Formula One is one of the most exciting racing events in the world. Every year, whether at the track or on television, the World Championship attracts millions upon millions of spectators. Fans love the sport for a variety of reasons. Driving rivalries, vehicle technology, controversial rules and regulations or just the sights and sounds of a Grand Prix (GP) raceway are the biggest draws. So far, the 2014 season is well underway with the drivers at the mid-way point of the season and the German GP at the Hockenheimring quickly approaching. Mercedes have dominated this season and, barring some significant problem, look to be well on their way to their first Constructors’ Championship. Mercedes team drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are battling it out for the Drivers’ Championship, over 60 points ahead of the other drivers. With such early domination by Mercedes and its drivers there is every chance we may see a number of records set this season.
Die-hard F1 fans will know many of the sport’s records like the back of their hand. Most fans are at least familiar with the ‘big’ records. They know Ferrari is the most successful Constructor with 16 Championships; Michael Schumacher has the most wins and podium finishes; Rubens Barrichello has started the most races and Sebastien Vettel holds the record for consecutive wins. What about those ‘lesser’ records – the records which are not as flashy, attractive or even wanted? For instance, who holds the record for most pit stops in a single F1 GP? These are the types of records buried under the popular records held by the winningest constructors and drivers.
This list takes a look at 10 of the lesser-known records of F1. Long-time fans may know some (or even all) of these but most casual observers will not. No doubt, some of these records are ones which drivers and teams wish did not exist. Most, however, are positive records which have been relegated to the back shelf.
If the question about pit-stops is still on your mind, the answer is Alain Prost, who made a record 7 pit-stops during the 1993 Euro GP.
10. Shortest Formula One Career – Marco Apicella
Let’s start this one off with a record that is sure to get a chuckle. Some athletes show promise but have their careers struck short for one reason or another. Instead of decades, these athletes have their careers measured in years or even months. Then there is Marco Apicella. We can measure his career in meters. Specifically, the Italian F1 driver only ever raced in one GP and made it around 800 meters in his Jordan car before crashing. The race was the 1993 Italian Grand Prix and Apicella was racing with Jordan teammate Rubens Barrichello. In the first series of chicanes Sauber’s JJ Lehto came in too fast and took both the Jordans out. Apicella’s race was over and his subsequent return to Japanese F3000 racing meant the race at Monza was his only taste of F1.
9. Youngest Driver to Start a Race – Jaime Alguersuari
At the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari drove his car to a 15th place finish. It was the Spaniard’s first ever F1 race and while his three-year-long F1 career produced little in the way of bragging rights, he did write himself into the history books. When Alguersuari started the GP in Budapest in 2009 he became the youngest driver to ever start a race at 19 years and 125 days. As a result, he is also the first driver born in the 1990s to ever race in F1. While we are sure he would prefer to have had a longer F1 career and some more exciting records, we here at The Richest don’t feel too bad for him as none of us have any F1 records that aren’t on a Playstation or Xbox.
8. Oldest Driver to Start a Race – Louis Chiron
Since we just covered the youngest driver to start a race it only makes sense to look at the record for the oldest driver to start an F1 race. At 55 years and 292 days, Monaco-born racer Louis Chiron holds the record for being the oldest racer to ever start an F1 race. Chiron achieved this when he entered the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix. Driving for Scuderia Lancia, Chiron managed a respectable 6th place finish in the last race he would ever start. It’s perhaps important to know that of the 20 cars in the race, only 9 finished. Most dropped out with mechanical failure attesting to the reliability of Chiron’s car as well as his ability to keep his car in one piece.
7. Fewest Race Winners in a Season – 3
During an F1 season it is not uncommon to see several different drivers win races. For the record, 1961-62 and 1982 saw the most winners in a season with 9 each. What about the other end of the spectrum? On four occasions the season has been dominated by just three drivers. The most recent F1 season to see the fewest drivers win a race was in 1988 when only Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger stood atop the podium. This is remarkable when you consider that year also had Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet competing as well.
So far, the 2014 season has only seen three race winners – Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo. Anything can happen, but if the season continues along this same path there will be yet another three-winner season to add to the record.
6. Driver with Most Races without a Win – Andrea de Cesaris
Have you ever cheered for a team or athlete that just can’t seem to get things going? Fans of Italian F1 driver Andrea de Cesaris know what we’re talking about. De Cesaris ‘enjoyed’ a 15 year-long F1 career from 1980 to 1994. During this time he started 208 races and never won a thing. The highest he ever finished was third place. A quick look at his driving record shows an alarmingly high number of retirements (DNF). In fact, de Cesaris retired from 148 of the 208 races he started. This gives him a bonus record of holding the most DNFs of any driver in F1. Given he raced with several different teams over his career, we’re going to take a guess that it’s not the fault of the car.
5. Driver with Most Wins at the Same Grand Prix – Michael Schumacher
In any sport, we as fans know that certain teams or athletes just have a knack for performing well in certain stadiums or against certain opposition over their careers. For example, tennis star Rafael Nadal seems unbeatable on a clay court, the Philadelphia Flyers always seem to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs and Michael Schumacher always seemed to do well at the French Grand Prix. Indeed, in the world of F1 no track has been as dominated by one driver as the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours was by the German. From 1994 to 2006 Schumacher won a record 8 times at the French GP. The next closest record is 7 wins at the Canadian GP, held by Michael Schumacher. Tied with that is 7 wins at the San Marino GP, held by Michael Schumacher. I think you see where we are going with this.
4. Win from Farthest Back on the Starting Grid – John Watson
In the days leading up to the race, drivers compete in qualification to see where they will start on the grid. Obviously, the pole position is the ideal starting spot as it is at the front of the pack. The further back you are in qualifying means the further back you start in the race. Starting from way back in the field lessens your chances of winning the GP, unless you have the right mix of a reliable car, talent and luck. At the 1983 US Grand Prix West, John Watson started 22nd in the field. He won the race and set the record for winning a GP from the furthest back in the starting grid. Interestingly, Niki Lauda started right behind Watson in 23rd and finished the race in second place.
3. Driver with Most Races before First Win – Mark Webber
This is likely another one of those records a driver wishes they didn’t hold. Unfortunately for Mark Webber, he holds several records which really aren’t the kind you want to hold. The Australian started his F1 career in the 2002 season. Results with Minardi, Jaguar and Williams were mixed. A switch to Red Bull in 2007 was promising and Webber’s results and points tally slowly began to increase. Until 2009 his highest finish was third place. It wasn’t until the 2009 German Grand Prix, after a record 130 races, that Webber finally won the first race of his career. Since then he won another eight races and has finished as high as third in the season standings.
2. Race Leaders over Every Lap of a Grand Prix – Ayrton Senna
When you look at the various records and statistics from F1 something that stands out is how good Ayrton Senna was in a race car. Killed during the 1994 San Marino GP, the third race of the 1994 season, we can only speculate about how the Brazilian would have done over the rest of his career had he lived. Senna may be gone but his records remain in the world of F1. Many people are familiar with his records for consecutive GP wins and consecutive pole positions. One of the lesser-known records Senna holds is for the 19 Grand Prix races during which he led for every lap of the race. Considering he won 41 races over his career, this means that for almost half of his wins he never had to pass a car.
1. Driver with the Most ‘Grand Slams’ – Jim Clark
No, this is not baseball related. In F1, a Grand Slam is when a driver gets the pole, wins the race, sets the fastest lap and leads for every lap of that race. Drivers who have accomplished this are part of an elite group which includes Alberto Ascari (5), Michael Schumacher (5), Jackie Stewart (4), Ayrton Senna (4), Nigel Mansell (4), Sebastian Vettel (4) and Nelson Piquet (3). Head and shoulders above all of these great drivers is Jim Clark. The British driver accomplished the Grand Slam 8 times over his career between 1962 and 1965. During the 1963 and 1965 seasons he achieved three Grand Slams – Ascari and Mansell are the only other drivers to have three Grand Slams in one campaign.