Daniel Melrose

From F1 Alternate
Jump to: navigation, search
Daniel Melrose
Nationality Flag of Australia svg.png Australian
Born 26 June, 1985
Sydney, Australia
Formula One
Debut Season 2004
Latest Season 2010
Current Team
Car Number
Former Teams Flag of Italy svg.png Minardi
Flag of Italy svg.png Ferrari
Flag of Germany svg.png BMW Sauber
Flag of Germany svg.png Mercedes
Races 124 (123 starts)
Championships 3 (2005, 2007, 2009)
Victories 25
Podiums 41
Points 444
Pole Positions 21
Fastest Laps 28
First Race 2004 Australian Grand Prix
First Victory 2004 Canadian Grand Prix
Last Victory 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix
Last Race 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Best Finish 1st (3 times)
F1RWRS
Debut Season 2010
Latest Season 2016
Current Team Flag of Poland svg.png Dofasco Racing
Car Number 38
Former Teams Flag of Germany svg.png JLD
Flag of Australia svg.png MRT
Flag of Canada.svg.png ArrowTech
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Jones Racing
Flag of Australia svg.png Simpson Motorsports
Flag of Australia svg.png Holden F1RWRS Racing Team
Races 79 (70 starts)
Championships 0
Victories 2
Podiums 14
Points 159
Pole Positions 1
Fastest Laps 5
First Race 2010 German Grand Prix
First Victory 2011 Belgian Grand Prix
Last Victory 2011 English Grand Prix
Last Race 2016 Mexican Grand Prix
Best Finish 2nd (2011)

Daniel Melrose (Born June 26, 1985 in Sydney, Australia) is an Australian racing driver who is most famous for his stint in Formula One. In his 7 year career, he became the youngest ever Formula One world champion at 20 years and 101 days, the youngest ever double and youngest ever triple world champion. He has also the inaugural (and so far only) F1 Rejects World Champion, and is a two-time race winner in the Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series. Melrose is currently racing in the F1 Rejects Indy Championship Series.

Early Racing Career

Daniel spent most of his early childhood in Sydney, Australia where he did many kart races both in Sydney and around the state. He was inspired by Former World Champion Chris Dagnall after meeting him when he was just 6 years old.

In 1999, after spending several years as part of the Precision Motorsport young driver program alongside fellow Australian and close friend Dave Simpson, he was invited by Ferrari to become part of their young driver program, an offer which he accepted. From there, he rapidly raised through the ranks becoming 2001 Australia Formula 3 champion, 2002 British Formula 3 champion and 2003 International F3000 champion, before being placed in the Minardi team for the 2004 Formula One season. In the process of winning the British Formula 3 Championship, he won the Macau F3 Grand Prix in one of his many top drawer aggressive drives that would typify his driving style for the rest of his career.

Formula One Career

2004 - Minardi

In the 2003 off-season, Ferrari paid Minardi several million dollars (The actual amount was rumoured to be in the region of $30-40 million) to place Melrose in a race drive alongside Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner for 2004. Minardi put the money to good use, as immediately it became evident that the updated Minardi PS04B coupled with a new-spec Cosworth engine suited Melrose's naturally aggressive driving style, and as a result a smattering of points for the Minardi team was expected.

Melrose kept up his end of the deal, as in his very first qualifying session in Australia he put the Minardi a magnificent 12th on the grid before driving to a 6th place finish, although it could have been better as he was running 4th with a few laps to go before running wide, letting Ralf Schumacher and Fernando Alonso through. Round 2 was in Malaysia and Melrose made a mistake in qualifying which meant he was only 16th on the grid. However, he more than made up for it in the race by finishing third after a strategic gamble of making one stop less than everyone else, to score his first podium in only his second start. He went one better in the shortened race in the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix, before scoring three more podiums in the next 3 races, including a superb drive to second in the wet at his first visit to Monaco. The European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring was arguably Melrose's best drive in his career up to that point. Despite retiring after a collision whilst trying to lap Italian Giorgio Pantano, the Australian was consistently the fastest car on track and hounded eventual race winner Michael Schumacher for most of the race before the accident.

Melrose backed up the performance in Germany with his first race victory after a stellar drive at the Canadian Grand Prix, despite suffering an early puncture, before following it up with a burn from the stern effort at the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his first trip to the World Famous facility, only to be denied his second victory on the trot through sheer bad luck alone when a red flag came out for Ralf Schumacher's enormous accident at the final corner. Eventual winner Michael Schumacher had run out of fuel the lap before the red flag came out, but was awarded the victory by less than a second over Melrose when the results were backdated to the second last lap before the red flag came out. More bad luck due to electronic gremlins denied Melrose another win two weeks later at the French Grand Prix. He scored his first pole position 6 days later in Silverstone, the first race since the death of Minardi's sporting director John Walton, only to be denied a win the next day by the resurgent McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen. The next 3 races were relatively quiet for the young Australian, but he did score yet another podium at the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest. It was also during this time that he overtook early championship leader Rubens Barrichello to become the clear runner up in the championship behind runaway leader Michael Schumacher.

At the next race in Spa, he lost the chance to finish on the podium in the pouring rain when Barrichello collided with him whilst battling for third place, which meant Melrose had to settle for fourth. Melrose got his revenge a fortnight later in Italy when he held off Barrichello in the showers that hit the track late in the race to win his second Grand Prix in dramatic fashion. With Schumacher retiring early on in proceedings, Melrose suddenly found himself in with an outside shot of winning the championship in what had been an incredible debut season for the young Australian. That all ended two weeks later however when a late engine problem restricted him to an 11th place finish in China. With Schumacher winning the race, the championship was wrapped up in favour of the German. This didn't deter the young Australian however, as he closed the season on a high note with his third career win with a dominating drive at the Japanese Grand Prix and his 16th points finish of the year at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. This secured an incredible second place in the championship for both himself and the Minardi team in one of the best season-long campaigns the world had ever seen, proving once and for all that he was a man to watch in the future.

2005 - Ferrari

Over the off season, Rubens Barrichello made some disparaging comments about his time in Ferrari which led to him being replaced by the 19 year old Melrose alongside reigning World Champion Michael Schumacher. Some thought that it was a risk for Ferrari to pick Melrose, as it was the first time the Maranello squad had signed on someone so inexperienced since Frenchman Jean Alesi after he spent just a season and a half at Tyrrell. However, encouraging pre-season testing pace from the Australian silenced some of the critics.

The pre-season form continued to Australia where Melrose became the third Australian to score a podium at his home race behind surprise winner Christian Klien and Mark Webber, who became the first Australian since Rhys Davies in 2002 to score that achievement, about half a minute before Melrose. However, the next two races were disasters for Melrose as he failed to score points in either as he struggled with understeer in the updated 2004 car. Another pointless race in Spain came after he scored his first win for Ferrari in front of the Tifosi at the Imola Circuit, which was the first win for the new Ferrari F2005. However it was his second win, by over a lap at Monaco no less, which really kicked off his championship campaign as he won 4 of the next 5 races, including Monaco, to catapult himself into a comfortable lead in the world championship, ahead of the likes of Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso.

The race in the United States was one of the most controversial in Formula One history, with the Michelin teams pulling out due to safety concerns. The situation within the Ferrari theam after the race wasn't any better however, when Melrose broke team orders to return to the garage immediately after the trophy presentation. Instead, he returned to the podium to help longtime friend Dave Simpson celebrate his first ever podium finish in the latter's debut race for Melrose's former team Minardi. At the next race in France, Melrose had his first brush with officialdom when he got placed on probation for dangerous driving whilst trying to hold onto 6th place. That probation from France turned into a suspended one race ban at the very next race at Silverstone, after he was involved in a collision with Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve in the pit lane during the race thanks to a dangerous release at his second pitstop. Sauber then appealed the decision handed down against Melrose as they felt he should have been banned for one race.

Despite the setbacks, it seemed that the Australian was well on his way to his first world championship until the circus reached the Hockenheim circuit for the German Grand Prix. There, rain fell for most of the weekend and in the dreadful conditions on Friday, Melrose speared off the track at high speed at turn 1 head first into a concrete wall, breaking his right ankle. Ferrari's test driver Luca Badoer was drafted in for the weekend and the next race at the Hungaroring, where he scored his first world championship points for 7th place. Melrose was ready to return for the Turkish Grand Prix at the brand new Istanbul Park Circuit but Sauber had won their WMSC appeal which meant Melrose was forced to miss Turkey as well.

When Melrose returned for the Italian Grand Prix, his lead in the world championship had been cut down from 23 to just 3 points over Fernando Alonso, which became 1 point after the race had concluded. Determined to win the championship, Melrose put in an absolutely stonking drive on an three stop strategy from pole to win the Belgian Grand Prix. A similar strategy at the next race in Brazil took him one step closer to the championship as he finished second behind Kimi Raikkonen, with Alonso having a shocker by his standards. Another second place finish at the next race in the Japanese Grand Prix, despite lapping very slowly and lacking grip in the last few laps as he stayed out on inters as the track dried, meant that he became the youngest ever Formula One World Champion as Alonso had failed to finish the race. Melrose's 2005 season ended with a quiet drive to 5th in China, having spent most of the afternoon battling with the Saubers and Tiago Monteiro's Jordan.

2006-2009 - BMW Sauber

Despite the championship win, tensions between Melrose and the Ferrari team had built up considerably with two high-profile collisions with teammate Schumacher and the incident at Indianapolis. Eventually, tensions reached such a high point that his position in the Ferrari team became untenable and Melrose was on the market for 2006. Melrose received offers from Honda, who had just bought out the BAR team, and the new BMW Sauber team who he eventually signed for alongside German Nick Heidfeld. Pre-Season testing was again encouraging for the Australian, but nobody expected the domination that was to come as he won 9 of the first 11 races of the season. However, one of the races he didn't win in that period is considered by many as the best drive of his career. At the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix, Melrose got involved in two collisions with Honda's Jenson Button, which was a precursor to a very messy first few laps. After an unscheduled pit stop for a front wing change, Melrose found himself in 18th with his work cut out for him. However through pit strategy, other people's errors and sheer aggressive driving, Melrose eventually made his way back up to third, in much the same way he scored his first podium two years prior at the same track, but many believed that third was probably as high as he would have gotten regardless, as the Renaults were incredibly strong that day. Regardless, Melrose relentlessly piled on the points and wins and as a result won his second championship at the Hungarian Grand Prix with a second place finish. The last third of Melrose's season however left a lot to be desired, as he only scored 3 wins, 2 poles and 1 fastest lap in the last 7 races of the season, in relatively stark contrast to the peerless driving in the first two-thirds of the year. However, it was enough for him to record the highest ever points total scored by a single driver in a season, the second highest win total in one season, the highest podium count in one season, and the biggest ever points gap between first and second in the championship.

Pre-season testing for 2007 was a different story, as Melrose was struggling for balance in the new BMW F1.07 and looked like he would lose out to the Ferraris, McLarens, and even his new teammate Robert Kubica in the title race that year. However, normal service quickly resumed, as he went on to win 10 of the first 11 races, including a record 8 on the trot spanning from the Spanish Grand Prix to the Hungarian Grand Prix, which included a complete whitewash of the Monaco Grand Prix where he finished a mammoth three laps ahead of second place Mark Webber. His 11th win of the season at the Italian Grand Prix sealed the deal on his third world championship, but his late season form slumped even lower than the previous season as he won only 2 of the last 6 races, including Italy. The 3 races between those 2 wins though were all out of the top drawer in a car that was losing its iron grip on the top of the tree. In Belgium, a brilliant start catapulted the Australian from 8th to 5th before another one of his aggressive drives hauled him all the way to 2nd, capped off with a typically agressive move on McLaren's Sammy Jones into La Source with a handful of laps to go. The next race was at Japan, where he qualified a relatively mediocre 7th on the grid. Rain the next day and a mid-race strategy change by the Australian however hauled him into podium contention before he was passed by Sebastian Vettel with 10 laps to go, which relegated him to a 4th place finish behind first time winner Kubica, Lewis Hamilton and Vettel. A mid-race puncture in China put him out of podium and, seemingly, points contention before a textbook comeback drive hauled him up to 7th before the race was red flagged for a massive accident between Kubica and Spyker's Phoenix McAllister ended the race early. Melrose was adamant that had the race not been red flagged he could have finished higher than 7th, as he was only 7 seconds behind 4th placed Mark Webber when the race was stopped. Melrose's season ended with an emphatic victory from pole at the Brazilian Grand Prix, securing BMW their second constructor's title on the trot.

2008's pre-season tests spelled even more trouble for Melrose, as he was miles off the pace being set up the front, to the point where he was simply embarrassing at the Barcelona test. Despite all the struggles with the new car, Melrose still managed several brilliant performances, including two solid strategic drives in Australia and Great Britain, and a streak of 4 wins from Monaco to Britain, which meant that as the first half of the season came to a close, Melrose was only 3 points away from the championship leader Felipe Massa, and in with a shot of winning a historic 4th world championship crown in unquestionably inferior machinery. However, with the team stopping development on the F1.08 to focus on developing the 2009 car and Melrose's second half blues kicking in yet again meant he only scored a grand total of 17 points in the back 9 of the season, which meant he finished a lonely 5th in the championship, a long way behind the top 4 and a significant margin ahead of Vettel and Kubica. Despite the car's relative pace falling down the pecking order, he still managed to take it to a podium in Belgium and a pole position at the next race in Italy. The last three races of the year were some of the worst in Melrose's career as the car continued its slide down the pecking order, with two pointless finishes in Japan and Brazil, along with an embarrassing first lap collision with McAllister at the Chinese Grand Prix, all of which brought Melrose's season to a disappointing close.

BMW and Melrose redoubled their efforts over the off season after the disappointing 08 campaign, which resulted in a car which was both incredibly quick and consistent in the hands of Melrose, much to the credit of test driver Dave Simpson who had done much of the development work on the car. This resulted in Melrose dominating all of the pre-season tests, as well as the first 4 flyaway races to start the year. Whilst he was running away with proceedings on track, it didn't result in a big lead in the World Championship from second placed Jenson Button, as the Brit was the only driver able to consistently hold a candle to the Australian. Melrose was involved in a controversial incident at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix, as he crossed the finish line with the entire front-right corner of the car an absolute mess after a last lap collision with Scott Speed in the USF1 car. At the next Grand Prix at Monaco, he scored a historic 5th win which put him equal with Graham Hill on the all-time Monaco wins list and broke Nigel Mansell's 17 year old record of the longest winning streak from the first race of the season with 6 victories at that point. Melrose eventually dragged that streak up to 10 races until a puncture at the European Grand Prix denied him the win, and a shot of the incredible honour of being the first driver ever to win every single race in a season. On July 10, Melrose made an announcement that shocked the motorsport world when he announced that he was joining the Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series, the breakaway series to the Formula 1 Championship, for 2010. Whilst he was dominating the season on track, it wasn't until Singapore that he officially wrapped up his fourth world championship crown ahead of Button. Melrose overtook Alain Prost for second in the all-time wins tally at the Japanese Grand Prix after a vicious chop on Button at race start, having broken Nigel Mansell's pole record the day before. Melrose then dominated the last two races to beat his points record from 2006 as well as former world champion Chris Dagnall's 18 year old record for the most fastest laps in a single season.

2010 - Mercedes GP

Due to BMW pulling out of Formula One, citing that they've achieved all their goals in F1, Melrose became the biggest free agent on the market during the off season. Teams up and down the grid and even around the world in other categories were clamouring for his signature for 2010. In the end he moved to the Brawn team which had just been bought out by German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz. While some teams did offer higher salaries than what Mercedes eventually paid for the superstar, Melrose reportedly accepted their offer because the contract allowed him to drive in both F1 and the F1RWRS for 2010 before making his decision for 2011 and beyond.

If pre-season testing was anything to go by however, it looked like the Australian and his team would struggle through the year to fight for the world title, as the times suggested a mammoth four-way fight for both titles between Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes, with Sammy Jones and F1 returnee Rhys Davies playing the role of interloper. Those predictions were confirmed in Bahrain with a relatively subdued 6th place from a mediocre 8th on the grid for the Australian. Some more Melrose magic followed in his home race with pole and a podium finish after hounding the clearly superior Red Bull cars all weekend. Three more relatively quiet drives followed in Malaysia, China and Spain as he kept consistently racking up the points whilst not being able to fight at the sharp end of the grid.

By the time the circus came to Monaco however, Melrose had finally managed to figure out how to get the car working for him and took his sixth Monaco Grand Prix win as a result, equaling Aryton Senna's 17 year record at the same track. Two more wins followed as the reigning champion suddenly found himself solidly in the lead of the world championship having been seemingly an outsider for the title at most a few weeks before. While a quiet European Grand Prix followed, the defending champ was back on form at the very next race at the recently renovated Silverstone Circuit. After a late steering wheel issue, Melrose drove like a bat out of hell in the dying stages which led to one of his greatest victories after a last-lap pass on race leader and hometown hero Sammy Jones at Copse. After the Grand Prix, Melrose finally revealed to the world what his plans for 2011 would be. Many had speculated that he would try to balance a Formula 1 season alongside the F1RWRS for a second year in a row but he defied all expectations and announced that 2010 would be his last year in Formula 1, despite being close to dead-last in the F1RWRS standings.

The Formula One championship was still far from over however with as many as half a dozen drivers still in realistic contention for the championship, Melrose decided to focus solely on trying to win the F1 title over the rest of the year, with former F1 champion Chris Dagnall taking over Melrose's driving duties in the F1RWRS. Over the course of the next five races, two more victories for Melrose along with two third places, including a comeback drive in Singapore after an early strategic blunder, whilst all his major rivals failed to score any meaningful points as consistently as the Australian, meant Melrose was firmly in the box seat for his fifth, and possibly final, World Championship. He clinched that fifth world title at the very next race in Japan after a dominant showing to claim his 7th Grand Prix win of the season. He finished off the season with a gritty drive to 8th place in Korea before win number 8 of the year from pole in Brazil.

He started his final race from pole at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. However, a loose front wing bolt demoted him to last after just two laps as he pitted for a replacement wing. He then proceeded to pull out what was arguably the best drive of his career as he broke the lap record set by him the previous year a dozen or so times during the course of the event and passed up to 20 cars on track for position to claw all the way back into 2nd place by race end, behind eventual winner Lewis Hamilton. His fastest lap ended up beating his pole time by half a second, and the old lap record by a mammoth 1.7 seconds set in the all conquering BMW of the previous year.

F1RWRS Career

2010-2011 - JLD Motorsport

Looking for a new challenge and disenchanted by the high-stakes political bickering in Formula 1, Daniel Melrose followed former Brawn driver Frank Zimmer to the Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series and signed on as lead driver for the JLD Motorsport team, which was a joint effort between German manufacturer Mercedes and Porsche, alongside former BMW Sauber and Precision teammate Dave Simpson. Both Simpson and Melrose tried to balance a full time Formula One campaign alongside the F1RWRS, with Simpson focusing more on the F1RWRS and Melrose more on trying to win a fifth world title. Whilst this strategy worked in getting him that title, it came at the expense of Melrose's F1RWRS campaign as ended up a lowly 17th in the championship, having missed the final 3 races of the year and been replaced by Chris Dagnall for the final two. There was some promise in Melrose's season however as in the final race he did in Bahrain, he put in a soild drive for a season best result of 6th place along with the fastest lap of the race.

In 2011, Melrose decided to retire from Formula One on a full time basis to focus on other categories elsewhere, including the F1RWRS. For the second year in a row however his season started slowly with just a sole 5th place finish to his name after round 3. However a brilliant mid-season streak from Luxembourg to the Tasman Grand Prix in Adelaide, including two wins in Belgium and England, and a second place put him solidly in the lead of the championship after 10 rounds. However the curse of the final third of the season struck Melrose yet again which culminated to an embarrassing double DNPQ for the JLD team at the Australian Grand Prix at Bathurst. This coupled with a late season push by Briton Nathanael Spencer meant that Melrose ended up losing the championship to the Brit by 7 points after both failed to score points at the final round in Laguna Seca.

2012 - Melrose Racing Team

Behind the scenes at JLD over the second half of the 2011 season, a consortium comprising of Melrose's own racing team, Melrose's former employers BMW and title sponsor QANTAS made a bid to take over the JLD team after both Mercedes and the Volkswagen group pulled out their support of the team. By the end of the year, a deal was struck between the various parties which meant that MRT and BMW would take over the JLD team in a 70/30 split with Melrose and incumbent teammate Jeroen Krautmeir as the two drivers for season 2012. However Melrose's season got off to the worst possible start with a double DNPQ but came back strongly with a third place in round 3.

Both MRTs continued to have inconsistent seasons through the year and Melrose was absolutely thrashed by his younger teammate on occasion as the Australian simply couldn't get either the M3 or the M3B to work with his driving style. Despite that, Melrose scored 4 podium finishes over the course of the season for an eventual 7th place finish in the Driver's championship, including finishing second in the same race that Krautmeir scored MRT's only win that year. During the oval testing session that MRT conducted at the Talladega Superspeedway Melrose wrote off both his race car and spare car in the space of 2 days after having several enormous accidents over the course of the test, the last of which gave him a moderate concussion. Another huge accident the next week at Laguna Seca where he car became airbourne and barrel-rolled down the front straight gave him another conucssion meant that he had to sit out the season ending race at Indianapolis, which was a double points race that year. At that point, disheartened by continual lack of success in the series and after a failed bid to become the new Commissioner of the F1RWRS, Melrose announced his retirement from driving duties in the F1RWRS effective immediately.

2013 - ArrowTech

For a few weeks, Melrose seemed content with retirement at just 27 years of age but eventually decided to make a sensational return to driving duties for the ArrowTech ART team, although nobody quite knew why. Not that it mattered much because it immediately became clear that Melrose and the ArrowTech car gelled together in pre season testing. This form continued into the early flyaway races with Melrose leading the team's charge with 3 points finishes in the first 3 races, including a sensational 2-3 finish for the team at the 2013 F1RWRS Mexican Grand Prix with Melrose leading home teammate Daniel Martins.

However after that point the team lost its way in the early development race. with Melrose only scoring 1 point in the following 6 races, the race where he scored that point being one of his best to date similar to several burn from the stern performances in the past. ArrowTech and Melrose returned to form at the Belgian Grand Prix. On race day, he damaged the front wing of his car early on before setting about simply driving the wheels off the ArrowTech car for 3rd place, his second podium finish of the season. However, Melrose was adamant that had he not thrown it into the wall early on he stood a good chance of winning that race. After qualifying for the Mediterranean Grand Prix Melrose was arrested, charged and released on bail for trashing his hotel room after MRT's absolutely horrific showing in qualifying which resulted in a double DNQ, a shocking result even by MRT's poor standards that year.

2013-2014 - Jones Racing

In the wake of the incident in Cyprus, Melrose had a public spat with Arrowtech's latest shareholder Prince Falik, which led to the Australian tearing his two year contract with the team over a year early before accepting an offer from Jones Racing to drive for them in the final two races of the season, after Jones' incumbent driver Kay Lon got the sack after being arrested by Chinese authorities over alleged sexual assault charges. Despite being disappointing in the two races for the Jones team, he got a full time contract for 2014 with an option to extend his contract for 2015. At the now non-championship Budweiser 500, driving for Horizon Motorsport, he finished 10th from 19th on the grid, beating home new boss Jones by over a lap in the process.

Pre-Season testing for the Jones team, and Melrose in particular, was promising with many predicting that the team would be points contenders throughout the year. The Australian didn't fail to deliver on those predictions as he scored podium placed finishes in both of the first two races. His performance in the season opener in Adelaide was particularly special as not only did he remain on the lead lap against the much faster cars of Dagnall and the MRTs, he was consistently the best of the rest in the race all afternoon. A second podium at Bathurst, effectively his home race, plus more points at the Long Beach round confirmed his status as a dark horse amongst the upper-midfield runners. A couple of more third placed finishes in France and Belgium plus a number of other points finishes meant that Melrose spent the majority of the year right in the thick of the battle for best of the rest honours. This string of good performances led to team boss Sammy Jones taking up his offer for the Australian for 2015, although a performance clause was inserted in the contract which baffled many pundits.

Before the Chinese Grand Prix, Melrose announced that MRT would open up a consultancy firm for 2015 which quickly lead to a technical partnership deal with Autodynamics Grand Prix, one of the two new teams for 2015. The proposal didn't sit well with Sammy Jones however and it eventually lead to Melrose terminating his Jones Racing contract for 2015, albeit on amicable terms. Melrose's association with Jones Racing ended on a high note with a pair of second places at the two non-championship races at the Bud Light 800 and the endurance race at the Luxembourg Grand Prix.

2015 - Simpson Motorsport

With Melrose the biggest free-agent on the market heading into the off-season, many teams up and down the grid were fighting for his services in 2015. Despite many predicting he'd go to Sunshine for 2015, Melrose signed a deal with the new Simpson Motorsports team, allegedly as return for the favour Melrose paid team boss and good friend Dave Simpson to get him the BMW reserve driver slot back in 2007. Regardless of what the reason was for the decision, the alarm bells were already ringing in pre-season testing as it became apparent very quickly that many of the midfield and backmarker teams from 2014 had made a huge leap forward in terms of performance, throwing the mostly conservative plans of the Simpson Motorsport team into turmoil. Despite persistent rumours that he was about to jump ship to Sunshine, Melrose kept his head down and tried to extract the maximum out of the ill-handling Simpson-BMW package in their bid to qualify for a race, with little success. Melrose's patience finally ran out at the Monaco Grand Prix when, after failing to pre-qualify for the third time in succession, an opening appeared at the Holden Racing Team with the sacking of Englishwoman Poppy Whitechapel. The Australian was quick to pounce at the opportunity, and immediately signed on for a 12 race deal, starting at the next race in Mexico City.

2015 - Holden Racing Team

Melrose arrived at Mexico City with a new lease of life in his now floundering career as he set about getting used to the HRT. While new teammate Frank Zimmer had the upper hand on the Australian all weekend, Melrose did finish a respectable 9th after a solid, if unspectacular drive amongst relatively heavy attrition. In a car that was slowing but surely losing its pace to the midfield, Melrose failed to qualify for the first F1RWRS race at Montreal, a track where he had a 100% win record in Formula One, before being taken out in a first lap collision at the next race in Great Britain. As a result, HRT dropped down into pre-qualifying as their results had only left them a dismal 12th in the constructors championship, where only the top 11 were guaranteed berths in qualifying proper. Melrose was then sacked by the team in the fallout that resulted from it and replaced by test driver John Zimmer.

After spending several races on the sidelines in Tropico, Melrose made a sensational return to the team for the final race of the F1RWRS season in Brazil, replacing incumbent Frank Zimmer who still had an outstanding warrant against him from the Brazilian Police. Despite his best efforts, Melrose was unable to haul the team out of pre-qualifying, bringing his F1RWRS career to a close for the time being.

Personal Life

Melrose's Helmet design

Melrose has run the same basic helmet design for virtually his entire career. He initially started off with a green and gold helmet with the Southern Cross during his early karting days before he changed it to the Boxing Kangaroo, the unofficial mascot of Australia, upon joining the Precision Motorsport Young Driver Program. He has been one of the few drivers who are vehemently against running sponsorship logos on their helmet and bending over to the pressures of commercialisation for the sake of keeping the same helmet for the duration of their careers.

Melrose currently lives alone in Munich, Germany where his team is based after spending many years living in Liechtenstein. In his early career especially, his driving almost seemed to be a way for him to deal with the "demons" in his head that seemingly plagued him for much of his teenage years, which ended up being the motivating force of his career. Melrose has one younger sibling named Joel who is currently driving for JLD Motorsport in the F3RWRS.

Melrose is known for being incredibly talkative over the radio and, as a result, his strategic ability throughout his career is second to none and while his ability to set up a car is good, he has never considered himself a great technically minded driver as he usually ends up driving around any minor problems with the car. He also has a strange habit of listening to rock music over the radio fed to him by the team to help him get into 'the zone' on any given weekend.

For all his prowess on the track, Melrose has had many issues over the years with his various personal managers, with almost all his associations with them ending on very hostile terms. One particularly bad break up with a manager, who was also in a relationship with him at the time, led to Melrose withdrawing his entry from the 2014 F1RMGP 24 Hour V8 Bathurst Enduro and swearing that he'll never have another personal manager for the rest of his career.

Whilst on a training camp in Tropico during the 2015 season, Melrose was one of the most high-profile people caught up in the Tropican-Venezuelan conflict at the time. Venezuelan president Hugo Chaves learned of the former world champion's presence in the island Nation and appointed him the new President of Tropico on the evening of June 5th. Despite initial concerns that the strong Nationalist faction on the island would be uproar over the appointment, the vast majority of the Tropican people approved of his placement, as the Australian had done much to help the explosive growth of the Tropican tourist industry over the past several years.

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 18 19 WDC Points
2004 Minardi Cosworth Minardi PS04B Cosworth CR-3 L AUS
8
MAL
14
BHR
12
SME
15
ESP
Ret
MON
8
EUR
Ret
CAN
1
USA
12
FRA
17
GBR
9
GER
14
HUN
13
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
CHN
11
JPN
7
BRA
8
13th 15
2005 Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F2004M Ferrari 053 AUS
3
MAL
16
1st 90
Ferrari F2005 Ferrari 055 BHR
13
SME
1
ESP
10
MON
1
EUR
1
CAN
1
USA
1
FRA
6
GBR
WD
GER
INJ
HUN
INJ
TUR
EX
ITA
8
BEL
1
BRA
2
JPN
2
CHN
5
2006 BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW Sauber F1.06 BMW P86 BHR
Ret
MAL
Ret
AUS
9
SME
Ret
EUR
15†
ESP
3
MON
7
GBR
1
CAN
1
'USA
1
FRA
3
GER
3
HUN
2
TUR
1
ITA
2
CHN
Ret
JPN
2
BRA
Ret
4th 75
2007 BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW Sauber F1.07 BMW P86/7 AUS
1
MAL
Ret
BHR
5
ESP
Ret
MON
1
CAN
1
USA
Ret
FRA
5
GBR
1
EUR
6
HUN
2
TUR
4
ITA
4
BEL
2
JPN
4
CHN
7
BRA
1
1st 95
2008 BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW Sauber F1.08 BMW P86/8 AUS
3
MAL
4
BHR
10
ESP
7
TUR
4
MON
1
CAN
1
FRA
6
GBR
4
GER
6
HUN
6
EUR
17†
BEL
3
ITA
5
SIN
4
JPN
9
CHN
6
BRA
Ret
6th 71
2009 BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW Sauber F1.09 BMW P86/9 AUS
Ret
MAL
1
CHN
2
BHR
1
ESP
6
MON
2
TUR
1
GBR
3
GER
Ret
HUN
1
EUR
13
BEL
1
ITA
Ret
SIN
1
JPN
Ret
BRA
1
ABU
6
1st 98
  • * Season in Progress.
  • ‡ Half points awarded as less than 75% of race distance was completed.
  • † Driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as they completed over 90% of the race distance.

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
11
LUX
13
SAX
12
CHN
9
TAS
16
BHR
6
BEL
INJ
GBR AUS 17th 7
2011 Qantas JLD Motorsport JLD M2 BMW P84/5 BAV
5
GER
14
SAX
16
LUX
6†
BEL
1
GBR
2
ENG
1
KEN
DSQ
NED
4
TAS
8
2nd 66
JLD M2B AUS
DNPQ
NSW
10
SUR
7†
CHN
3
USA
10
2012 Qantas Melrose Racing Team MRT M3 BMW P86/12 BAV
DNPQ
SAX
DNPQ
GER
3
LUX
Ret
BEL
14†
NED
3
GBR
4
KEN
2
ENG
7
TAS
9
7th 43
MRT M3B SUR
Ret
NSW
3
AUS
Ret
CHN
15
USA
Ret
500
INJ
2013 ArrowTech ART ArrowTech AT-03 Ford HB IV TAS
5
AUS
4
MEX
2
USA
Ret
MON
Ret
FRA
6
GBR
8
GER
10
NED
Ret
BEL
3
POR
9
MED
Ret
MAC
5
CHN
11
=8th 18
Castrol Jones Racing Jones CJR-102B Ford HBD VI JPN
8
BRA
Ret
2014 Castrol Jones Racing Jones CJR-103 Ford HBD VI TAS
3
AUS
3
BRA
9
MEX
Ret
USA
4
MON
Ret
FRA
3
GBR
Ret
GER
11
BEL
3
ITA
5
MED
5
NED
10
MAC
Ret
CHN
7
JPN
5
6th 25
2015 Gulf Simpson Motorsports GSM-010 BMW P89/NA TAS
DNQ
AUS
DNPQ
MED
DNPQ
MON
DNPQ
=26th 0
Valvoline Holden Racing Team HRT-005 Holden LSF1 MEX
9
USA
11
CAN
DNQ
GBR
Ret
GER BEL AUT ITA NED CHN JPN BRA
DNPQ
2016 Virgin Melrose Racing Team MRT M7 BMW P90/16 AUS NSW
Ret
36th* 0*
Dofasco Lukoil Racing Dofasco DR 03 Lancia 016/1 GBR ITA AUT CAN USS USN GER NED MON BEL MEX
13†
ARG CHN JPN
  • * Season in Progress
  • † Driver did not finish race, but was classified as they had completed 75% race distance (2010-12) or 90% race distance (2013).

Career Summary

Year Series Team Position
1994 NSW Midget Karting Independent 1st
1995 Australian Midget Karting Independent 2nd
1996 Australian Rookie Karting Independent 4th
1997 Formula C Championship Precision Motorsports 2nd
1998 Formula C Championship Precision Motorsports 1st
1999 Australian Formula Ford Championship Fastlane Racing 4th
2000 Australian Formula Ford Championship Fastlane Racing 1st
2001 Australian Formula Three Championship Piccola Scuderia 1st
Macau Grand Prix 4th
2002 British Formula Three Championship Fortec Motorsport 1st
Macau Grand Prix 1st
2003 International F3000 Championship Super Nova Racing 1st
2004 Formula One Minardi Cosworth 13th
2005 Formula One Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 1st
2006 Formula One BMW Sauber 4th
2007 Formula One BMW Sauber 1st
2008 Formula One BMW Sauber 6th
2009 Formula One BMW Sauber 1st
2010 Formula One Mercedes GP 1st
F1RWRS JLD Motorsport 17th
F1 Rejects World Championship Qantas Melrose Racing Team 1st
2011 F1RWRS Qantas JLD Motorsport 2nd
2012 F1RWRS Qantas Melrose Racing Team 7th
2013 F1RWRS ArrowTech ART =8th
Castrol Jones Racing
2014 F1RWRS Castrol Jones Racing 6th
2015 F1RWRS Simpson Motorsports =26th
Holden F1RWRS Racing Team
RoLFS Red Bull World Race Team 20th
F1RICS McDoggle Racing Team 39th

F1 Records Held

  • Youngest Driver to score a point: 18 years, 255 days (2004 Australian Grand Prix)
  • Youngest Driver to lead a lap: 18 years, 338 days (2004 European Grand Prix)
  • Youngest Driver to score a fastest lap: 18 years, 352 days (2004 Canadian Grand Prix)
  • Youngest Driver to win a Grand Prix: 18 years, 352 days (2004 Canadian Grand Prix)
  • Youngest Driver to win a Grand Prix from pole position: 19 years, 302 days (2005 San Marino Grand Prix)
  • Youngest Driver to score a Hat Trick: 19 years, 330 days (2005 Monaco Grand Prix)
  • Youngest Driver to score a Grand Chelem: 19 years 330 days (2005 Monaco Grand Prix)
  • Youngest Driver to lead the World Championship: 19 years, 337 days (2005 European Grand Prix)
  • Youngest Driver to win the World Championship: 20 years, 101 days (2005 Japanese Grand Prix)