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Top 5 Austrian F1 drivers of all time

George Howson
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
529   //    Timeless

Niki Lauda (left) and Gerhard Berger are two greats of Formula 1.
Niki Lauda (left) and Gerhard Berger are two greats of Formula 1.

When you think of nations which have produced great Grand Prix talents, Austria isn't one that usually springs to mind, but it should be. Two world champions and another race winner hail from the mountainous central European state, and the Austrian Grand Prix has been on the Formula 1 calendar in over 30 seasons and it will continue for the foreseeable future.

Red Bull have also been a huge success, the Austrian-registered outfit have won 4 driver's and constructor's championships since joining in 2005. However, there hasn't been an Austrian driver on the Formula 1 grid since Christian Klien's stand-in appearances for HRT back in 2010, so the future doesn't look too bright on this front.


#5 Karl Wendlinger

Most of Wendlinger's F1 success came at Sauber.
Most of Wendlinger's F1 success came at Sauber.

Karl Wendlinger may have only had three full seasons in Formula 1, but in that short time, he proved himself to be a good driver. The Austrian had a short stint with the March team towards the end of 1991, and this convinced the British outfit to hire him for the following year. Wendlinger was impressive, finishing as high as fourth in Canada, which put him ahead of his teammate Paul Belmondo in the driver's standings.

March's finances were waning, and Wendlinger jumped ship to join the Sauber team for 1993, their first season in F1. In a tight season-long battle with JJ Lehto, Wendlinger came out on top, scoring on four occasions during the season. Wendlinger looked as though he was going to have a much better year in 1994, scoring points in two of the opening three rounds, but his season was cut short thanks to a terrifying crash at Monaco which could've claimed his life. This caused the then 25-year-old to miss the remainder of the season, and Karl was never the same again, as a brief comeback in 1995 yielded poor results when compared with his teammate Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

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