Tag: 1994

Analysis: how would double points have changed the last 20 years? Part One

It’s the morning after the night before. The news that from 2014 onwards, the last race of the season will have double points is still being met with largely negative views. Some have said Formula One is turning into wacky races – what will happen next?

The idea behind the double points is that championship battles will be maximised and go on for as long as possible, i.e. the last race of the season. This post is the first of two which will look back at the last 20 years and see the changes, if any, double points for the last race would have made to any of the championships.

Points were awarded to the top six in the following format: 10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 meaning double points in the last race would have been worth: 20, 12, 8, 6, 4, 2.

1993 – Alain Prost

In 1993 Alain Prost won the world championship ahead of Ayrton Senna and Damon Hill. Prost had 99 points and had a 26 point advantage over Senna and 30 points over Hill at the end of the season. He had already wrapped up the championship before going into the last race and so double points would have resulted in no change:

  1. Alain Prost (99) – 111 points
  2. Ayrton Senna (73) – 83 points
  3. Damon Hill (69) – 77 points

Instead, Prost would have marginally increased his deficit over both drivers, despite Senna winning the last race of the season in Australia. There would have been minor changes elsewhere, however, with  double points allowing Jean Alesi to move ahead of Riccardo Patrese, and Gerhard Berger to leapfrog Martin Brundle. The Constructors championship would have remained as it was.

1993

1994 – Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher won his first of seven world championships in 1994, finishing one point ahead of Damon Hill and 51 points ahead of third placed man Gerhard Berger. Neither Schumacher nor Hill scored in the last race so double points would not have effected the order:

  1. Michael Schumacher 92
  2. Damon Hill 91
  3. Gerhard Berger (41) – 47

Double points would have seen Nigel Mansell elevated from ninth to sixth and Martin Brundle dropping from seventh to eighth, despite gaining points. Again the Constructors championship standings would have been unaltered.

1994

1995 – Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher won his second world championship in 1995, this time with a more dominant point deficit. He finished the year 33 points ahead of Damon Hill who in turn was 20 ahead of David Coulthard. Once again Schumacher failed to score points in the final race but he already had a significant points advantage so double points would have made little difference:

  1. Michael Schumacher 102
  2. Damon Hill (69) 79
  3. David Coulthard 49

The only other changes in the top ten would have been Olivier Panis swapping places with Mika Hakkinen due to scoring six more points, and Mark Blundell moving ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

1995

1996 – Damon Hill

After finishing second in 1994 and 1995, Damon Hill became world champion in 1996. He finished 19 points ahead of Jacques Villeneuve with Michael Schumacher in third place. Villeneuve failed to score points in the last race so Hill’s win, with or without double points was enough to secure him the championship although he would have still won without winning:

  1. Damon Hill (97) 107
  2. Jacques Villeneuve 78
  3. Michael Schumacher (59) 65

Once again the Constructors championship would have remained unchanged with Williams winning by a significant margin over Ferrari.

1996

1997 – Jacques Villeneuve

Jacques Villeneuve was crowned champion in 1997 when he finished 39 points ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. David Coulthard took third place a further six points back. Michael Schumacher had ended the year in second, just three points down on Villeneuve, but was disqualified for a collision he had with the Williams driver. Schumacher was just ahead in terms of points going into the final race but his disqualification means that double points would have made no difference:

  1. Jacques Villeneuve (81) 88
  2. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (42) 43
  3. David Coulthard (36) 42

Double points would have benefitted Mika Hakkinen in the championship, as he would have finished in fourth place instead of sixth. In the Constructors championship, McLaren would also have gained from double points in the last race. They would have moved up to third place, ahead of Benetton who actually finished in third.

1997

1998 – Mika Hakkinen

Mika Hakkinen won the first of his two world championships in 1998, beating Michael Schumacher by 14 points and team-mate Coulthard by 44 points. Going into the last race Hakkinen had a four point advantage over Schumacher, but the Ferrari driver failed to score. Double points would therefore have done little to the standings:

  1. Mika Hakkinen (100) 110
  2. Michael Schumacher 86
  3. David Coulthard (56) 60

Damon Hill would have benefited from double points as they would have enabled him to finish ahead of Jacques Villeneuve.

1998

1999 – Mika Hakkinen

Mika Hakkinen became a double world champion in 1999, beating off competition from Eddie Irvine and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The Finn won by just two points, and was trailing Irvine by four points as they went into the last race of the season. Frentzen finished the year a further 20 points behind Irvine. If double points at the last race had been in play, the order would not have been altered, but Hakkinen would have enjoyed a larger deficit:

  1. Mika Hakkinen (76) 86
  2. Eddie Irvine (74) 78
  3. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (54) 57

Michael Schumacher, who broke his leg at the British Grand Prix and subsequently missed six races, would have benefited from double points at the last round and would have moved from fifth to fourth. In the Constructors championship, Williams would have gained enough points to see them finish in fourth place in the standings.

1999

2000 – Michael Schumacher

After a disappointing 1999, with a number of races spent on the sidelines, Michael Schumacher was back to winning ways in 2000. He clinched his third world championship, ending the year 19 points ahead of Mika Hakkinen, and 35 points ahead of Hakkinen’s McLaren team-mate David Coulthard. Going into the last race, Schumacher had a 12 point lead over Hakkinen so, with ten points available for a win, the championship fight was over before the last race:

  1. Michael Schumacher (108) 118
  2. Mika Hakkinen (89) 92
  3. David Coulthard (73) 79

Jacques Villeneuve would have gained a position thanks to double points but the rest of the top ten would have remained as they were. BAR-Honda would have gained a place in the Constructors championship, progressing to fourth and dropping Benetton to fifth.

2000

2001 – Michael Schumacher

Championship number four was not far away for Michael Schumacher. A dominating year saw him finish well clear of second place man David Coulthard and team-mate Rubens Barrichello. With the championship well and truly wrapped up before the final race of the year, double points would not have made the blindest bit of difference, even if Coulthard had taken 20 and Schumacher none:

  1. Michael Schumacher (123) 133
  2. David Coulthard 65
  3. Rubens Barrichello (56) 58

Elsewhere, the rest of the top ten would have stayed exactly where they finished if double points had been available. There would have been no movement in the Constructors table either.

2001

2002 – Michael Schumacher

Another Michael Schumacher championship in 2002 saw him beat competition from team-mate Rubens Barrichello. As had been the case in 2001, the championship came long before the final race of the season, so Barrichello could not have closed the 63 point gap with double, triple or even quadruple points available:

  1. Michael Schumacher (144) 154
  2. Rubens Barrichello (77) 83
  3. Juan Pablo Montoya (50) 53

As was also the case in 2001, double points would not have altered the top ten at all and the Constructors championship would also have remained static.

2002

So far, looking back at ten seasons (1993 – 2002), the double points rule would not have made a difference to any of the championships, had they finished as they did. Part two of this analysis will look at 2003 – 2013 and see what part, if any, double points would have played.

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McLaren ’50 in 50′: Ayrton Senna

McLaren’s fifth world champion is considered by many, the greatest Formula One driver of all time. McLaren’s resident blogger Alan Henry ranked Ayrton Senna #1 when he counted down McLaren’s top 50 drivers on their website last year. He was with the team from 1988 until 1993 before moving onto Williams, winning three world championships.

Brazilian driver Senna took a traditional route to Formula One, starting in karting before progressing into single seaters. He quickly impressed – winning five titles in just three years – and was soon testing for Williams, McLaren, Brabham and Toleman. It was Toleman with whom he made his Formula One debut, taking up a race seat for 1984. During that year he finished an impressive second to Alain Prost’s first at a wet Monaco Grand Prix. He displayed speed and a talent in the wet for which he would be remembered for years to come. Two further podiums in Britain and Portugal cemented him ninth in the championship. He bought himself out of his Toleman contract and a new one was drawn up, this time with Lotus.

Senna stayed at Lotus for three seasons and he really came alive. His first Formula One victory was not far away when he won the second race of the year in 1985 – the Portuguese Grand Prix – going on to win in Belgium as well. Over the course of his time with Lotus he would take 16 pole positions, six wins, and 16 further podiums. He built up a relationship with Honda through the year and, when they struck up a partnership with McLaren he moved to join Alain Prost which led to one of the most iconic rivalries of all time.

Senna continued to go from strength to strength following his move to McLaren. Eight wins in 1988 was enough for him to clinch the title, despite having less points than team-mate Prost. Due to the “11 best results rule” Prost lost more points meaning Senna became champion. Prost got his revenge in 1989 when he won the championship surrounded by controversy. At the penultimate race of the season in Suzuka, Senna needed a win to take the fight to the last round. He lined up second on the grid with Prost on pole position and, during the race as he lined up a move, the pair touched. Both went off the track and Prost’s race was over. Senna went on to win the race but was disqualified meaning Prost won the championship. The Frenchman had already made the decision to leave McLaren midway through the year and so Senna had a new partner for 1990 – Gerhard Berger, with whom he built up a friendship.

1990 and 1991 saw Senna soar to new heights of domination. From 32 races he took 18 pole positions, 13 victories, ten further podiums and 25 finishes in the points. He beat rival Prost by seven points in 1990. In 1991 it was far more commanding as he finished 24 points clear of second placed Nigel Mansell. Senna dropped to fourth in the 1992 standings with a car not quite up to scratch. His last season with McLaren was 1993 when he won five more races and took two further podiums. It was not enough, however, to beat Prost who won his final championship before retiring.

Senna moved to Williams in 1994 but was tragically killed during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. His legacy lives on, however, and he was the last driver fatality in Formula One. His good friend, Dr Sid Watkins, was amongst many people who campaigned tirelessly for safety improvements in the sport. His life was immortalised in the 2010 docu-film Senna, which won a number of awards including a BAFTA for best documentary. His iconic yellow helmet has had variations raced through the years, by Rubens Barrichello, Lewis Hamilton and nephew Bruno Senna to name but a few. When he died he left behind an incredible Formula One record.

41 wins, 80 podiums, and 65 pole positions. He won a record 19 lights to flag races and is the Monaco master – six wins, with five in a row between 1989 and 1993 (inclusive). He also holds the record of most wins for McLaren, of which he has 35 out of 95 races for them. He finished on the podium more times (55) than he was off it/not finishing races. In Brazil he was a national hero and the Instituto Ayrton Senna was set up following his death to continue his work with poverty and children. He also campaigned for improved safety in Formula One.

Senna once said: “If you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver”. He lived by this philosophy himself, and that it part of what made him such an incredible driver.

Honda released this video in honour of Senna earlier this year:

Scrutineering: Professor Sid Watkins OBE

The Scrutineering feature is about looking closely at a particular driver, team, or personality in motorsport – looking in depth at their career, their season so far (if they’re still competing or play a role), and featuring views from the fans. However, this week’s edition will be slightly different, as Scrutineering takes a look at Professor Sid Watkins OBE as a tribute

Professor Eric Sidney Watkins OBE

(6th September 1928 – 12th September 2012)

The Formula One world was saddened to hear of the passing of Professor Sid Watkins on September 12th 2012. When the news broke Formula One drivers, team personnel, people involved with the sport, and the fans took to social networking site Twitter to pay their respects and leave tributes to the man who has done so much for the sport over the past thirty or so years. Professor Sid Watkins, or the Prof as he was affectionately known in the paddock, was a pioneer for safety and the treatment of drivers after accidents and it is because of him that the sport has seen no fatalities since 1994 – a fitting legacy in itself. After training as a neurosurgeon, he became the Formula One race doctor in 1978, and his first significant work came at the 1978 Italian GP. Ronnie Peterson was involved in an accident which saw his car engulfed in flames. He was aided by other drivers who had arrived on the scene, but by the time Watkins had got there the police had formed a barrier preventing anyone reaching Peterson, and Watkins was delayed in providing treatment. Peterson died in hospital the next day and this proved to be a trigger of a revolution for the way in which these events are handled in Formula One.

After this tragic event Watkins moved to demand better facilities – he wanted an anaesthetist, a medical car, and a MedEvac helicopter meaning that drivers could be reached and transported quickly, which could mean the difference between life or death. Today we still see the medical car line up behind the cars on the grid, incase there are any first lap or turn one accidents. Otherwise the medical car waits, during the race, at the end of the pit-lane, with the FIA’s chief medical delegate Dr Garry Hartstein on board. In 1980 permanent medical facilities at all race tracks became compulsory. In 1981, Watkins was appointed President of the newly formed Medical Commission. His job did not come without its own risks however, after he hurt his hands trying to save Riccardo Paletti at the 1982 Canadian GP when his car caught fire.

The 1994 San Marino GP at Imola was to be where everything changed for safety in Formula One. There were two, nearly three, fatal crashes that weekend which claimed the lives of Roland Ratzenberger and Watkins’ close friend Ayrton Senna. He saved Rubens Barrichello who also crashed. After that weekend the FIA set up the Expert Advisory Safety Committee, of which Watkins became chairman, and a decade later in 2004, three groups were merged to make the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety, with Watkins becoming President. There have been no fatalities in Formula One since that fateful weekend in 1994, and this can be put down to the work that not only Watkins pioneered, but with support from the likes of Jackie Stewart, Max Moseley and Bernie Ecclestone. We only have to look at Robert Kubica’s 2007 crash at the Canadian GP, Heikki Kovalainen’s crash at the 2008 Spanish GP, Mark Webber taking off during the 2010 European GP, and Fernando Alonso’s near miss at Spa in 2012, to name but a few in the last decade, where drivers have walked away with nothing more than minor injuries. That is a real testament to how far safety has come in Formula One, which is majorly down to the work of Watkins. Over the years, he has helped save many lives including Barrichello as stated above, but also Mika Hakkinen, Martin Donnelly, and Gerhard Berger, amongst others. Jenson Button recalled how, after he crashed heavily in Monaco in 2003, he woke up and saw Watkins looking at him and he “suddenly felt a lot more at ease and a lot more comfortable in his presence”.

Watkins only stepped down from his role as President of the FIA Institute of Motor Sport Safety in 2011, aged 83, but continued in an honorary role. He was awarded an OBE in 2002 and given an award for ‘Most Outstanding Contribution to the Motor Sport Industry’ in 2005, as well as the FIA Academy Gold Medal for Motor Sport at the FIA Gala prize-giving ceremony in 2011. His accolades are not only recent, however, as he was presented with a trophy in 1985 from the drivers which read:

“To the Prof, our thanks for your invaluable contribution to Formula One. Nice to know you are there”. 

as well as the Mario Andretti Award for Medical Excellence in 1996.

After his retirement a bronze bust of him was commissioned, which was displayed along with a book of condolences which the Formula One world could sign, at the Singapore GP. Before the race itself there was a minute silence for ‘the Prof’ while Sky Sports F1 and BBC both had moving tributes to him during their build up. After he won the race, Sebastian Vettel, who started racing after Watkins had retired from his medical positions within the FIA, dedicated his win to him stating “it’s thanks to all the work he [Watkins] did to bring safety advancements to the sport that we can race on circuits like this. He pushed the boundaries in terms of safety for all of us, so a big thank you to him”. It is not only drivers who have paid their tributes, with fans saying he “seemed to have a good relationship with drivers – nice to see so much respect for one man” and “his push for safety has made F1 what it is today and that is very admirable”. Watkins appeared at the British GP earlier in the season and was interviewed by both BBC and Sky, and it was to Martin Brundle he said the following:

Well as Bernie said, I worked myself out of a job

And it is for that we are all eternally grateful. RIP Professor Eric Sidney Watkins OBE.

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Next week’s Scrutineering features Timo Glock. Get involved by commenting, tweet me @hannahhouThe H Duct Facebook page or email thehduct@hotmail.co.uk. Share your thoughts on Timo Glock, his  career, his season so far, and your favourite memories by Tuesday 2nd October.