Ferrari bulletproof, Red Bull more reliable than McLaren
Scuderia Ferrari
Ferrari bulletproof, Red Bull more reliable than McLaren
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Aug 2010   |  8:49 am GMT  |  79 comments

The German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, an opinion leader in F1 circles, has published a table reviewing the finishing record of the Formula 1 teams in the season to date.

Reliability has been very mixed among teams (Darren Heath)

Ferrari comes out well on top with an astonishing 1471 racing laps covered, out of a maximum of 1474! Fernando Alonso’s engine failure in the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix is the only blot on its copybook. Felipe Massa has a flawless finishing record.

And interestingly Red Bull has come out second, with 1,373 laps covered. This is despite a reputation for shaky reliability early in the season. Vettel had a retirement in Australia due to a wheel failure, but otherwise, there were occasions when things broke on the car and slowed it down, robbing it of a win, but didn’t actually force it to retire, such as the ignition issue with Vettel in Bahrain. He also had a raft of problems in Spain which consigned him to a 3rd place finish.

Beyond that he had niggly issues, such as the suspension problem in qualifying in Turkey which cost him the pole. They don’t really show on the records because he qualified, raced and finished, but they all add up in terms of points dropped.

There were of course the notorious accidents; Vettel and Webber’s collision in Turkey, which eliminated the German and Webber’s somersault in Valencia.

Mercedes are just behind Red Bull, with three retirements this season and one lap dropped when Michael Schumacher was lapped in Hungary!

Despite operating smoothly in general this season on all levels, McLaren has been more unreliable than its two key rivals. Lewis Hamilton lost a certain 18 points for 2nd place in Spain with a wheel failure, then in Hungary he had a driveshaft failure early on in the race. Even earlier in the Monaco Grand Prix was Jenson Button’s retirement with a cooked engine due to a bung left in the engine by a forgetful mechanic.

Not much to smile about for Sauber (Darren Heath)

At the other end of the scale Sauber’s appalling early season reliability puts them at the bottom of the pile with only 854 laps covered, just over 50%. Kobayashi didn’t see the chequered flag until the fifth round of the championship, while De la Rosa has missed it on seven of the 12 races so far. Since the arrival of James Key as technical director, however, the relaibility and the performance have improved and Kobayashi has been in the points in three of the last four races.

Of the new teams Lotus has covered 1049 laps, six more than Hispania, which is a 71% record. Kovalainen has had six non finishes, of which one was when he was hit by Webber in Valencia, while Trulli has five.

As with the points scoring teams at the front, reliability is critically important at the back of the field. On days when cars in front don’t finish, the new teams can potentially score a result which could transform their championship finishing position and their prize money for the season. At the moment Lotus are ahead thanks to a single 13th place for Kovalainen.

So a 12th place for Virgin or Hispania, which would need quite a few retirements in the midfield, would change the game completely.
Virgin’s car wasn’t able to see the chequered flag in the early races as the fuel tank wasn’t big enough and since the larger car was introduced, Di Grassi and Glock have each had six finishes.


1. Ferrari 99.8%
2. Red Bull 93.1%
3. Mercedes 92.7%
4. McLaren 91.4%
5. Renault 86.4%
6 Williams 86.1%
7. Force India 85.5%
8. Toro Rosso 80%
9. Lotus 71.1%
10. Hispania 70.7%
11. Virgin 65.2%
12 Sauber 57.9%

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

the drivers are hired by the race team to drive the car,and payed a lot of money,,,best they do as they are told,weather they like it or not


qualify 10th stat in the pit lne


Thanks for the Reply James,

But can you tell us what are the updates for each team for Belgium grand prix and significance of those updates if they work as per the team expectations.

Even i would like to hear from you regarding the flexi front wings. Will Ferrari and Red bull need any modifications to their front wing according to you.


I will post on this nearer the time


Now just with seven races left.. the key to become the world champion is how the drivers key their cool manage those V8 engines and gear boxes…because reliability is going to play a key role in this.

And when it comes to managing tires and keeping themselves cool Fernando Alonso is the best and i have my money on Alonso.

Whats your say on this James…i am eagerly waiting to hear from you…


Agree that he’s been there before and knows what it takes to win the title, but he’ll need the car to be close to Red Bull on performance to have a chance


Mistakes, tempers, reliabilties and wrong strategies make this year’s season worth watching.

Keep it that way. Love the human and technical imperfections.

Or else what is there for us to comment and criticize about.

The summer break is taking too long!


Another good showing that Statistics are good for Nothing.

Ferrari on top of reliability? and they are already using all the engines permited while McLaren has still 4 left.

😉 I love statistics, show so much of nothing.


Thinking of the Championship James, how much is Alonso & Vettel at a disadvantage with using 6 engines so far this year?


To be fair, Jenson lost 70 odd laps thanks the the monaco mishap. It happened on 2nd lap of a race with the most laps.


It’s good to see lotus the most reliable of the new teams and an established team , keep up the good work


Hamilton’s Mclaren has been on the limit for a higher % of laps than the red bulls. Surely reliability should take into account problems in practice as well, the sample size is already small enough that the article be considered just for fun.

Anyone know the data on number of engines left and miles used on the remaining stock for each driver?


Those saying this is a flawed survey are missing the point. It’s a perfect survey for what it sets out to do. Who’s F1 understanding hasn’t been enhanced by realising that Ferrari have only failed to complete 3 of the racing laps this season?

As the late, late Murray Walker used to say ‘to finish first in Formula One first you’ve got to finish’. I’m sure we all agree the driver’s champion is the best driver in one of the best cars over a measured amount of time. I’m sure we can also agree the drivers contending for the title this season are Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Put those names into that survey and Fernando has the best chance of finishing every race due to superior race craft and a more reliable car. Now sumise that the Red Bull errors come from driver error and the McLaren ones from car fragility what do you get? Well I can see more calamity ahead for the uptight Red Bulls and does Lewis have another car failure in him? Computer says yes.

Fernando WILL finish every race this year but will he be high enough up the points? IF is F1 backwards as dear Murray used to say, wrongly obviously and mixed metaphors if it were true. In other words, if the the ifs were certainties we’d all be watching the Eastenders omnibus on Sundays. IF is what makes sport and Formula One great.

Stats are great and can show what has happened and give a guide as to what might happen. But the fact it’s a might, the fact it might be different and the fact something amazing might happen against the fact Mark Webber beat the man expected to dominate in Hungary coupled with the fact Alonso beat the man expected to dominate at that race are why we watch F1.

To those saying ‘this isn’t a great statistic’ I say spend 98% of your time realising that statistics are about the past and you actually like that fact.


Murray’s still with us isn’t he?!



I have big doubts about the “reliability” conclusions that can be extracted from the data used from two casual observations:

1. The Jenson Button incident was human error on the track rather than anything mechanically unreliable with the car.

2. Why is it that both Alonso and Vettel only have two new engines left for rest of this season? What does this tell us? It is likely that Ferrari obviously felt the need to replace some of their engines because of unreliability concerns!


That’s a misleading statistic. Some given driver, say one with the luck of Raikkonen, could have a mechanical failure on the last lap of every race of the season, yet he’d still figure with over 90% reliability.

In my book, reliability means finishing races, not completing laps.


MY TAKE is that formula one is about winning and finishing within good points so that either you enable a given driver to get closer to world drivers championship win or a given car team to win the manufactures trophy…SO these statistics are meaningless..

ie FELIPE “BABY” has one hundred percent driver finish but is not even a champion ship contender

ferari with their 99.8 record are not leading the manufacturers points…so i think reliability here in this way is a misleading term.

BUT more sense can be made when looked at globally at the end of the season in total ..when we see how many engines,how many tyres, how many gearboxes EACH TEAM HAS USED UP?


I think i,m missing something here,my logic suggests this reliability analysis is showing overall “team” performance in race trim,…………..?


Just a quick thing which this doesn’t account for, what of Alonso’s engine troubles early in the season, they were changed before the race so not affecting the stats above however … Still proves they have a reliability issue somewhere

an old teaching from my maths teacher springs to mind “any statistic can be presented in such a way that it reaches your desired outcome, simply by taking certain results out” I wonder what they would be like if they count engine changes, gear box issues, hydraulic issues which present themselves in free practice/qualifying


I’m not sure that this is really relevant at all. Afterall a retirement is a retirement regardless of whether it is lap 1 or 50, either way no points are scored so what’s the relevancy?

Also how can you say that a driver error such as the red bulls slamming into one another is due to unreliability – the drivers maybe but not the car!

Pointless stats or am i missing something?


Id love to see the great name of Lotus getting some points this season. The car looks really well, lets hope they can improve its speed soon.


I thought, that Renault will be higher.


I thought that Alonso should have cooled it at Sepang,was surprised those points mattered so much he threw caution to the wind…and got zero points.

I thought at the time he could end up longing for those points at the end of the season,which is still possible.


I really don’t think laps completed I’d a sign of reliability. You may have one failure at gheseart of a race affecting your result massively or several last lap failures only having a minor impact. Statistics can say what ever you want them too. It’s my job to know that!


What a great link – thanks tiageo 😉

You can really see that, despite the Auto Motor und Sport article showing McLaren’s lost laps, that their engine and gearbox usage fits in perfectly with what they clearly planned to do through the first half of the season… Same goes for Mercedes, and to a lesser degree Ferrari.

You can also see how the Red Bull team have had to manage the issues they’ve had as James discusses above.

Isn’t F1 so much more intersting with stuff like this available!!? Love it – keep it up all 🙂


Agreed. There’s never been a better time to get closer to what’s really going on and the racing is good too!



I know that it’s not the right place but please, please wish Hans-Joachim Stuck all the very best and I hope his recovery is swift and full from his recent blood clot on the brain.

The Regenmeister is a true genius and I can feel the adrenalin in my veins now, reliving sitting on the edge of my seat with awe, as he drove circles round competitors in appalling conditions. ( Oh, he was pretty good in dry as well !! )

Get Well soon Stuckie

Kindest Regards



James, could you multiply these finishing records by average points per race and predict this seasons winner(s) please.


Reliability does not equal laps completed.

Reliability surely should be measured by incidents of mechanical failure, which, as you point out, does not necessarily mean a non-finish but a reduction in power, speed, or loss of positions.

I’m surprised AMuS posted such an article without really thinking about it.

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