Jenson Button: 300 GP and the Magic Formula

This weekend sees Formula One’s most experienced current driver celebrate a big milestone in his career. Jenson Button – who recently announced he would be taking a sabbatical next year – will start his 300th Grand Prix this weekend in Malaysia. It was the race where he took his first F1 podium, way back in 2004. Here’s a look at the numbers which make up his magic formula.

16 full seasons

Jenson Button made his debut back in 2000, driving for Williams. Since then he has enjoyed relationships with Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn, and now McLaren. He is currently competing in his 17th season of Formula One – his 7th for McLaren, the longest he has spent driving for any one team.

15 wins

While the past few years have been barren in terms of winning in Formula One, JB has wracked up 15 wins over the years. His first was of course the memorable 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix in mixed conditions. JB’s most recent win came at the season ending 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, bookending his season having won the season opener in Australia that same year.

Winner at 12 tracks

JB’s 15 wins have come at 12 tracks, his most successful being Australia. He has won the Australian Grand Prix on three occasions – 2009, 2010 and 2012. He has also won in Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Turkey, China, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Belgium, and Brazil.

50 podiums

There have also been a number of podium finishes for JB over his years competing in Formula One. His first podium was at the 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix and his most recent podium finish was the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. His most frequented podium spot is third – where he has stood 20 times – in relation to 15 times in first and 15 times in second.

Podiums at 16 races

JB has stood on the podium at 16 tracks over the course of his Formula One career. He has enjoyed more than one podium in Malaysia, the European Grand Prix, Canada, Germany, Italy, China, and Abu Dhabi. He has also stood on the podium in Bahrain, San Marino, Monaco, Japan, Belgium, Brazil, Turkey, Singapore and Australia. He has had three podiums – his most at any one race – in Germany, Italy and China.

8 pole positions

Most of JB’s victories have come from not starting on pole position, but he has qualified on top on eight occasions. Five of his pole positions have been converted into victories. His first pole position came at the 2004 San Marino Grand Prix while his most recent was the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix which he also won.

8 fastest laps

As well as pole positions, wins, and podiums, JB also has had eight fastest laps. His first was at the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix – a race he started from pole and also won – while his most recent was at the 2012 Indian Grand Prix.

Average 8th in championship

JB has finished an average 8th position in the championship over 16 full seasons. His best finish was 1st in 2009 while his lowest finish was 17th in 2001. He currently lies 15th in the 2016 championship with one more point than he had at the end of the season last year.

11 consecutive points finishes in one season

JB’s longest streak of points finishes in a season came in his championship winning year of 2009. He won six of the first seven races, finished third in one of them, and then went on to pick up points in the next four races too. His longest consecutive points finish run overall was 12 which happened between 2005 and 2006. Scoring points in the last ten races of 2005 – including two podiums – he then scored at the first two races of the 2006 season.

6 wins in one season

There were six wins in 2009 for JB when Brawn took over the Honda Racing team after the Japanese manufacturers pulled out of F1 at the end of 2008. JB won six of the first seven races of the season and that remains his record of most wins in a year.

80% classified finishes records

Despite having some difficult years in Formula One with cars not quite performing as they should, JB still has a 80% classified finishing record. Of the 299 races he has started to date he has been classified as a finisher in 240 of them. 13 of these have been retirements but with him having completed over 90% of the race distance.

66% points finishes

Of his 240 classified finishes, 160 of them – or 66% – have been in the points.

3rd most experienced driver of all time

JB lies in third in the all time list of both entries and starts. He has entered 302 races to date and started 299 of them. Rubens Barrichello is the most experienced F1 driver of all time with 326 entries to his name (322 starts) while Michael Schumacher has 308 entries (306 starts). With five races still to come after Malaysia – JB’s 303rd entry – he will end 2016 tied on entries with Schumacher.

1 World Championship

And saving the best ’til last, JB is a world champion. After years of ups and downs he finally won the championship in 2009 with Brawn GP. His best championship finish before that had been 3rd in 2004 and he went on to finish second in 2011.

So there we have it. 16 full seasons + 15 wins + winner at 12 tracks + 50 podiums + podiums at 16 races +8 pole positions + 8 fastest laps + average 8th in championship + 11 consecutive points finishes + 6 wins in one season + 80% classified finishes + 66% finishes in points + 3rd most experienced driver of all time +  1 world championship = 300 GP!

 

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2015: Canadian Grand Prix Preview

The European F1 season gets a brief interlude this weekend as teams travel to North America for the Canadian Grand Prix. Considered by many as one of the best weekends on the Formula One calendar, racing at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve always provides excitement and intrigue with different strategies coming into play. While in Monaco it was the close proximity of the barriers all around the track that drivers had to keep themselves out of, in Canada it is the infamous wall of champions which has seen the likes of Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel hit.

The main talking point coming into the Canadian Grand Prix is that moment from Monaco when Lewis Hamilton pitted under the safety car and ultimately lost the win after dominating most of the race. Team-mate Nico Rosberg is the one with the momentum having won the last two races and cutting Hamilton’s championship lead to just ten points.

Circuit: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
Number of Laps: 70
Circuit Length: 4.361km
Number of Corners: 14
Lap Record: 1:13.622 Rubens Barrichello (2004)
Previous Canadian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 6
Most Successful Team: Ferrari & McLaren (13 wins)
DRS Zones: 2   
Pirelli Tyres: Soft and Supersoft

In stark contrast to the high downforce requirements of the streets of Monte Carlo, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is medium to low downforce. A lot of focus is put on power and getting good traction out of the corners. It has long straights where the speeds build as well as slow corners, giving it a very stop/start feel. Ferrari and Honda have used engine development tokens ahead of this weekend and reliability will play a key role in the weekend.

Last year Mercedes looked to have another 1-2 finish sewn up until MGU-K issues hampered both cars races. Struggling from a loss of power, the chasing pack were able to close up on Hamilton and Rosberg. Hamilton eventually retired from the race with brake failure while Rosberg drove around the issue to salvage second place. Instead it was Daniel Ricciardo who took his maiden Formula One win with team-mate Sebastian Vettel in third.

In the past it has been a track where Hamilton has excelled or retired. Since his breakthrough win in his rookie season (2007) he has won the race once more and finished third once. He has retired on his three further visits to the track with the race not being held in 2009. Red Bull have won the race on the past two occasions but before that McLaren had won three in a row. McLaren-Honda picked up their first points of the season in Monaco when Jenson Button was classified eighth while team-mate Fernando Alonso’s race came to an early end after the car overheated. The team will be focused on improving their reliability as they look to become more consistent points scorers. Max Verstappen came under fire following the last race after his move on Romain Grosjean which sees him come into this weekend carrying a five place grid penalty. Having gone second fastest in his first F1 session in Monaco, the highs soon turned to lows when he tried to make a move on Grosjean on the pit straight and crashed out. The incident brought out the safety car which in turned proved to be Hamilton’s downfall.

Verstappen’s fellow rookie and team-mate impressed after racing from the pit-lane to pick up one championship point. Vettel picked up yet another podium for Ferrari while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished down in sixth. The Finn is a previous Canadian Grand Prix winner in 2005 and will be hoping to move back up the order. Racing in Canada can often be unpredictable and it will no doubt be another exciting race this weekend.

Michael Schumacher’s website re-launches on 20th anniversary of first championship

Michael Schumacher’s website (www.michael-schumacher.de) has relaunched today – the 13th November 2014 – on the 20th anniversary of him winning his first world championship.

Schumacher’s controversial first world championship was won in Australia back in 1994. After a coming together between the German and his title protagonist Damon Hill, Schumacher was crowned world champion despite many believing the move had been deliberate. Since then he went on to become the most successful Formula One driver in history, winning seven world championships. His second was in 1995 and he dominated the sport with Ferrari between 2000 and 2004 going on to win five more. In 2005 he fought with Kimi Raikkonen and eventual champion Fernando Alonso but finished in third place. In 2006 he announced his retirement from the sport and put in a valiant effort for one final championship but it was not to be and he finished second place to Alonso, by 13 points.

That was not the end of Schumacher in Formula One, however. When Felipe Massa was involved in a serious accident during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, Schumacher was touted to return and drive once again for Ferrari. He later injured himself in a motorbike accident and was unable to take the drive due to an injured neck. In 2010, however, the comeback was on when he was announced alongside Nico Rosberg as Mercedes GP drivers. Three further seasons saw him score one final podium – a third place at the European Grand Prix – and he retired for good at the end of 2012.

At the end of December last year Schumacher was involved in a serious ski accident and many feared the rest. Nearly a year on Schumacher is continuing his long recovery and his website has been re-launched to not only commemorate his first championship, but also to allow fans to leave messages for the seven time world champion using the hashtag #keepfightingmichael. A statement from the family on the website reads:

Still we receive wishes for Michael to get well soon every day, and still we are stunned by the sheer amount of sympathies. We can only always thank you for facing this fight together with him and us. We remain confident and hope the best for Michael . Your strength is helping us to keep supporting him.

2014: Bahrain Grand Prix Preview

It is a quick turnaround for teams this week with the Bahrain Grand Prix just days after the Malaysia Grand Prix. It was another dominating weekend from Mercedes as the team secured a 1-2. Lewis Hamilton led the way from pole position, only losing his lead for a lap to Nico Hulkenberg. With McLaren finishing in the latter half of the top ten Mercedes have taken over the lead of the constructors championship by 25 points. Nico Rosberg still leads the drivers championship now by 18 points over Hamilton. This is not the first time this year that teams have visited Bahrain as two out of three of the pre-season tests were held here. Felipe Massa and Williams topped the times then but it could be a whole different ball game this weekend.

Circuit: Bahrain International Circuit
Number of Laps: 57
Circuit Length: 5.412km
Number of Corners: 15
Lap Record: 1:31.447 Pedro de la Rosa (2005)
Previous Australian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: Fernando Alonso (2005, 2006, & 2010), Sebastian Vettel (2012 & 2013), Felipe Massa (2007 & 2008) and Jenson Button (2009)
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (4 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Medium and Soft

This will be the tenth anniversary of the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix back in 2004. It was won by Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher with team-mate Rubens Barrichello joining him on the podium, making it a Ferrari 1-2. Jenson Button was third for BAR-Honda. Ferrari have won the race on four occasions, three of which were 1-2 finishes so it is safe to say they enjoy racing at the circuit. There have been some alterations to the Bahrain Grand Prix since its debut on the calendar. In 2010 the race was held on the longer endurance circuit but reverted to the Grand Prix circuit for 2012. The race was not held in 2011 due to political unrest in the country. 2014 will see a new challenge for teams and drivers as the race becomes a twilight race, like Abu Dhabi. The race will start in daylight at sunset but finish in darkness with the track being lit up by floodlights. 495 poles have been erected around the circuit featuring 10,000 lights.

This change will lead to a whole host of new considerations for teams and drivers such as the discrepancy between temperatures during the ‘day’ part of the race, and the cooler evening. These different temperatures – which have been touted as being 15 degrees apart – will result in changes in balance and grip levels. The circuit is notoriously difficult on brakes – due to the number of slow-speed corners at the ends of straights – and tyres. Pirelli have brought the medium and soft compound to the race.

For the past two years the race has been won by Sebastian Vettel with the Lotus duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean finishing in second and third respectively. This seems unlikely to be the case in 2014, however. Lotus have struggled at the start of the season and have had only one finish – Grosjean’s eleventh place at last weekend’s Malaysia Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel could win though as Red Bull have fought closely with Mercedes and the reigning world champion finished on third behind the 1-2 at the weekend. Ferrari have always seemed to go well in Bahrain so Kimi Raikkonen could feature on the podium this weekend if Ferrari manage to get to grips with the problems that are holding them back so far in 2014.

Qualifying has been a key factor in the Bahrain Grand Prix in recent years. The race has never been won from further back than fourth on the grid. Only Vettel and Schumacher have started on pole position more than once – two times each – while the other five have been taken by Massa, Robert Kubica, Jarno Trulli, and Rosberg. As it looks like Mercedes have the dominant package and the race, it is difficult to look past them for a win this weekend. However, with Red Bull hovering in the background, and even Ferrari, there could be a different winner, especially with the new challenge of a Bahrain Grand Prix night race! Due to the new race format, the race will start at 6pm Bahrain time, with qualifying at the same time.

Liuzzi wins Massa’s karting event

Former Formula One driver Vitantonio Liuzzi has won Felipe Massa’s annual karting event, International Challenge of the Stars (Desafio Internacional das Estrelas). In the ninth edition of the event, Liuzzi dominated free practice and qualifying before storming to a convincing win.

The event featured a number of familiar drivers from different classes including Massa himself, Rubens Barrichello, Antonio Pizzonia, and Daniel Serra. They also took time to pray for Michael Schumacher, with Massa running a tribute to him on his helmet and kart.

Liuzzi started the race from the front row with Lucas di Grassi alongside him. Julio Campos lined up third with Augusto Farfus Jr in fourth. Barrichello, Massa, Felipe Nasr, Serra, Pizzonia, and Valdeno Britto completed the top ten. In the early stages di Grassi and Campos kept Liuzzi honest, but the Italian driver was able to build up a lead to eventually win by over six seconds.  Sebastian Buemi fought his way through the field from 13th to finish second with Massa finishing the race in third. He was joined by his son Felipinho on the podium.

The rest of the field finished as follows:

  1. Vitantonio Liuzzi 26:23.055
  2. Sebastien Buemi +6.021s
  3. Felipe Massa +10.601s
  4. Julio Campos +11.484s
  5. Antonio Pizzonia +11.584s
  6. Daniel Serra +11.829s
  7. Nelson Piquet Jr +13.733s
  8. Felipe Nasr +19.970s
  9. Valdeno Brito +30.533s
  10. Pietro Fittipaldi +31.465s
  11. Beto Monteiro +31.548s
  12. Luciano Burti +32.081s
  13. João Paulo de Oliveira +32.237s
  14. Luis Razia +32.366s
  15. Bruno Senna +32.541s
  16. Popo Bueno +37.213
  17. Ricardo Zonta +38.601s
  18. Felipe Giaffone + 1 Lap
  19. Rubens Barrichello + 3 Laps
  20. Lucas di Grassi + 8 Laps

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

A few days ago the FIA published some regulation changes ahead of 2014, and one in particular has been met with an overwhelmingly negative response. The F1 Strategy Group, consisting teams from the championship, voted to allow double points for the last race of the season which, in the case of 2014, is in Abu Dhabi. Four time world champion Sebastian Vettel told German media he thought the idea was “absurd”.

The question was then raised: would double points have made a difference to world championships in the past? An analysis of 1993 to 2002 showed that there would have been a few changes here and there in the top ten, but nothing significant like a change of champion. This post will complete an analysis of twenty years, looking at 2003 – 2013.

2003 – Michael Schumacher

In 2003 a new points system was introduced – points were now awarded to the top eight on the basis of: 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Michael Schumacher won his fourth championship in a row (his sixth overall) narrowly beating McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen. Juan Pablo Montoya ended the year in third place. However, if double points for the last race had been in play, the first major change in the period 1993 – 2013 would have occurred:

  1. Kimi Raikkonen (92) 99
  2. Michael Schumacher (93) 94
  3. Juan Pablo Montoya 82

Yes, Raikkonen would have won his first championship, reducing Schumacher’s tally to only six (‘only’…). David Coulthard would also have benefited from double points, moving from seventh to six, with Fernando Alonso dropping a place. In the constructors championship McLaren would have finished in second place with double points, moving ahead of Williams.

2003

2004 – Michael Schumacher

It was a whitewash for Michael Schumacher in 2004 when he won 13 of 18 races, comfortably wrapping up the championship before the final race of the year, meaning double points would have made no difference:

  1. Michael Schumacher (148) 150
  2. Rubens Barrichello (114) 120
  3. Jenson Button 85

Double points would have allowed Juan Pablo Montoya to finish ahead of Fernando Alonso in fourth place. Kimi Raikkonen would also have benefited, at the expense of Jarno Trulli. The constructors championship would have remained the same.

2004

2005 – Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso became the youngest world champion (at the time) in 2005, comfortably beating Kimi Raikkonen who was hampered by an unreliable McLaren. Michael Schumacher finished in a distant third – an unfamiliar position for him after so much domination. Double points would have altered the top three slightly, although Alonso had already wrapped the title up before the last race:

  1. Fernando Alonso (133) 143
  2. Kimi Raikkonen (112) 120
  3. Giancarlo Fisichella (58) 63

The constructors championship would have remained the same with or without double points.

2005

2006 – Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso did not have to wait long for championship number two, enjoying a spirited battle with a retiring Michael Schumacher throughout 2006 on his way to it. Felipe Massa finished in third place:

  1. Fernando Alonso (134) 142
  2. Michael Schumacher (121) 126
  3. Felipe Massa (80) 90

As can be seen, double points would not have changed the order, instead they would have dropped Schumacher further behind Alonso. The top ten in both the drivers and constructors championships would have been the same, regardless of double points.

2006

2007 – Kimi Raikkonen

2007 saw the arrival of Lewis Hamilton on the scene, and he instantly fought for the world championship. It was a difficult year for McLaren with inter-team battles and ‘Spygate’ seeing them disqualified from the constructors championship. In the end, in some sort of poetic justice, Hamilton and his team-mate Fernando Alonso finished on joint points, just one point behind champion Kimi Raikkonen, who won the final race of the year to clinch it. Double points, however, would have changed things slightly:

  1. Kimi Raikkonen (110) 120
  2. Fernando Alonso (109) 115
  3. Lewis Hamilton (109) 111

Elsewhere in the top ten, double points would have seen Nico Rosberg finish in eighth place instead of ninth. The constructors championship would not have changed.

2007

2008 – Lewis Hamilton

After narrowly missing out in 2007, Lewis Hamilton ruled the roost in 2008, beating Felipe Massa in a nailbiting finale. He overtook Timo Glock on the last corner of the last lap to take the fifth place he needed, after Massa took an emotional home victory. 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen finished in third. If there had been double points, things would be very different in the history books – Massa would be champion and Hamilton would have no championships:

  1. Felipe Massa (97) 107
  2. Lewis Hamilton (98) 102
  3. Kimi Raikkonen (75) 81

Those would have been the only changes within the top ten, but pretty significant. The constructors championship would have remained the same.

2008

2009 – Jenson Button

Major regulation changes in 2009 shook up the field, with newly formed Brawn GP dominating the start of the season. Red Bull joined them at the front with usual front runners Ferrari and McLaren slipping back. Jenson Button won his first world championship, beating Sebastian Vettel and Rubens Barrichello. Double points would have brought Vettel closer to Button’s points tally, but would not have changed the overall order:

  1. Jenson Button (95) 101
  2. Sebastian Vettel (84) 94
  3. Rubens Barrichello (77) 82

None of the top ten would have changed with double points and the same can be said for the constructors championship.

2009

2010 – Sebastian Vettel

In 2009 a new points system was introduced: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1. After missing out in 2009, Sebastian Vettel won his first world championship in 2010, beating off stiff competition from Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.  Going into the last race, Alonso had the advantage – Vettel never led the championship until the last race, subsequently winning it – but his race did not go quite as planned. The top three would have been altered slightly by double points:

  1. Sebastian Vettel (256) 281
  2. Fernando Alonso (252) 258
  3. Lewis Hamilton (240) 258

Mark Webber, who actually finished third, would have dropped to fourth and Lewis Hamilton would have been third with the same amount of points as Alonso. Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica would both have finished ahead of Felipe Massa with double points. The constructors championship would have been unaffected.

2010

2011 – Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel dominated 2011 in a Schumacher-esque style and won his second championship with over 100 points in hand. Going into the last race he was already 119 points clear of Jenson Button, so double points definitely would not have changed the outcome. Mark Webber finished in third place:

  1. Sebastian Vettel (392) 410
  2. Jenson Button (270) 285
  3. Mark Webber (258) 283

Elsewhere the rest of the top ten would also have remained as they actually finished. Force India would have benefited from double points in the constructors championship, however, moving ahead of Renault.

2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012 – Sebastian Vettel

After dominating 2011, Sebastian Vettel had to overcome a significant deficit to beat Fernando Alonso. Kimi Raikkonen finished in third on his return to the sport. Double points in 2012 would have resulted in a very different top three – the biggest changes in the past twenty years:

  1. Fernando Alonso (278) 296
  2. Sebastian Vettel (281) 289
  3. Jenson Button (188) 213

Alonso would now be a three time world champion with Vettel as runner up. Jenson Button would have benefited most from double points after winning the last race of the season. He would have risen from fifth to third – moving ahead of Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. The constructors championship would have been unchanged.

2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 – Sebastian Vettel

This season saw Sebastian Vettel dominate again, winning 13 of 19 races including the last nine. His advantage at the end of the year was 155 points and he had the championship won in India with a few races in hand. Double points would not have changed the outcome:

  1. Sebastian Vettel (397) 422
  2. Fernando Alonso (242) 257
  3. Mark Webber (199) 217

With double points, Sergio Perez would have finished in the top ten, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who actually finished tenth. In the constructors championship, double points would have seen Ferrari finish ahead of Mercedes in second.

2013

 

 

 

 

 

And that concludes the analysis of the effect of double points in the last twenty years. Between 1993 and 2002 there were no major changes, but 2003 – 2013 would have seen some major changes with double points. The history books would have Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel both down as three time world champions. Michael Schumacher would be a six time world champion and Kimi Raikkonen would have two championships. Felipe Massa would be a one time world champion and Lewis Hamilton would have none.

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.