Top Canadian F1 Drivers: A Look at the Best in the Sport

November 17, 2023
Tom Thorns

Canada has a rich history in Formula 1, mainly through the feats of the Villeneuve family, Gilles Villeneuve and his son, Jacques Villeneuve, who won a World Drivers’ Championship in 1997.

There have been 15 Canadian F1 drivers since their first entry during the 1961 United States Grand Prix.

Canada is also among the few countries who have won their first Formula 1 race in their home Grand Prix.

Below, I’ll go over the details on the Canadian Formula One drivers, so keep reading!

Canadian Drivers Performance Overview in F1

Let me show you how well Canadian drivers have been doing in Formula 1 throughout the sport’s history:

Grands Prix403
Best Season Finish1st (1997)
Pole Positions16
Fastest Laps17
Average Points per Driver109.21
First Entry1961 United States Grand Prix
First Win1978 Canadian Grand Prix
Latest Win1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix
Latest Entry2023 Japanese Grand Prix
2023 DriversLance Stroll

Canada first got a taste of Formula 1 in 1961 and gained its first win in 1978, at the Canadian Grand Prix.

With 17 total wins, 39 podiums, and 1529 championship points, Canada is in the top 20 countries regarding points.

The country was absent from Formula 1 races during the 2006 – 2017 period, between the retirement of Jacques Villeneuve and the entry of Lance Stroll.

Below, I’ll show you the performance of all the Canadian F1 drivers!

All-Time Canadian F1 Drivers

Here’s a timeline of all the Canadian F1 drivers and their performance in the sport, since they first started participating:

DriversActive YearsEntriesWinsPodiumsCareer PointsPolesFastest LapsChampionships
Peter Ryan1961100000-
Peter Broeker1963100000-
Ernie de Vos19631 (0 starts)00000-
Al Pease1967-19693 (2 starts)00000-
Eppie Wietzes1967, 1974200000-
Bill Brack1968-1969, 1972200000-
John Cordts1969100000-
George Eaton1969-197113 (11 starts)00100-
John Cannon1971100000-
Gilles Villeneuve1977-198268 (67 starts)61340928-
Jacques Villeneuve Sr.1981, 19833 (0 starts)00000-
Allen Berg1986900000-
Jacques Villeneuve1996-2006165 (163 starts)11238611391 (1997)
Lance Stroll2017-2023139 (137 starts)0324110-
Nicholas Latifi2020-202261 (61 starts)010900-

Three Canadian drivers had the most impact on Canadian F1 – Jacques Villeneuve, Gilles Villeneuve, and Lance Stroll, in that order.

Jacques Villeneuve won the country’s only World Drivers’ Championship, Gilles Villeneuve won 6 races and gathered 409 points throughout multiple Grands Prix, while Lance Stroll is the current Canadian racing driver.

Let me tell you more about Lance Stroll next!

How Many Canadian Drivers Are Now on the Grid?

The only Canadian racing driver on the 2023 grid is Lance Stroll, who’s currently driving for Aston Martin.

Let’s go over his story below.

Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll was born on the 29th of October, 1998, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He’s 24 years old. For the 2023 season, he drives for the Aston Martin F1 team, which his father is a co-owner of.

Stroll began his Formula One career with karting and continued with the junior leagues of motorsport. He won the Italian F4 Championship, the Toyota Racing Series, and the F3 European Championship.

His entry in Formula One was during the 2017 Australian Grand Prix with the Williams team, when he partnered with Felipe Massa.

Stroll was the first Canadian F1 racing driver on the track afterJacques Villeneuve had won the 1997 World Drivers’ Championship and retired in 2006.

He became the youngest rookie and the second youngest driver behind Max Verstappen to reach the podium finish during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. He was just 18 years and 239 days old.

He was also the youngest Formula 1 driver to start on the front row after Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo had taken grid penalties.

In 2019, Lance Stroll switched teams to Racing Point (soon-to-be Aston Martin) and partnered with Sergio Pérez. He scored the first points of the team during the Australian Grand Prix.

But eventually, he was outscored by teammate Sergio Pérez by 32 points, whose performance was better in 18 of all 21 races.

Stroll achieved his second podium at the Italian Grand Prix in 2020 and his first pole position at the Turkish Grand Prix of the same year.

In 2021, Racing Point was rebranded to Aston Martin, and Lance Stroll partnered with Sebastian Vettel. He didn’t showcase any notable achievements during the 2021-2022 seasons.

However, in 2023, he was partnered with Fernando Alonso after Sebastian Vettel retired from Formula One.

So far, the 2023 season was a constant line-up of crashes, accidents, mechanical failures, and car issues for Stroll, with only limited success on the track.

How Many Canadian Drivers Have Won Championships?

The only driver from Canada who won a World Drivers’ Championship is Jacques Villeneuve.

Let’s look at his performance and story below!

Jacques Villeneuve

Jacques Joseph Charles Villeneuve was born on April 9th, 1971, in Saint-Hean-sur-Richelieu, in Quebec, Canada.

His 10-year career in Formula 1 was a golden age for Canadian Formula 1 after winning the 1997 championship.

Take a look at his overall performance in F1:

Active Years1996-2006
TeamsWilliams, BAR, Renault, Sauber, BMW Sauber
Entries165 (163 starts)
Championships Won1 (1997)
Races Won11
Career Points861
Pole Positions13
Fastest Laps9
First Entry1996 Australian Grand Prix
First Win1996 European Grand Prix
Last Win1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix
Last Entry2006 German Grand Prix

Villeneuve participated in Formula 3, the IndyCar Series, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the NASCAR Cup Series before coming to Formula One with Williams in 1996.

He became the first rookie runner-up in the World Drivers’ Championship in 1996 and even beat Michael Schumacher in the 1997 Season, winning seven races and becoming the first Canadian World Champion.

In 1998, he helped Williams take third place in the World Constructors’ Championship and continued racing until 2006.

He achieved two podiums in 2001 and went through multiple teams from 2002 until 2006, including BAR, Renault, Sauber, and BMW Sauber. However, he could not catch lightning in a bottle twice.

His 1997 season is particularly interesting, however. His main rival was Michael Schumacher and the competition was intense, to say the least.

Villeneuve was driving the FW19, which was one of the most powerful Formula One cars at the time. He scored consistently and, by the final race, he was one point behind Schumacher’s 78 championship points.

He needed to reach the top six if he would beat Schumacher for the championship title. In the last race, the two drivers were involved in a collision which saw Schumacher veer into a gravel trap. This gave Villeneuve the advantage needed to win the race and the championship.

He was the second driver to win the Formula One World Championship, Indianapolis 500, and the CART title after Mario Andretti, and the first Canadian Formula One World Champion.

To sum up, Canada has had 15 Formula One drivers competing on the track.

Jacques Villeneuve remains one of the greatest Formula One drivers in motor racing history and the proud winner of his country’s only World Championship.

Lance Stroll is carrying his country’s legacy in Formula 1 and it remains to be seen how he’ll represent Canadian Formula One racing in the future!