Jenson Button, McLaren, Monza, 2015

The F1 statistics to look out for in 2016

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What milestones will we be talking about during the 2016 season? Here’s a look at the year ahead in statistics.

The race to pass Prost: Hamilton vs Vettel

Alain Prost, Red Bull Ring, 2015
F1’s second most successful driver ever – but for how long?
Last year saw the grand prix victories tally of F1 great Ayrton Senna being overhauled first by Sebastian Vettel and later by Lewis Hamilton.

This year either of them could overtake Alain Prost to become the second most successful driver of all time. Prost scored 51 wins to Hamilton’s 43 and Vettel’s 42.

Hamilton won ten races last year and eleven the year before. The expectation he will have another formidable Mercedes at his disposal this year makes him the favourite to get there first. And his next victory will be the 44th for driver number 44.

Full house

Another Hamilton versus Vettel contest: can either of them complete a clean sweep of winning at least one race at every track on the calendar? Here are the gaps in their collection so far:

Lewis Hamilton Sebastian Vettel
Albert Park 1st 1st
Bahrain International Circuit 1st 1st
Shanghai International Circuit 1st 1st
Sochi Autodrom 1st 2nd
Circuit de Catalunya 1st 1st
Monte-Carlo 1st 1st
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve 1st 1st
Baku City Circuit n/a n/a
Red Bull Ring 2nd 4th
Silverstone 1st 1st
Hungaroring 1st 1st
Hockenheimring 1st 3rd
Spa-Francorchamps 1st 1st
Monza 1st 1st
Singapore 1st 1st
Sepang International Circuit 1st 1st
Suzuka 1st 1st
Circuit of the Americas 1st 1st
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez 2nd DNF
Interlagos 2nd 1st
Yas Marina 1st 1st

Hamilton can match Senna again

Ayrton Senna, Imola, Williams, 1994
Hamilton is closing on another of his hero’s records
This is a big one. Senna’s achievement of 65 pole positions was long thought to be unbeatable. It took a long time for Michael Schumacher to push the record to 68.

Hamilton could reach it this year, though he’ll need 16 pole positions to make it. That’s not beyond the realm of possibility – he started from pole in 11 of the first 12 races last year. But even if he does, like Schumacher he’ll have taken many more races to do it.

Most wins without a title: Rosberg to pass Moss?

Stirling Moss’s unwanted record for scoring 16 grand prix victories without winning the championship has stood for 54 years.

The record was taken from him by Nigel Mansell in 1991, but the following year he finally clinched the crown and Moss had his record back.

However Nico Rosberg is closing in quickly. Six wins last year left him just two shy of the Moss record. With another competitive Mercedes it will surely be his – unless he makes the mistake of winning the championship.

Raikkonen can become most successful Finn

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2015
Raikkonen has a reason to be cheerful
It’s an oft-remarked fact that for a country of just 5.5 million inhabitants Finland has produced an exceptional crop of driving talent. Kimi Raikkonen is its third world champion and his last win at Melbourne in 2013 put him level with Mika Hakkinen on 20 wins as the country’s top driver in terms of race victories.

He missed chances to claim the 21st victory last year, but if Ferrari are competitive again this year more opportunities will surely come his way. Don’t expect much by way of a celebration if he manages it, though.

Shattering speeds

Formula One’s new generation of V6 hybrid turbo engines continues to produce some flabbergasting top speeds. Last year Pastor Maldonado’s Mercedes power unit propelled him to 366.4kph (227.7mph), aided by the long straight and thin air at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

With more development over the winter, even higher speeds could be seen at F1’s two top tracks for his speeds: Mexico City and Monza.

Mercedes seek another crushing year

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2015
Make it stop…
Having dominated the 2014 championship Mercedes thrashed their rivals even more emphatically in 2015. They scored 12 one-twos instead of 11, 32 podiums compared to 31, 15 front row lock-outs versus 12, and increased their points tally from 701 to 703.

With two extra races on the schedule they have a chance to do even better this year. But as much as everyone at Brackley will want it to happen, for the sake of the championship hopefully they won’t.

Thanks to Mercedes, just three different drivers won races in each of the last two seasons. Prior to 2014 that hadn’t happened since McLaren’s stunning 1988 campaign. That’s another streak which hopefully won’t continue.

Time for the field to close up

The performance gap between the quickest and slowest car in the field generally reduced between the arrival of three new teams in 2010 and the introduction of new engine rules in 2014. Last year Manor had to make do with year-old equipment which meant the gap widened dramatically.

But with Manor upgrading to the class-leading Mercedes hardware this year and Haas arriving with a supply of the latest Ferraris, the back of the grid should be closer to the pace in the year ahead.

Data reflects the average lap time gap between the best and worst performing car in each season as a percentage.

Youngest driver on the podium

Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, Monza, 2008
Verstappen would be too young to do this in Texas
Max Verstappen had a pair of fourth place finishes last year and if he can go one better next year he will claim another record.

The youngest driver ever to reach the podium in F1 was Vettel when he won at Monza in 2008 at the age of 21 years and 74 days. Verstappen doesn’t turn 19 until September so even if he doesn’t manage it this year he should get another chance in 2017 and throughout most of 2018.

McLaren’s longest slump

McLaren’s last grand prix victory, courtesy of Jenson Button at Interlagos in 2012, was 57 races ago. That’s the team’s longest win-less period in terms of consecutive starts since Bruce McLaren put their first car on the grid at Monaco 50 years ago.

But after the miserable year they’ve just endured Honda’s technicians will have to weave some magic during the off-season to get the team in the hunt for podiums, let alone victories.


Renault, 2004
The Regie is back
Here are some of the milestones which should be reached during the course of 2016:

  • Australian Grand Prix: Renault’s 301st start, following their 300th after a five-year absence
  • Russian Grand Prix: Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Pastor Maldonado’s 100th race appearances
  • Spanish Grand Prix: Pastor Maldonado’s 100th start
  • Monaco Grand Prix: Nico Hulkenberg’s 100th start
  • Canadian Grand Prix: Perez’s 100th start
  • German Grand Prix: Ricciardo’s 100th start
  • Belgian Grand Prix: Jenson Button’s 300th appearance
  • Singapore Grand Prix: Toro Rosso’s 200th start, Rosberg’s 200th start and Romain Grosjean’s 100th appearance
  • Malaysian Grand Prix: Button’s 300th start
  • Japanese Grand Prix: Grosjean’s 100th start
  • United States Grand Prix: Raikkonen’s 250th appearance
  • Mexican Grand Prix: Felipe Massa’s 250th appearance
  • Brazilian Grand Prix: McLaren’s 800th start and Raikkonen’s 250th start
  • Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Massa’s 250th start

Four other noteworthy milestones which could be reached this year:

  • Mercedes need five more wins to equal Red Bull who are fifth in the all-time winners list on 50
  • Mercedes need four more pole positions to equal Red Bull who are fifth in the all-time pole sitters’ list on 57
  • Renault need one more win to pass Brabham who are seventh in the all-time winners’ list on 35
  • Rosberg needs three more pole positions to join the all-time top ten pole-setting drivers and 12 to join the top five
  • Hamilton could join Fangio, Schumacher and Vettel as the only drivers to have won three consecutive championships and along with Prost the only drivers to win four world titles

Over to you

Have you spotted any other statistical landmarks coming up in the season ahead? Share them in the comments.

NB. Since this article was published Maldonado has confirmed he will not be racing in F1 in 2016.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 48 comments on “The F1 statistics to look out for in 2016”

    1. If Toro Rosso makes some progress this year with their Ferrari PU, Verstappen could smash some more age records this year. Most notably is youngest driver to stand on the podium, currently held by Vettel (21 years old, Monza 2008), but also youngest driver to lead a race (Vettel, 20 years old, Fuji 2007) and youngest driver to set the fastest lap (Rosberg, 20 years old, Bahrain 2006).

      Also, Baku will claim the record for being furthest away from the place indicated by the Grand Prix’ name, with a distance of 180km between Baku and Europe. This record is currently held by the San Marino GP (70km), closely followed by the Luxembourg GP (60km).

      1. @andae23

        Also, Baku will claim the record for being furthest away from the place indicated by the Grand Prix’ name, with a distance of 180km between Baku and Europe. This record is currently held by the San Marino GP (70km), closely followed by the Luxembourg GP (60km).

        That’s a good one!

      2. @andae23 Burmi is the youngest race leader (2010 Canada), and if I remember correctly he was around 19 1/2.

        1. @blockwall2 According to Wikipedia, Buemi was born in October 1988, which means he was 21 years old at the time of the Canadian GP.

      3. @andae23

        Also, Baku will claim the record for being furthest away from the place indicated by the Grand Prix’ name, with a distance of 180km between Baku and Europe.

        That depends on where you place the European border. And that’s not as straightforward as you make it.

        1. @matthijs True, my bad. The official border is more or less a straight line across the Caucasus Mountains, which means a small part of Azerbaijan indeed lies in Europe. Still, the minimal distance between this line and Baku’s city centre (where the race is held) is 80km. If you’d use a more logical definition and say the boundary is the border between Russia and Azerbaijan, the distance is 180km. In both cases it’s a record.

      4. How about the 1982 Swiss GP in Dijon ? It must have been a little over 100km.

        1. Ah you’re totally right, I forgot about that one! The distance is about 125km, which depending on how you count (see earlier comment) means Baku may have broken this record.

          1. Actually if you draw a line from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea through the Caucasus Mountain Range I would say that Baku is in line so it could be considered part of Europe


    2. Hamilton could join Fangio, Schumacher and Vettel as the only drivers to have won three consecutive championships and the only drivers to win four world titles

      I get what you were going for with this (the hat-trick stat) but the wording of the highlighted section seems off, as Alain Prost has also won 4 World Championships.

      1. @pjtierney Have tidied that up.

    3. what Pastor Maldonado is the fastest man in F1 (speed wise)…………….

      1. Alexander (@)
        19th January 2016, 22:58

        Montoya in 2004, 372,6km/h…. But last year yes

    4. Will also be the 10th year in a row Hamilton has had a Grand Prix victory surpassing Senna at 9 consecutive years. Has anyone other than Schumacher (with 15 years in a row between 1992 – 2006!) topped that?

      1. @philipgb Don’t know about topped, but Prost also had 10 in a row 1981-1990

    5. Always appreciate your time and effort with these stat articles @keithcollantine

    6. Here are some of the milestones which should be reached during the course of 2016:
      Russian Grand Prix: Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Pastor Maldonado’s 100th race appearances
      Spanish Grand Prix: Pastor Maldonado’s 100th start
      Canadian Grand Prix: Perez’s 100th start
      German Grand Prix: Ricicardo’s 100th start

      I’m confused….

      1. @glennb
        Race appearance does not equal start. In most recent memory, Magnussen had a race appearance at Australia 2015, but didn’t start. Neither did Kvyat or Bottas.

        Maldonado missed Monaco 2014. Perez missed Monaco and Canada 2011. Ricciardo attended 8 races in 2011 (from Australia until Europe) before he finally started in Silverstone.

        1. Now I’m curious – does anybody know who has the most race appearances without starting?

          1. @omegadetra, it depends how you define the question, because there could be a couple of answers.

            If you include drivers who entered into pre-qualifying back in the 1990’s, the answer is either Claudio Langes – he entered 14 races in 1990 and failed to pre-qualify in every single one (mind you, he was lumbered with the spectacularly awful Life L190), leaving him with a 100% DNPQ failure rate.

            Alternatively, you could cite Gabriele Tarquini given he failed to pre-qualify 25 times over his career, although he did succeed in qualifying in between some of those entries. Out of those two, I think that Tarquini might be closer to the answer you want.

            If, however, you mean instances where a driver was entered and failed to show up entirely, that could be rather more difficult to answer. Taking a quick look, one candidate could be Maurice Trintignant, who did not turn up to six events and one “DNP” to his name after blowing his engine in the 1952 Swizz GP before qualifying even took place (along with one DNQ) – don’t take my word for definite on that though.

            1. Ah, the good old days of pre-qualifying. When the problem was too many cars rather than too few.

            2. One candidate for most “Did Not Start” would be Chris Amon, at 8 – but I must admit that the data I have saved on a spreadsheet might be a bit wrong, as in the first 30 years or so of F1, it wasn’t uncommon for a driver to withdraw form an event, and I tend not to count those as DNS (I prefer to only label technical and health problems that prevent a driver from taking further part in the weekend as DNS). However I took my data from Wikipedia (because I’m lazy), and I don’t completely trust that every kind of DNS is correctly labled there.

            3. Brilliant research, thank you.

            4. @guilherme, by the looks of things, you could argue that Amon’s total was, in some ways, higher. According to the StatsF1 site, there were several years where Amon was entered by his team, only for the car to not be made available – they suggest that the actual total is closer to 30.

              @omegadetra, well, it has to be said that was something of a double edged sword – whilst you had a considerable quantity of teams, the professional quality of some of those teams was pretty low (Coloni’s final years, for example, were pretty dismal).

            5. Very interesting anon, thanks for that! On the subject of Tarquini, if you add both the times he failed to qualify and pre-qualify, his tally rises up to 40! A few other drivers with similar numbers would be Bertrand Gachot (37 failures), Piercarlo Ghinzani (34), Roberto Moreno (33), and Artuno Mezzario (28). Nine over drivers have over 20 failures to start and/or qualify for a race.

      2. I assume you’re confused about what a race appearance and race start mean. Drives usually have more appereances because they have taken part on some of the practice sessions, but failed to make it to the race. For example, Perez participated in both 2011 Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix, but failed to start either of them because of his accident at Monaco.

    7. @keithcollantine One of my own; In 2016 we continue with the seventh season of the fifth series of ’15 seasons’ which remains the one with the lowest amount of champions in those 15 seasons.

      1950-1964 (9; Farina, Fangio, Ascari, Hawthorn, Brabham, Hill, Hill, Clark, Surtees)
      1965-1979 (11; Clark, Brabham, Hulme, Hill, Stewart, Rindt, Fittipaldi, Lauda, Hunt, Andretti, Scheckter)
      1980-1994 (8; Jones, Piquet, Rosberg, Lauda, Prost, Senna, Mansell, Schumacher)
      1995-2009 (8; Schumacher, Hill, Villeneuve, Hakkinen, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Button
      2010-2015 (2; Vettel and Hamilton)

      1. Why 15?

        1. Because it was 2015.

      2. @xtwl A nice idea, but it seems a bit contrived.

        Also, there’s only been 6 seasons in this current ‘period’ as you define it, so of course there would be the lowest number of champions in that period. (Even if there had been 6 different champions in 6 years, which has never happened!)

        1. @keeleyobsessed We’ll be going into 2016 most likely with another Hamilton title so make that 7 seasons on still only 2 champions. Even between ’95 and ’09 where Schumacher won 6 we had 8 different champions. To reach 8 (which is the lowest of the four periods) after 2016 we would still need 6 different champions on 8 seasons. So if you ask me, not that contrived at all.

    8. I’d be interested to know who holds the record for most Grand Prix starts without a podium. If he doesn’t already hold it, Nico Hulkenberg must surely be closing in on that record.

      1. @jackysteeg Still almost 2 seasons to go. Hulkenberg-94 starts without a podium. Current record holder: Adrian Sutil-128 starts without a podium

    9. Really great job!
      Keith you make our days very interesting by reading this articles and not boring at all at winter as we wait for Melbourne start!

      1. Agreed. Thanks for that comprehensive list! Bookmarked for future perusal.

        1. @bilarxos @cashnotclass You’re welcome! :-)

    10. Riccardo Patrese holds a record of 187 consecutive Grand Prix starts. Nico Rosberg (now at 185) is set to break that.

      Alonso and Button entered 2015 season with a chance but both missed one race entirely (Alonso wasn’t in Australia while Button suffered DNS in Bahrain).

      Rosberg had close call in Singapore 2014. Patrese had at least two close calls during his streak: In Austria 1986 his car caught fire in the warm-up (I think) and was unavailable. With Patrese set for 4th in the grid and his team-mate Warwick for 10th, Brabham withdrew Warwick from the race so Patrese could start. Also in France 1989 he retired on the warm-up lap, but the race was then stopped due to accident involving Mauricio Gugelmin and Patrese took the spare car for the restart.

    11. F1’s second most successful driver is Fangio. I think success is ultimately measured by championships. Prost would be the most successful in terms of wins, or simply second ‘winningest’, but it needs that caveat.

      1. @matt90, with regards to Prost, it could be argued that he should have more titles to his name than just the four he has.

        Many would argue that Brabham should have been disqualified in 1983 for illegal fuel tampering – they were caught with multiple fuel samples that had a higher than permitted octane rating, but the FIA redefined the parameters of their fuel testing regulations for 1983 in order to avoid having to disqualify Brabham (before promptly closing off that loophole after the final race in 1983).

        Some have argued that, to a certain extent, Prost deserved to win the title in 1988 ahead of Senna. If all of the results for that year had counted towards the title, then Prost would have substantially outscored Senna (105 points to 94). However, at the time, only the best 11 results counted – under that system, Senna ended up with 90 points to 87 for Prost, giving Senna the title instead.

        There is also the contentious issue of the 1990 season, where Senna deliberately rammed Prost off the track to ensure that he could not contend for the title that year. As a calculated act of malicious driving, there are those who feel he should have been disqualified from the championship, given that Schumacher was disqualified from the championship in 1997 after being found guilty of trying to push Villeneuve off track.

        Leaving aside the more contentions later title battles, it could be argued that Prost was, quite literally, cheated out of one additional title in 1983.

        1. Regardless of how many he deserved, he ultimately won fewer than Fangio.

    12. Alexander (@)
      19th January 2016, 21:27

      “Raikkonen can become most successful Finn”
      Well I would put more weight on Häkkinens two WCCs

      But as you mentioned “in terms of race victories”

    13. What ? Maldonado lasted 100 races ? How funny !
      Now, about Hamilton or Vettel equaling or surpassing Prost’s record, who cares, Prost was one of a kind, and none of them previously mentioned will ever equal him (with all respect – Frenchy speaking :))

    14. @keithcollantine – I’m what last year’s car performance gap would have looked like not counting Manor. I understand why you included them as they were on the grid but, given that they had old engines–as you mentioned, what did the gap look like for everyone on 2015 engines? Closer than 2014? About level?

      1. *I’m curious…*

      2. @hobo Good question – one to cover in a future article I think.

    15. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
      21st January 2016, 15:31

      If Hamilton wins 8 consecutive times from the start, his wins with Prost are matched, only if Mercedes are still dominant.

    16. Well, those about Pastor, @keithcollantine

    Comments are closed.