John Watson


  • Belfast, Northern Ireland Place of Birth
  • 4 May 1946 Date of Birth
  • 1973 British Grand Prix F1 Debut
  • McLaren Current/Last Team

John Watson, born on May 4, 1946, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, started out on his racing career in the late 1960s. He advanced through different racing series before making his Formula One debut in 1973 with Goldie Hexagon Racing in a non-Championship event: the World Championship Victory Race at Brands Hatch. Watson’s first World Championship event came at the 1973 British Grand Prix.

BornJohn Marshall Watson
4 May 1946
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Initially, Watson faced numerous challenges in F1, but over time, he started making a significant impact. His breakthrough came when he clinched his first F1 win at the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix, racing for Penske. Throughout his career, Watson accumulated a total of six wins, notably including a memorable 1981 British Grand Prix, where he fought in an intense battle with his friend and competitor, Gilles Villeneuve.

Watson’s extraordinary win at the 1982 Monaco Grand Prix is particularly notable. Starting 17th, he navigated the wet track, making several daring overtakes to secure the win, cementing his reputation with one of F1’s most impressive performances.

Off of the racetrack, Watson was known for his sharp wit and charismatic personality. After retiring as a driver, he remained in Formula One as a commentator and analyst for F1 broadcasts and mentoring upcoming drivers.

John Watson Formula One World Championship career

F1 Career1973–1983, 1985
TeamsBrabham, Surtees, Lotus, Penske, McLaren
Entries154 (152 starts)
Career points169
Pole positions2
Fastest laps5
First entry1973 British Grand Prix
First win1976 Austrian Grand Prix
Last win1983 United States Grand Prix West
Last entry1985 European Grand Prix



Driver Nationality Current/Last Team F1 Debut Status
Swedish Team Lotus 1970 Monaco Grand Prix Died
Austrian McLaren 1971 Austrian Grand Prix Died, F1 Legend
Brazilian Benetton 1978 German Grand Prix F1 Legend
French Lola 1977 French Grand Prix Died
French Williams 1980 Argentine Grand Prix F1 Legend
Italian Sauber 1980 Canadian Grand Prix Died
Swedish Footwork Arrows 1980 Argentine Grand Prix Retired


Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Surtees British 1970 Historic
Brabham British 1962 Historic
Team Lotus British 1958 Historic
Penske American 1974 Historic
McLaren British 1966 Current