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Ranking The Greatest Canadian Formula 1 Drivers Of All Time

12 Jun | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Ranking The Greatest Canadian Formula 1 Drivers Of All Time

In this article, Betway rank every Canadian F1 driver in history based on their driving record.

Canada is the land of snow, beaver tails, and… motorsport? You heard that right – Formula 1 is returning to Canada from June 14-16 for the Montreal Grand Prix. It is Canada’s only Formula 1 race, with only one Canadian driver on the grid this year. But that doesn’t mean Canada hasn’t contributed to the highest level of motorsport. Some Canadian drivers have gone down in history, while others have barely reached the start line. 

Note: The rankings below are based solely on the individual’s F1 racing record. Many of these individuals have had achievements in other motorsport competitions, but these are not factored into these rankings. 

13. Al Pease

Entries: 3

Best finish: DNF

Career points: 0

Many of the drivers at the bottom of this list are relatively unknown in Formula 1. But Al Pease, a driver from the late ‘60s, has one accolade that helps him stand out from the crowd. He is the only driver in Formula 1’s 70+ years of history disqualified from a Grand Prix for driving too slow. Out of Pease’s three entries in the sport, the closest he got to finishing a Grand Prix was in 1967, when he was declared non-classified, finishing 43 laps behind the leaders.

12. Eppie Wietzes

Entries: 2

Best finish: DNF

Career points: 0

The first-ever Canadian GP was in 1967 and saw a few Canadian entries, including Eppie Wietzes. Though Wietzes had never been in a Formula 1 car before this Grand Prix, he qualified in 16th. Unfortunately on race day, Wietzes retired from the race and was later disqualified for receiving help from a spectator. He had no better luck in his second entry but did become the driver of the first safety car in Formula 1. 

11. Bill Brack

Entries: 3

Best finish: DNF

Career points: 0

William Brack is another Canadian racer that solely competed in the Canadian Grand Prix, with three races in total. Of those, he had two retirements and one non-classification. Though this may not seem like a highly-decorated F1 career, Brack has been quoted as saying that his drive shaft was switched with teammate and F1 legend Graham Hill’s to give the championship contender a better chance in the Grand Prix. So, who knows what might have happened if he had a full-capacity vehicle? 

10. John Cordts

Entries: 1

Best finish: DNF 

Career points: 0

If it weren’t for an oil leak in the early stages of his first F1 race, Cordts might have gone on to be the first on our list to place. Though he qualified 19th overall for the 1969 Canadian Grand Prix, in the initial 10 laps of the GP, he had managed to push his car up to P16 before forced retirement. It’s unfortunate for some Canadian racers, but Formula 1 is a difficult sport to compete in if you don’t come from money or sponsor deals, and Cordts is one of those cases.

9. John Cannon

Entries: 1

Best finish: 14

Career points: 0

Cannon is the first driver in our list that completed an entire Grand Prix without DSQ or NC. Cannon only entered one World Championship Grand Prix and finished 14th. He also finished 12th in a non-Championship Formula One race. So, though he didn’t receive any championship points, he had a respectable entry into F1.

8. Peter Broeker

Entries: 1

Best finish: 7th

Career points: 0

Broeker was the first Canadian to compete in a WC F1 race in a Canadian-built car. He built the Stebro car, which helped him get seventh place overall in the 1963 United States Grand Prix. Though he didn’t score any championship points, a single entry for a seventh place finish is nothing to scoff at. 

7. Allen Berg

Entries: 9

Best finish: 12th

Career points: 0

As mentioned earlier, Formula 1 is a sponsor-driven sport. Berg is an unfortunate case of a driver with strong potential who didn’t have the sponsor dollars to continue further in the sport after his single season in 1986. Though racing with a less competitive team, Berg managed a personal best GP finish in 12th, along with a string of retirements and lower placements. 

6. George Eaton

Entries: 13

Best finish: 10th

Career points: 0

Eaton competed briefly in the sport during the late 1960s and early 70s and was the first Canadian to be a Formula 1 factory team member actively. His family’s wealth partly facilitated his Formula 1 career, as his father owned Eaton’s department store chain. Throughout three seasons (1969-1971), he entered 13 World Championship Grands Prix, with his best result being a 10th-place finish. 

5. Nicholas Latifi

Entries: 61

Best finish: 7th

Career points: 9

Though Latifi has more GP entries to his name than anyone else on our list so far, he was never truly able to rise from the mediocrity of the lower grid. During his three-year run with Williams, he put together nine points. He’s the first person on our list to earn World Championship points.

4. Peter Ryan

Entries: 1

Best finish: 9th

Career points: 0

Ryan was the first Canadian driver to participate in a Formula 1 grand prix at the 1961 United States GP. He was the first and performed admirably in his initial foray into the sport, achieving a ninth-place finish. Unfortunately, though he was recognized as having strong potential in the sport, Ryan died in a racing crash just a year after his Formula 1 debut at 22. His short but impressive history in F1 earned him our fourth place ranking of Canadian drivers. 

3. Lance Stroll

Entries: 130

Best finish: 3rd

Career points: 229

Stroll has proven to be a strong racing driver. Though his entry to the sport may have come in part due to sponsorship money provided by his father, Lance has been racing in the sport since 2017 and has achieved 229 career points, the most of anyone on our list. He has also been on the podium three times, one in his very first season in the sport. Who knows, maybe Lance will be the one to bring the World Championship title home to Canada again one day.

2. Jacques Villeneuve

Entries: 165

Best finish: 1st

Career points: 235

Villeneuve didn’t just win Canada’s first and only World Championship in Formula 1, but he did it during the reign of Michael Schumacher. Villeneuve was responsible for further ironing out Canada’s legacy in Formula 1 after his father, Gilles. He raced in Formula 1 for ten years and, in that time, brought home a world championship, second place in the WC, and many GP wins and podium positions. 

1. Gilles Villeneuve

Entries: 68

Best finish: 1st

Career points: 101

Villeneuve is remembered as one of the fastest and most exciting drivers in the history of Formula 1. His F1 career, though relatively short, from 1977 until his death in 1982, was marked by incredible driving skills and fearlessness. Despite winning only six races, his daring on-track battles and raw speed made him a fan favourite worldwide. His performances at both the 1979 French Grand Prix and the 1981 Spanish Grand Prix are remembered as some of the finest in the sport. Unfortunately, Villeneuve’s career was cut short when he died in a qualifying crash at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. Despite his short career, Villeneuve’s legacy continues to influence and inspire the world of motorsport, not just in Canada but worldwide.

Every one of these drivers has, in their own way, helped to shape Canadian motorsport as we see it today. There have been a lot of ups and downs, results-wise, for Canadian drivers through Formula 1’s extensive history, but ultimately, Canada has contributed significantly to the story of the sport. As we look to the future, we can only anticipate that the legacy of these Canadian drivers will inspire the next generation to continue Canada’s proud tradition in Formula 1 racing. And we hope Lance will add more points to Canada’s roster in the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix on June 18th!

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