History of Formula 1 Champagne
25th August 2022
Formula 1 is the most-watched and exciting auto racing competition on TV, showcasing legends of the sport throughout the years, including, Sir Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, Niki Lauda, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and more recently Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Sabastian Vettel.
The are many more names that will come to mind to any F1 fan, but this article isn’t about listing out our favourtie drivers and remembering those moments that had us on the edge of our seats, this article is about delving into the different Champagne’s and Sparkling Wines that F1 drivers across the world have celebrated with after racing it out for a podium position at the Grand Prix.
Find out which Champagne and now Sparkling Wine labels have been opened on a Forumla 1 Podium and discover how the tradition of Spraying Champagne all started.
F1 Champagne – Year by Year
The F1 Champagne story began with Moët & Chandon being opened on podiums around the world from 1966 to 1999, then returning once more in 2020 with Jeroboams.
G.H. Mumm Champagne would take over from 2000 until 2015.
Chandon would start in 2016 and would end at the 5th track in 2017, which was the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. It would feature on the nosecone of the McLaren Honda cars.
Champagne Carbon would pick up where Chandon left off on the 6th track in 2017 at Monaco, they would stay on the podium until 2019. Each magnum bottle would cost $3000, just under £2,400. The bottles they enjoyed were a Millésime 2009 Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc, make from 100% Chardonnay.
Ferrari Trento secured the podium Sparkling Wine from 2021, with a deal lasting for 3 years. It has just recently been renewed until the end of the 2025 season.
A Jeroboam Bottle of Ferrari Trentodoc is being enjoyed on the podiums of F1, being sprayed on the drivers, teams and fans. Ferrari Trento can also be found in all the hospitality areas of the Grand Prix, allowing not just the drivers but the fans to taste the craftsmen ship of this Italian Sparkling Wine producer.
- Moët & Chandon (1966–1999, 2020)
- G.H. Mumm (2000–2015)
- Chandon – Argentine Sparkling Wine (2016- 5th Track Spanish 2017)
- Champagne Carbon (6th Track Monaco 2017–2019)
- Ferrari Trento – Italian Sparkling Wine (2021–2025)
Ferrari Trento has been on the podium once before, at the 1981 Italian Grand Prix, it was enjoyed by Renault’s Alain Prost on the podium at Monza.
Champagne or Sparkling Wine isn’t always found on an F1 Podium, in Arabian countries like Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, alcohol can be forbidden, meaning a substitute is needed, so you sometimes see the winners holding a bottle of rosewater, (pink sugar water) known as Waard.
Drivers will also seldomly spray their Champagne bottles if a driver or even spectator is injured or killed at any time during the race weekend.
Who Started The Tradition of Spraying Champagne?
The first bottle of Champagne to be popped open on a Formula 1 podium was at the 1950 French Grand Prix, at the Reims-Gueux circuit on 2nd of July.
Juan Manuel Fangio had just completed the 64 laps 1st for Alfa Romeo, after receiving a successful 9 points, he got awarded a bottle of Moët & Chandon which had been donated by the Winery, they provided the very first bottle of Champagne to be opened on a podium by the winner of a Formula 1 race.
It wouldn’t be until 1966 until Jo Siffert would ‘accidentally’ spray Champagne over the crowd, his cork couldn’t wait to celebrate his win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, so decided to pop on its own. This accident made Jo Siffert the first driver to spray a bottle of Champagne on a racing podium, it would take just one more year for the tradition to really begin.
The year was 1967, the drivers were Dan Gurney & A.J. Foyt, driving in a Ford GT40, no one on the Ford team expected the race to end the way it did, both drivers put in an unforgettable performance, working together to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Upon the podium, Dan Gurney would be handed a Magnum bottle of Moët & Chandon, seeing the tired and ecstatic faces of CEO Henry Ford II, team owner Caroll Shelby and the Ford team, he, at that moment decided to spray them all with Champagne, sharing with them the sweet taste of victory.
“What I did with the champagne was totally spontaneous. I had no idea it would start a tradition. I was beyond caring and just got caught up in the moment. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime occasions where things turned out perfectly…I thought this hard-fought victory needed something special.” – Dan Gurney
This spontaneous choice, this spectacular moment would catch the eye of fellow drivers and from that moment started a trend that would become a tradition in the world of racing.
Dan Gurney signed one of the opened Champagne bottles and gave it to Flip Schulke, the photographer for Life Magazine, for 30 years he would use the bottle as a lamp until deciding to return it to Gurney, it would stay with him until he passed away on the 14th of January 2018.
A Racer, A Legend, RIP
Henry Ford II was a very influential person in the automobile world and I know Glass of Bubbly’s chief investor, Les Coverdale, got to spend a few moments with him, these are his words.
“I was filming Baron Thyssen’s wedding in the mid-eighties in Dalesford Park in the Cotswolds when I happened to chance upon Henry Ford II in the Garden in a lull between the wedding and the evening reception.”
“Henry Ford engaged me in conversation and I don’t know how we got round to it but we started talking about being left-handed and I said to him that I had had a ruler wrapped over my knuckles for writing left-handed and he replied to me ‘By god, so did I!'”
How Big Are The Bottles On The F1 Podium?
In the beginning, the bottle size was a Magnum, containing 1.5 liters of Champagne, the size of 2 standard bottles, containing 16 glasses. Now it’s a Jeroboam, containing 3 liters of Sparkling Wine, the equivalent of 4 standard bottles, containing 24 glasses.
Now, And Into The Future
Ferrari Trento will continue with F1 until the end of 2025, and I’m sure the tradition of spraying a bottle of Sparkling Wine will live on forever, whether it’s on the podium, in your back garden, or at your wedding, the joy that Sparkling Wine can deliver is endless.
You can buy yourself a standard Ferrari Trento F1 bottle for around £30, but if you want to go for the real Ferrari Trento F1 Jeroboam that the drivers enjoy on the podium, that will still only cost around £300.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.