Chris Dagnall

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Chris Dagnall
Nationality Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png British
Born 9th February, 1960
Lincoln, England
Formula One
Debut Season 1984
Latest Season 1997
Current Team Williams F1
Car Number 4
Former Teams Osella, Arrows, Benetton, McLaren, Lotus, Pacifc, Jordan
Races 210 (208 starts)
Championships 1 (1991)
Victories 27
Podiums 50
Points 439
Pole Positions 31
Fastest Laps 40
First Race 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix
First Victory 1988 Brazilian Grand Prix
Last Victory 1996 Japanese Grand Prix
Last Race 1997 Australian Grand Prix (Ongoing)
Best Finish 1st (1991)
F1RWRS
Debut Season 2010
Latest Season 2013
Current Team
Car Number
Former Teams JLD Motorsport, Jones Racing Dagnall Engineering
Races 49 (46 starts)
Championships 0
Victories 4
Podiums 10
Points 150
Pole Positions 6
Fastest Laps 3
First Race 2010 British Grand Prix
First Victory 2011 Luxembourg Grand Prix
Last Victory 2013 Chinese Grand Prix
Last Race 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix
Best Finish 2nd (2012)


Chris Dagnall (born February 9, 1960 in Lincoln, England) is a racing driver, famous for his Formula One career that extended from 1984 to 1999. He drove for Osella, Arrows, Benetton, McLaren, Lotus, Pacific, and Jordan, and is the 1991 World Champion. He uses a red helmet with his name written on its sides, inspired by fellow driver Tiff Needell. He is also the father of two time F1RWRS champion Mark Dagnall.

Formula 1

1984 - Osella

Dagnall made his debut for the feeble Osella team, powered by a customer Alfa Romeo turbocharged V8 engine. He had a troublesome career beginning, being involved in accidents and suffering from poor reliability from the troublesome Alfa engine. His first finish of the season came with a fine drive to 8th around the streets of Monaco before scoring his first point in Detroit, another street circuit. Other notable results were a 4th place at Dallas in a race of heavy attrition, confirming his undeniable talent on street circuits, and a 5th in Monza. Dagnall ended the season with his first and only DNQ in Portugal but he still finished 17th in the championship, with 6 points.

1985-1986 - Arrows

Whilst still considered a rough diamond by many, he was snaffled up by Arrows to compete in 1985. The car, using BMW turbocharged engines, proved to be a very potent combination. However, much like his debut year, Dagnall's season was a troublesome one. He got involved in many accidents whilst his team-mate Thierry Boutsen ran very impressively. Despite several threats from the team to terminate his contract, Dagnall managed to save his job with some fine results though with a fantastic burn from the stern drive to 5th in Monaco and a career best second at his home race at Brands Hatch, having been one of the fastest cars all weekend. Several potentially fine results went begging however with separate early accidents in Portugal and San Marino costing the young Brit potential points finishes. He eventually finished 15th in the championship, with 8 points.

In 1986, Dagnall continued with the Arrows team. He started the season with a podium in Brazil, finishing 3rd in a race which had only four finishers. After that Dagnall was able to finish only two more races with many more accidents and mechanical failure. In his home race at Brands Hatch, he qualified in a magnificent second place, but after a spin, electrical problem and running out of fuel on the final lap, he finished a relatively disappointing 5th. His other finish was in the first Hungarian Grand Prix, but only in 10th place. At the Italian Grand Prix he had an altercation with teammate Boutsen. After being pushed off the track by the Belgian during the race, Dagnall punched him during the team meeting after the race. As a result, both drivers were told to leave the team at the end of the year. Dagnall responded by beating Boutsen in the final qualifying sessions of the year to put himself on the map for a seat in 1987. He maintained his 15th place in the championship from 1985 but only scored six points. Despite all the accidents and unfulfilled potential, Dagnall was picked up by the Benetton team at the end of the season.

1987-1989 - Benetton

Whilst many were surprised at the signing of Dagnall by Benetton for 1987, the Brit was more than willing to step up to the challenge as many of the errors that plagued his first three seasons disappeared in the first half of the season. It was all for no reward however as the car proved to be incredibly unreliable, costing the Brit 5 potential points finishes in as many races. In the French Grand Prix, Dagnall was finally able to score a result to match the potential of the car with a second place finish to open his account with the Benetton team. Dagnall scored his first fastest lap in the German Grand Prix before an incredible lap during Saturday qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix gave him his first pole position, scoring a pair of 5ths in both events. Another pole position at the Portuguese Grand Prix and a fourth place finish at the Japanese Grand Prix capped off a breakthrough year for the Brit, with a career high 7th place championship finish with 13 points.

For 1988, Dagnall signed a new two year deal with the Benetton team alongside new teammate Alessandro Nannini. He rewarded the team's faith in him with an emphatic debut win at the attrition filled Brazilian Grand Prix. This set a springboard for his season as he and the team sacrificed out and out speed for reliability and race results. The move paid off as Dagnall scored another podium in the Belgian Grand Prix amongst several other points scoring positions. Whilst he only finished 7th in the championship standings, he scored a career high 21 points and was now being touted by many as a man to watch in the future.

The start of 1989 was a watershed for both Dagnall and the team as he managed to haul his year-old car to an unlikely podium at the Principality and an even more unlikely but assertive win at Mexico with a gutsy move on long time leader Ayrton Senna before their final stops. By round 5, Dagnall was a close third behind the McLaren duo of Senna and Alain Prost in the old Benetton with many considering him an outside contender for the title. However, the new Benetton B189 proved to be a disappointment as it was more unreliable and than the B188, breaking down twice while Dagnall was leading the race, including a gearbox failure putting a premature end to a dominating performance at the German Grand Prix. Despite the setbacks, he managed to score two more podiums in Italy and Portugal, setting the fastest lap at the latter in the process. Dagnall ended the season on 30 points in 4th place, having been well on track to score many more than that. This performance put him on the radar of many top teams, most notably Ferrari. However, with the relationship between the McLaren duo collapsing over the course of 1989, Prost walked out of the team and was quickly replaced by Dagnall for 1990.

1990-1992 - McLaren

After a successful pre-season testing campaign, McLaren were the championship favourites yet again with Dagnall expected to play rear-gunner to Senna for 1990. The start of the year went much to the form book as Dagnall had two average qualifying sessions which led to two retirements when he became the victim of midfield contretemps. However, a string of three race wins from pole at San Marino, Monaco and Canada put Dagnall's championship campaign right on track as he suddenly found himself leading Senna by a single point after six races. It was during this streak of races that Dagnall's one-lap prowess came to the fore with a steak of six pole positions in a row before scoring a further five over the course of the year. In terms of the championship, it was a punch-counterpunch battle between the two McLarens with Dagnall holding a 7 point lead after his first home win at the Silverstone circuit. Eventually, Dagnall headed into the final race of the year in Australia with a slender two point lead over Senna, despite the latter being considered the better driver overall. Dagnall put himself in the box seat in qualifying with pole position by half a second but a heart-breaking engine failure denied the popular Brit his first world title when Senna finished 2nd in the race. Regardless, it had been a fantastic year for Dagnall as he headed into the second half of his McLaren contract.

With increased competition from Ferrari and Williams however, McLaren's iron grip at the top of the tree was in doubt. Those fears were confirmed when McLaren failed to win any of the first three races although Dagnall was consistently the fastest car on track on the San Marino Grand Prix. The Brit turned it all around however with a dominating performance at the Monaco Grand Prix to win by over a lap to put McLaren's championship tilt against Williams back on track. By mid-season, Dagnall had muscled his way into a small championship lead from Riccardo Patrase after further wins at Mexico and his second home win on the trot. After losing the lead at the next race in Germany, Dagnall put an irresistible charge to the title with four race wins in a row before winning his first world title with two races to spare at the Spanish Grand Prix, despite retiring from an accident at Campsa. With two quiet races at the end of the year, Dagnall ended the season on 87 points, 21 ahead of his nearest competitor and teammate Senna. During the course of 1991, Dagnall set a new record for most fastest laps in a season, which wouldn't be broken until 2009 by Daniel Melrose for BMW on his way to his fourth world title. Despite offers from Ferrari to drive for them in 1992, Dagnall signed a new one year deal with McLaren for the following season.

Dagnall and McLaren started 1992 as title favourites and he seemed to confirm that with pole, fastest lap and a podium at the opening round in Mexico and a points finish at Kyalami in South Africa. However, those were one of the few high points in what was an incredibly disappointing first half of the year for the defending Champion. Many potentially big results went begging including a possible second place thanks to transmission failure with two laps to go at the Monaco Grand Prix and a tragic engine failure just 10 laps from scoring a hattrick of British Grand Prix wins. Dagnall finally scored his first win of the year at the Hungarian Grand Prix after a late barging match with German rookie Michael Schumacher and had to make a pitstop on the penultimate lap as a result. Three more wins followed but by then, he was already well out of the title fight with runaway leader Nigel Mansell winning the title at the Portuguese Grand Prix. An enormous shunt with Schumacher at the Australian Grand Prix ended Dagnall's season with a broken elbow, bringing to a close what had been a disappointing season for the Brit. By then the Brit was already out the door as far as McLaren was concerned, having signed a three year deal with the legendary Lotus team for 1993 and beyond at the Italian Grand Prix.

1993-1994 - Team Lotus

The enormous accident and the extent of the injury meant Dagnall missed virtually all of pre-season testing with the vast majority of early development work undertaken by teammate Johnny Herbert and test driver Alessandro Zanardi. As soon as Dagnall stepped into the car in Brazil however, it immediately became clear that he and the team were a dark horse for 1993 in terms of race pace with a point at the opening round in Brazil. Amongst the weekends where the Lotus team struggled, there were other races where the Brit excelled including a fantastic second place at the San Marino Grand Prix and a pair of fourths immediately following in Spain and Monaco. Dagnall continued his incredibly strong form at the British Grand Prix with an incredible pole position lap on Saturday before a heartbreaking engine fire ended his race with a few laps to go whilst solidly in the lead, robbing Lotus of their first win in years. This only spurned the team on to new levels of performance however as Dagnall pulled out a fantastic second half of the year, including second at Estoril and a pair of back-to-back third places at the Hungarian and Belgian races. Dagnall ended the season on a very low note however as, for the second year in a row, disaster struck in Australia. This time, an accident with the Williams of Damon Hill in Friday qualifying before struggling on Saturday meant he suffered his first DNQ in almost a decade. On a whole though, it had been a fantastic season for both Dagnall and the team as he spearheaded their charge to 5th in the constructors title, just four points behind former employees McLaren.

For 1994, Herbert moved to Ligier and was replaced by test driver Zanardi as Dagnall's teammate for the upcoming season. For the first four races, the team had to use an updated version of the 1993 car with the new Mugen-Honda engines whilst the new Lotus 109 was prepared. The engine made up for the car's age in the hands of Dagnall as he scored a podium in the opening round in Sao Paulo quickly followed by two more points finishes. The new Lotus 109 was ready by the Spanish Grand Prix and Dagnall took it to 3rd on the grid before keeping it on the podium on race day. As the bigger teams like McLaren and Ferrari got their act together however, the results dried with the last points result of the first half of the year being 4th at the British Grand Prix, having just fallen short of overtaking Rubens Barrichello's Jordan for 3rd. Amongst the sea of non-points scoring events and retirements for a litany of reasons, Dagnall hauled his car to another 3rd place grid spot at the Belgian Grand Prix before scoring his first win in almost two years and Lotus' first since the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix, despite having to drive the last three laps without a front wing. That was the last points finish of the year however as the Brit had several high-profile accidents trying too hard to make up for the increasingly deficiencies in the car. This turned out to be a mere symptom of a much larger problem within the Lotus team as Peter Collins' money ran out and the legendary team was put up for sale at the end of the year.

1995 - Pacific

Despite weeks of negotiation for Dagnall to buy the remains of the Lotus team with his considerable wealth from years of driving, he was outbid by Keith Wiggins' Pacific Grand Prix team at the 11th hour. Despite getting a reported amount of $8 million from the deal, Dagnall was reportedly furious with the turn of events and the prospect of driving with a backmarker team like Pacific for 1995. With a new teammate in the form of Italian Andrea Montermini, Dagnall entered 1995 as a 12 season veteran looking to make the most of a seemingly bad situation. Dagnall spent the first few races hauling the Pacific into the lower-midfield but despite all his considerable talent, the 1991 champ couldn't do much more with the machinery at his disposal. That all changed at the Spanish Grand Prix however as he hauled the Pacific to an incredible 8th on the grid in qualifying. The best was yet to come however as on race day as he lead the race at one point before finishing well inside the points in 4th, scoring fastest lap of the race in the process. This turned out to be the only bright spot in what was otherwise a disastrous year for Dagnall as he continued to try his hardest to get something meaningful out of the car, with unreliability costing him several potential fine results over the course of the season. Fed up with driving for the Keith Wiggins run organisation, Chris Dagnall signed a deal with Eddie Jordan to drive for the Irish team in 1996 and beyond soon after the Italian Grand Prix.

1996 - Jordan

With his association with the Pacific team ending in 1995, Dagnall was eager to drive for the Jordan as he entered the new season with a new burst of energy and enthusiasm for his driving and a positive outlook for his short and medium-term future in the sport. After the first race of the year, many predicted Dagnall and Jordan to be a dark horse in that year's championship title hunt with a storming drive to third in Australia after an early front-wing change for the veteran Brit. The early form didn't carry over to the South American races however, with two retirements costing Dagnall more valuable points and a potential second podium of the year at Argentina. Dagnall's run of bad form continued when he got taken out by David Coulthard and the two Ligiers at the European Grand Prix held at the Nurburgring, before struggling to a lowly 8th placed finish at the next race in San Marino, after battling an ill-handling car all weekend.

The Brit managed to turn that form around at Monaco where, despite two early stops to change front wings, he managed to put in a stonking drive around the principality to finish 4th, despite making three more stops than just about all of his rivals on track. Dagnall followed up that performance with a solid drive to win his first Grand Prix in almost two years after longtime leader Damon Hill speared off the track with a handful of laps to go, before continuing his purple-patch of form in Canada with his third podium of the year, which left him third in the championship at the halfway point of the season.

Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series

2010 - JLD Motorsport

After many years away from the driving seat managing the careers of his two sons Mark and Bradley, Dagnall received a call from JLD Motorsport mid way through 2010 to replace Daniel Melrose after the Australian decided to solely focus on winning another F1 title for the rest of the year. After initially declining the offer for the Belgian Grand Prix, Dagnall made his debut at the 2010 F1RWRS Chinese Grand Prix and drove the final two races of the year for the team. Despite not scoring a point in either event, the 50 year old was still driving like he'd never left with an emphatic pole position at the season closing race at Eastern Creek.

2011-2012 - Jones Racing

Having proven that he still has what it took to be a top-line driver and highly motivated to race again, Dagnall signed a two-year deal with the brand new Jones Racing team alongside team boss Sammy Jones, a long-time fan of the Brit. While results for the former champion were few and far between in the early going for both drivers, there was some promise out of the all-new team with Dagnall scoring pole position at the Saxon Grand Prix before scoring the team's first points of the year in 6th place. At the next race at the Nurburgring, Dagnall scored his first race win in 15 years as he survived the attrition that decimated the field that afternoon. The Brit continued to show some of the Dagnall of old over the course of the year with further points finishes in England, Adelaide, and Bathurst as well as a podium at the season-closing race at Laguna Seca to end the year on a high note and secure 6th place in the championship.

Dagnall and Jones Racing headed into 2012 looking for improvements in their results and entered the season as dark horses for the occasional podium and regular points finishes. However, Dagnall's year got off to a horrific start with two DNPQs in the first two races of the season. The veteran managed to turn his run of poor form around at the next race at Hockenheim, which started a streak of points scoring and podium finishes in the first half of the year, rocketing him right into championship contention. It was during this time that Dagnall scored his first, and only, win of the season with an emotional victory at home in Silverstone on what to this day remains one of the most controversial races in F1RWRS history. Heading into the second half of the season, Dagnall was considered the sentimental favourite against his championship rivals Kay Lon and Pippa Mann and, as the most consistent of the trio in the back half of the year, headed into the final round of the championship at Indianapolis the championship favourite, just one point behind Lon. On a day where none of the championship contenders were in serious contention for the race win and with double points on offer, Dagnall managed to beat Lon home for 4th place on the road. However, Pippa Mann was a lap ahead of the duo and with her second place finish at the Brickyard, she managed to leapfrog the pair of them to win the title right at the death.

2013 - Dagnall Engineering

With all the political maneuvering in the background heading into 2013, Dagnall ended up being the big winner over the off-season where he was able to secure a number of Jones Racing's assets including equipment and team trucks after Jones had decided to leave the sport, a decision that he would later reverse. Using these, and establishing his own base in the East Midlands, just outside Donnington, Dagnall quickly formed Dagnall Engineering. Dagnall's son Mark was handed the chance to make his debut alongside his father and despite the incredibly busy off-season for the team and the short turn-around time it gave them, Dagnall arrived in Australia as a pre-season favourite for the drivers' championship.

Despite all the grandeur predictions, not even the most seasoned punters could have predicted the relative ease with which the two Dagnall cars won the Tasman Grand Prix with Mark finishing ahead of his father on debut. While Mark's season went from strength to strength after that point, the elder Dagnall struggled throughout most of the European and American season, due to 10 straight retirements killing whatever momentum he had from 2012 and the Tasman GP. Better results followed towards the end of the year though, ensuring Chris came away third in the championship, whilst Mark comfortably won the title. Dagnall Engineering easily took the constructors' championship, and at the age of 53, Chris called time on his racing career, allowing him to focus on managing his team.

Complete Formula One Grand Prix results

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1984 Osella Squadra Course Osella FA1F Alfa Romeo 890T BRA
Ret
RSA
Ret
BEL
Ret
SME
Ret
FRA
Ret
MON
8
CAN
Ret
DET
6
DAL
4
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
14
NED
Ret
ITA
5
EUR
Ret
POR
DNQ
17th 6
1985 Barclay Arrows BMW Arrows A8 BMW M12/13 BRA
Ret
POR
Ret
SME
Ret
MON
5
CAN
Ret
DET
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
9
BEL
Ret
EUR
2
RSA
Ret
AUS
Ret
15th 8
1986 Barclay Arrows BMW Arrows A8 BMW M12/13 BRA
3
ESP
Ret
SME
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL
Ret
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
5
GER
Ret
HUN
10
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
Ret
MEX
Ret
AUS
Ret
15th 6
1987 Benetton Formula Ltd Benetton B187 Ford Cosworth GBA BRA
Ret
SME
Ret
BEL
Ret
MON
Ret
USA
Ret
FRA
2
GBR
Ret
GER
5
HUN
5
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
Ret
ESP
Ret
MEX
Ret
JPN
4
AUS
Ret
7th 13
1988 Benetton Formula Ltd Benetton B188 Ford Cosworth DFR BRA
1
SME
9
MON
Ret
MEX
Ret
CAN
6
USA
6
FRA
7
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
6
BEL
2
ITA
4
POR
Ret
ESP
Ret
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
7th 21
1989 Benetton Formula Ltd Benetton B188 Ford Cosworth DFR BRA
Ret
SME
7
MON
3
MEX
1
USA
4
CAN
7
4th 30
Benetton B189 Ford HBA FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
6
BEL
Ret
ITA
2
POR
2
ESP
Ret
JPN
Ret
AUS
6
1990 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/5B Honda RA109E USA
Ret
BRA
Ret
SME
1
MON
1
CAN
1
MEX
Ret
FRA
2
GBR
1
GER
Ret
HUN
6
BEL
1
ITA
1
POR
1
ESP
Ret
JPN
1
AUS
Ret
2nd 79
1991 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/6 Honda RA121E USA
Ret
BRA
3
SME
8
MON
1
CAN
2
MEX
1
FRA
Ret
GBR
1
GER
15†
HUN
1
BEL
1
ITA
1
POR
1
ESP
Ret
JPN
3
AUS
4
1st 87
1992 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/6B Honda RA121E MEX
3
RSA
5
3rd 56
McLaren MP4/7A Honda RA122E/B BRA
Ret
ESP
Ret
SME
4
MON
6†
CAN
Ret
FRA
2
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
1
BEL
1
ITA
1
POR
1
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
1993 Team Lotus Lotus 107B Ford HBD6 BRA
6
RSA
Ret
EUR
Ret
SME
2
ESP
4
MON
4
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
11†
GER
Ret
HUN
3
BEL
3
ITA
5
POR
2
JPN
4
AUS
DNQ
6th 32
1994 Team Lotus Lotus 107C Mugen Honda MF-351 HC BRA
3
PAC
Ret
SME
6
MON
4
7th 25
Lotus 109 Mugen Honda MF-351 HD ESP
3
CAN
Ret
FRA
9
GBR
4
GER
16
HUN
Ret
BEL
1
ITA
16†
POR
Ret
EUR
Ret
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
1995 Pacific Grand Prix Ltd Pacific PR02 Ford EDC BRA
Ret
ARG
16†
SME
Ret
ESP
4
MON
Ret
CAN
13
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
13†
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
Ret
EUR
Ret
PAC
Ret
JPN
Ret
AUS
8
16th 3
1996 Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot Jordan 196 Peugeot A12 AUS
3
BRA
Ret
ARG
Ret
EUR
Ret
SME
8
MON
4
ESP
1
CAN
3
FRA
1
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
1
BEL
1
ITA
Ret
POR
2
JPN
1
3rd 67
1997 Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW19 Renault RS9 AUS
2
BRA ARG SME MON ESP CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA AUT LUX JPN EUR 2nd* 6*

Complete F1RWRS Results

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 DC Pts
2010 JLD Motorsport JLD 01 Porsche 366 GER LUX SAX CHN TAS BHR BEL GBR
14
AUS
17
20th 0
2011 RubberTex-Jones Racing Jones RTJ-100 Renault RS9000T-11 BAV
DNPQ
GER
17
SAX
6
LUX
1
BEL
Ret
GBR
11
ENG
8
KEN
12
NED
19
TAS
4
AUS
7
NSW
15
SUR
Ret
CHN
12
USA
3
6th 37
2012 RubberTex-Jones Racing Jones RTJ-101 Renault RS9000T-12 BAV
DNPQ
SAX
DNPQ
GER
5
LUX
3
BEL
2
NED
4
GBR
1
KEN
8
ENG
9
TAS
6
SUR
2
NSW
7
AUS
Ret
CHN
5
USA
5
500
4
2nd 81
2013 Dagnall Engineering Dagnall CD-01 Zakspeed 1500 TAS
2
AUS
Ret
MEX
Ret
USA
Ret
MON
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
NED
Ret
BEL
Ret
POR
Ret
MED
1
MAC
Ret
CHN
1
JPN
3
BRA
5
3rd 32