Driver points comparison

Thanks to his third place at Spa, Fernando Alonso became the second driver in Formula One history to reach 1000 points. But unlike Michael Schumacher, he only achieved this because of the 25-18-15… points system which began last season. With the big discrepancy between the current system and the old systems, it’s hard to compare between drivers. In fact, it was less than ten years ago that points became available for 7th and 8th, so some of the older drivers missed out on quite a few points compared to today’s drivers.
In order to really see how drivers stack up against one another, I had a look at some of the top points scorers in F1, especially those in the top ten points finishes as well as those with top ten career points. It quickly became clear that the new points system has massively inflated some drivers’ career points. Converting their results to the current system, here are the top ten F1 points scorers. No prizes for guessing number one.

10 – Jenson Button 1332 points
The Brit began his career when points were only available for the top six finishes. While he has done well in the current system, his long career has helped with the tally. As has his incredible 2009 season with Brawn, of course. In fact, in his actual career points total, pre-2010 is still greater than 2010 and 2011.

9 – Gerhard Berger 1420 points
Austrian Gerhard had a relatively low tally of career points because of the time when he was racing, never picking up points for 7th-10th. Yet he had a good proportion of points finishes anyway, so the new system was only going to massively inflate his total – as well as adding on those top ten finishes he didn’t get points for before.

8 – Kimi Raikkonen 1494 points
The Finn had a medium-length F1 career, and in the few seasons he raced, he picked up a world championship and lots of wins, but even more second and third place finishes. He did not finishes off the podium very often.

7 – Nelson Piquet 1680 points
World champion and brilliant Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet had a great career tally even though he could only pick up points down to sixth. And on top of that, he sometimes lost championship points due only a certain number of his results being allowed. He also picked up two second places in non-championship races, which have not been included in the score.

6 – David Coulthard 1726 points
Scot David Coulthard was a great F1 driver, and despite not picking up any world championships he has a great career points tally thanks to his long time in the series. He started in 1994 after the death of Ayrton Senna, and only retired in 2008. It’s the length of his time racing more than his results that have given him this tally.

5 – Fernando Alonso 1844 points
Fernando Alonso was the youngest world champion in 2005, and he’s only 30 now. Despite that, he has an incredible points tally and is on the verge of beating the man in fourth place. Considered one of the best drivers on the track, he is definitely one of the best all-time drivers as well.

4 – Ayrton Senna 1859.5 points
If Ayrton Senna had lived, he probably would have a much greater points tally than the one he left us with, perhaps even being able to challenge Prost or Schumacher’s numbers. An incredible driver with 41 wins under his belt, he usually finished on the podium. Out of 104 top-ten finishes, 80 were on the podium.

3 – Rubens Barrichello 1892 points
By contrast, Rubens Barrichello has only won 11 races, usually finding himself second-best to Schumacher. He has picked up 29 seconds and 28 thirds, coming fourth 20 times as well. He has plenty of off-podium finishes as well to boost his tally, and since he’s been in F1 longer than anyone else, it’s no surprise that he is ahead of Senna.

2 – Alain Prost 2452.5 points
Four-times world champion Alain Prost has an incredible career points tally, with 51 wins to his name. Like Senna, he more often than not finished on the podium. One of the greatest drivers of all time, the ‘professor’s’ driving style helped him avoid unnecessary accidents.

1 – Michael Schumacher – 3780 points
Seven world championships, 90 wins, 43 second places, 20 third places. Schumacher dominated the early 2000s. He’s still picking up points today! He has over 1000 points more than Prost, and nearly 3000 more than Sebastian Vettel (who has 855). But Sebastian is young and has many years ahead of him. All the same, it’s a huge gap.

I hope you found that interesting. The next five drivers, by the way, are Carlos Reutemann (1131), Ricardo Patrese (1105), Ralf Schumacher (1095), Felipe Massa (1061) and Lewis Hamilton (1029).

Summer day 11 – Liuzzi, Trulli, De La Rosa, Barrichello

Sorry for the delay. My laptop wanted to get friendly with some water but the relationship didn’t work out.

Tonio Liuzzi – 20
Throughout the winter, Tonio Liuzzi was sure that despite Paul di Resta winning the DTM championship, he had a safe seat at Force India. But Mercedes – who provide Force India’s engines – backed Paul, and with Nico Hulkenberg taking the reserve seat Tonio was left teamless. Pretty swiftly, however, the Italian driver was snapped up by Hispania Racing. Despite being unable to provide any funding, he was able to provide them with help in developing the car.
The start of the season was dismal. Neither HRT driver qualified in Australia after getting hardly any time on track, and coming nowhere near the pace in the qualifying session. But Malaysia was an improvement as both HRTs squeaked under the 107% time along with the Virgins. As the car has improved, Tonio has been able to scrap for position with the Virgins in qualifying, and even started 20th in Istanbul.
But his greatest race came in Canada. The wet/dry conditions somehow played into HRT’s hands, and while nobody was paying attention he finished ahead of his teammate, both Virgins, and the sole remaining Lotus of Jarno Trulli. His thirteenth-place finish has allowed him to slot in behind Trulli in the championship, and brought his team back to 11th where they finished the championship last year. HRT have had a lot of luck to be ahead of Virgin in 2010 and 2011, but in this game luck is a big part of it. And when your next rivals have an incredibly unreliable car, you can see why HRT have hopes of getting that elusive 12th-place finish that will get them 10th in the championship.

Worst qualifying: 23
Best qualifying: 20
Worst finish: 23 (Valencia)
Best finish: 13 (Canada)
Average difference: 2.3
Laps completed: 531/681 (78%)
Average race position: 10.82 (Best: 18.9 Canada; Worst: 22.9 China)

Jarno Trulli – 19
Having been hit by most of Team Lotus’s reliability problems in 2010, Jarno seems to have the more reliable car this year. Though to be honest, three is still a huge amount. Finishing 13th in the very first race of the season has sealed Jarno’s place at 19th in the championship, and he matched that finish in Monaco when he came in ahead of Kovalainen.
For the first half of the season, however, the Italian has been having trouble with the team’s power steering, which did not meet the sensitivity he required to be able to drive the way he prefers. This has been part of the reason why he has been half a second off his teammate in most sessions, as proven in Hungary when only a last-gasp effort got Kovalainen ahead on the grid.
We can expect much closer racing between the two Team Lotus drivers in the future, which will make life a lot more interesting for them. Let’s hope they can stay out of each others’ way and keep the retirements mechanical.

Worst qualifying: 21
Best qualifying: 18
Worst finish: 20 (Valencia)
Best finish: 13 (Australia, Monaco)
Average difference: 1
Laps completed: 490/611 (79%)
Average race position: 17.73 (Best: 15.9 Monaco; Worst: 20.4 Britain)

Pedro de la Rosa – 18
Stepping in for Sergio Perez at the Canadian Grand Prix, Pedro did a reasonable job considering he’d not been in the 2011 Sauber before. He finished on the leading lap thanks to the red flag and safety cars. Nothing else to say, really.

Qualifying: 17
Finish: 12
Average race position: 13.54

Rubens Barrichello – 17
After a good 2010, this season was looking even better for Rubens Barrichello. Winter testing showed promise, and the ‘tight rear end’ was the talk of the press. Then came Australia, and the first of two consecutive double DNFs for the team. Since then, Rubens has been pushing the team to improve. Already reluctantly putting aside this season, the Renault deal should make things better for 2012. But will the Brazilian be there? Rumours abound, questioning whether he will be replaced or remain. As the most experienced driver in F1, he can retire without shame, but he is still a good driver.
Despite not making it into Q3 at all, the high attrition in Monaco and Canada was enough for Rubens to snatch a couple of ninth-place finishes and four points. Aside from that, the Williams’ best finish was 12th at Valencia. Aside from the two DNFs at the start, Rubens’ FW33 has also had a problem in Germany. Bring on 2012.

Worst qualifying: 19
Best qualifying: 11
Worst finish: 17 (Spain)
Best finish: 9 (Monaco, Canada)
Average difference: -0.09
Laps completed: 585/681 (86%)
Average race position: 13.76 (Best: 10.2 Monaco; Worst: 22.0 Malaysia)

Former Hungaroring winners

There are plenty of former winners from the Hungaroring taking place in the races this weekend. Quite a few drivers made their win debuts at this track as well, helped perhaps by the difficulty in overtaking.

First Formula One, where the track has been part of the world championship since 1986. First won by Nelson Piquet, of the current F1 crop the first winner was Michael Schumacher in 1994. He also got pole position and fastest lap for Benneton. Schumi has also won here in 1998 (pole, fastest lap), 2001 (pole) and 2004 (pole, fastest lap, led every lap), but hasn’t dominated in comparison to his usual record at tracks. Rubens Barrichello also won here in 2002 for Ferrari getting pole and barely beating Schumi to the line, and the next year it was Fernando Alonso in the Renault – unsurprisingly, he also had pole.
More recently, the race hasn’t been won by anyone in their championship year. 2006 was the debut win for Jenson Button, who took the first victory for a British driver since Australia 2003. Incredibly Jenson did not start on pole – he qualified 4th and an engine change meant he started 14th. The next year was Lewis Hamilton’s debut season; the race was hit with controversy when Alonso held up his teammate in the pits. Hamilton qualified second, but started 1st because of a five-place grid penalty given to Alonso. Another win from pole.
2008, and Heikki Kovalainen’s first season with McLaren. He took his debut (and so far only) win at the Hungaroring after Hamilton got a puncture and Massa’s engine blew up. He’d started second on the track. Kovalainen became F1’s 10th winner. The next year, Hamilton won again, incredibly qualifying ahead of both Brawns. He was assisted by problems for Alonso on pole and Vettel who’d started second.
Last year, Mark Webber won the race because of a drive-through penalty for teammate and polesitter Sebastian Vettel, who had fallen too far behind the safety car and thus broken sporting regulations.

In GP2, Sebastien Buemi won the sprint race in 2008. Pastor Maldonado won the feature race last year. Neither are likely to win this weekend, but may score some points for their teams.
Current GP2 drivers Giedo van der Garde and Adam Carroll have also both won here in the series. Carroll won the feature race in 2007, and van der Garde won the sprint in 2009.

Last year’s GP3 feature race winner Nico Muller, who has won a race this year, took the feature GP3 race last year. If things continue the way they have been going, however, we’ll get another two new winners at Hungary.

A few drivers have had victories here in Formula Renault 3.5: Daniel Ricciardo won the first race in 2010, though if he won this year it would be a miracle. GP2 driver Fairuz Fauzy won the first race in 2009, and Giedo van der Garde won the first race the year before his GP2 victory at the track.

F1 Birthdays: 23/5/2011

He’s been in Formula One for almost all of my life, and so I can’t remember a time when he hasn’t been driving. Mostly I remember the Ferrari era when he was partnered with Michael Schumacher, but more recently there’s been the Brawn year when he had such a successful time with Jenson Button. Yes, it’s Rubens Barrichello‘s 39th birthday today.
Rubens Barrichello began his racing career in the UK, winning the British Formula 3 championship in 1991 ahead of David Coulthard. In 1992, he nearly began driving in F1 but instead went to Formula 3000, finishing third. The next year he became a driver for Eddie Jordan, and finished 18th in what was not a great car.
He stayed with Jordan until 1996, taking one pole in 1994 and getting a podium in 94 and 95. His best championship finish was 6th.
Stewart was an up-and-coming team in those days, so from 1997-1999 he drove for the team. He managed to secure his second-ever pole position in his final year at the team, finishing three times on the podium for what was his best points total ever, finishing 7th in the championship.
Ferrari saw his potential and brought him into the team in 2000 – the year their car began to dominate and when Michael Schumacher began winning championships in a serious way. In his first season he had 1 win, 1 pole, 3 fastest laps and 9 podiums overall to finish 4th. In 2001 he had 10 podiums and finished 3rd, and in 2002 he had 4 wins, 3 poles, 5 fastest laps and 10 podiums overall to come second to his dominant teammate.
He never again had quite such a good year with Ferrari, though in 2004 he finished 2nd with 114 points. In 2005 he had his final year with the team as Fernando Alonso took his first championshup. He finished four times on the podium that year, for a mediocre 38 points. So Rubens left Ferrari to find a new team while his teammate stayed on one more year and then retired.
The next stop was Honda, which wasn’t doing too badly at the time. But the team struggled in 2007 and 2008, and began losing the company money. In 2010 they had to leave, but Ross Brawn bought the team and his car shone with Mercedes engines. Barrichello finished 3rd behind Vettel in a Red Bull that was beginning to show itself off and his teammate Jenson Button.
When the team became Mercedes, Rubens went to Williams and had a good year in 2010. He managed to get in some clashes with returnee Michael Schumacher – the frustration from their Ferrari days still there – but managed to match the performance of the Force Indias. This year, the car has been terrible and he’s earned no points so far. Generally he has been able to outperform his teammate when the car has been working properly. However, Pastor Maldonado’s great performance on Saturday suggested that there was speed and ability in the FW33.

Rookie analysis

Australia saw four drivers come to F1 for the first time: Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Perez, Paul di Resta and Jerome d’Ambrosio. So how did they do? I’m a biased reporter, so I’m going to compare them more fairly with statistics:

Driver

P1 time

P2 time

P3 time

Q1 time

Race

Rubens Barrichello

1:28.430 (5th)

1:27.280 (9th)

1:28.068 (16th)

1:26.270 (qual 17th)

Ret lap 48

Pastor Maldonado

1:29.403 (15th)

1:29.386 (18th)

1:30.496 (21st)

1:26.298 (qual 15th)

Ret lap 9

Difference

0.967s (10)

2.106s (9)

2.428s (5)

0.028s

N/A

Pastor Maldonado crashed out of P3, but the P2 times didn’t have the same problems and should have been closer. The qualifying times were much more respectable, and the race itself had both Williams losing out to mechanical problems. While Maldonado started ahead of Barrichello, he fell behind by lap three despite the Brazilian driver going off the track. However, it was a bad race for Williams in general. I think it will take a few more races before we can start blasting Maldonado too much.

Driver

P1 time

P2 time

P3 time

Q1 time

Race

Adrian Sutil

1:29.314 (13th)

1:28.583 (17th)

1:27.180 (15th)

1:26.245 (qual 16th)

9 (finish 11)

Paul di Resta

N/A

1:28.376 (16th)

1:27.087 (14th)

1:27.222 (qual 14th)

10 (finish 12)

Difference

N/A

0.207s (1)

0.093s (1)

0.977s

1

In every practice session for which the two competed, they finished next to each other, with di Resta only slightly ahead. Sutil didn’t get to set a really competitive lap thanks to a mishap with the DRS just before the line, which is why his time was so far behind di Resta’s. Despite this, they both drove well and finished in the points after the Sauber disqualification. So not too bad for the pair, and a very good start for di Resta, though no more than I expected from him.

Driver

P1 time

P2 time

P3 time

Q1 time

Race

Kamui Kobayashi

1:28.725 (9th)

1:28.095 (17th)

1:26.417 (7th)

1:25.717 (qual 9th)

8 (DSQ)

Sergio Perez

1:29.643 (17th)

1:27.101 (8th)

1:28.077 (17th)

1:25.812 (qual 13th)

7 (DSQ)

Difference

0.918s (8)

0.994s (9)

1.660s (10)

0.095

1

Kobayashi and Perez set dramatically different times in practice, but both took turns at being the much faster driver. It all paid off for qualifying, when their Q1 times differed by less than a tenth. Perez of course finished ahead of Kobayashi after managing the tyres exceptionally well, and should have scored points on his debut. Fantastic from the second-youngest driver on the grid.

Driver

P1 time

P2 time

P3 time

Q1 time

Race

Timo Glock

1:35.289 (21st)

1:32.106 (21st)

1:30.261 (20th)

1:29.858 (qual 21st)

17 (NC, finish 15)

Jerome d’Ambrosio

1:25.282 (20th)

1:32.135 (22nd)

1:30.704 (22nd)

1:30.978 (qual 22nd)

16 (finish 14)

Difference

0.007s

0.029s (1)

0.443s (2)

1.120s

1

Just getting into the race was a miracle for the Virgins who had been outside the 107% mark for the three practice sessions. Incredibly, d’Ambrosio even managed to be a few thousandths off Glock’s time for P1 and P2, so he can compete on the same level as his fellow driver. His finish ahead was not only caused by problems with the German’s car, since he overtook Glock for the first 7 laps (though it was an exceptionally close thing).

In conclusion: all four rookies did well, and normally Maldonado’s performance would be acceptable. But di Resta, Perez and d’Ambrosio are exceptional as rookies, so he’s going to look bad in comparison with them. I’ll do this again for the next few races. Right now, I’d rate the rookies 1 – Perez, 2 – di resta, 3 – d’Ambrosio, 4 – Maldonado.

Funny Fursday 1

‘Funny Fursday’ is a new idea I’m trying out with the best quotes from drivers and other team members just before the race weekend kicks off.

The formula one season is about to begin, and already the drivers are making some hilarious statements. Here are my favourite:

“The only positive thing is I missed my PR commitments yesterday.”

Rubens Barrichello having had his flight to Australia severely delayed by communications problems, but finally made it today.

“We are just a drinks company but in the end we had a pretty good season last year so hopefully we can build on what we did last year.”

Mark Webber responds to Lewis Hamilton and the media’s perception of Red Bull.

“Plus they have a nice trophy with a kangaroo on – something you can only get here.”

Sebastian Vettel mentions that he’d like to win the race, you know, if he can.

“That is the nature of being behind Red Bull that you might be jumping on the podium.”

Michael Schumacher points out that Red Bull gave away a lot of wins in 2010, and might again this season.

Formula One 1996…

In 1996, Michael Schumacher was a two-time world champion with a bundle of potential. But the F1 world was still hurting from the loss of Ayrton Senna less than two years previously. This is reflected well in the 1996 pre-season guide to Formula One published by Parragon and written by David Tremayne (still Grand Prix reporter for The Independent).
The book is filled with all sorts of information that a Formula One fan might have required back then. This was in the days before the Internet, and incredibly each team has its contact information listed alongside a short article about it. Practically every driver was being compared with Senna, especially Schumacher and Barrichello. But what’s most interesting is seeing what has changed since those days 15 years ago. One of those is the cars.
Well, Martin Brundle, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard are no longer involved directly in the sport, but still can be found at the track, although their appearance hasn’t changed much. Eddie still has a terrible taste in clothes, as well.
The one rookie who has really progressed since the 1996 season – Giancarlo Fisichella – ironically wasn’t mentioned in the book. Luca Badoer was. He was driving for Forti Grand Prix, a desperate Italian team for whom this was their last season. In fact, of the 11 teams who started the 1996 season, only four exist under the same names today: Ferrari, Williams, McLaren and Sauber. Ferrari, who had just hired 1995 champion Schumacher, were sure that this was their year, but that honour went to Williams and Damon Hill. McLaren had just signed Coulthard alongside Mika Hakkinen, and Jordan were running a youthful (and single) Rubens Barrichello alongside Martin Brundle.
I was surprised to learn that Sauber were sponsored by Red Bull in 1996. The surprise was more that Red Bull even existed back then! They ran in Red Bull colours, although of course the car looked very different, and they were going more along the can design. They were a baby team back then, going into their fourth season.
The list of Grands Prix also looks very different today. It was Australia’s first race in Melbourne, which means this year’s GP will be the sixteenth race there. Back then, Brazil was the second rather than the final race of the season, and I definitely prefer where it is now. The Senna S had not yet been named, but the Senna Chicane at the Nurburgring had. The Germans had two GPs, as did the Italians, though now the San Marino Grand Prix has gone from our calendar and the German ones trade places each year. There is no longer an Argentinian GP, a French GP or a Portuguese GP.
In 1996, Charlie Whiting was not yet the race director – that was to come next year. But it’s incredible to see how many of the higher-ups like Frank Williams, Bernie and Luca di Montezemolo are still out there.
Finally, there was a fascinating short article about the cost of sponsorship and how much teams spend. £50m pounds is a lot, but it’s nothing compared to what teams these days spend. I wonder what those figures are like now?