Formula 1 trophies have, historically, been as hit-and-miss as Ferrari’s form in recent seasons. Sometimes we’ll see one of the best-designed trophies; a genuine work of art, and sometimes, well, we have something plastic and flimsy.
In recent years, the vast majority of these trophies have been lifted by none other than Formula 1’s most decorated driver, Lewis Hamilton.
The seven-time world champion has enjoyed an illustrious career with McLaren and Mercedes and has won the most races in F1 history with 103 – it’s fair to say he’s seen his fair share of trophies through the years.
“Did you see the Monaco one? The last one in Austria was wooden, the whole thing was wooden. The base was like lead. I mean, what? It is supposed to be silver.” said Hamilton. “They are just terrible, man. They are so bad.”
It is called silverware, after all.
Here’s some of the best and worst Formula 1 trophies in history
Australian Grand Prix 2019
Named after one of Formula 1’s most celebrated drivers Sir Jack Brabham, the Australian Grand Prix trophy is inspired by the three-time world champion Australian driver’s steering wheel from his 1956 Cooper-Climax raced at Albert Park.
The story goes, that Dan Flynn, the son of the man who began the Flynn Silver design business a generation previously, first designed the now iconic Australian-made trophy with nothing more than a pencil and paper in a local pub in Victoria.
Singapore Grand Prix 2009
From Formula 1’s iconic night race comes a trophy more reminiscent of an old church organ or the modified exhaust pipe from one of the Mad Max desert vehicles; it’s certainly not the most elegant piece on our list.
The alternating black and silver tubes are meant to signify the black and white chequered flag at the end of the race, whilst the shape of the trophy resembled the Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay in downtown Singapore.
European Grand Prix 1993
The European Grand Prix 1993 was an iconic race, and the stage for what is considered by many to be the best lap by a driver in Formula 1 history.
Ayrton Senna started the wet and windy race in P4, behind Damon Hill and long-time rival Alain Prost. On the first lap, Michael Schumacher pushed the Brazilian driver wide but allowed him to reclaim his place almost instantly before the first corner. From there Senna took a chance and pushed on the wet track for what is now dubbed the “Lap of the Gods.”
Senna won the race against the odds, capturing the all-conquering Williams from 4th to claim a famous victory. But his trophy, for the race formally known as the Sega European Grand Prix, could be one of the most calamitous mismatches in F1 history, as Senna lifted Sonic the Hedgehog over his head.
Personally, I quite like it.
British Grand Prix 2014
Lewis Hamilton, then a two-time world champion, voiced his displeasure at receiving one of the worst trophies in F1; a red acrylic Santander trophy, for winning the British Grand Prix in 2014.
“Last year they gave me this weird plastic thing and I’m like, ‘this is not the trophy,’ it’s like a GP2 trophy, not the Formula 1 trophy.”
“The gold one [the RAC Cup] is really special. It would be great if each country had a real trophy like that, with character that grew over the years because of the history. I don’t know why they don’t make them the same any more.”
This isn’t an appropriate trophy befitting the heritage and prestige of the British Grand Prix. It hasn’t been used since.
British Grand Prix 2021
Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the British Grand Prix in 2021 will go down as the British driver’s most significant win ever; which is saying a lot, considering he’s won a record 103 races during his prolific F1 career.
As the chequered flag fell in 2021, Hamilton had broken yet another record to win at Silverstone for an eighth time. And in a season that was marred by controversial decisions against one of Formula 1’s greatest-ever drivers, holding the trophy here felt all the more sweet.
Austrian Grand Prix 2021
Since making his F1 debut for Red Bull, Max Verstappen has won the most races (4) at his team’s native circuit, the Austrian Grand Prix, than any other driver, lifting the divisive wooden trophy on three separate occasions.
Objectively, it’s a beautiful piece, produced with locally sourced Austrian wood found in abundance around the circuit. But it feels completely out of place amongst the asphalt of an F1 track.
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2022
From the tall and majestic form and intricate gold detailing, the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix 2022 trophy was, for me, one of the most impressive trophies of the F1 season.
It’s certainly the one you’d be proud to have displayed on the trophy cabinet when looking back on an illustrious racing career.
German Grand Prix 2010
I don’t know what to say about this one except it looks like something out of The Emoji Movie.
Certainly, fire iconography might seem like a good idea for a trophy, but it’s not exactly something people cheer for when they see it around a Formula 1 circuit.
Still, it’s nice to see Fernando Alonso lifting a trophy again.
French Grand Prix 2021
Max’s face says it all. The French Grand Prix trophy is as unique as it is brilliant; an iconic piece designed by French artist and sculptor Richard Orlinski who loves to produce big and scary-looking animals in bright and vibrant colours.
The French Grand Prix contract expired following the 2022 race, so unfortunately, this could be the last time we see this one.
Bahrain Grand Prix 2004
Michael Schumacher won the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix in 2004 and was rather bizarrely handed a polished chrome bin from one of the Formula 1 offices for his efforts.
Not exactly the most appropriate prize for one of the sport’s greatest-ever drivers.
Hungarian Grand Prix 2023
I feel like it’s poignant to add Max Verstappen’s Hungarian Grand Prix trophy that he lifted following his victory here in 2023.
The large pink and white porcelain trophy, which takes almost six months of tireless and laborious work to make by hand, was smashed by Lando Norris on stage during the celebrations.
McLaren’s Lando Norris celebrated with his signature champagne slam after finishing P2 at the Hungaroring, which knocked the trophy off the podium and snapped in half.
McLaren’s team principal Zac Brown was left with the bill.