Welcome at RacingNews365

Become part of the largest racing community in the United Kingdom. Create your free account now!

  • Share your thoughts and opinions about F1
  • Win fantastic prizes
  • Get access to our premium content
  • Take advantage of more exclusive benefits
Sign in
Kimi Raikkonen

Raikkonen and the Formula 1 drivers who have raced in most F1 seasons

Kimi Raikkonen will equal the record for the most seasons an F1 driver has competed in when he returns for a 19th time in 2021. Here are the other drivers who have racked up an impressive number of seasons in Formula 1.

Kimi Raikkonen
To news overview © Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen might not be competing at the front of the grid at the moment, but the Iceman is still managing to break records. Not only did he become the driver to achieve the most grand prix starts in F1 during 2020, but in 2021 Raikkonen will equal the record of the most seasons that a driver has competed in.

The Alfa Romeo man will enter his 19th season in Formula 1. He is in good company - he will share the record with the legendary Michael Schumacher, as well as Schumacher's former Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello, who both enjoyed long and successful careers in the sport.

Raikkonen is joined on the grid by another long-time resident of F1 this year. Fernando Alonso will start his 18th season, with his return coming following a two-year hiatus. But who else joins Raikkonen on the list of drivers with the most seasons under their belt?

Nigel Mansell - 15 seasons

Whilst there are a select number of drivers who have entered 15 seasons in Formula 1, perhaps the most notable is Nigel Mansell. The Briton made his debut in the sport at the 1980 Austrian Grand Prix, and took his first victory four years later. It wasn't until 1992 though that Mansell became World Champion, during a year in which he dominated with the Williams team.

However, Mansell decided to retire at the end of the season and spent 1993 competing in IndyCar before making a comeback for Williams in four F1 races during 1994, following the tragic death of their driver Ayrton Senna. Mansell returned again in 1995 with McLaren, but decided to walk away for good after just two races in the uncompetitive car.

Mansell isn't the only driver to have achieved 15 seasons - others include David Coulthard, Andrea De Cesaris and Felipe Massa.

Joakim Bonnier - 16 seasons

Perhaps not one of the better known names of Formula 1 history, Joakim Bonnier began his career at the 1956 Italian Grand Prix with Maserati. The Swede's first win came at the 1959 Dutch Grand Prix, and he went on to drive for teams including Porsche, Brabham, Lotus and McLaren.

In 1971, Bonnier left the sport.

Jack Brabham - 16 seasons

Jack Brabham was another man to notch up 16 seasons as an F1 driver, but drove in 19 more races than Bonnier. The Australian debuted in 1955 and won three world championships during his career. His title win in 1966 was particularly unique, given that he became the first - and to date only - driver to win the championship in a car of his own make.

Brabham retired as a driver in 1970 and sold the Brabham team.

Riccardo Patrese - 17 seasons

Whilst many drivers with long-lasting careers in Formula 1 have often left and then returned, Riccardo Patrese managed to achieve 17 seasons consecutively between 1977 to 1993. The Italian won his first race at the 1982 Monaco Grand Prix with the Brabham team, and went on to race for the likes of Benetton and Williams.

Patrese had his most successful season in F1 in 1992, when he finished the championship in second place behind Williams teammate Nigel Mansell. His final season came in 1993, and he left the sport with a total of six wins behind him.

Graham Hill - 18 seasons

Impressively, Graham Hill also racked up his many seasons in F1 with no breaks, having raced between 1958 and 1975. During his career, the Briton won two world championships and additionally remains the only driver to have achieved the so-called 'triple crown', meaning that he has won the Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indy 500.

Sadly, shortly after retiring from the sport as a driver, Hill was killed in a plane crash in 1975. His son Damon Hill went on to compete in Formula 1 and became the 1996 World Champion.

Jenson Button - 18 seasons

Back in 2000, Jenson Button made his debut in Formula 1 with the Williams team. It was the start of a long and successful career for the Briton, though there were highs and lows along the way. Arguably the most memorable high point came in 2009, when he surprised many by becoming World Champion in the Brawn GP team's first - and only - season under that name.

Button moved to McLaren after his title win, where he raced alongside Lewis Hamilton. But the team's competitiveness started to tail off in the years that followed, with 2014 becoming the first season where they failed to achieve a victory. Button opted to leave F1 at the end of 2016, though called 2017 a "sabbatical".

He remained McLaren's reserve driver in 2017, and ended up competing in one race in place of Fernando Alonso. Sadly it ended with a DNF following a collision with another car, and it became the last time that Button would drive in F1 after 18 seasons.

Fernando Alonso - 18 seasons

Another man to achieve a lengthy career in the sport is Button's former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso, who will begin his 18th season in 2021. Alonso debuted in Formula 1 back in 2001 and, despite racing for backmarkers Minardi, impressed many with his talent. He spent 2002 on the sidelines as a test driver at Renault before joining the main team in 2003.

Alonso went on to achieve his greatest success with the French outfit. His first victory came in 2003, and he became a double World Champion in 2005 and 2006. The Spaniard left for McLaren in 2007, but after a tumultous relationship with the team he returned to Renault in 2008.

In the years that followed, Alonso raced for Ferrari and McLaren again, but never managed to match his previous success and left the sport at the end of the 2018 season. Now the former champion will once again race for Renault - now known as Alpine - in 2021 and still dreams of achieving a third world title.

			© Daimler
	© Daimler

Michael Schumacher - 19 seasons

For many years, Michael Schumacher held several of the most illustrious records in Formula 1. The German achieved seven world titles and 91 race victories between 1991 and 2006, records that were not challenged until Lewis Hamilton equalled and surpassed them respectively during the 2020 season.

As well as his obvious success, Schumacher became one of the most experienced drivers in the sport's history. After retiring at the end of 2006, the former Ferrari man made a comeback in 2010 with Mercedes, and remained with the team until 2012. Unfortunately Schumacher was never able to match his previous form, but his return meant that he had competed in an impressive 19 seasons.

Rubens Barrichello - 19 seasons

Rubens Barrichello was Michael Schumacher's teammate at Ferrari between 2000 and 2005, during which the Italian squad achieved several world championships and dominated the sport. But Barrichello's career went beyond his Ferrari stint; the Brazilian had debuted on the grid back in 1993, and raced for Jordan and Stewart before joining the Scuderia.

Despite winning several races at Ferrari, Barrichello remained in the shadow of Schumacher and left to join Honda in 2006. In 2009 the team became Brawn GP, and Barrichello won twice before ending the championship in third place. In 2010 the Brazilian joined Williams but decided to retire at the end of an unsuccessful 2011 campaign, with 19 seasons under his belt.

			© Alfa Romeo
	© Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen - 19 seasons

2021 will mark Kimi Raikkonen's 19th season as a Formula 1 driver. Like Alonso, the Finn made his debut back in 2001, where he raced for the Sauber team. After a stint at McLaren, Raikkonen became the 2007 World Champion with Ferrari, and spent another two years with the Scuderia before walking away from F1 for two years. During his hiatus, the Iceman competed in rallying.

Raikkonen returned with Lotus in 2012, and rejoined Ferrari in 2014. When he was replaced by Charles Leclerc for the 2019 season, Raikkonen made the move to Alfa Romeo - who were formerly known as the Sauber team, where his career in the sport first began.

In 2021, Raikkonen will line up alongside teammate Antonio Giovinazzi for a third consecutive season.


INTERVIEW How the 'animal' Alonso can brilliantly manipulate the opponent