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.
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.
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.
F1 TEAMS FINISHING RECORD, FIRST 12 RACES
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%