Tag: Ayrton Senna

2015: Monaco Grand Prix Preview

The Monaco Grand Prix is a race like no other on the Formula One calendar. Unforgiving Armco barriers line the street circuit and it also features a tunnel, which brings with it is own unique challenges. The race is known for its glitz and glamour, including the huge yachts docked in the harbour overlooking the track. It is an event which requires not only high downforce and good mechanical grip, but intense concentration from drivers – moreso than usual. “The best thing about coming to Monaco is that it’s a circuit where the driver has more influence on events,” Daniel Ricciardo has said ahead of the weekend. With the lowest average speed of the year – 98mph – Monaco is less about outright performance, meaning those not always finishing in the top ten could take the opportunity to score points. It is also very difficult – but definitely not impossible – to overtake on the streets of Monte Carlo.

Circuit: Circuit de Monaco
Number of Laps: 78
Circuit Length: 3.337km
Number of Corners: 19
Lap Record: 1:14.439 Michael Schumacher 2004
Previous Monaco winners still on the grid: 6
Most Successful Team: McLaren (15 wins)
DRS Zones: 1
Pirelli Tyres: Soft and Supersoft

Nico Rosberg has taken pole position and the race win on Formula One’s last two visits to Monaco. Last year his pole was tinged with controversy as he ran wide at Mirabeau, resulting in yellow flags which compromised team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s running. Hamilton said Rosberg did it deliberately, and inter-team relations continued to crumble after that. Rosberg held off Hamilton in the race to win with Daniel Ricciardo picking up third for Red Bull. It is once again Mercedes going into the race dominating proceedings. Rosberg took his first win of the year in Spain, giving him the psychological edge going into what is his ‘home’ race. His strong results in the past will also help him as he looks to cut the gap further to Hamilton.

Hamilton, on the other hand, enters the weekend off the back of securing a new three year deal with the team. With contract negotiations finally completed he will be able to give his full attention to the job in hand. Their main rivals Ferrari are a team who have performed well at the circuit in the past – second just to McLaren in terms of victories there – however, the Scuderia’s last win at Monte Carlo was back in 2001 when Michael Schumacher crossed the line first.

Elsewhere it will be a bittersweet race for Manor. The team picked up their first – and so far only – points in Formula One when Jules Bianchi took ninth place in the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix. It has been a difficult 12 months for the team since then with Bianchi’s horrific accident in Japan and the team entering administration within just a couple of months of each other. The team made a valiant effort to make the Australian Grand Prix, and are still racing their ‘B’ spec car, and will no doubt be thinking of their team mate over the course of the upcoming weekend.

The Circuit de Monaco is made up of a number of iconic corners such as La Rascasse, the Swimming Pool, Mirabeau, Sainte Devote, and Tabac, amongst others. Its winners list features a number of iconic drivers including Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Gilles Villeneuve, Mika Hakkinen to name a few. As the saying goes, “to finish first, first you must finish”, a phrase which takes on more meaning at a place like Monaco. In last year’s race there were eight retirements and if a car stops on track there will undoubtedly be a safety car. Just who will come out on top? Action commences tomorrow with Thursday practice.


Autosport International Show prepares to celebrate 25th anniversary

Next weekend the Autosport International Show will celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Colin Turkington, David Coulthard and Petter Solberg are amongst the confirmed guests for the show which is being held at the NEC in Birmingham from 8th – 11th January. The first two days are Trade Only with the doors being opened to the public on the Saturday and Sunday.

Some of the attractions at this year’s show are as follows:

A host of stars from the world of motorsport

The show will play host to a number of motorsport stars including the 2014 British Touring Car Champion Colin Turkington, F1 débutante Will Stevens, and FIA World Endurance Champion Anthony Davidson. Also in attendance will be Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden, Allan McNish, Andrew Jordan, David Coulthard and Petter Solberg amongst others.

Stars will appear on the Autosport Stage for Q&As throughout the two days. There will also be autograph sessions.

Classic car display

In association with Classic & Sports Car magazine and the Silverstone Classic, the Autosport International show will bring a display of historic machinery worth approximately £15m to the NEC. Featuring the likes of the F1 championship winning Cooper T53 and the Mercedes C11, there will be a total of eight iconic race cars on display. There will also be six wild road cars including the Ferrari F40.

There will be additional historic content curated by Autosport International exhibitors which will recognise the feats of three-time F1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham and legendary Jim Clark. This will include British manufacturer Cooper’s T53 which Brabham drove to win the world championship in 1960. There will also be a 10-strong collection of Brabham Racing cars – led by the Brabham BT49. 50th anniversary celebrations of Jim Clark’s 1965 championship will also feature a display of his title winning Lotus 33.

Also on display will be Le Mans winner the Jaguar D-Type, Nigel Mansell’s Lotus 87, a Honda Super Tourer, GT Lister Storm, Lola T70 Spyder and 6.6 litre Corvette Stingray. “To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Silverstone Classic, we are pleased to join forces with leading race grid organisers and Classic & Sports Car magazine to present a selection of the finest race and road cars covering the most evocative 50 years of racing,” Nick Wigley, Silverstone Classic Event Director said. “As a popular event in the industry, Autosport International is the perfect location to see the most amazing track and road cars ever, and all the race cars will be in action at the Silverstone Classic in July.”

F1 Racing Grid

F1 Racing magazine will once again provide show-goers with the opportunity to see the 2014 Formula One grid up close, lead by the title winning Mercedes W05.

European debut of Ian Berry’s Ayrton Senna portrait

Ian Berry was commissioned by the Ayrton Senna Institute to commemorate the 20th year since the three time World Champion’s death. Berry uses shades of layered denim as his palette and the portrait was created utilising jeans owned by members of the Senna family. The artwork was recently unveiled in Sao Paulo, with Senna’s niece Bianca Senna describing it as being “simply spectacular”.

“I remember playing a racing game and we all wanted to be Senna. I was only 10 in 1994, but I remember,” Berry said. “In later life I realised that he was an icon that transcended the sport of motor racing and is one of the greatest icons of the 20th century and his legacy lives far into the 21st. To be told by the family that it captured all his emotions and every part – the nose, mouth, eyes especially, and even down to the hair – it made me very happy.”

There will also be a ‘making of’ video shown.

Launch of the SR8 RSX

The world launch of British manufacturer Radical Sportscars’ new flagship model will take place at Autosport International.

141210_RadicalSR8RSXAngle_hrThe covers will come off Radical’s most advanced, powerful and aerodynamically developed open racing car yet on the opening day of the show – Thursday 8th January. Priced at £109,950 + VAT at launch and with a power-to-weight ratio of 558hp/tonne, the SR8 RSX is set to offer a value-packed dose of Le Mans Prototype-esque performance. A bespoke 3.0-litre V8 engine delivers 440bhp and is paired with a new seven-speed, paddle-shift gearbox from Quaife, and an all-new carbon tubular steel spaceframe chassis.

“We have always used Autosport International as a launchpad for our latest models,” Roger Green, Head of Sales and Marketing said. “2015 is no different with the introduction of the SR8 RSX, our most advanced sports-racer yet. We will also unveil our exciting 2015 racing championship packages at the show that include everything from the novice racer to our FIA European Masters championship – there’s no better place to do this than Europe’s most important and high-profile motorsport show, Autosport International.”

Zenos E10 S launch

A year after making its public debut at Autosport International, Zenos Cars will return in 2015 to launch its second lightweight sports car – the Zenos E10 S.

Zenos E10
Zenos E10

The E10 S features a 250bhp turbocharged, 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost engine and is expected to cover 0-60mph in less than four seconds. A production-ready E10 S with an all new interior will be on display at the show. “It’s surreal to be getting ready to go back to Autosport International where it all began,” former Caterham Cars CEO Ansar Ali said. “To say it’s been a busy 12 months would be an understatement. “We received a fantastic reception to our launch at the 2014 show, which really set the tone for what has followed during our first year. We’re looking forward to launching the E10 S, and it will be the first time we have presented it as a production-finished version, another big step in the history of Zenos Cars.”

The first production run will commence in January with vehicles to be delivered in March. A total of 90 deposits have been taken.

Dan Wheldon Karting Trophy

The three-hour charity karting race – with funds being raised for the Alzheimer’s Society – will take place on Saturday 10th January from 6pm.

The annual race celebrates the life and achievements of dual Indy 500 winner and 2005 IndyCar Champion Dan Wheldon, who died in a racing incident in October 2011. The Dan Wheldon Tribute Fund has raised over £51,000 to date, with the 2014 karting trophy contributing £7,000. The race has featured some familiar faces in the past including actor Tony Hirst, World Superbike Champion Troy Corser, commentator Steve Parrish, and BTCC drivers Adam Morgan and Dan Welch. The race will take place at Autosport International’s bespoke indoor karting track in association with Teesside Karting.

“As a family, it is so important we’re able to keep Dan’s memory alive by doing something that he loved and raising money for a charity so close to all of our hearts in the Alzheimer’s Society,” Jo Wheldon – Dan’s sister-in-law – said. “The Dan Wheldon Karting Trophy captures so much about Dan, extremely competitive but hugely fun and we’re looking forward to the 2015 race at Autosport International!”

Performance Car Show

As always, the NEC will also play host to the Performance Car Show, presented by Landsail Tyres in association with Autocar and Pistonheads.com. This will feature a host of the latest road-going supercars, classic icons and World Championship winners. Amongst these cars will be the following: LaFerrari, Mercedes F1, Ferrari 458 Speciale, McLaren 650S and the Lamborghini Huracán.

Exclusive Performance Car Show features include Pie and Piston Pub by PistonHeads.com and the opportunity to see a selection of winners from the prestigious What Car? Awards 2015, just hours after the winners are named. A selection of Britain’s Best Driver’s Cars including the Porsche 911 GT3 will be in action in the Live Action Arena. There will also be a Guinness World Record attempt from Brit Alastair Moffat. He will look to reclaim his Guinness World Record for the world’s tightest parallel park. He initially set it in 2013, performing a handbrake park into a space just 3.4 inches longer than the Mini he was driving. The record was broken in November by Chinese Drift Champion Han Yue.

 Tickets are available for Autosport International via their website priced from £32 for adults and £21 for children. 

McLaren-Honda confirm Fernando Alonso & Jenson Button

McLaren have finally announced who will be driving for them in 2015. The signing of Fernando Alonso will come as no surprise but his team-mate has been the subject of speculation for a number of months.

Jenson Button will remain with McLaren for 2015 – his sixth season with the team – with 2014 race driver Kevin Magnussen becoming test and reserve driver.

“I am absolutely delighted to be on the threshold of leading McLaren-Honda to a new era of partnership,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Ron Dennis said. “I speak on behalf of all at McLaren when I say that. I am equally confident that our colleagues at Honda share that determination and passion to win. As regards drivers, McLaren’s policy has always been to assemble the strongest line-up possible, and in Fernando and Jenson I firmly believe that is exactly what we have. We signed Fernando a little while ago, but we decided not to announce the fact until we had also re-signed Jenson as his team-mate. For many reasons our negotiations with Jenson took quite a long time, but, now that they have been concluded, we are confident that our collaboration with him will continue to thrive in the future every bit as well as it has in the past. Make no mistake about it, Jenson is 100% committed to McLaren-Honda, to Formula 1 and to winning.”

Button is currently the most experienced driver on the grid with 266 Grand Prix starts under his belt. This includes 15 victories and 50 podiums, of which eight wins were for McLaren and 26 podiums. He won the world championship with Brawn GP back in 2009 before joining McLaren in 2010. He has been somewhat in limbo over the past couple of months, not sure if he had a future in Formula One but has revealed he is excited about what lies ahead with McLaren-Honda, having spent most of his early F1 career driving for Honda (who then became Brawn). “I am certain that McLaren and Honda will achieve great things together,” Button said. “I feel sure that, working together, all of us will pull incredibly hard to create a brilliantly effective winning team.” While Alonso has made no secret of his desire to join McLaren-Honda due to his idol Ayrton Senna’s association with the team, it was Alain Prost who inspired Button. “I admired Ayrton Senna enormously, but for me, it was the exploits of his McLaren-Honda team-mate Alain Prost that inspired me most as a boy,” the 2009 world champion admitted. “The way he stroked those beautifully brutal red-and-white cars to grand prix wins and world championships was to my mind poetry in motion, and I have tried to emulate his driving style ever since. Being a part of new-look McLaren-Honda is a wonderful opportunity for all of us, and I am very pleased to have been invited to do my bit. In fact, I am absolutely raring to go!”

“Looking forward, I know the Honda guys well, having driven Formula 1 cars powered by their engines from 2003 to 2008,” he continued. “I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for them, and promise to give 100% to make their partnership with McLaren a success. Last but far from least, I am very much looking forward to having a driver as fast and as experienced as Fernando as my team-mate. I am sure we will work extremely well together.”

For Alonso, the move to McLaren-Honda is a dream come true. “I have never hidden my deep admiration for Ayrton Senna, my favourite driver, my idol on track, my reference,” the Spaniard revealed. “I still remember, as a kid, the posters in my wardrobe, my toy cars in which I dreamed I would one day emulate Ayrton, and the kart that my father built for my older sister, and that I ended up falling in love with. That kart had the livery of one of the most legendary partnerships in the history of Formula 1 – McLaren-Honda – the car that Ayrton drove, the same partnership to which I am now honoured to join, to take part in the next Formula 1 world championship. I am joining this project with enormous enthusiasm and determination, knowing that it may require some time to achieve the results we are aiming for, which is no problem for me.”

Alonso also revealed that McLaren-Honda had approached him more than a year ago. “[They] asked me to take part, in a very active way, in the return of their partnership,” he explained. “McLaren-Honda’s repeated and open desire, perseverance and determination in making it possible for me to join their exciting renewed partnership, have been some of the main factors that made me take this decision, not forgetting the most important factor of all: we share a common objective and expectations, and there is a very solid future, with confidence ahead.”

Joining Alonso and Button will be 2014 driver Magnussen, to whom Button, Dennis and Honda’s Senior Managing Officer Yasuhisa Arai paid tribute to. “Kevin has done a great job this season and will continue to be an integral part of our team,” Dennis said. “He will be our test, reserve and third driver, and remains an excellent prospect for the future.” Button expressed his gladness that Magnussen – “a very quick driver and a really nice guy” – would be remaining with the team, while Arai commented on the young Dane’s remarkable growth over last season.

“I can safely say that we now have by an order of magnitude the best driver line-up of any current Formula 1 team,” Dennis concluded as the team look ahead to 2015 and the start of a new era, laying the foundations for future domination. Back in the late 80s and early 90s – between 1988 and 1992 McLaren-Honda won eight world championships, 44 grands prix, and took 53 pole positions and set 30 fastest laps, all in just 80 grands prix. The team will be striving to return to winning ways. As Alonso stated: “we have time, we have hopes and we have the necessary resources. Let the legend return: that is our challenge!”

Felipe Massa: 200 GP and the Magic Formula

This weekend Williams Racing driver Felipe Massa will celebrate his 200th Grand Prix start. The Brazilian, who entered Formula One in 2002 with Sauber, is celebrating the milestone at the British Grand Prix where his team celebrated 600 GP a year ago. So here is a look at his magic formula.

12 years

Massa entered Formula One in 2002 when he drove for the Sauber team, having just won the Euro Formula 3000 championship in 2002. 12 years on, in 2014, Massa is still on the grid, albeit not for 12 seasons. He was replaced at Sauber at the end of 2002 and had a year on the sidelines before returning in 2014.

3 teams

Despite having quite a long Formula One career, Massa has only driven for three teams – Sauber, Ferrari and of course now Williams. Massa spent three years racing for Sauber but it is his Ferrari relationship that lasted the longest.

7 team-mates

Over the years Massa has driven with a number of high profile drivers. He started his career partnering Nick Heidfeld, before then racing alongside 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, and Giancarlo Fisichella. When he was promoted to a Ferrari race seat in 2006 he partnered seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher before being joined by Kimi Raikkonen in 2007. Raikkonen departed at the end of 2009 and Massa’s next team-mate was Fernando Alonso. Following his departure from Ferrari, Massa has partnered Valtteri Bottas at Williams.

8 seasons at Ferrari

He made his debut in 2003 with Ferrari, spending the year as their test driver. Massa’s stint at Ferrari was a lengthy one and it saw him become one of only a handful of drivers to compete in more than 100 races for one team. At Brazil in 2011, Massa started his 100th team for the team and finished in fifth place. In 2012 and 2013 he added to his tally, and left the team with a grand total of 139 races for the Scuderia. He came close to winning the championship with them in 2008, but was narrowly pipped at the post. In his first season with the team he finished third in the championship.

2nd longest serving Ferrari driver

Massa is beaten only by Schumacher – who raced in 181 races for Ferrari – in terms of the amount of races for the Scuderia. With a total of 139 races, that puts him clear of fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. It also makes Massa third in the all time list for most races with one team – between Mika Hakkinen’s 131 and David Coulthard’s 150, both for McLaren.

11 wins

Massa has 11 wins to his name in Formula One. His first was at the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix before going on to win his home Grand Prix that same year. Wins in Bahrain, Spain and again in Turkey in 2007 brought his tally to five, before winning six more times in 2008. His 2008 wins were at Bahrain, Turkey, France, the European Grand Prix, Belgium, and an emotional home victory which saw him nearly win the world championship. That win also happens to be his last in Formula One to date.

3 wins at the Turkish Grand Prix

Massa took to the Turkish Grand Prix like a duck to water and won the race on three occasions – 2006, 2007 and 2008. He didn’t let anyone else have any of the fun on those three years as he also secured pole position for all three races.

5th Brazilian driver to win in Brazil

In 2006, Massa became the fifth Brazilian driver to win his home Grand Prix. He followed Emerson Fittipaldi (1973 & 1974), Carlos Pace (1975), Nelson Piquet (1983 & 1986) and Ayrton Senna (1991 & 1993).

36 podiums

Including his 11 wins, Massa has stood on the podium a grand total of 36 times. His first Formula One podium was at the 2006 European Grand Prix where he qualified in third and narrowly beat McLaren’s Raikkonen. His most recent podium was last year’s Spanish Grand Prix where he finished third.

16 pole positions

Massa’s first victory was preceded by his first pole position, at the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix. He out-qualified his team-mate by mere hundredths of a second but made it count, going on to win by over five seconds. Eight of his wins have come from pole positions, including the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix where he also set the fastest lap of the race. His pole lap was emphatic, beating Jarno Trulli by four tenths of a second.

15 fastest laps

As well as his pole positions, wins, and podiums – Massa also has a number of fastest laps to his name. 15, to be precise. The 2006 Spanish Grand Prix was his first one, and the most recent was this year’s Canadian Grand Prix.

7th – average finishing position in championship

Massa’s average finishing position in the world championship is seventh. Finishing in the top three on two occasions, Massa has finished solidly in the top ten since his move to Ferrari. The one exception is 2009, when he finished 11th, but he was forced to miss half the season after a nasty accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix saw him hit by a spring and sustaining life-threatening injuries. Thankfully he made a full recovery and was able to return to racing in 2010.

70% of finishes in points

Of his 199 starts, 119 of them have resulted in points finishes. That’s a 70% finishing record in the points. He has a finishing record of 84% from his 199 race starts thus far.

4th most experienced driver on the grid

Massa is the 4th most experienced driver on the grid, behind Jenson Button, Alonso, and Raikkonen. Fellow countryman Barrichello holds the record for most F1 starts, at 322.

1 point away

One point – all that stood between Massa and a world championship in 2008. So near, and yet so far…

So: 12 years + 3 teams + 7 team-mates + 8 seasons at Ferrari + 2nd longest serving Ferrari driver + 11 wins + 3 Turkish Grand Prix victories + 5th Brazilian driver to win Brazilian GP + 36 podiums + 16 pole positions + 15 fastest laps + 7th (average finishing position in the championship) + 70% finishes in points + 4th most experienced driver on grid + 1 point = 200 GP.

The passionate Brazilian impressed at the last race, the Austrian Grand Prix, when he qualified in pole position. He finished the race in fourth place but the Williams duo showed good pace, with Bottas finishing third behind the Mercedes duo. The team showed decent pre-season pace so they will no doubt be hoping to continue their Austrian form into this weekend’s British Grand Prix. Massa’s 100th Grand Prix start was the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix, a race which he won…


Felipe Nasr joins Williams

Williams has confirmed that Felipe Nasr has joined the team as test and reserve driver for the 2014 season. The Brazilian driver got his first running in the FW36 on the final day of testing in Bahrain, ending the day an impressive fourth fastest.

In his new role Nasr will attend all Grand Prix and stand in should Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas not be able to race. He will also take the wheel of the car in three tests and five FP1 sessions. This will be combined with factory based work in the team’s simulator to support the continued development of the car.

“I’m really happy to be joining the Williams family,” Nasr said. “They have a great history in the sport and some of the greatest Brazilian drivers of all time have driven for the team, so it’s an honour to join names such as [Nelson] Piquet, [Ayrton] Senna and [Felipe] Massa. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to make the next step in my career and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a Formula One car for the first time in Bahrain.”

Nasr has had an impressive racing career to date, most recently coming fourth in the 2013 GP2 championship, racing for Carlin Motorsport. He started karting in Brazil at the age of seven, winning several titles before making his open wheel racing debut in 2008 in the final round of the Formula BMW Americas season. In 2009 he competed in the Formula BMW Championship and won the title in his first season, taking seven wins from 16 starts. For 2010 he moved to British Formula 3, finishing fifth before claiming the title in 2011. He made his GP2 debut in 2012 racing with DAMS and finished as the second highest placed rookie and tenth overall.

“Felipe has a strong track record of success in his career so far and we have been watching him closely for a while,” Team Principal and founder Frank Williams revealed. “We have a track record at Williams of bringing through new talent and giving them a chance to show what they can do on the world’s biggest stage. By driving in five FP1 sessions this season, Felipe will have the perfect chance to showcase his skills and I’m confident he will be a strong addition to our driver roster.”

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

McLaren ’50 in 50′: The Journey

Bruce McLaren once said:

The luck thing – really there’s no such thing as good luck. It’s good preparation and hard work.

It is certainly not luck that led McLaren to be the company they are today, growing from the humble beginnings of Bruce McLaren Racing Ltd. 50 years on McLaren as a racing team have won a number of championships (not just in Formula One), McLaren as a manufacturer have designed and created some of the most iconic road cars ever, and McLaren as a group have developed technologies which have become an integral part to many sectors.

Reflecting on McLaren’s 50th anniversary, Ron Dennis, summarised the following:

McLaren started as the dream of one man, and it’s since grown to encompass the hopes and dreams of more than 2000 men and women, who work as tirelessly as Bruce McLaren himself once did to ensure that everything we do reflects well when compared with everything we’ve ever achieved.

It has been quite a journey in the last 50 years, just like these past 50 days have been a journey for me. While collating all the information for the 50 posts I learned a lot and rediscovered forgotten memories. In the past 50 days we’ve looked at the men who have led McLaren – Bruce McLaren, Teddy Mayer, Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh. We’ve looked at McLaren F1’s 19 race winners, from Bruce himself to John Watson, and from Gerhard Berger to Jenson Button. Seven men have won the world championship for McLaren including Emerson Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna, and Lewis Hamilton, while the team have had great success at certain races such as in Belgium, Monaco and in Great Britain.

Of course, with only 50 days to play with, it means A LOT of McLaren’s history has not been covered. Key team personnel, or other countries in which they have been victorious, and drivers who have not won races. That is not to say they are not an important part of the McLaren journey, there just wasn’t time in this particular instance.


2013 has been a difficult for McLaren in Formula One. Taking the wrong direction at the start of the year has resulted in them scrapping for fifth place in the championship and not finishing higher than fifth during the year. It has been a baptism of fire for new recruit Sergio Perez. Without a podium or win in sight, it looks set to be their worst season as a team for a while. Of course, it has not always been plain sailing for the Woking-based squad, but somehow they always seem to salvage something in the past couple of decades. A brief overview of their past 23 years (1990 – 2013 inclusive, unless stated otherwise) in Formula One shows this:

Total wins: 102
Total podiums*: 192
Points finishes (from 811 starts): 507
Retirements**: 213
Average championship position***: 2.4
Winless seasons***: 4
Podiumless seasons***: 0

* additional to wins
** not including races where retirement came in last 10%
*** excluding 2013 which is still in progress

It is difficult to quantify a year as the ‘most disappointing’ for McLaren. Is it a year full of retirements? Is it a year with no wins or podiums? Is it 2007 when they were excluded from the championship? McLaren have endured winless seasons before and bounced back, and there are still four races from which they can achieve a podium. It’s all part of the journey.

What next?

McLaren have plenty coming up in the future, as the group continues to grow. For example…

  • In Formula One they are reuniting with Honda, as the Japanese company will be supplying their engines once again, starting in 2015.
  • McLaren Electronic Systems are providing the electric motor, transmission and electronics for the brand new Formula E series, due to launch in 2014.
  • McLaren Applied Technologies has establised a HQ in Singapore.
  • McLaren Automotive has established itself in China with the introduction of appointed retailers in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou.
  • McLaren Automotive also revealed today that the first delivery of the McLaren P1, which goes from 0-100km/h in just 2.8 seconds, has taken place.

The future looks bright for McLaren and, after 50 years of success both on and off the track, here’s to another 50 years on the McLaren journey!

You can catch up with all fifty posts here!