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Alonso joins illustrious list of comebacks

Alonso joins illustrious list of comebacks

17-01-2021 16:05 Last update: 21:12


Fernando Alonso will be back on the Formula 1 grid next season after two years. However, the two-time world champion is not the first world champion to dust off his helmet after a departure and make a comeback in Formula 1.

No fewer than seven world champions have done the same, Motorsportweek.com reports. One comeback with more success than the other. We dive into the history books and see which F1 champions made a successful comeback and which did not.

Michael Schumacher

The driver with the longest absence from Formula 1 at the time of his comeback was Michael Schumacher. Formula 1 had to do without Schumi for 52 races. After the 2006 season, the seven-time world champion hung up his helmet. In 2010, the German returned to Mercedes after three years. A return to his glory days, however, it was not to be. Schumacher only managed one podium finish in three years and finally quit after 2012.

Alan Jones

Alan Jones returned to Formula 1 after 40 races. The 1980 World Champion with Williams stopped after 1981 to return to Team Haas (no connection with the current Haas) at the end of 1985. In 1986, Jones manages to score four more points before quitting for good at the end of the season.

Kimi Raikkonen

The Finnish driver is the most experienced driver ever in Formula 1 and will drive for Alfa Romeo next season. Raikkonen gave Ferrari their last world title in 2007 and retired from Formula 1 in 2010. In 2012, after missing 38 races, he returned to Lotus where he achieved two wins in two years and finished third in the championship in 2012 before returning to Ferrari. In 2018, he was again third in the championship and won in the USA.

Niki Lauda

Lauda becomes world champion with Ferrari in 1975 and 1977, but a move to Brabham brought little success. After the 1979 season, Lauda said goodbye to Formula 1. McLaren managed to bring Lauda back in 1982 (after 31 missed races) and in 1984 Lauda became World Champion for the third time. After a disappointing season in 1985, where he scored only fourteen points, Lauda quit Formula 1 for good.

Nigel Mansell

In 1992, Mansell won the world championship in the Williams with nine victories in sixteen races, but said goodbye to Formula 1 after that season. He missed a total of 22 races but returned to Williams in 1994 after the death of Ayrton Senna. Mansell won in Australia, but Williams chooses David Coulthard for the following season. Mansell drove two more races for McLaren in 1995 but was not able to break through here.

Alain Prost

Prost won world titles with McLaren in 1985, 1986 and 1989 and quit Formula 1 in 1991. In 1993 he returned (after seventeen missed races) for one more season in the Williams. Prost picked up thirteen pole positions and seven wins in sixteen races that season to comfortably win a fourth world title. Perhaps the most successful comeback by a world champion, despite being short-lived.

Jacques Villeneuve

The last in the line of world champions with a comeback is Jacques Villeneuve. In 1997, Villeneuve took his only world title in the Williams in only his second season in Formula One. His move to the new BAR was by no means a success and he left the team in 2003 before the end of the season. In late 2004, the Canadian returned to Renault and joined Sauber in 2005 and 2006. 

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