2013 F1 season in stats: The year in context

2013 F1 season review

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The 2013 season saw an astonishingly high rate of reliability, one the sport will surely struggle to emulate with next year’s new engine formula.

Reliability, 1992-2013

The final year of the V8 engine formula saw another rise in the exceptionally high levels of reliability – something which is unlikely to continue with the new engine formula next year.

The proportion of finishers at every race reached an all-time high for the second year in a row. Drivers finished 87.6% of races they started, with mechanical failures ending just 6.7% of all race starts.

Twenty years ago, drivers were three-and-a-half times more likely to suffer a race-ending technical failure. To put that into perspective, here’s what chances a driver had of finishing in previous seasons:


Classified finishers44.8952.9146.1750.2450.2956.8857.9552.5658.5660.757.9766.8872.574.269.1975.1377.7282.0676.9781.3683.5487.56
Mechanical failures27.1424.0325.931.124.2724.626.4229.5525.1327.0129.1224.3816.9411.4418.1813.648.79.1213.1510.757.716.70
Other DNFs27.9723.0627.9318.6625.4418.5215.6317.916.3112.312.918.7510.5614.3612.6311.2313.598.829.887.898.755.74

Season data, 1992-2013

Five different drivers won races during 2013 which is pretty much the norm for recent seasons – last year’s eight was uncommonly high.

However most of the wining was done by a single driver – Sebastian Vettel’s 13 victories equalled the record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004.

The dwindling number of teams meant just 23 drivers took part in 2013, one more than the 2008 low.


Number of races16161617161716161717171618191817181719192019
Different drivers37354635242823242326232425272726222527282523
Different winners5445464645485554765585
Most wins by individual97898785991161377666511513
Different pole sitters3374364445367964685374
Most pole positions by individual14136791091161175866674101579
Different lap leaders557881161157613111111121513881313

World champions

Vettel’s wins per start rate exceeded 30% by the end of the year, during which he overtook Schumacher to become the fourth most successful driver of all time in terms of wins per start.

Juan Manuel Fangio, Alberto Ascari and Jim Clark lie ahead of him – and it’s worth bearing in mind Vettel has already started 55 more races than any of them, making it harder for him to close this gap.

PosName% Wins (#)% Poles (#)% Fastest laps (#)% Car failuresPoints/finish*
1Juan Manuel Fangio47.06% (24)56.86% (29)45.10% (23)17.6520.79
2Alberto Ascari40.63% (13)43.75% (14)37.50% (12)18.7517.15
3Jackie Stewart27.27% (27)17.17% (17)15.15% (15)32.3216.55
4Jim Clark34.72% (25)45.83% (33)38.89% (28)29.1716.45
5Giuseppe Farina15.15% (5)15.15% (5)15.15% (5)15.1515.96
6Alain Prost25.63% (51)16.58% (33)20.60% (41)16.5814.96
7Ayrton Senna25.47% (41)40.37% (65)11.80% (19)20.5014.70
8Michael Schumacher29.74% (91)22.22% (68)25.16% (77)10.7814.25
9Sebastian Vettel30.71% (39)35.43% (45)17.32% (22)8.6614.15
10Mike Hawthorn06.67% (3)08.89% (4)13.33% (6)22.2213.37
11Jochen Rindt10.00% (6)16.67% (10)05.00% (3)55.0013.26
12Fernando Alonso14.81% (32)10.19% (22)08.80% (19)7.8712.31
13Lewis Hamilton17.05% (22)24.03% (31)10.08% (13)4.6512.03
14Niki Lauda14.62% (25)14.04% (24)14.04% (24)34.5011.99
15Nigel Mansell16.58% (31)17.11% (32)16.04% (30)32.6211.98
16Jack Brabham11.38% (14)10.57% (13)09.76% (12)34.9611.74
17Kimi Raikkonen10.36% (20)08.29% (16)20.21% (39)15.0311.51
18Mika Hakkinen12.42% (20)16.15% (26)15.53% (25)24.2211.33
19Denny Hulme07.14% (8)00.89% (1)08.04% (9)25.8911.33
20Damon Hill19.13% (22)17.39% (20)16.52% (19)14.7811.13
21Nelson Piquet11.27% (23)11.76% (24)11.27% (23)24.5110.96
22Phil Hill06.38% (3)12.77% (6)12.77% (6)27.6610.74
23John Surtees05.41% (6)07.21% (8)09.91% (11)44.1410.58
24Jody Scheckter08.93% (10)02.68% (3)04.46% (5)18.759.85
25James Hunt10.87% (10)15.22% (14)08.70% (8)29.359.68
26Emerson Fittipaldi09.72% (14)04.17% (6)04.17% (6)25.699.29
27Graham Hill08.00% (14)07.43% (13)05.71% (10)33.149.00
28Mario Andretti09.38% (12)14.06% (18)07.81% (10)39.848.71
29Alan Jones10.34% (12)05.17% (6)11.21% (13)28.458.52
30Keke Rosberg04.39% (5)04.39% (5)02.63% (3)38.608.50
31Jenson Button06.07% (15)03.24% (8)03.24% (8)10.537.67
32Jacques Villeneuve06.75% (11)07.98% (13)05.52% (9)22.706.77

*Average scoring rate at every round where they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure, adjusted to the current points system.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “2013 F1 season in stats: The year in context”

  1. I wonder if the current generation of tyres are helping reliability – the cars are rarely being pushed to their maximum during race stints because of the high levels of degradation, which perhaps is helping conserve the mechanical components of the car, such as gearboxes, engines and brakes as they aren’t being stressed as much as they would have been on a more durable tyre.

    1. That’s a good point, I would never have thought of that till you mentioned it.

    2. I think you are right that not being able to push likely helps reliability, and so does the mandated reliability that has only become more and more stringent since they started to regulate numbers of engines and gearboxes that teams can use in a season.

      Should be interesting in 2014 as indications are the tires won’t be as limiting, and they’ll have gobs of torque to deal with. LH has already hinted at the possibility of blown engines, so penalties could come into play if that is the case.

      1. @Robbie, you had me scratching my head there by saying “blown engines”. For a couple of seconds i thought you meant something like a blown diffuser.. but for engines. lol

        1. @me4me well in that sense they’re all ‘blown’ next year :P

    3. It’s interesting that ‘other DNFs’ have been steadily dropping too. Assuming this is mainly driver errors, do you think that’s mainly due to the cars getting easier to drive, the tracks becoming more lenient or the quality of drivers improving?

      1. I think it is quite likely to be a combination of the lesser need to “push” along with the more forgiving tracks @george – the quality of the drivers is high but it hasn’t improved vastly in recent years IMO. What must have also contributed this year though was the complete lack of rain.

        On which basis, I’m expecting a slight increase next year as the cars are going to be more difficult to drive with less downforce and mire torque, along with possibly more elements on the car to be managing at any one time.

      2. I think it’s a mix, since many drivers and F1 personnel have mentioned the lack of punishment for really pushing the limits. Before, you’d end up in the grass or gravel trap, these days you just carry on as if nothing happened (in most cases).

    4. Indeed, 2011-2013 have the lowest percentage of “other” retirements in the last 20 years, and (besides 2011, which is slightly above 2008 & 2009) also have the lowest percentage of mechanical failures.

      Of course that is also due to the relative stability in the regulations at that time but it is really rather low all-round, and if Pirelli stick to their word I think that may be a contributing factor towards a greater number of retirements (unless the fuel is indeed marginal, which I don’t think it will be).

    5. I wonder if reliability has to do with the freeze in development regarding engines and gearboxes? When the teams were able to update components or when they were introducing new technology (eg. traction control) reliability was a big issue.
      In response to @steevkay‘ s comment; I agree totally. Very seldom do cars end up in a barrier or beached in gravel traps compared to past years.

    6. The bigger factor is probably the fact that the engines are running well within the rev range they were designed for in order to last the required number of races. Renault Sport F1 reckon that without the engine freeze engine speeds would be up to 22,000 rpm by now and they’d be producing a bit more power too.

  2. %car failures
    Lewis Hamilton – 4.65%
    Sebastian Vettel – 8.66%

    Others are harder to compare directly because of different era’s, but having both raced since 2007, this is a shocking difference.

    1. 9.3% for Webber, most of which came before Vettel was in a Red Bull. And if we wait until Vettel’s debut, that drops to 7.14%.

      Conspiracy theories = gone.

      1. Here’s a conspiracy theory for you that is almost certainly believed by many.

        Vettel is in fact a lizard/robot under control by a shadowy group that have total control over F1. They made it so that “Vettel” had many mechanical failures, so when he achieved the record of 9 consecutive wins in a season, (and they’ve arranged it so he’ll win in Melbourne next year thus surpassing Ascari’s record,) it would seem more plausible and no one would doubt that he was genuine and conspiracy theorists would “blame the car”

        But face facts, the driver you support is nothing more than a well programmed robot, he has never agreed to take a DNA test, the reason being, he’s not human, he’s a mechanoid.

        If this turns out to be true I will laugh/cry so much

        1. It’s very possible – a funny German‽ That can’t be real!

          1. @vettel1

            Thanks for more evidence that Vettel clearly isn’t possibly a human.
            The only other funny German I can think of is Henning Wehn – who’s a professional comedian (and not incredibly good, robot Vettel is “naturally” funnier)

            The robot Vettel is simply clearly using comedy derived from the English language as part of one of his techniques of “crowd pleasing” and I think that we, the fans, shouldn’t have to endure such robotic driving techniques, unless other teams can produce equally good robots…

  3. Great stats and I like the adjusted Points/finish* as a way of measuring a drivers prominence over their career. The only weakness is that it drivers in eras of high unreliability actually do disproportionately well by this measure as their cars unreliability is removed from the comparison but when they did finish they benefited from the unreliability of others cars. For example currently the 10th fastest driver could well finish 10th with no retirements however in some eras the slowest driver who finishes could be 10th. Though how much drivers have actually gained over many races is very hard to quanitfy. Perhaps you could include a luck factor of “individual mechanical reliability/whole grid mechnical reliability”? Although even then it could be that the slower less reliable cars may be the more unreliable ones so that may skew things. Anyway I like the idea and it got me thinking.

  4. Kimi is 17., he has a lot of opportunity for improve this number.

  5. Looking at the data, I would say that the eras match it quite well (pre-97, 98-08, 09-13). With each large revision of the rules comes a change in the characteristics of F1.

  6. I guess the worsening reliability in 2010 was due to the new teams arriving.

  7. So,according to the list,which current F1 driver has the worst car reliability rate??
    Kimi Raikkonen
    2nd worst – Jenson ,some 5% less..

    And Lewis,Alonso have had the least car reliability issues among those in the list..

    1. Indeed, Kimi lost a lot of wins in 2005 through reliability issues (and a shot at the WDC). I think (like Rindt) he is somewhat underrated, possibly because of this.

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