ayrton-senna-podium-bayrak brazilian formula 1 drivers

From Senna to Massa: The Legacy of Brazilian Formula 1 Drivers

ayrton-senna-podium-bayrak brazilian formula 1 drivers

Few countries are as passionate and proud of their Formula 1 racing as Brazil, some of the most talented drivers in the sport’s history come from the nation.

While few would argue that the Brazilian Grand Prix is the most exciting race on the whole schedule.

To this day, fans of the sport continue to make a huge impression in the nation, which was showcased by their love for Lewis Hamilton seeing the record world champion named an honouree Brazilian citizen before the Brazilian Grand Prix last year.

The popularity of the sport remains sky-high, and that is echoed by the number of bettors that wager on races throughout the season with However, who are some of the legendary Brazilian drivers that have graced the track throughout the illustrious history of F1?

Ayrton Senna

From Senna to Massa: The Legacy of Brazilian Formula 1 Drivers

There are few more popular drivers in Brazilian or F1 history than Ayrton Senna. The legendary driver is widely regarded as one of the best drivers in motorsport history and landed world championships between 1988 and 1991.

He is one of just three drivers from Brazil to have won the World Championship, and throughout his career, he landed 41 race wins and 65 pole positions. The latter was a record that stood until 2006.

Senna’s three championships all came during his time with McLaren, with his first in 1988 setting the record for most wins and most race wins in a single season. He will also be fondly remembered for his on-track rivalry with Alain Prost, as the two were constantly locking horns in their bid to be number one.

After losing the title in 1989, he would regain the top prize in 1990, before successfully defending the title in 1991. Senna later tragically died after a high-speed crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, leaving the country in mourning.

Nelson Piquet

piquet imola 1981 brazilian f1 drivers

Nelson Piquet remains one of the most successful Brazilian drivers of all time, having won the world championship on three occasions throughout his illustrious career. Piquet recorded 23 race wins during his time in F1 and finished with 60 podiums.

Overall, the Brazilian won 481.5 points and set the fastest laps on 23 occasions. His 1981 championship remains one of the great comebacks in the sport, as he strung together a sequence of wins before landing title glory at the Caesars Palace Grand Prix in Las Vegas. Piquet’s second success came in 1983. His success was wrapped up at the South African Grand Prix after cruising to third.

However, he would need to wait until the 1987 season to claim a third success, as he betted teammate Nigel Mansell in the overall standings, despite winning fewer races over the course of the season. Since his retirement, he has made headlines for the wrong reasons, often making comments in the direction of Lewis Hamilton. However, his reputation as one of F1’s finest drivers remains intact.

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa

Unlike other drivers on this list, Felipe Massa never scored a world championship. However, he has often been cited as an inspiration by many of the next wave of Brazilian drivers, given the success that he achieved on the track.

Massa competed in a total of 14 years’ worth of Formula 1 seasons, recording 272 race starts and completing his career with eleven wins. His most celebrated success was recorded in 2006 when he became the first Brazilian driver to win the home race since Senna.

The vast majority of his success was achieved with Ferrari. Which included a fourth-place finish in the Drivers’ Standings in 2007. However, the closest that he came to winning a world title came in 2008, as he eventually finished second to Lewis Hamilton, despite recording six wins.

Massa would also play a key role in the Constructors’ Championships won by Ferrari in 2007 and 2008, scoring points at crucial stages of the season.

The Brazilian announced his retirement from the sport in 2016, before returning for one final campaign alongside Lance Stroll with Williams for the 2017 2017 season. But, he failed to score any points and finished eleventh in the Drivers’ Championship standings.


Final Thoughts

While there may not be any Brazilian drivers on the grid for the 2023 season, this coming campaign still appears to be one that the adoring audience in the country will enjoy.

The Brazilian Grand Prix will once again be a date stuck in the diaries of all fans, with the race at Interlagos taking place on Sunday, November 5, 2023. It once again promises to play a crucial part in the destination of the World Championship in 2023.