Johhny Herbert

Johnny Herbert is a British racing legend who left an indelible mark on the Formula One circuit during his 13-year career. Born in Brentwood, Essex in 1964, Herbert was introduced to motorsport at a young age by his father, who worked as a mechanic. His passion for racing was ignited when he attended his first go-karting race at the age of 10.

He went on to race in various categories, such as motorcycles, Formula Ford, Formula Three and Formula 3000, before making his Formula One debut in 1989 with Benetton. Johnny went on to drive for six more teams: Tyrrell, Lotus, Ligier, Sauber, Stewart and Jaguar. He won three races and finished fourth in the 1995 World Drivers’ Championship. Herbert also won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1991 with Mazda.

In this article, we will explore Johnny Herbert’s racing career and the multiple teams he drove for. We will look at his highs and lows, his triumphs and tragedies, his speed and skill, his humor and personality. We will also find out why he was nicknamed “The Jukebox” by his fellow drivers. Hint: it has something to do with his singing ability…

Johnny Herbert Birthplace and Childhood

Johnny Herbert was born on June 25, 1964 in Brentwood, Essex, England12. His father, Bob Herbert, was a mechanic and a racing enthusiast, who ran a garage and a karting team.

His mother, Jane Herbert, was a housewife and a supportive figure. Johnny had two sisters, Tracey, and Samantha.

Johnny grew up around racing and was fascinated by cars and motorcycles. He started karting at 10 years old, and soon showed his talent and speed.

He won several championships and trophies in karting, including the British Junior Kart Championship in 1979.

Where Did Johnny Herbert Receive His Education?

Johnny attended the Shenfield High School in Brentwood, where he studied until he was 16 years old.

He was not very academic and preferred to focus on his racing career. He left school without any qualifications and worked as a mechanic at his father’s garage.

Johnny also played guitar in a band called The Lookalikes.

Johnny Herbert Parents

Johnny Herberts win

Johnny’s parents were both very influential in his life and career. His father, Bob Herbert, was his first mentor and sponsor, who introduced him to racing and supported his ambitions.

Bob had been a racer himself in the 1950s, competing in stock cars and motorcycles. He also ran a successful garage business, which helped finance Johnny’s racing activities.

His mother, Jane Herbert, was also very supportive of Johnny’s racing career, even though she worried about the dangers involved.

She encouraged him to pursue his dreams and goals and was always there for him during his highs and lows. She was very proud of Johnny’s achievements and often attended his races.

Johnny Herbert Siblings

Johnny has two sisters: Tracey and Samantha. Tracey is older than Johnny by two years, while Samantha is younger by four years.

They were very close as children and shared their passion for racing. They helped each other cope with the challenges and pressures of being a racing family.

Tracey became a journalist and a writer. She wrote a biography of her brother called Johnny: The Autobiography of Johnny Herbert .

She also co-wrote several books with other racing drivers.

Samantha became a photographer and a filmmaker.

She made a documentary about her brother called Johnny: A Champion’s Journey .

She also worked with Johnny on some of his projects, such as his music album called The Racing Driver .

Johnny Herbert Wife and Children

Johnny Herberts and Rebecca Herbert

Johnny met his wife Becky at Brands Hatch circuit in 1987. She was working as a secretary for Eddie Jordan Racing at the time. They got married in 1990 and have three children: Chloe, Katie and Luke.

Chloe is the oldest daughter, born in 1992. She is a singer and a songwriter, who performs under the name Chloe Rose . She released her debut album called The Race in 2018.

Katie is the second daughter, born in 1994. She is also a singer and a songwriter, who performs under the name Katie Rose . She released her debut album called The Drive in 2019.

Luke is the youngest son, born in 1996. He is a racing driver, who competed in Formula Renault and Formula 3. He also worked as a test driver for Sauber F1 in 2017.

Why Is Johnny Herbert Called The Jukebox?

Johnny Herbert is not only known for his racing skills, but also for his singing voice. Or rather, his lack of it.

The British driver has earned the nickname “The Jukebox” from his fellow drivers and colleagues, because of his habit of singing along to any song that comes on the radio He does this regardless of whether he knows the lyrics or not.

Herbert’s singing talent (or lack thereof) was first exposed to the public in 1995, when he won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. As he crossed the finish line, he started singing “God Save The Queen” over the team radio.

This caused much to the amusement to his Benetton crew and the TV viewers. His rendition was not exactly pitch-perfect, but it showed his joy and patriotism.

Herbert continued to sing after every race win, which happened two more times in his career:

  • The Italian Grand Prix in 1995.
  • The European Grand Prix in 1996.

Singing became His Trademark

He also sang after some podium finishes and other memorable moments, such as when he qualified third for the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix with Sauber.

Herbert’s singing became a trademark of his personality, and a source of entertainment for his fans and friends.

He was often asked to sing during interviews, press conferences and events, and he always obliged with a smile. He also sang on some of his projects, such as his music album called The Racing Driver, which he released in 2004.

Herbert’s singing was not always appreciated by everyone, though. Some of his rivals and critics found it annoying or disrespectful, especially when he sang songs that mocked or taunted them.

Johhny Herbert Michael Schumacher

For example, he once sang “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred after beating Michael Schumacher in a race.

He also sang “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon after passing Damon Hill on track.

Herbert’s singing was also sometimes a source of embarrassment for him. This was especially true when he got the lyrics wrong or sang out of tune.

He once admitted that he did not know the words to “God Save The Queen”, and that he just made them up as he went along. He also confessed that he could not sing very well, and that he only did it for fun.

Herbert’s singing was part of his charm and humor, and a way of expressing his emotions and passion for racing.

He did not take himself too seriously, and he always tried to have fun and enjoy life. He was a jukebox on wheels, and he made many people smile with his tunes.

How Did Johnny Herbert Get Into Motor Racing?

Johnny Herbert started his motor racing career on motorcycles, which he raced from 1981 to 1984.

Formula Ford

Formula Ford

Johnny Herbert’s racing career took off in the mid-1980s when he competed in the highly competitive Formula Ford category.

Formula Ford serves as a launching pad for aspiring young drivers, offering them the opportunity to showcase their skills and catch the attention of influential figures in the racing industry.

Herbert’s natural talent behind the wheel quickly became evident as he displayed exceptional speed, consistency, and race craft.

In 1985, Herbert won the British Formula Ford Championship, marking a significant milestone in his budding career.

His success catapulted him into the international scene, where he continued to impress with his performances. Notably, Herbert achieved victory in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in the same year, cementing his status as a rising star in motorsport.

Formula Three

Buoyed by his accomplishments in Formula Ford, Johnny Herbert progressed to the highly competitive Formula Three category.

Formula Three serves as a crucial stepping stone for aspiring drivers, providing them with an opportunity to hone their skills in more powerful and technologically advanced single-seater race cars.

Herbert’s debut season in Formula Three, in 1986, saw him showcase his prodigious talent. Despite facing stiff competition from seasoned drivers, he finished third overall in the championship, amassing several impressive podium finishes.

This performance further validated Herbert’s potential and attracted the attention of influential figures within the racing fraternity.

The following year, in 1987, Herbert clinched the British Formula Three Championship. This triumph not only solidified his reputation as a highly skilled driver. It also also opened doors for him to progress further up the racing ladder.

Formula 3000

Having conquered the ranks of Formula Ford and Formula Three, Johnny Herbert set his sights on the highly competitive Formula 3000 series.

 Formula 3000 serves as a crucial proving ground for drivers aspiring to reach the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula One.

Herbert’s tenure in Formula 3000 proved to be a testing ground for his mettle. In 1988, Herbert secured victory in the season-opening round at Jerez, Spain, making a significant statement to the racing world.

Johhny Herbert Crash

In 1989, despite encountering an unfortunate accident that nearly ended his career, Herbert displayed immense resilience and made a remarkable comeback.

With his determination intact, he secured the Formula 3000 championship that year, showcasing his unwavering resolve and talent.

Formula One and Beyond

In his F1 career Johnny drove for seven different teams.

Benneton Team

F1 Benneton

He made his Formula One debut in 1989 with the Benetton team. He scored points on his debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro.

However, he struggled to cope with the pain and the lack of mobility in his legs and was dropped after failing to qualify for the Canadian Grand Prix.


He then joined Tyrrell for the rest of the season, scoring more points and impressing with his speed and determination.


He moved to Lotus in 1990, where he stayed until 1994. He scored several points finishes and podiums with the team, but also had many retirements and accidents.


Johnny had a brief stint with Ligier in 1994, replacing Éric Bernard for one race.

Back To Benneton

He returned to Benetton in 1994, where he won his first race at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. He also won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza that year and finished fourth in the championship.


He joined Sauber in 1996, where he scored more points and podiums. He also won his third and final race at the European Grand Prix at Nürburgring that year.

Johnny stayed with Sauber until 1998


Johnny moved to Stewart in 1999. He scored the team’s first podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix that year, but also had many mechanical failures and crashes.


He switched to Jaguar in 2000, which was the rebranded Stewart team, but had a disappointing season with no points.

He retired from racing after being dropped by Jaguar following the 2000 season.

Johnny Herbert Formula One Statistics


Johnny Herbert entered 165 Formula One races, starting 160 of them.

He scored

  • 98 points
  • 3 wins
  • 7 podiums
  • No pole positions
  • No fastest laps.

He also had 75 retirements and five disqualifications.

  • His average finishing position was 9.2, and his average qualifying position was 12.7.
  • He used five different engine suppliers: Ford , Lamborghini , Mugen-Honda , Petronas, and Cosworth .
  • His best season was 1995, when he finished fourth in the world championship with two wins and 45 points.
  • His worst season was 2000, when he finished 20th in the world championship with no points. His most successful team was Benetton , where he won all his races and scored 69 points.
  • His least successful team was Jaguar , where he scored no points.

The stats are respectable, but they do not reflect his true potential and talent. He had to overcome many difficulties and obstacles in his career, such as his severe injuries in 1988, which affected his performance and confidence for many years.

He also had to deal with some unreliable and uncompetitive cars and teams, which prevented him from achieving more consistent results.

Johnny Herbert Greatest Achievements

Despite these challenges, Johnny Herbert achieved many great things in his Formula One career. Some of his greatest achievements are:

  • Winning three Formula One races (British Grand Prix 1995, Italian Grand Prix 1995, European Grand Prix 1996)
  • Finishing fourth in the Formula One World Championship in 1995
  • Scoring seven Formula One podiums
  • Scoring 98 Formula One points
  • Driving for seven different Formula One teams
  • Winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1991 with Mazda
  • Becoming one of only six drivers to win races in both Formula One and Le Mans (the others being Jacky Ickx , Jochen Mass , Michele Alboreto , Johnny Dumfries, and Mark Blundell )
  • Becoming one of only four drivers to win races with both Benetton and Sauber (the others being Michael Schumacher , Giancarlo Fisichella and Robert Kubica )

Johnny Herbert is widely regarded as one of the best drivers of his generation, and a brave and determined competitor.

He is also known for his friendly and humorous personality, and his passion for racing. He is a member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), which he served as vice-president from 2007 to 2011.

Until recently Herbert was also a commentator for Sky Sports F1 since 2016.

He also works as a driver coach and mentor for young drivers, such as

  • George Russell
  • Lando Norris
  • Mick Schumacher
  • Lance Stroll
  • Sergio Pérez
  • Esteban Ocon
  • Carlos Sainz Jr
  • Pierre Gasly .

Johnny runs his own racing team called Johnny Herbert Racing, which competes in various categories such as Formula Renault, Formula 3 and GT.

He also participates in some charity and exhibition events, such as Race of Champions, Goodwood Festival of Speed and Silverstone Classic.


Johnny Herbert is a British racing legend who had a remarkable career in Formula One and other series. He drove for seven different teams, won three races and finished fourth in the 1995 World Drivers’ Championship.

He also won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1991 with Mazda. Johhny was a brave and determined competitor, a friendly and humorous personality, and a passionate and loyal racer.

He was also a terrible singer, but that did not stop him from belting out any song that came to his mind, earning him the nickname “The Jukebox”. Herbert sang after every victory, every podium, every qualifying session, and sometimes even during the races. He sang to celebrate, to mock, to taunt, to entertain, and to have fun. He sang with joy, with pride, with humour, and with confidence.

Johnny sang so much that he even released his own music album, called The Racing Driver , which featured some of his favourite songs and some original compositions. The album was not a commercial success, but it was a cult classic among his fans and friends. He also sang on his podcast, on his TV show, and on his social media accounts.

He sang so much that some people wondered if he ever shut up.

But he never did, he kept singing because he was Johnny Herbert, The Jukebox.


By Jonny Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jonny Noble I’m a dedicated F1 Writer – and I’ve Been One for Over Four Decades, I’ve been intimately immersed in the world of Formula One for more than 44 years. That’s longer than most professional commentators can boast! As an independent writer, I offer a unique perspective on the entire F1 landscape, free from biases that might cloud the discussion. We dive deep into the exhilarating, frustrating, and captivating facets of the F1 universe. So, regardless of my amateur status, one thing is undeniable: four decades of dedicated F1 fandom have forged strong opinions worth exploring!