Formula One drivers from France

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Formula One drivers from France
Flag of France.svg
Highest season finish1st (1985, 1986, 1989, 1993
Pole positions79
Fastest laps90
First entry1950 British Grand Prix
First win1955 Monaco Grand Prix
Latest win1996 Monaco Grand Prix
Latest entry2019 United States Grand Prix
2019 driversRomain Grosjean
Pierre Gasly
2020 driversRomain Grosjean
Esteban Ocon
Pierre Gasly
Alain Prost in 2012

There have been 75 Formula One drivers from France, the most successful of them being Alain Prost who won the World Drivers' Championship four times.

World champions and race winners[edit]

The title has been won by a French driver on four occasions, all of which were victories for Alain Prost.[1] Eleven other drivers have won at least one race, though they are all far behind Prost's tally of 51 wins.[2]

  • Alain Prost debuted with McLaren in 1980. He finished in the points on four occasions but only finished 16th overall, moving to Renault for the following season. After three successful years, including finishing the 1983 season as the championship runner-up, he returned to McLaren. Prost drove with the team between 1984 and 1989, winning the championship three times and coming second twice. During this time McLaren introduced a new team-mate for Prost – Ayrton Senna. Their relationship was difficult and the pair clashed on and off the track, leading to it being described as "one of the sport's greatest ever rivalries".[2] Prost joined Ferrari in 1990 and resumed his battle with Senna, losing the championship at the penultimate race of the season after the pair collided. In 1991 the Ferrari was uncompetitive and for the first time since his debut season Prost was unable to win a race. He publicly slated the team for their performances and was subsequently fired before the end of the year. He took a year off in 1992 and returned for one last season in 1993, winning his fourth championship.[2]
René Arnoux in 2008
  • René Arnoux won seven races during a career than spanned 12 years, having made his debut in 1978 with Martini. The team folded part way through the season, and he secured a drive with Renault for the following year. For some of his time there he partnered Alain Prost, and he controversially ignored team orders to win the 1982 French Grand Prix ahead of his favoured team mate. He moved to Scuderia Ferrari and enjoyed his most successful season, winning three races and finishing third in the championship. Ligier signed Arnoux for four seasons from 1986 and he retired after several years of poor performance.[3]
  • Jacques Laffite, who developed Ligier race cars, won six races and finished fourth in the drivers title in three successive seasons (1979–1981) : he was the first French driver to win a Grand Prix, in Sweden, for a French team, with a French car and a French engine (Matra V12). His Formula One career began in 1974 and ended with a serious accident at the 1986 British Grand Prix, though he still raced in other disciplines.[4]
Didier Pironi in 1982
  • Didier Pironi started his Formula One career in 1978 with Tyrrell. He moved to Ligier in 1980 alongside compatriot Jacques Laffite, frequently outpacing the team leader. He won that year's Belgian Grand Prix and finished fifth in the championship. He signed with Ferrari as partner to Gilles Villeneuve but could not keep pace with the French-Canadian. In 1982, the year of Villeneuve's death, Pironi looked set to win the championship having won two races and finished on the podium six times. At the German Grand Prix he crashed during a practice session, breaking his legs and ending both his title challenge and his career.[5]
  • Patrick Tambay made his Formula One debut in 1977 with Ensign. He signed for McLaren for his second year in the sport but the car was never particularly competitive. He left the team at the end of 1979, being replaced by Alain Prost for his first year in the sport. Tambay returned in 1981 after a year in the US but was dropped at the end of the season. He announced his retirement but was asked to drive for Ferrari for the second half of the 1982 season after the death their driver, and close friend of Tambay, Gilles Villeneuve. He won one race and stayed with Ferrari for the following season, winning once more. After two years with Renault and one with Lola he retired for a second time.[6]
  • Maurice Trintignant competed in the inaugural season of the Formula One World Championship, debuting at the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix in a Simca-Gordini. Five years later he became the first French driver to win a World Championship Grand Prix at the same circuit. His only other race win also came at Monaco when he took the chequered flag in the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix. He retired in 1964 having raced with ten different teams.[7][8]
Patrick Depailler in 1975

Alphabetic list[edit]

Jean Alesi in 2011
Jean Pierre Beltoise in 1969
Francois Cevert in 1973
Jean-Pierre Jabouille in 1975
Olivier Panis in 2002
Henri Pescarolo in 1973
Charles Pic in 2013


  • Jean Alesi (born 1964): 202 GP (201 starts) from 1989 to 2001, 241 points, 1 win
  • Philippe Alliot (born 1954): 116 GP (109 starts) from 1984 to 1994, 7 points
  • René Arnoux (born 1948): 165 GP (149 starts) from 1978 to 1989, 181 points, 7 wins



  • François Cevert (1944–1973) : 47 GP (46 starts) from 1970 to 1973, 89 points, 1 win
  • Eugène Chaboud (1907–1983) : 3 GP in 1950 and 1951, 1 point
  • Bernard Collomb (1930–2011) : 6 GP (4 starts) from 1961 to 1964
  • Érik Comas (born 1963) : 63 GP (59 starts) from 1991 to 1994, 7 points











  • Olivier Panis (born 1966) : 158 GP (157 starts) from 1994 to 2004, 76 points, 1 win
  • Henri Pescarolo (born 1942) : 64 GP (57 starts) from 1968 to 1976, 12 points
  • Charles Pic (born 1990) : 39 GP in 2012 and 2013
  • François Picard (1921–1996): 1 GP in 1958
  • Didier Pironi (1952–1987): 72 GP (70 starts) from 1978 to 1982, 101 points, 3 wins
  • Jacques Pollet (1922–1997): 5 GP in 1954 and 1955
  • Charles Pozzi (1909–2001) : 1 GP in 1950
  • Alain Prost (born 1955): 202 GP (199 starts) from 1980 to 1993, 798.5 points, 51 wins, World Drivers' Champion (4)




  • Patrick Tambay (born 1949) : 123 GP (114 starts) from 1977 to 1986, 102 points, 2 wins
  • Maurice Trintignant (1917–2005) : 84 GP (82 starts) from 1950 to 1964, 72.33 points, 2 wins


Current drivers[edit]

In the 2019 Formula One season there are two French drivers.

Romain Grosjean was born in Geneva, Switzerland but races as a French driver. He came through the Renault driver development programme, becoming a test driver for the team in 2008. When Nelson Piquet, Jr. was dropped in 2009 Grosjean was promoted into the racing seat but failed to impress, being dropped for the following year. He was brought back into the team (now named Lotus F1) for the 2012 season.[16] For 2016, he moved to the Haas F1 Team.

Pierre Gasly made his debut for Scuderia Toro Rosso at the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix. He was then promoted to Red Bull Racing for 2019 after Daniel Ricciardo left the team.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Drivers". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Alain Prost". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  3. ^ "René Arnoux". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Jacques Laffite". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Didier Pironi". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  6. ^ "Patrick Tambay". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  7. ^ Williamson, Martin. "Maurice Trintignant". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Drivers: Maurice Trintignant". Inside F1, Inc. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Patrick Depailler". STATS F1. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Jean-Pierre Jabouille". STATS F1. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  11. ^ "François Cevert". STATS F1. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Jean-Pierre Beltoise". STATS F1. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Big hitters – Button joins the 200-plus club". Formula One World Championship Limited. July 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  14. ^ Williamson, Martin. "Olivier Panis". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Grand Prix of Marocco (1958)". The Formula One Archives..
  16. ^ "Romain Grosjean (biography)". Formula One World Championship Limited. Retrieved 30 September 2012.