Since 1971, thousands of drivers have competed in Formula Renault. Hundreds have become professional drivers and have reached the pinnacle of motorsport. 17 have even won in Formula 1, claiming a total of 208 Grand Prix wins and 15 world titles… But who is the star pupil from this school of champions?
While waiting for the start of season 50 of Formula Renault, we give you the opportunity to play a key role by voting on a daily basis!
The winner will be announced at the conclusion of a month-long tournament during which you, our fans, along with a panel of experts, will select the greatest graduate in the history of Formula Renault.
We have chosen 17 drivers, the 17 to have won a Formula 1 Grand Prix. They have all made their mark in the motorsport’s most prestigious category, but who stands out above the rest? And what criteria should be used? Pure performance, on-track bravery, likeability or all of this and even more?
A seeded system based on the ratio of F1 wins to F1 starts allowed us to establish the final table in which the drivers will face each other. Each day, you will have your chance to vote for your favourite on formulerenault.com.
The top 12 seeds automatically qualify for the Round of 16. The five drivers with just one win in F1 will go through a preliminary round at the end of which the top four will advance to the next knockout round.
The top seeds were selected as follows: 1. Lewis Hamilton; 2. Alain Prost; 3. Sebastian Vettel; 4. Kimi Räikkönen; 5. Valtteri Bottas; 6. Charles Leclerc; 7. René Arnoux; 8. Didier Pironi; 9. Daniel Ricciardo; 10. Felipe Massa; 11. Jacques Laffite; 12. Patrick Tambay.
The tournament begins today at 14:00 CET with a 24-hour preliminary round to select the four drivers among Jean Alesi, Heikki Kovalainen, Robert Kubica, Pastor Maldonado and Olivier Panis.
The winners will be revealed tomorrow before the beginning of the Round of 16 on Wednesday, May 13. The results of the Round of 16 will then be announced at the conclusion of the eight daily head-to-head.
The vote of the fans will count for 50% of the votes in each opposition. They will be combined with the choice of our five experts, each of which will count for 10% of the final result. This panel is composed of Marcus Simmons (Autosport, United Kingdom), Medhi Casaurang-Vergez (AUTOHebdo, France), Massimo Costa (Italiaracing, Italy), Arnau Viñals (Formula Rapida, Spain) and Floris Visman (F1 Feeder Series, The Netherlands).
Get ready… Vote!
Select the last four drivers to join the Round of 16!
Starting from the Renault 5 Turbo Cup, Jean Alesi made the move to single-seaters through the French Formula Renault Championship. After a strong rookie season in 1984, the Frenchman scored five podium results the following year. He then went on to win the national Formula 3 title in 1987 and the International F3000 Championship in 1989. That same year, Jean Alesi turned heads in his F1 debut. He scored his only F1 victory at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix.
Impressive in karting, Heikki Kovalainen quickly adapted to single-seaters and Formula Renault. He finished fourth with two wins and top rookie honours in the 2001 Formula Renault UK Championship. His performance led him to a place in the Renault Driver Development programme, that accompanied him to his campaigns in the World Series by Nissan and the GP2 Series. In 2007, he made his debut in F1 with Renault F1 Team before going on to win his only Grand Prix in Hungary a year later.
The rich career of Robert Kubica began with a learning year in Formula Renault, followed by a run for the Italian title in his second season. After a stint in F3, he returned to the Renault scene in 2005 to become the first driver crowned in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. This led to his first taste of F1 power with Renault F1 Team before his debut in the pinnacle during the 2006 season and his one and only win at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix.
Following a first experience in single-seaters, Pastor Maldonado crossed the Atlantic to compete in the 2003 Italian Formula Renault Championship. He won the Winter Cup that same year, then the national title in 2004 while finishing eighth in the Eurocup. He then moved to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, where he finished third in 2006. His rise then took him to F1, where he debuted in 2011 before taking his Williams-Renault to victory in the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix.
Winner of a talent-spotting operation in 1987, Olivier Panis made his single-seater debut in the French Formula Renault Championship. Fourth in his first season in 1988, he won the following year before moving on to F1 with Ligier-Renault in 1994. He sprung a surprise with his 1996 Monaco Grand Prix win and was third in the 1997 general classification before an accident in Canada halted his progress.