The remarkable stats of Ferrari’s worst season for 40 years

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stats and facts

Posted on

| Written by

The 2020 F1 season will rightly be remembered first for the outstanding achievements of Lewis Hamilton in becoming statistically the most successful driver of all time.

But Ferrari – arguably the only more famous name in the sport today than Hamilton’s – had a season to forget. They recorded their worst result for four decades. Their sixth place finish in the championship is their lowest since 1980, which was the only occasion since the constructors championship was inaugurated in 1958 that Ferrari have finished outside the top six.

That 1980 performance was a sudden, brief dip in the team’s form. They won the constructors championship the year before and were back on top within two seasons.

Ferrari have won the constructors championship 15 times, more than any other team. This year was their 12th in a row without taking the title. Will they get back on top before equalling their longest drought of 15 years?

Ivan Capelli, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 1992
Attractive 1992 Ferrari never led a lap
This needs to be seen in its correct perspective. Plenty of other teams who haven’t won a single title would like to be talking about gaps between two or more of them. But it reflects poorly on a team of Ferrari’s vast resources, not to mention the uniquely generously financial remuneration it enjoys from the sport.

For the third time in the seven-year V6 hybrid turbo era, Ferrari ended the season without a win. They also failed to lead a lap, something which hasn’t happened since 1992.

This was despite Formula 1 enjoying a more competitive season in that respect by recent standards. Nine drivers from five different teams led races during 2020, the most by both counts for six years.

For the first time since 2016, we didn’t see a Ferrari on the front row of the grid all year. Their highest qualifying position all season was fourth on the grid, courtesy of Charles Leclerc. Curiously, his average qualifying position was the same as his new 2021 team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr’s – 8.29.

Sainz will arrive in place of Sebastian Vettel, who leaves the team after six years and 119 appearances – six more races than he did at Red Bull. However he won 38 races at his previous team compared to 14 at Ferrari.

Vettel leaves Ferrari as its fourth longest-serving driver in terms of starts and its third most successful in terms of wins, behind Schumacher and Niki Lauda (15).

DriverFerrari startsFerrari wins
Michael Schumacher17972
Kimi Raikkonen15110
Felipe Massa13911
Sebastian Vettel11814
Rubens Barrichello1029
Fernando Alonso9611
Gerhard Berger965
Michele Alboreto803
Jean Alesi791
Eddie Irvine654

Advert | Become a Supporter & go ad-free

Ferrari failed to score points for the fifth time on Sunday, their worst performance under the current points system. They last had five point-less races in 2009, when points were awarded down to eighth place, and the team had to substitute the injured Massa at mid-season.

Red Bull out-scored Mercedes for the third race in a row
In contrast Red Bull ended the year with their biggest points haul in a single race. Indeed, they out-scored Mercedes in each of the final three races, an encouraging pointer towards a potentially more competitive 2021 F1 season.

Max Verstappen scored the 10th victory of his career in commanding fashion. He led from start to finish, the second time in his career he has done so, following on from his 2017 Mexican Grand Prix victory. Verstappen is the 34th driver in F1 history to reach double-digits on his wins tally, and has now won as many races as James Hunt, Ronnie Peterson, Jody Scheckter and Gerhard Berger.

Surprisingly his pole position was only the third of his career, though he was quick to point out he lost one due to a penalty in Mexico last year. He beat Valtteri Bottas to pole by 0.025 seconds, one thousandth of a second less than Bottas’s margin over George Russell at the previous round.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

His success ended Mercedes’ domination of Abu Dhabi in the V6 hybrid turbo era. Since 2014 they had taken every win and pole position at the Yas Marina track.

Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Yas Marina, 2020
Williams were last again, and this time point-less
On the final lap of the race, Daniel Ricciardo denied Verstappen the first ‘grand slam’ of his career. The Renault driver beat his fastest lap by a mere 32 thousandths of a second. That was the 15th fastest lap of Ricciardo’s career, putting him level with Jackie Stewart, Clay Regazzoni, Felipe Massa and Bottas.

Ferrari’s poor season meant that for the first time in five years a team besides them, Mercedes and Red Bull finished in the championship top three. McLaren prevailed in a year-long scrap with Racing Point and Renault. They ultimately prevailed over the pink team by just seven points, meaning the unique 15-point penalty Racing Point received earlier this year made a difference potentially worth several million pounds in prize money.

The last team to break into the championship top three was Williams. While the team enjoyed a more competitive season than they had 12 months earlier, they finished 10th and last for the third year in a row. They failed to score a single point for the first time since 1977, when their single-car team did not contest every round of the championship.

Review the year in statistics here:

Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

Join the RaceFans Supporters Drive!

RaceFans Supporter Drive If you've enjoyed RaceFans' motor sport coverage during 2020, please take a moment to find out more about our Supporter Drive.

We're aiming to welcome 3,000 new Supporters to help fund RaceFans so we can continue to produce quality, original, independent motorsport coverage. Here's what we're asking for and why - and how you can sign up:

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Browse all 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

44 comments on “The remarkable stats of Ferrari’s worst season for 40 years”

  1. I doubt they’ll finish any higher than P3 in the WCC next season.

    I think they’re lucky that Mclaren is switching to Mercedes power, and due to the development caps for next season, will be at a disadvantage at developing their car during this crucial engine change.

    Aston Martin might be fighting Ferrari next season, but Ferrari’s driver line up looks far stronger and that should give them the edge.

    Renault are a bit of an unknown.. and it’s hard to say how the consistent they’ll be over the whole season. My guess is that we’ll have a 3 way battle between Ferrari, Renault and Aston for P3 next year, with Mclaren fighting occasionally.

    Either ways, I can’t see Ferrari repeating this disaster next season.

    1. I actually think that McLaren will be slight faster than this year with the Mercedes engine @todfod, which should mean that the combination of the solid car (a small bit up from this year I think) and the very good driver line up (about equal, maybe a tad less at the start from Daniel having to find his groove? Maybe better once he gets it) give McLaren a decent chance of defending that 3rd in a tight battle with Renault, Ferrari and AM.

      Off course that is dependant on Ferrari at least doing something to improve their engine since this year the best results were partly due to a fortunate streak that enabled Leclerc to get the car where it did not belong. Then again, surely Sainz will be a better points scorer in it than Vettel was this year, possibly making Ferrari narrow favourites for that 3rd (depending on how long he takes to settle in).

  2. «I’m always very hard on myself» said Charles on saturday. I wish Ferrari to act likewise.

  3. For the second year in a row, a single DNF in Abu Dhabi.

    Pietro Fittipaldi finished last out of the drivers reaching the chequered flag in both of his starts. In this race, he was the only one to get lapped twice by the eventual race winner.

    Max Verstappen has finished 3rd, 2nd, and 1st in three successive Abu Dhabi races. His 11th podium finish of the year matches his best-ever season total in 2018, which was a 21-race season as opposed to this year’s 17.
    He’ll also for the first time start a season as the most recent race winner.

    Mercedes saw their F1 record run of leading a lap in 39 consecutive races come to an end tonight.

    Valtteri Bottas clinched 2nd place in the WDC for the 2nd consecutive year. His Mercedes predecessor Nico Rosberg did this in 2014-15 before winning the WDC, so maybe this indicates something for VB next year.

    The 13th time for VER, BOT, and HAM sharing a podium. Only one combination has occurred more often in F1: HAM, ROS, and VET on a total of 14 occasions.

    The drivers starting first, second, and third on the grid finished 1-2-3 also in the race for the 2nd year running and the 4th time in the last six years.

    Alex Albon ended the year scoring points in as many races (twelve) as his teammate, despite the gap in points.

    McLaren finished in the top-three in the WCC for the first time since Lewis Hamilton left at the end of 2012.

    Daniel Ricciardo ended the season by finishing in the points in eleven consecutive races, which is his best run since 2016.

    1. Max Verstappen has finished 3rd, 2nd, and 1st in three successive Abu Dhabi races.

      How will Max manage to follow this trend next year?

        1. Could also be 2nd, then 3rd, then 2nd and so on.

    2. I should’ve thought of this at the time, but Perez, like Gasly, retired immediately in the race after his maiden win, and both took their respective wins in the second part of a triple-header.

  4. Williams Grand Prix Engineering as a team may have failed to score a point for the first time since their debut season in 1977, but the FW44 becomes the first car bearing an ‘FW’ chassis designation to fail to score a point during a Grand Prix season since the FW05 back in 1976.

    Two which those with better access to stats than me might know the answer to:

    At this weekend’s race both Ferraris finished behind a customer-engined car (Raikkonen in the Alfa). When was the last time that both Ferraris were still running undamaged at the end of a race and got beaten by a customer car-engined car – indeed has it ever happened before?

    As far as I can make out Hamilton finished the season with a clean record (i.e. never having parked it in the barriers) in every Free Practice session, Qualifying, and Race that he entered (he tangled with Albon in Austria of course, but both cars were able to continue and finish the race). Again when was the last time this happened with a front-running contender?

    1. Surely checo did that more than once in 2012. Maybe also Hulk or Sutil(2013-14)?

      1. Yes, Perez did it in Monza 2012 and Montreal 2012. Hulkenberg did it in Korea 2013. I think Raikkonen actually beat both Ferraris in Belgium this year as well.

        1. @f1frog you are correct that Raikkonen did finish ahead of both Ferrari works cars in the Belgian GP this year, along with the examples of Hulkenberg in the 2013 Korean GP and Perez in the 2012 Italian and Canadian GPs.

          We’ve had a few people point out Vettel’s victory at the 2008 Italian GP, but there are also a few other more recent examples. Kobayashi managed to do it whilst at Sauber a few times – he beat the works Ferrari team in the 2010 European GP and the 2010 British GP – and Buemi beat both Ferrari’s in the 2010 British GP and in the 2009 Abu Dhabi GP.

    2. At this weekend’s race both Ferraris finished behind a customer-engined car (Raikkonen in the Alfa). When was the last time that both Ferraris were still running undamaged at the end of a race and got beaten by a customer car-engined car – indeed has it ever happened before?

      Not long ago at all – it happened at Spa this year, with Ferrari finishing 13th and 14th behind 12th-placed Räikkönen, just like yesterday.

      1. @jackysteeg Well spotted! Ferrari’s season has been even more dismal than I thought…. :(

    3. When was the last time that both Ferraris were still running undamaged at the end of a race and got beaten by a customer car-engined car – indeed has it ever happened before?

      2012 Italian Grand Prix – Checo defeated both Fernando and Felipe
      2008 Italian Grand Prix – Seb defeated both Felipe and Kimi

    4. @mrfabulous You jumped the gun on Williams chassis designations, this years car is the FW43.

      1. @geemac Yes, you’re quite right – my mistake. Be interesting to see if the next car carries an ‘FW’ designation now that the team is in new hands.

        1. I assume it will, the new owners seem to be happy to try build on Frank’s legacy.

    5. Monza 2008 Vettel in the Toro Rosso beat both Ferraris

  5. Strange fact: while Ferrari had Kimi they fought at the sharp end with Mercedes. Soon as Kimi left they slid gradually down the order, at times finishing behind his Alfa Romeo.
    Could it be his feedback is indispensable? 2014 they were washed up midfielders. With his help they soon rose up the order. Seb does not seem to have given them that kind of help.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      14th December 2020, 14:23

      It was not soon as Kimi left. Ferrari won races in 2019.

      1. Just to needlessly feed into the RAI conspiracy here, the 2019 car would have been developed while RAI was still at the team. So the 2020 car would be the first without his input. :)

        I don’t buy into what Rodber is saying but it’s fun!

      2. True ferrari won races in 2019, but let’s admit it: they were in a downwards trajectory, most people will agree vettel made far too many mistakes in 2018, threw away a lot of potential wins, unfortunately leclerc wasn’t there yet, he came when ferrari got worse in 2019, with a car that was only performing on power tracks for a while, but as a counterargument that raikkonen is the reason for their decline there is indeed 2016: he was at the team, but they slipped down from 2nd to 3rd in the competitive order.

        Overall though, I’d be more likely to believe this raikkonen theory than the opposite based on results.

    2. It is not a fact because of 2016.

    3. Rodber, not really – when you look at where Ferrari was over the whole of that period, 2014 was really more of a one off in terms of performance, such that Kimi’s presence or absence really didn’t make a whole lot of difference over that decade.

      Many would say it was really more of a consequence of the F14-T being based around a fundamentally flawed aerodynamic and engine concept that resulted in that car being so bad, so their 2015 car was always likely to be a fairly significant improvement.

      The upturn for 2015 mainly came through Ferrari subcontracting the redesign of their engine out to AVL, with a major overhaul of the turbocharger system, along with revisions to the front suspension geometry that partially fixed a number of the aerodynamic issues that the car had and also alleviated some of the problems with excessive wear of the inner shoulder of the tyre (the F14-T suffering from problems with excessive scrubbing, causing problems with overheating and tearing of the rubber as the suspension geometry caused it to be dragged across the track too much).

      You also had the fact that, in 2015, Red Bull’s problems with both the engine and chassis of the RB11 meant they were weaker than expected, flattering Ferrari’s rebound in performance. Furthermore, whilst Williams might have briefly shone in 2014, they admitted that because their 2015 car was an evolution of their 2014 car, it did also carry over some of its flaws – particularly flaws with rear end instability – and, given their much more limited budget compared to Ferrari, couldn’t capitalise on their 2014 form the following year.

  6. Non related and useless stat: will Fernando Alonso be the only driver on the grid who has raced using all 4 of the different engine suppliers? Can’t think of anyone in recent memory who has done this.

    1. In the current era I think you are right – though Nando hasn’t sampled the Mercedes V6 hybrid. That said, if you look back there are quite a few drivers who used 4 (and even more in some cases) engines in their career (Damon Hill for example used Judd, Renault, Yamaha and Mugen-Honda, while Andrea de Cesaris used 9 different engine manufacturers!).

      1. Yeah I looked at Barrichello, he can boast a resume of Hart, Peugeot, Ford, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes. There were more engines back then no doubt, BMW and Renault two of which he did not race with.

    2. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
      14th December 2020, 14:52

      K-Mag did it, too (almost).

      2014: McLaren-Mercedes.
      2015: McLaren-Honda (this is the “almost,” since he only entered one race in 2015 and didn’t actually start due to – surprise, surprise – an engine malfunction).
      2016: Renault.
      2017-20: Haas-Ferrari.

      1. Ah good shout, yeah I forgot about that.

      2. Solid work, I forgot about K-Mag.

      3. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
        14th December 2020, 18:52

        Yeah he’s the only one to have driven (in an official session) V6 Turbo engines from all 4 manufacturers

  7. Max scored his 42nd podium equaling Mark Webber & Damon Hill, 1 behind Jackie Stewart and 1 ahead of Felippe Massa.

    Lewis scored his 165th podium and has now finished on the podium in 62% of races started, only driver with higher % (with at least 10 race starts) is the magical Fangio with 68.6% (Fangio also leads % wins & % poles).

    1. The day LH or whoever beats Fangio at the % ranking I’ll eat my hat (first I’ll have to buy one, but still)

      1. Yes, it’s not gonna happen with hamilton and probably ever, it’s impressive by fangio but it’s also because of being in a different era, and with relatively few races and great cars, easier to get the best car for your whole career if you drive 50 races than 250 or 300.

  8. 2020 is the first time in F1 history that no team has finished the season with double figures points.

    7th – AlphaTauri, 107 pts
    8th – Alfa Romeo, 8 pts

    1. Oooh that’s a good one

  9. Midfield battle was key for this season, almost 7 teams scores more than 100.

  10. Probably the worst ever.

    1. Nah, that has to be right the 1980.

      1. But they bounced back to winning races the year after. Ferrari’s strategies were poor in 2019 and this year.

  11. * McLaren has now 5555,5 points in their history.
    * Ricciardo had two fastest laps this year, both were done on the final lap and both robbed a grand chelem from the race winner.

  12. Latest in the calendar year that any driver has managed their first pole of the year.

    First time in the hybrid era that Mercedes have not been 1-2 in Q3 in Abu Dhabi (although they did not lock out the front low last year due to Bottas taking an engine penalty).

    7th time Albon has started in the top 5 this year – he has not started higher than 4th.

    In his 5 seasons at Red Bull, Verstappen’s results in Abu Dhabi have been 4th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st.

    6th consecutive year in which Hamilton has finished the Abu Dhabi GP in the same position that he has started the race.

    In the last 4 races Perez has had 2 podiums and 2 no-scores – in the previous 11 races that he competed in, he did not manage either.

    Verstappen started ahead of Albon in every race this year.

    Mercedes (who had only 1 DNF) were the only team to have fewer than 4 DNFs in 2020.

    Nobody finished 7th more than twice in 2020.

    In 2020 Bottas and Verstappen both managed 2 wins, 6 second-places, and 3 third-places.

    In 2020 Albon finished iin each of 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th twice.

    Under both the 10-6-4-3-2-1 and 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 systems, Sainz and Albon would be tied on points. They are also tied on points under the current system, but only because Sainz managed a fastest lap.

    Mercedes and AlphaTauri are the only constructors to have scored points in every dry race in 2020. McLaren, Racing Point and Renault each only failed to score in 1 race (Russia, Bahrain and Spain respectively).

    First season since 2008 in which Vettel has not managed at least 1 fastest lap.

    First season since 2006 (before he debuted) in which Vettel has not led at least 1 lap.

    First time since Mexico 2018 in which Mercedes have not led at least 1 lap.

    First time since 1992 that Ferrari (either as a constructor or engine supplier) did not lead a lap over a whole season.

    First time since 1994 that no Ferrari-powered car scored a fastest lap over a whole season.

    Closest McLaren have come to pole position (in terms of absolute lap-time difference) since they last managed a pole in Brazil 2012.

    Thanks to statsf1 and Channel 4 for some of these.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.