3 F1 drivers who have overtaken Michael Schumacher with most race starts
Michael Schumacher is an iconic name in the history of F1 and motorsports. He has been the recipient of countless trophies and victories. As a seven-time world champion, the former Ferrari pilot is one of the two most successful drivers of all time.
He started his career with Jordan F1 and later on shifted to Benetton. The driver became a two-time world champion and made a big move to Ferrari. There, post-1999, he had one of the most dominating spells with the Prancing Horse.
From 2000 to 2004, Schumacher remained unbeatable. Widely regarded as a generational talent, he was practically unmatchable. His dominance might never have come to an end, if not for the young Fernando Alonso. It seemed like the driver would never stop making countless records.
One of these records also included the highest number of race starts for the longest time: at 306. In a career of almost around 17 years, Michael Schumacher was bound to have this gigantic number to his name. Over the years, however, with an increased number of races and career spans, some drivers have managed to break this record.
Let's take a look at all the drivers who have replaced Michael Schumacher in the highest number of race starts stats.
3 drivers with more race starts than Michael Schumacher
#1 Fernando Alonso (350, and counting)
Fernando Alonso started his career back in 2001 with Minardi F1. His career spanned over 17 years before he left F1 in 2018. The Spaniard, however, missed the paddock and racing and rejoined in 2020 with Alpine. As his career continues with Aston Martin for 2023, it seems like he has no plans to retire.
The driver will break Kimi Raikkonen's record for the highest number of race starts when he lines up on the Marina Bay grid today. He will be the first driver in history to reach this landmark. He reflected on the feat and gave us hope for more to come, saying:
"I'm happy to be in Formula 1 for so many years, and with the two more coming, or whatever, however long I will be in Formula 1. I will reach 400 for sure, so that's a big number. It shows my passion for the sport and my discipline to perform at the high level. If you are not performing, the team will not give you 400 grands prix, for sure."
The Spaniard became an iconic entity in the F1 world when his breakthrough performances in 2005 and 2006 happened. His close fight with Raikkonen to take the maiden world title and then a hard-earned battle with Michael Schumacher in 2006 will always be memorable seasons.
#2 Kimi Raikkonen (349)
Kimi Raikkonen is another big name on this list. He was the record holder for the most number of race starts until Fernando Alonso matched him. The Finn has undoubtedly had an illustrious F1 career, where he even secured a title victory in 2007.
His time with McLaren and Ferrari remains particularly memorable. Especially so with the latter as he was Ferrari's last world champion, after Michael Schumacher, and was one of their most successful pilots.
Raikkonen too debuted alongside Alonso in 2001 albeit for Sauber. The driver took a break for almost two years before returning in 2012 and continuing a remarkable run with Ferrari from 2014.
While in his last few years, he was not exactly a team lead, the Iceman was still a threat to many. With 21 wins and 18 poles to his name, he will always be a beloved pilot for F1 fans.
#3 Rubens Barrichello (322)
The legendary Ferrari pilot's career spanned over 18 years. He made his debut in 1993 with Jordan F1 and spent four years there. Despite not having the best car, Rubens Barrichello had some remarkable drives.
He was later picked to partner Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in 2000. The Brazilian was the only person to ever be able to challenge the German throughout the glorious five years. He played a loyal second fiddle and was instrumental in the Prancing Horses' five consecutive double championships.
The driver later spent three struggling years with Honda and later shifted to Williams. He retired after two years with the team in 2011. The Brazilian had won 11 races by then and had 14 poles to his name. While he's not a title winner, he will be remembered for coming close to it several times.
These are the three incredible drivers who managed to achieve a successful career in F1. They also managed to overtake Michael Schumacher as the top 3 race starters in F1 history.