11 Grand Prix stars who swapped F1 for rallying

1y ago


Formula 1 and rallying are very different disciplines, but a fair few Grand Prix drivers have tackled the forests over the years. Here are some of the most memorable...


A Star In A Reasonably Priced Car

Having briefly fallen out of love with F1, Kimi competed in the World Rally Championship in 2010 and 2011.

Regular points finishes and the odd spectacular shunt were the order of the day but unfortunately for the Iceman there were no wins or podiums in his two years in the WRC and thankfully for F1 fans worldwide, he was back where he knew what he was doing for 2012.


Unsurprisingly, he was quick…

Something that is impossible to imagine these days, allowing your mega star driver to head off to the Welsh hills for the day to test a current spec rally beast.

That was just what Ayrton Senna did in 1986 and despite never having seen a rally car before, was bang on the pace. What else would you expect?


Nigel Mansell in full on Rally Sprint action. Every bit as brilliant as it sounds.

OK, not quite a rally car but this is the best thing you’ll see all week.

How would you fancy watching top F1 drivers, racing each other AND a few WRC heroes in hot hatchbacks, no holds barred?

That essentially was what you got from the 1983 TV show, ‘BBC Rally Sprint’.

Add in Murray Walker on commentary duty and you have all levels of epicness.


Double F1 World Champion and car mechanic

Back in the 1960’s, F1 drivers, even world champions, would turn their hand to all manner of other forms of motorsport, none more so than Jim Clark.

Clark had a go in the 1966 RAC Rally, even putting in a bit of spanner work. The Scottish legend ran as high as sixth, before a shunt followed by a roll put him out of contention.

Still, how utterly gorgeous is that Lotus-Cortina?


Martin Brundle and Colin McRae swap wheels for the day.

A 1996 sponsor event like no other saw Jordan Grand Prix driver Martin Brundle and Subaru’s WRC ace Colin McRae drive each other's cars for the day.

As you would imagine, McRae was super quick and as a result there was even talk of a full time switch to single seaters. Mouthwatering.

Martin on the other hand, did not exactly hang around once in the Impreza, as the nervous look on co-driver McRae’s face shows…


Mika Hakkinen. Finn-tastic F1 driver, not so in rallying

If there was one driver who you’d have thought would take to a rally car like a duck to water, it would probably have been Mika Hakkinen.

Arguably, one of the best F1 drivers of all time, he did not really take to the change of discipline when he entered the 2003 Finnish Rally Championship for Mitsubishi.

A tyre issue saw him finish 30th on his debut in the Artic Rally, though he did manage 7th there the following year, before heading off to the relative comfort of the DTM.


Alain Prost, Renault F1 by day, Renault rally by night

Just as his F1 career was taking off, the four-time-champion-to-be also took part in rally events for Renault, seen here at the 1982 Rally du Var.

The Prof has entered other rallies since retiring from F1 but this particular one didn’t finish well, as the monstrously powerful Renault 5 Turbo ended up stuffed into the scenery.

Most un-Prost like.


Son vs father in time trials on a frozen lake in Lapland. Who won? Clue: It was a Rosberg.


Bobby K. On it as usual

Of course, we can’t finish without mentioning the man in the news, Robert Kubica, who’s F1 career was halted by his awful rally crash on the 2011 Ronde di Andora. However, this didn’t stop our man entering the WRC in 2013.

At the time of writing, we are waiting to see if Williams will give him an F1 seat for 2018. Many will be hoping this story has just that happy result.

Can you come up with any we’ve missed? Stick your choice in the comments section below!

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Comments (16)
  • You forgot to mention that Robert won WRC2 title straight on ;) Keep Calm & #SupportKubica !

    1 year ago
    4 Bumps
  • I never knew Senna had had a crack. Great stuff

    1 year ago
    3 Bumps