10 Formula 1 Records That Will Never Be Broken
Following the dominant manner of Nico Rosberg’s victory at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, some are already writing off the season as a Mercedes march to victory.
Whilst Rosberg’s win ended the hopes of Sebastian Vettel to set a new F1 record for the most consecutive race wins, it’s doubtful he’ll go on a similar run of his own given the new engine regulations and the strength of his own teammate.
Here are 10 Formula One records that are unlikely to fall during this, or any other season in the future.
Biggest Winning Margin
Nico Rosberg’s winning margin of 26.777 seconds over revised second-place finisher Kevin Magnussen in the Australian Grand Prix represented one of the biggest winning margins for many a year.
Yet it pales into insignificance when matched up against Jim Clark’s utterly dominant drive to victory in the 1963 Belgian Grand Prix.
Amidst torrential conditions that saw 12 of the 20 drivers retire, Clark lapped the entire field, including second-placed Bruce McLaren, until the New Zealander unlapped himself.
When he took the chequered flag, Clark was a monumental four minutes and 54 seconds ahead of McLaren. And because the monstrous old Spa-Francorchamps was 14.100 km in length, such a winning margin will never be repeated.
Clark is quoted on ESPNF1 after the race:
Towards the end visibility was appalling. I had to hold the car in top gear for most of the race and my speed was dropping by nearly 100mph in the last stages. Some cars were spinning off on the straights and it was extremely dangerous.
Least Amount of Cars to Finish a Race
With all the teething problems experienced by teams during pre-season testing for the 2014 season, this was perhaps the record you would have thought most likely to fall.
Engine overheating with the new 1.6-litre V6 powertrains and their ERS units was a major problem during the tests in Jerez and Bahrain, and many predicted that more than half the field would retire in Australia.
But to the surprise of many, 14 cars made it to the chequered flag in Melbourne. That’s 10 more than finished a dramatic 1996 Monaco Grand Prix that eventually saw Olivier Panis conquer changeable conditions to win from David Coulthard, Johnny Herbert and Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
Closest Race Finish
Part of the reason for this year’s regulation change, other than to promote a more energy-efficient and greener sport, was to encourage even closer racing.
It remains to be seen whether the field will close the gap on Mercedes, but it’s practically guaranteed that we won’t see as close a finish as occurred in the 1971 Italian Grand Prix, where BRM’s Peter Gethin pipped Ronnie Peterson’s March in a photo finish to win by 0.01 seconds.
Incidentally, Gethin also set another record during that race, winning with an average speed of 242.616 km/h.
Formula One is now very much a young man’s sport. In starting the Australian Grand Prix aged 19 years, 10 months and 18 days, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat became only the eighth teenager in history to line up on the grid. And when he finished the race a revised ninth, he became the youngest-ever driver to score points in F1.
Whilst the record for the youngest driver, youngest race winner and youngest world champion is likely to be beaten, that of the oldest driver will stand forever.
That accolade falls to Louis Chiron, who was an incredible 55 years, nine months and 19 days old when he finished sixth in the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix.
The oldest race winner is another record that won’t be beaten; Luigi Fagioli won the 1951 French Grand Prix for Alfa Romeo aged 53 years and 22 days.
Oldest World Champion
Sebastian Vettel was 23 years and 133 days old when he won the 2010 world championship in Abu Dhabi, becoming the youngest winner of the world championship.
The oldest driver to win the title is the great Juan Manuel Fangio, who collect the final of his five world titles at the age of 47 with an incredible drive to victory at the 1957 German Grand Prix.
Most Team Wins in a Season
The news that Honda is once again to team up with McLaren for the 2015 season brings memories of former glories flooding back.
It was in 1988 that the great Ayrton Senna claimed the first of his three world championship titles in a season that saw the utterly dominant McLaren Hondas of Senna and teammate Alain Prost take 15 wins from 16 races that season.
It should have been 16 from 16 had the Williams of Jean-Louis Schlesser not taken Senna out of the Italian Grand Prix with only two laps remaining as the Brazilian came up to lap him, gifting Ferrari a historic 1-2.
McLaren also set the record for the most poles in a single season in 1988, before Williams (1992 and 1993) emulated that achievement, as did McLaren again in 1999.
Most Driver Wins in a Season
Although McLaren holds the record for team wins, Senna and Prost closely contested the title.
Yet the 2004 F1 season was utterly dominated by one driver in particular.
Michael Schumacher won 13 out of 18 grands prix in romping to the last of his seven world titles. His strike rate of winning 72 percent of the races he started is one that is hard to see being eclipsed.
Most Podiums in a Season
Michael Schumacher holds many records in F1, including most titles, most consecutive driver titles, most race wins and most pole positions.
It is conceivable that a driver as dominant as Schumacher will one day eclipse some or all of those records, but there is one statistic that it is only possible to match.
During the 2002 season, Schumacher’s Ferrari proved so fast and reliable that the German finished on the podium in all 17 races that season.
If that’s not impressive enough, out of those 17 races, 11 of those were race wins and he only finished third on one occasion.
Most Consecutive Team Poles
Many sentimental fans of F1 racing will be happy to see the Williams team back amongst the sharp end of the grid after several seasons in the doldrums.
The team’s most dominant years came in the early 1990s when, thanks mainly to Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost and the wonders of electronic driver aids, Williams scored 24 consecutive pole positions between 1992 and 1993.
Most Cars to Start a Race
The spiralling costs of running a Formula One teams these days means that the field is now a limited one.
In the early years of F1 racing, there was no limit on the amount of cars a privateer team could enter and no stringent crash-testing or technical regulations to abide to.
At the 1953 German Grand Prix, a record 34 cars started the race, and that will never happen again.
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