2016 F1 season stats: The year in context

2016 F1 season review

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Mercedes’ crushing dominance was the theme of the year again but 2016 also saw F1’s ever-growing calendar reach new heights.


Formula One’s highly complex V6 hybrid turbo power units aren’t yet as reliable as the normally aspirated V8s they replaced. But in 2016 they got much closer to achieving that level.

Haas had a few technical glitches during 2016
Out of the 462 attempts to complete a race distance made by the 22 cars in the field this year, just over 10% ended with a non-classification caused by a technical failure. As the graph above shows this is a significant improvement on the previous two seasons with these power units but still well off the record low of 6.7% seen in the final year of V8 power.

This was despite the arrival of a new team in the shape of Haas. Unsurprisingly the newcomers did not reach the chequered flag as often as their rivals. However their technical failure rate of 14.29% was not that far above the average and represents an excellent first effort.

Sourcing the maximum possible hardware from Ferrari undoubtedly paid off for the fledgling squad, who bagged the majority of their points during the first two races of the year when others were still experiencing teething trouble.

The power unit regulations remain largely unchanged for next season which might lead us to expect further gains in reliability. However the relaxing of restrictions on development could lead manufacturers to push their rate of progress even harder, leading to more failures.

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Pole positions

Mercedes’ stranglehold on the series over the last three years is unmistakably clear in the data above. Only once have their two drivers failed to take pole position in each of the last three seasons.

This season at least featured more different winners than the last two, though between them they won fewer races. The last three Mercedes-dominated seasons have seen fewer different winners per year than was the case when Red Bull held the upper hand (2010-13) and when Ferrari were at their peak (2000-04).

Drivers, teams and races

Are schedules of 20 races or more going to be the norm from now on? The 2017 F1 calendar features 20 rounds at present as the German Grand Prix will not take place next season.

However with the French Grand Prix set to return in 2018 and Formula One’s new buyers Liberty Media keen to boost the schedule yet further, even longer calendars may prove inevitable.

The 2016 season in statistics

Review the stats highlights from each race during 2016:

2016 F1 season review

Browse all 2016 F1 season review articles

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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13 comments on “2016 F1 season stats: The year in context”

  1. Merry Christmas all!

    1. Statistically that’s not likely.

      But i to wish you the best.

      1. Ha-ha! Merry Christmas!!!

  2. 1994 had 46 DRIVERS?! really?! wow…!

    1. And only 14 teams? I’m confused

      1. Michael Schumacher Benetton B194-Ford Cosworth
        Damon Hill Williams FW16, FW16B-Renault
        Gerhard Berger Ferrari 412T1, 412T1B
        Mika Hakkinen McLaren MP4/9A-Peugeot
        Jean Alesi Ferrari 412T1, 412T1B
        Rubens Barrichello Jordan 194-Hart
        Martin Brundle McLaren MP4/9A-Peugeot
        David Coulthard Williams FW16, FW16B-Renault
        Nigel Mansell Williams FW16, FW16B-Renault
        Jos Verstappen Benetton B194-Ford Cosworth
        Olivier Panis Ligier JS39B-Renault
        Mark Blundell Tyrrell 022-Yamaha
        Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber C13-Mercedes
        Nicola Larini Ferrari 412T1
        Christian Fittipaldi Footwork FA15-Ford Cosworth
        Eddie Irvine Jordan 194-Hart
        Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell 022-Yamaha
        Eric Bernard Ligier JS39B-Renault, Lotus 109-Mugen/Honda
        Karl Wendlinger Sauber C13-Mercedes
        Andrea de Cesaris Jordan 194-Hart, Sauber C13-Mercedes
        Pierluigi Martini Minardi M193B, M194-Ford Cosworth
        Gianni Morbidelli Footwork FA15-Ford Cosworth
        Erik Comas Larrousse LH94-Ford Cosworth
        JJ Lehto Benetton B194-Ford Cosworth, Sauber C13-Mercedes
        Michele Alboreto Minardi M193B, M194-Ford Cosworth
        Johnny Herbert Benetton B194-Ford Cosworth, Ligier JS39B-Renault, Lotus 107C, 109-Mugen/Honda
        Olivier Beretta Larrousse LH94-Ford Cosworth
        Pedro Lamy Lotus 107C-Mugen/Honda
        Jean-Marc Gounon Simtek S941-Ford Cosworth
        Alessandro Zanardi Lotus 107C, 109-Mugen/Honda
        David Brabham Simtek S941-Ford Cosworth
        Mika Salo Lotus 109-Mugen/Honda
        Roland Ratzenberger Simtek S941-Ford Cosworth
        Franck Lagorce Ligier JS39B-Renault
        Yannick Dalmas Larrousse LH94-Ford Cosworth
        Philippe Adams Lotus 109-Mugen/Honda
        Domenico Schiattarella Simtek S941-Ford Cosworth
        Bertrand Gachot Pacific PR01-Ilmor
        Ayrton Senna Williams FW16-Renault
        Hideki Noda Larrousse LH94-Ford Cosworth
        Paul Belmondo Pacific PR01-Ilmor
        Philippe Alliot Larrousse LH94-Ford Cosworth, McLaren MP4/9A-Peugeot
        Aguri Suzuki Jordan 194-Hart
        Taki Inoue Simtek S941-Ford Cosworth
        Jean-Denis Deletraz Larrousse LH94-Ford Cosworth
        Andrea Montermini Simtek S941-Ford Cosworth

        1. Wow Johnny Herbert (!) the official F1 nomad, 1994. Maybe he was fiendlier than good?

          1. Just as amazingly, three teams had six different drivers each!
            Lotus, Simtek and Larousse each had six different drivers during the season!

    2. Lots of driver changes in that year:

      Lotus, despite obtaining the Mugen-Honda engines deal, was also facing a difficult future restricted by financial problems. Johnny Herbert and Portuguese driver Pedro Lamy started the season, but the Lotus cars would have 6 different drivers during the 1994 season, which would turn out to be the famous marque’s last as a going concern.

    3. A few injuries by accidents inside and outside track, races ban to some drivers (3 races ban, could mean different drivers starting for each gp), and a lot of changes in the final of year

  3. Interesting statistics!

    One remark however regarding the reliability:

    Formula One’s highly complex V6 hybrid turbo power units aren’t yet as reliable as the normally aspirated V8s they replaced.

    Not every techical failure is related to the power unit. This year a lot of retirements were due to problems with the brakes (Haas) or suspension (Toro Rosso). Just curious how that influences the reliability figures compared to previous years…

  4. Here’s some more stats on reliabilty:

    2015 (20 cars, 19 races):
    Total km completed by all cars in all sessions: 243408
    Total km completed by all cars in free practice sessions: 116237
    Total km completed by all cars in all races: 99391

    2016 (22 cars, 21 races):
    Total km completed by all cars in all sessions: 321405
    Total km completed by all cars in free practice sessions: 167398
    Total km completed by all cars in all races: 123593

    Now calculate the averages per car (km divided by number of races and number of cars) and the year-on-year percentage:
    (2015 | 2016 | growth percentage)
    Total km/car: 641 | 696 | +8.5%
    Practice km/car: 306 | 363 | +18.7%
    Race km/car: 262 | 268 | +2.3%

    So race reliability is up a bit (note that this figure makes no distinction between technical and non-technical retirements), but the big rise in completed km’s was in practice. This shows that teams are much more confident that the practice laps won’t negatively influence their races.
    Finally, it has to be said that in 2016 teams had 1 more engine available.

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