Formula 1 has a special connection with Germany. The sport has witnessed two incredible German drivers in the form of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, both of whom are one of the most successful drivers in the championship’s history. The Mercedes team has also shattered records as a constructor in the hybrid error and even during its time as an engine provider. The grid has always had drivers from the German state, often in the plural. However, for 2023, there will only be Nico Hulkenberg as the sole driver representing the German tricolor at the pinnacle of motorsport.
With this frequency of drivers racing from the European nation, Germany held a 30-year-long streak of securing at least 1 podium finish in Formula 1. This streak started in 1992 with Michael Schumacher’s 8 podiums and unfortunately ended with Sebastian Vettel’s P2 in Baku in 2021. The two Germans on the grid in 2022, Vettel and Mick Schumacher failed to achieve a single finish in the top 3 of a Grand Prix, leading to the end of this stellar streak.
In recent times, it was the four-time world champion, Sebastian who had helped maintain this record, with fellow world champion Nico Rosberg too securing several podiums in the hybrid era. Post Michael Schumacher’s retirement from F1, it was surprising Nick Heidfeld had the two podium finishes for a German in the sport in 2007 with BMW Sauber. As this marvellous record is broken, all now lies on Nico Hulkenberg on starting a new streak for his home country, although he might not be the best man for the job because of his record of most races without a top-three finish in Formula 1.
Fans discuss the lack of possibility of another podium streak
This fact was posted on Reddit, and fans were surprised by this record. Many fans were amazed by the role of Nick Heidfeld in maintaining this 30-year streak, one user replied, “Heidfeld scored Podiums in 6 different seasons? Although I watched all the races, I did not remember that” while another fan commented, “Heidfield making sure the streak doesn’t break after Schumacher’s retirement ending the certain German podiums every year before Vettel and Rosberg took over.”
One user even suggested starting a new streak by giving the British driver, George Russell German citizenship, the fan said, “Petition to make George an honorary German.” On a more serious note, one fan talked about the lack of future German talent in Formula 1 with the younger generations of the country not taking the same interest as the previous one, the fan replied, “A big problem of the German F1 future is the big hole in upcoming drivers… young people haven’t had a person to look up to – and thus not trying out motorsports.”
As things stand, we hope that Hulkenberg gets his first podium in the sport next year and starts a new streak for years to come, perhaps by carrying the streak by himself for a few years till more Germans can enter Formula 1 or till Mick comes back with a more competitive team. The end of such a long record is heart-breaking but it just shows the tough reality of racing at the pinnacle of motorsport, no matter how much success you get, your time will always come to an end and others will replace you.