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Six world champions among F1 drivers to conquer the Indy 500

Many familiar F1 faces have won at The Brickyard down the years, including some world champions...

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To news overview © XPBimages

The challenge of the Indianapolis 500 is usually enough to lure Formula 1 drivers to rural Indiana to take on the Brickyard and the "greatest spectacle in racing."

From the 1950s onwards, F1 drivers have tackled the 200 laps of IMS in the hope of drinking the milk, with varying degrees of success. 

13 drivers, to date, have driven in a grand prix and also crossed the line first at the Speedway - including six world champions, and one of the most popular F1 drivers of his time.

F1 drivers who have won the Indy 500

Driver Indy 500 wins F1 career
Rodger Ward 1959, 1962 12 starts, 2 wins
Jim Clark 1965 25 wins, 1963, 1965 World Champion
Graham Hill 1966 14 wins, 1962, 1968 World Champion
Mario Andretti 1969 12 wins, 1978 World Champion
Mark Donohue 1972 14 starts, 0 wins
Danny Sullivan 1985 15 starts, 0 wins
Emerson Fittipaldi 1989, 1993 14 wins, 1972, 1974 World Champion
Jacques Villeneuve 1995 11 wins, 1997 World Champion
Eddie Cheever 1998 132 starts, 0 wins
Juan Pablo Montoya 2000, 2015 94 starts, 6 wins
Alexander Rossi 2016 5 starts, 0 wins
Takuma Sato 2017, 2020 90 starts, 0 wins
Marcus Ericsson 2022 97 starts, 0 wins

Breaking down the table

Between 1950 and 1959, the Indy 500 was included on the F1 calendar as a full round - and the winners of those races are discounted, meaning the likes of Johnnie Parsons (1950) and Pat Flaherty (1956) are not included.

However, Rogder Ward also competed in two United States Grands Prix as a pukka F1 driver, so his two wins at Indy are counted.

In 1965, Jim Clark became the first, and to date, only person to win the Indy 500 and F1 world championship in the same year as the first Briton to conquer Indy, with Graham Hill following a year later to complete the second leg of the Triple Crown he would complete with victory at Le Mans in 1972. 

Mario Andretti took the honours in 1969, remarkably the only time an Andretti has won the 500 with grandson Marco hoping to finally end 'the curse' in this year's race.

Danny Sullivan's famous 'spin and win' in 1985 came two years after his sole F1 season, whilst Emerson Fittipaldi caused lasting resentment after his second win in 1993 after drinking orange juice in victory lane.

Elsewhere, 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve came to F1 in '96 as the reigning Indy 500 winner, whilst Juan Pablo Montoya is a two-time milk drinker, again moving to F1 in 2001 as the defending winner.

Alexander Rossi famously won as a rookie in 2016 - the 100th running of the race - in a fuel economy run whilst ex-Super Aguri racer Takuma Sato picked up the win in 2017 and the COVID delayed 2020 race.

Held in August, it is the only time the race has never been run in May, with ex-Sauber and Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson scooping the 2022 win for Ganassi.


The F1 interest in the 2024 race

For 2024, there are five ex-F1 racers in the field, including Rossi, Sato and Ericsson.

They are joined by ex-Lotus and Haas driver Romain Grosjean - and the driver who replaced him at Haas in late 2020 after his fiery Bahrain accident, one Pietro Fittipaldi...

			© IndyCar media// 2024 James BlackIG: @jamesjblackphoto
	© IndyCar media// 2024 James BlackIG: @jamesjblackphoto

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