Life after Formula 1 - Five drivers who are doing well in other forms of racing

Prathik Khanna

When we take a look back at drivers of the past, we are reminded of the likes of Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen and so on.

All these legends of the sport have won multiple championships and later bowed out with the utmost respect, however there have been many drivers who have won respect from fans and fellow drivers alike just for reaching the top level of motorsport.

Let’s take a look at some of these drivers who are doing well in other forms of racing.

Alexander Wurz

Alexander Wurz at Le Mans, 2013

Wurz was associated with Formula 1 for almost 13 years between 1997 and 2009. From being a race driver for 69 races to a development driver for Williams and Mclaren, Wurz managed only 3 podiums in his long F1 career. For a driver of his calibre, he should have managed to do much better but it wasn’t meant to be.

The Austrian driver has had a much better career in Endurance Racing. He finished first with the Joest Racing team in 1996 to claim the title of the youngest driver to win the Le Mans 24 Hour race; the record still stands today.

He returned to Le Mans in 2008 and in the following year he took another victory, this time with the Peugeot Racing team. In the following years where he finished the race twice, he claimed to fourth place finishes with the Peugeot and Toyota Racing team.

In 2012, He won three races in the Endurance Championship and finished the Season in 3rd place. The 39-year-old hasn’t been one of the famous F1 drivers, but he sure does have a big fan following in other racing leagues and continues to work as a Formula 1 expert for the media, as a Willaims’ F1 driver coach, FIA driver steward and is also an FIA Road Safety Ambassador.

Giancarlo Fisichella

Giancarlo Fisichella

Fisichella has had a long career in Formula 1 and has raced for Minardi, Jordan, Benetton, Sauber, Renault, Force India and even for Ferrari. That is quite a long list of teams and has been a familiar face in the paddock for many years.

After many years of racing he bowed out, with a lot of respect, at the end of 2010 F1 season. Since then, he has remained with the Ferrari brand and competes in the World Endurance Championships for the AF Corse team.

He has competed in four Le Mans races and has finished on the podium twice, winning in 2012. Last year, Fisichella finished on the podium in all but two races, taking four race victories and winning his team the Championship in the LMGTE Pro Trophy.

This year his team is in 4th place with 5 races to go. Endurance Racing has surely given the Italian driver a lot of success and he will continue to race for the coming years to reach new heights.

Narain Karthikeyan

Karthikeyan with his trophy, Silverstone

Our very own Narain Karthikeyan who started it all for Indian motorsports back in 2005 has been a big name in Indian motorsports for the last decade.

He became the first Indian to compete in Formula 1 and has since then competed in various racing leagues around the world to make Indians proud.

His stint in Formula 1 wasn’t anything to cheer about except for the fact that we had an Indian up there among the legends of the sport. He had only one point-scoring finish in the controversial 2005 US Grand Prix.

After Jordan, he was associated with Williams as a test driver and later returned to racing with the HRT team for two seasons. After F1, Karthikeyan has competed in A1 Grand Prix, Le Mans, NASCAR and is currently competing in the Auto GP World Series. His stint in A1 earned him 2 wins.

His most successful performance came in this year’s Auto GP series where he has taken two wins and another podium after switching to the Super-Nova team. With three rounds remaining, Karthikeyan is currently placed 4th in the Championship 30 points behind 3rd place Ghirelli.

Narain Karthikeyan will always remain as the first Indian to compete in F1 and has set the trend for Indians in motorsport. What Narain started a decade back has proved that Indians can do well in motorsport if they have the right financial backing.

Robert Kubica

Kubica testing the Mercedes DTM Car, Valencia

This young Polish driver showed us a lot of potential when he was in Formula 1. His horrendous crash in 2011 halted his dreams of winning an F1 championship. He spent 18 months in recovery before returning to racing.

His limited mobility resulted in him staying out of an F1 car, and his willpower gave him the ability to compete in Rallying again. He currently competes in WRC and European Rally Championships and is improving his skill in every race his competes in.

His results have proved his potential. He is currently in 3rd in the WRC-2 Championship, and he has taken 2 wins out of the 4 races he has competed in. He also tested the Mercedes DTM car earlier this year in order to check his fitness.

It will be a while before he can be fit enough for a Formula 1 return, but the question is will he be given the chance to return to F1? Right now he should stick to WRC and in a couple of years’ time, look at F1 as an option.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Montoya racing for the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Team

Montoya has had a good career in Formula 1 between 2001 and 2006 competing for the Williams F1 team and also for McLaren. He has been on the podium 30 times and won 7 races. He has finished third in the World Championship twice and has a reputation of being a solid driver.

After his retirement from F1 in mid-2006 after a horrible season, he moved on to NASCAR and has competed in 230 races. In his debut season in 2007, he won the Rookie of the Year award.

He won the 24 hours of Daytona thrice in the years 2007, 2008 and in 2013. Montoya has competed in IndyCar, NASCAR and F1 having won races in each. This achievement has put him up there along with the likes of Mario Andretti and Dan Gurney.

His performances in recent years have impressed his fellow drivers, and he is one the most popular faces in the NASCAR Paddock.

Edited by Staff Editor


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