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Formula 1 and the Indianapolis 500 are two different types of motorsports, but there have been drivers from the former cross over to the latter, and they’ve not only competed, they’ve gone on to win the Indy 500.
It’s somewhat of a remarkable feat, evidenced by the limited number of drivers to achieve it.
If you go back to the ten years between 1950 and 1960 and were wagering who would win the Indy 500, you’d also be involved in Formula 1 betting, as the former was classed as an F1 race.
Ward was the first F1 driver to achieve success in the Indy 500, winning it in 1959 and 1962.
Jim Clark was a two-time Formula 1 champion renowned for his versatility, so it makes sense that he went on to compete in the Indy 500. In five attempts, he was declared the winner in 1965.
Graham Hill won the Indy 500 the year after Clark, but what sets him apart is that he’s the only man to win motorsport’s Triple Crown.
Alongside Indy 500 success, Hill won the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours.
Only one man made more starts in the Indy 500 than Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt. From his 29 starts, Andretti managed to secure victory in 1969, where he was the dominant force in the race.
Mark Donohue tragically lost his life during the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix. As well as impressing in F1, Donohue also won the 1972 Indy 500, for which he is remembered.
Danny Sullivan raced in F1 for a season before finding his home in the Indy 500. He was IndyCar Champion in 1988, but in his next eleven outings, he didn’t finish on eight occasions.
Emerson Fittipaldi tasted success in F1 in both 1972 and 1974 before taking on the Indy 500. He became champion in 1989 and added another winners trophy to the cabinet in 1993.
Jacques Villeneuve did things the other way round, as he conquered America and the Indy 500 first in 1993 before moving into F1, where he was also a hit.
Eddie Cheever gave it everything he’d got in Formula 1 but couldn’t make the impression he was looking for. However, he made the grade at Indy, winning it in 1998.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Like Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya tasted success in IndyCar before moving over to F1. He won it in 2000 before racing in Formula 1. He returned to win Indy 500 in 2015.
Alexander Rossi tried with all his might in F1, but his team wasn’t competitive. However, in 2016, he became just the tenth rookie to win Indy 500, which is some feat.
When Fernando Alonso broke away from McLaren to race at Indy 2017, many expected him to win it. But he was upstaged by Takuma Sato, who was victorious, following that up with another IndyCar crown in 2020.
Marcus Ericsson quit F1 in 2018, and what a great decision it proved to be. IndyCar was a much happier place for him, evidenced when he became the second Swedish driver to win it in 2022.
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