The WEIRDEST countries to produce Formula 1 drivers!

13-02-2021 12:00
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Several countries have developed a reputation for developing Formula 1 talent, think about Great Britain, Germany, and even Finland have got a bit of a knack for uncovering talent. However, what about the countries where isn’t such a prominent sport? We thought we’d take a look at the Weirdest countries to have had Formula 1 drivers!

Hungary

Grab your passports because first up we are heading to Hungary. A country known for having Europe’s largest lake and the largest thermal water cave system in the world. But Zsolt Baumgartner made his Formula 1 debut at his home race in the place of the injured Ralph Firman and it was set up for him to make a huge impact. He didn’t, he retired from the race which would be Fernando Alonso’s maiden F1 victory. There were plans for him to race for Jordan in 04 but that fell through and something possessed Minardi to take a punt on him. His season was far from impressive, he scored one point, albeit Minardi’s first in two years at the US Grand Prix and he was never seen in F1 again. 

Czech Republic

Sticking with Europe we’ll head to the Czech Republic. Tomas Enge flew the flag for the country in 2001 racing under the Prost team. However, his stint in F1 was even more underwhelming than Baumgartner. He made his debut at the Italian Grand Prix as a replacement for Luciano Burti who was recovering from a crash. His F1 break was funded by a local Coca-Cola subsidiary but it only last three races. The season finale at Suzuka was his farewell. Three entries zero points. 

Malaysia

We are switching continents now and we’ll start our Asian Adventure in Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur the birth place of our next driver, Alex Yoong. The Malaysian driver made his debut at the same race as Enge, the 01 Italian Grand Prix racing for Minardi. He didn’t score any points in the final three races of the season but was chosen to compete for the team the following year. To race in Formula 1 you’ve got to be fairly talented but I think it is fair to say Yoong wasn’t in the 2002 season he failed to qualify on three occasions as he missed the 107% cut. He was gone at the end of the season and unsurprisingly never seen in F1 again.

Thailand

Thailand now and we’ve seen Alex Albon flying the flag for the last two years but he’s one of only two drivers to race under the Thai flag. The other is Birabongse Bhanudej. More commonly known as Prince Bira of Siam, a member of the Thai Royal Family, he made 19 appearances between 1950 and 1954. The most successful driver on our list he scored eight points. He made his debut at the British Grand Prix and concluded his F1 career at Pedralbes in Spain. During his career, he raced for Enrico Platé, Gordini, Connaught, Maserati, Scuderia Milano, as well as racing independently. 

India

We are concluding our trip around the world in India where England are one-nil up in their cricket series against Virat Kohli’s India, great news for for us English but not so much for our hosts who haven’t had much like with F1 drivers either. Karun Chandhok is regularly seen on your TV screens as a pundit for Sky Sports but his F1 career was brief. 11 starts yielded zero points, 10 of those for HRT who didn’t score a single point anyway. His eleventh and final appearance came in Germany with Lotus in 2011 where he had been a test driver. His compatriot Narain Karthikeyan was more successful scoring five points in 48 entries, although this does include a did not qualify in Bahrain in 2012 with HRT.

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