Who won the team mate battles of 2016: The tail-enders

2016 F1 season review

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The fight between team mates at the back of the grid is always intense. Coming out ahead can be the difference between scoring points and missing out – as was the case in three teams this year.

Here’s how the drivers at the tail of the field got on compared to their team mates.

The graphs and tables below show which driver had the greater share of the better results within their teams and who came out on top in every qualifying session and race this year.


While Romain Grosjean scored all of the points for newcomers Haas, Esteban Gutierrez has some grounds to feel aggrieved at being shown the door after a single season.

Out of the 13 occasions where the teams cars were still circulating at the end of a race, Gutierrez led Grosjean home more often not. He often finished just outside the points in 11th place.

Grosjean’s qualifying pace proved too much for Gutierrez, however. His team mate also banked big points scores in the two opening races when Haas were at their most competitive.

Romain GrosjeanQ
Esteban GutierrezQ


To widespread surprise it was Jolyon Palmer, not Kevin Magnussen, who landed a second year at Renault. Magnussen was understood to have been unhappy with the terms he was offered by the team.

In the junior categories Palmer had a reputation for taking time to find his feet before delivering. That can be seen in his performance this year, where he gradually narrowed the gap to Magnussen and, in the final races, was arguably the better of the two.

Kevin MagnussenQ
Jolyon PalmerQ


Only at Mercedes did the balance of power between drivers swing quite as sharply as it did at Sauber. Felipe Nasr being the team’s only driver to score any points went somewhat against the run of play, but the number of non-finishes the team had somewhat obscures the reality of their race results.

Marcus EricssonQ
Felipe NasrQ


Pascal Wehrlein gave Manor their only points score of the season. This was during the first half of the year when he was easily able to keep Rio Haryanto behind.

But he missed out on a 2017 promotion to Force India. Esteban Ocon, who joined him at the team for the final nine races of the year, got the gig instead.

Both drivers are known to the team and backed by their power unit supplier Mercedes. Ocon was up to speed in the races fairly quickly but you have to wonder whether Wehrlein’s reputation for being difficult to work with didn’t help his cause when it came to getting a promotion.

Pascal WehrleinQ
Rio HaryantoQ
Esteban OconQ

Over to you

Which of these drivers had the best or most surprising performances against their team mates? Have your say in the comments.

You can also contribute to F1 Fanatic’s end-of-season driver rankings here:

2016 F1 season review

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Author information

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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34 comments on “Who won the team mate battles of 2016: The tail-enders”

  1. I haven’t heard about Pascal’s reputation. Does anyone have any more info?

    1. I’m also interested. What his problem? Any sources?

      1. stephen morrissey
        1st December 2016, 12:43

        Was this a reference to refusing to switch his engine off?

      2. I know Keith covered it but I can’t find the article.

        Here’s one of the reason’s he has said reputation:


    2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      1st December 2016, 13:32

      He wouldn’t switch off the engine that time, and then I think it was maybe Vasseur who said ‘that’s why he isn’t on anyones shopping list’

    3. @squaregoldfish
      I have no reliable sources, but I remember reading an interview with Wehrlein about a week ago, in which he talked about his perspectives for 2017 and the fact that he hasn’t signed anything with Sauber yet, despite some media claiming the opposite.
      Somewhere in that interview, the subject of Ocon’s promotion to Force India was briefly addressed, and I was surprised to read that Wehrlein himself indirectly admitted that something had happened back when he tested for Force India, something that must’ve played a role in their decision.

      Just found the article:

      Q: Du meintest, du kannst sowohl auf, als auch neben der Strecke noch lernen. Offenbar hat sich Force India auch deshalb für Esteban entschieden, weil es menschlich besser gepasst hat. Du hattest ja ein Feedback-Gespräch mit Force India, kannst du daraus lernen?
      Pascal Wehrlein: Ja, definitiv. Deswegen habe ich ja auch das Gespräch gesucht und wollte wissen, was ich von meiner Seite aus verbessern kann. Aus solchen Situationen lernt man, und dann ist es schade, dass eine Situation vor eineinhalb Jahren bei einem halben Testtag entscheidend war. Aber es ist so und daraus kann ich lernen.


      Q: You said that there’s still a few things you could learn on and off the track as well. There’s talk of Force India having picked Esteban over you for personal reasons [read: it had something to do with someone getting along better with Esteban than with you]. You’ve had a feedback meeting with Force India, is there something you can learn from that?
      Pascal Wehrlein: Yes, definitely. That’s why I wanted to talk with them, to know what I could improve from my side. You can learn from situations like that, and then it’s a shame that one situation, that happened during half a day of testing one and a half years ago, has proven decisive [according to my research, that must’ve been on the first day of pre-season testing in 2015 in Barcelona, on the 19th of February, when Wherlein filled in for Hamilton in the morning session and switched to Force India for the afternoon session]. But that’s how it is, and I can learn from that.

      In conclusion, Wehrlein himself admits that there has been some kind of quarrel/disagreement that didn’t improve his chances with Force India. Apparently, it wasn’t too bad, considering that he also tested with them on two more occasions in 2015. But it was obviously bad enough to damage his reputation.

      1. P.S.:
        I think that counts as a reliable source, so please disregard the first sentence.

    4. The reputation about Pascal are that he is difficult to work with. He has a temper and don’t listen. He is simply not a team player and F1 is a team sport. To his deference I can say it’s not easy to come to F1 being a highly rated driver in DTM and to be a backmarker in F1 but that’s the trick in F1. To be a team player and develop as a driver and to do what your employer tells you to do. The reputation says that Pascal don’t managing to do that and Ocon know how to play the game. That’s why Mercedes puts their money on Ocon this time.

    5. Pascal’s technical feedback was very poor as well, let alone how the driver drives it, won’t be a problem cause Merc car is a beast. Ocon is as bad as Pascal in technical feedback too, that’s why he couldn’t beat Pascal in the first few races.

  2. Ericsson has stepped up his performance this season. Nasr’s stats wouldn’t look great if it weren’t for the Brazilian GP. The stats also back Wehrlein up in his grief of missing out on the Force India drive.

    1. Nasr had so many problems with the car this year, it’s one of the worse cars Sauber ever build. I can’t say Ericsson improved at all. Besides that, Sauber had problems on Nasr’s car setup, from what I remember, at least on 4-5 weekends.

      1. Sauber had problems with the setup of Nasr’s car? That’s because he lacks the skill to communicate with the engineers.

        I know you are a Nasr fan from previous comments but Nasr isn’t good enough for F1 at the moment.

        1. He is better than Magnussen, Gutierrez, Palmer, maybe Wherlein, Ericsson. He had a very good first season when Sauber car was good enough to show some skill. You’re judging just for this season and that’s not fair at all. Look at Alonso/Button, Button was better when the car was worse. As much Mclaren improved Alonso became much faster. You can’t say that Button is better than Alonso just because he was faster on the slower car, it’s the same situation here. When the car was faster Nasr showed that he have much more to give.

      2. You cant blame reality on NAS poor performance. It was in a way equal on both cars. NAS has been behind his teammate sins the middle of 2015 even though he scored more points in the beginning of 2015. After the summer break 2015 NAS have been a half step behind all the way and its only in Brazilian media he is highly rated. NAS lack of performance and his constant whining to the press have made him unattractive both to the teams and sponsors. The skill is judged through performance and he didn’t make it this year. You can’t blame the car, it’s just silly and if you just can run good in a good car you simply doesn’t have the skills that F1 wants. Remember that ERI out-performance NAS in that chassis no 02 that exactly that chassis that NAS said was undriveble and was whining to all media about it erlier this year. I don’t say he is a bad driver he is fast when the right circumstances occur but the trick is to be good or even better in a bad car, to communicate with the team and be a team player. So far NAS has failed with that.

        1. Further more Ericsson used chassi 02 during the last couple of races and in Abu Dhabi he had the 01 chassi. So with regards to all the whining Nasr did in the press concerning these chassis, Ericsson managed quite well and only in Brazil did Nasr finish ahead of him.

        2. Nasr only peforms when he wants to like Ericsson is the same thing for him.

          1. He’s very lazy, he thinks the car can do it for him, quite shocking for someone who’s done well in GP2. Ericsson was defo at his best this year, let’s put his disgusting GP2 peformances behind

    2. It stood between Ericsson and Ocon in Force India at the end. The others wasn’t thought about in that seat, no mater what the media said. And cause of Pérez staying with FI one more year he have signed a no 1 driver deal and FI’s low economic status with billion of dollars in debt I’m not sure how attractive that seat really are. Pascal is just angry cause of Mercedes put their money on the other guy and Pascals announcement in the press show that Mercedes was right.

      1. FI, or any other team than Sauber.., never considered Ericsson.

  3. Gutierrez surprised me how closely he ran Grosjean. But ultimately it was Grosjean that over-delivered with the car on occasion. Gutierrez was ok, nothing special, he handled the car well, if it were a good points scoring car he’d probably be respectable. But he’s not a special driver that can snag opportunistic results like Grosjean. Whatever the politics of gicing him a seat this year were have clearly served their purpose and F1 won’t miss him.

    1. Grosjean is overated, he wasn’t ever consistent enough to be an F1 driver.

    2. Rumour has it, he will be in one of the Manor seats next year, after the team is sold to a US-Mexican fellow.

      1. Yes, I read about that too @ijw1, and that the Mexican-American apparently likely to buy the team is none other than Tavo Helmund

      2. If Tavo Hellmund overtakes or bye most parts of the shares of MRT it’s likely so see Gutierrez in one of the cars though to his backers and being an Mexican driver and Jordan King in the other car cause of Justin King have ownership in MRT

    3. Yes it was surprising to see that. That said I don’t rate Romain and I think Haas biggest mistake in their short tenure in f1 is the driver line-up. After a great debut season the team could have lured a top driver or a very experienced driver, yet they have a driver that was more often than not beaten by Guti and someone that ran away from Hulk and was getting outpaced by Jolyon.

    4. Gutierrez statically is bad but when it comes to team-mate challenges, he’s up there with Sutil in 2014 and Grosjean but he was no match for the Hulk.

  4. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    1st December 2016, 14:38

    Is it true that Haas won’t get prize money this year despite ending 8th? I read somewhere that the first year the teams are not part of FIA or something like that.

    1. Yes. I think they need to wait 3 years.

      1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        1st December 2016, 22:27

        @ijw1 and so in the third year they claim their money for this (2016) season? Or it’s like it won’t matter then.
        If the answer is that it won’t matter, then I kind of understand why the car was not developed anymore in-season. Why to invest more if there won’t be a return?

        1. Nope. In their third year they can claim money for their championship position in 2018 @omarr-pepper. This year they “just” fulfill the part of being at least 3 seasons in the sport. And they chip away at “being in the top 10 for at least some of the past 3 years”

  5. Despite what the bar graphs show, I thought Ocon was pretty solid against Wehrlein. It’s sad that he made a late in the season entry, as I’m pretty sure he would have gotten the better of Pascal if they both started the season together

  6. Despite an early good start, Grosjean didn’t came out looking that good this season, something similar could be said about Kmag. Both being teammates next season, they might want to beat each other convincingly to regain some reputation.

    Palmer did al right, although he also had some clumsy moments. Nasr, despite a good Brazilian race, was mostly pretty underwhelming against his teammate.

  7. Who got the best car – was there a difference? You will never know – only the team have the information…But/alo, gro/gut, mag/pal..who was really the best

    1. All the data are visible under each race and at all the teams home pages and at FIA’s home page, there’s no secrets. The teams must publish all data about the cars x hours before the race weekend. It tell us what chassis, engine, updates and other things, absolutely no secrets at all. you just have to look it up. The teams always try to get the best of both cars att all times, no mater what There’s no reason to make one car slower or worse than the other on purpose, it’s just silly. On the car side its the team who mange the mechanics, on the engine side its the engine manufacture who manage the mechanics and they are the same engine mechanics on both side of the garage. Why spend billions of dollars on failure, it doesn’t make sense. Why would the team destroy it’s chansens to score points? Why would the team or engine manufacture try to fail their competitiveness? and all that with FIA people monitoring every little step. That mechanic who try to sabotage on purpose would get fired in a heart beat and being banned i all racing for a life time so the chansens are below 0,01% that it should happened. In the end that guy at the end of the year with best stats (not points) has beaten the other fair and square. The priority in F1 are the team first and the driver second, if a team member doesn’t lik it he/she should change sport.

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