the title when his father was unable to do so. (See this month’s Lunch with… on page 80, for Jacques’ memories of the race.)
Those three families are the only ones where father and son are race winners and Max Verstappen’s Spanish GP victory is unique in that it is the only time the “son of” has won a race when his father did not. With Rosberg, Verstappen, Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer all active in 2016, this is the first F1 season when four such drivers have raced together.
Tim Parnell – whose father Reg drove an Alfa Romeo into third position in the 1950 British GP – became the first second son also to race in Formula 1 when he started a couple of GPs in 1961. Teddy Pilette raced just once in 1974 (also failing to qualify three times in 1977) but in doing so he followed both his grandfather Theodore (1913-14) and father André (1951-64) onto the GP grid. Two of Jack Brabham’s sons – David and Gary – entered the championship, but the latter never qualified for a race.