In the old days, F1 drivers usually entered the sport at a much later age than they do today: most in their thirties or forties. Consequently, by the time they'd get themselves in good enough form to be world champion, not to mention earn the right to drive for a worthy team, they'd be on the far side of the forties.
F1's first world champion was Nino Farina and he was 44 years old at the time of his crowning achievement. The following year, five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio picked up his first of five championships at the ripe old age of 48.
However, the trend began to change with time. F1 gradually went from being a hobby for gentleman drivers to a serious professional sport. Subsequently, drivers began to be raised from an ever-younger age as the competitiveness went up a notch year-on-year.
Max Verstappen, arguably the quickest driver in the sport now, entered the sport at just 17 and won a race by the time he was 18.
Out of five of the youngest world champions, three are still racing in Formula 1. Here, we look at five of the youngest F1 champions.
5) Michael Schumacher
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher won his maiden title in 1994 with the Benetton Ford Formula 1 team, aged 25 years, 10 months and 10 days.
Schumacher won his second title the following year in 1995, when the same team was rebadged as Benetton Renault. The German didn’t win a championship again until his stint with Ferrari bore fruit in 2000, marking the beginning of the most dominant years in the sport for both the drivers as well as the team, as they went on to secure five titles in total while Schumacher won 91 races.
Schumacher ended his career with a bit less fanfare after a fairly average comeback stint with the Mercedes Grand Prix team and retired after the 2013 season - the end of the V8 engine era in the sport. His departure from F1 marked the beginning of another dominant era for his former team Mercedes, who won eight titles with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
4) Emerson Fittipaldi
The Brazilian double world champion, famous for being one of the most versatile drivers in series history, won his first title in 1972 with Team Lotus, aged 25 years, 8 months and 29 days. The Brazilian won his second in 1974 with Team Texaco. Although he retired from Formula 1 after the 1980 championship, he went on to a successful career in Indycar that included a title and multiple Indy 500 victories.
He won the Indy 500 in 1989 and 1993, and contested the event for 12 years. The double world champion participated in the Daytona 24 hours sports car race in 1985, but notched up a DNS (did not start) due to a mechanical issue.
The Brazilian is a semi-retired racing driver today and his other participations motorsport include the Grand Prix Masters series from 2005-2006 and the World Endurance Championship in 2014.