20 years on from Michael Schumacher’s final F1 title win, we have taken a look at all 24 drivers and what they are up to these days.
Looking back at the 2004 grid, there were plenty of famous names with five either past or future World Champions represented.
But before we tell you what they are up to now, we are going to challenge you to remember the finishing order of the first race in Melbourne.
1.) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari
The 2004 season would prove to be Michael Schumacher’s final championship year and one that would see him break his own record of titles won.
His 2004 title victory, which was won by coming first in all but five of the races, saw him move two clear of Juan Manuel Fangio and at that time, it looked like a record that would never be beaten.
Schumacher would leave Ferrari in 2006 but would return to the sport with Mercedes in 2010 to compete in three more seasons before his final race in 2012.
The Schumacher name continues on though with his son Mick competing in 2021 and 2022 with Haas before serving as a reserve driver at his dad’s former team, Mercedes, in 2023. Mick Schumacher will spend 2024 competing in WEC with Alpine.
2.) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari
2004 was Rubens Barrichello’s second to last season with Ferrari as he went on to race at Honda before being part of the legendary 2009 Brawn season. It may have been Jenson Button who ultimately won the Drivers’ title but the Brazilian contributed to Brawn’s Constructors’ Championship win.
After Brawn, he left for a final stint with Williams before stopping in F1 but that was not the end of his racing career.
He returned to his native Brazil where he competed in stock car racing, a competition he continued to drive in up until 2023 and was named the 2014 champion.
Away from stock cars, Barrichello has occasionally been spotted in the F1 paddock either with F1 itself or as a pundit.
3.) Jenson Button – BAR
In 2024, Jenson Button will be back in racing full time having initially hung up his helmet in 2017.
He did have some infrequent appearances in a number of different competitions alongside his work as a Sky F1 pundit but in 2024 he has committed to racing in WEC for Jota Sport.
He could also add another portion of the Triple Crown to his record should he triumph in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race he has entered twice previously but failed to finish higher than 39th.
4.) Fernando Alonso – Renault
Miraculously, the answer as to what 2004 F1 driver Fernando Alonso is up to these days is he is a 2024 F1 driver.
20 years on from his third full season in the sport, Alonso is preparing for his 21st. Incredible.
He finished fourth in 2004 but would go on to win the next two World Championships with Renault.
He briefly retired in 2018 after a frustrating second spell at McLaren. But that was not to be the end of his F1 story. Alonso returned with Alpine in 2021 but it was 2023’s move to Aston Martin that saw him back to his former best.
Eight podiums in the season, the most of any non-Red Bull driver and he is now the holder of plenty of F1 records including most starts, most finished and most laps raced.
5.) Juan Pablo Montoya – Williams
Like Barrichello, Juan Pablo Montoya enjoyed a varied career after F1 both in NASCAR and IndyCar.
In 2021, he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which alongside his two Indy 500 wins, means he has two parts of the Triple Crown secured.
At the age of 48 he continues to race and in 2023 he competed in the Le Mans Series and one race in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. The year before he competed in the same series in which he shared a team with his son, Sebastian.
6.) Jarno Trulli – Renault
2004 was a special year for Jarno Trulli as it saw him win his one and only race – the Monaco GP – but his F1 career stretched on for many years after.
He raced until 2011 before taking up a test role at Caterham and in 2013, he founded and competed for his own Formula E team.
That was to be the last of his racing action but he keeps himself busy by running his own vineyard in the Abruzzo region in Italy.
7.) Kimi Raikkonen – McLaren
Another driver, like Alonso, to go on racing well past the 2004 season was Kimi Raikkonen.
The ever talkative Finn’s finest achievement would come with his 2007 title win but he set plenty of records for longevity in the sport before finally retiring after the 2021 season.
Since then, he has made a couple of NASCAR appearances but it appears the majority of his time is now spent mentoring his son and young karting driver Robin.
8.) Takuma Sato – BAR
In 2004, Takuma Sato’s finish of eighth was the best ever by a Japanese driver and he would go on to compete for three more full seasons before moving over to IndyCar.
14 years later and he still races in IndyCar, albeit on a part-time basis with Chip Ganassi.
He has won six IndyCar races, including the 2017 and 2020 Indy 500s.
9.) Ralf Schumacher – Williams
Those able to understand German will be only too aware what Ralf Schumacher is up to these days as he is a lead pundit for Sky Sports Germany.
His F1 career ended in 2007 before a move to DTM but he has also given back with a management role at Mucke Motorsport.
He takes a keen interest in nephew Mick’s career and has made clear his feelings for Haas team principal Guenther Steiner.
10.) David Coulthard – McLaren
Another driver turned pundit is David Coulthard who features on many media outlets over the course of an F1 season.
He works with Channel 4 primarily but also hosts his own podcast with Eddie Jordan.
Away from the microphone, DC set up his own initiative to get more women racing called More than Equal and occasionally does show runs for his old team Red Bull in an ambassadorial role.
11.) Giancarlo Fisichella – Sauber
Giancarlo Fisichella is another journeyman when it comes to competing in a different series.
From Le Mans to WEC to the Endurance Cup to Italian GT, his CV is very extensive.
In 2023, he competed in three rounds of the Italian GT Championship – GT3 and also made a cameo in the 2019 film ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’.
12.) Felipe Massa – Sauber
2004 was Felipe Massa’s return to F1 after a year out and would be the first of 14 consecutive seasons competing.
His highlights of course came at Ferrari where he came close to winning the world title but after his F1 time was over, he competed in Formula E and stock car racing.
He returned to the F1 news cycle in 2023 when he started to explore legal proceedings against F1 and the FIA over the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
13.) Mark Webber – Jaguar
Australian Mark Webber splits his time these days as a pundit and a manager.
On the punditry side, he works alongside DC for Channel 4 but in his management role, he has a fellow Aussie in his ranks – Oscar Piastri.
Webber has been providing advice to the newest F1 driver and was reportedly crucial in securing Piastri’s move away from Alpine and to McLaren.
14.) Olivier Panis – Toyota
2004 was to be Olivier Panis’ final year of competition in Formula 1 as he took up a test driver role at Toyota for the following two years.
In 2008, he competed at Le Mans and in 2020, he returned from a five-year break to race in the FFSA GT Championship.
But not much has been heard since then of the 57-year-old as he enjoys a quiet life.
15.) Antonio Pizzonia – Williams
Just the four races in 2004 for Antonio Pizzonia in which he finished seventh in three of them.
It would prove to be his second to last season in F1 but he did move over to IndyCar where he raced for a season.
But it was in Brazilian stock car racing where he found more longevity, racing from 2007 until 2018.
In 2023, he competed in the BOSS GP Series which he won following 12 victories in the season.
16.) Christian Klien – Jaguar
Christian Klien can boast the achievement of being one of the first drivers to ever race for Red Bull alongside David Coulthard but he did not enjoy the same level of success that the team has gone on to.
After intermittent test driver roles and a three-race appearance for Hispania Racing, he left F1 in 2010 to compete in a whole host of other series.
That competitive drive has seen him race most recently in the 2023, winning the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup at the age of 40.
17.) Cristiano da Matta – Toyota
After his racing career ended, Cristiano da Matta left the sport to take over the financial and logistical side of the family Da Matta Design clothing business.
But in 2022, his name resurfaced as a possible candidate to lead Audi’s F1 project. If that report is true, it has yet to materialise.
18.) Nick Heidfeld – Jordan
Following his long F1 career in which he raced for six different teams, Nick Heidfeld left the sport in 2011 where he, like many others on this list, branched out.
He competed three times in WEC, including in Le Mans in the 2012 season, and moved into Formula E in 2014.
His most recent racing venture came in 2022 with one appearance in the Rallycross Championship for QEV Motorsport.
19.) Timo Glock – Jordan
Timo Glock is another driver who mixes racing with punditry and in 2023, he competed in the Porsche Supercup.
On the media side of things, he frequently gives interviews to outlets in his native Germany and occasionally one to us too!
20.) Zsolt Baumgartner – Minardi
The only Hungarian to ever race in F1, Zsolt Baumgartner left the sport in 2004 which was his last notable racing experience.
Not much has been heard about him since but he did appear in the F1 paddock in 2023 for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
21.) Jacques Villeneuve – Renault
After taking a sabbatical following his release from BAR, 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve featured for the final three races of the 2004 season with Renault.
He then moved to Sauber before ending his F1 career halfway through the 2006 campaign.
Afterwards, the Canadian competed in the likes of Le Mans, NASCAR and touring cars and last year he raced in the first three WEC events although he retired in two of them.
He can also be seen frequently in the F1 paddock as a leading pundit, including in Las Vegas where he used the in-paddock chapel to marry his long-time partner.
22.) Ricardo Zonta – Toyota
2004 marked the second of two stints for Ricardo Zonta in F1 but he left permanently in 2005 after finishing as a test driver with Toyota.
After that, he moved into stock car racing which he competed in last year and finished third in the championship with RCM Motorsport.
He comes from a racing family as well with two of his relatives, Billy and Brendon, also racing drivers.
23.) Marc Gene – Williams
Marc Gene’s two appearances in 2004 would be his last in F1 but he would compete in Le Mans every year from 2007 to 2014 including a win in 2009 alongside current GPDA chairman Alexander Wurz.
Today he is a Ferrari ambassador and test driver, a role he has held for many years, and a pundit for Sky TV and Movistar.
24.) Giorgio Pantano – Jordan
Giorgio Pantano made the familiar route of F1 to IndyCar and competed in three different seasons in the American championship but never landed a full-time drive.
His last racing series came in 2013 in the Blancpain Sprint Series, driving a McLaren MP4.
25.) Gianmaria Bruni – Minardi
42-year-old Gianmaria Bruni continues to race to this day with Porsche in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.
Since first racing in the series in 2014, he has made infrequent appearances but did win the 2023 race in Daytona.