Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2023

Unprecedented dominance and Norris’s unwanted record: The 2023 F1 season in stats

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The 2024 Formula 1 world championship was, officially, the 74th season of competition in the highest level of motorsport. And it was definitely one for the record books.

After smashing records in 2022, Red Bull and Max Verstappen somehow took their incredible success to an even greater level this season, producing what was, statistically, the most dominant year in the sport’s history.

But there were other records broken or notable statistics from the year, including a high number of teams with a podium finish and a unique quirk for Oscar Piastri.

As ever, this is not an exhaustive list. But these are the most notable records that were set, broken or came to an end over 2023…

Record breakers

It’s impossible to look back at the record breaking moments from the 2023 season and not shine the spotlight directly on Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monza, 2023
Italy was the end of a record run for Verstappen and Red Bull

By almost every possible metric, this was the most dominant season in history for both the world champion driver and his constructors’ world championship winning team. When it comes to drivers, Verstappen’s 575 points is the highest total ever achieved in a single season in the history of the sport – 121 one more than his total of last season. His winning margin of 290 points over team mate Sergio Perez is not only the greatest in terms of points, but the first time in history where a driver has scored over twice the points total of the runner-up.

Verstappen achieved this dizzying score with 19 grand prix wins, breaking his own record of 15 set the previous year, as well as four victories from the six sprint rounds over the year. He did so by matching and then beating Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine consecutive grand prix victories by winning every round between the Miami Grand Prix in early May to the Italian Grand Prix in September, before the unprecedented streak was finally broken by Carlos Sainz Jnr and Ferrari in Singapore. However, Verstappen ended the season with another seven consecutive wins, meaning he is already on the equal-third best ever winning streak in history immediately after having his record run broken.

He also finished on the podium 21 times in 22 attempts, only failing to do so in Singapore, setting a new record for the highest total podium finishes in a season but just failing to match Michael Schumacher’s perfect 100% record of a podium in every round of the 2002 season. While Verstappen also set a new record by finishing in the points in all 22 rounds this season, he did not do so alone. Lewis Hamilton also achieved the same feat, with the pair of them now jointly holding that record.

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The champion also broke new ground for his near monopoly over the number one position during races. He led 1,003 grand prix racing laps in 2023 – smashing Sebastian Vettel’s previous record by 264. He also set a new record for total kilometres led with 4,912 as well as racing the most laps in a single season of any driver in the history of the sport with 1,325, beating Carlos Sainz Jnr’s mark from 2021.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2023
Winless Hamilton still set records
There were, however, a number of season-long achievements Verstappen did not manage to match. His 12 grand prix pole positions through the 22 rounds was only the joint-sixth best qualifying record in history, matching Hamilton’s 2016 season and three shy of Vettel’s record of 15 from 2011. Nine fastest laps was also one shy of the record of ten, jointly held by Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. Nico Rosberg’s 20 front row starts from 21 rounds from his world title winning 2016 season was also well out of Verstappen’s reach as the Red Bull driver started from the front row just 16 times.

When it comes to Red Bull, the constructors’ champions naturally set new ground of their own. Not only did they set records for most points in a season (860), total wins in a season (21) and laps led in a season (1,149), they also smashed McLaren’s three-decade old record for the most consecutive wins by a single team with 15 straight victories between the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the 2023 Italian Grand Prix. Even counting 2023 alone, their record of 14 consecutive wins in the same season was easily the best run ever seen.

Just like when Ferrari broke McLaren’s winning streak in 1988 – the only time the MP4-4 ever lost a race – the Scuderia was again the only team to defeat Red Bull to a grand prix win in 2023, with Carlos Sainz Jnr taking the win in Singapore.

Hamilton may not have won a race in 2023 – for the second consecutive season – but he extended his own records for most consecutive seasons with at least one podium (17) as well as most podiums in a career (197) and added one to his own all time pole positions record at the Hungarian Grand Prix, his 104th. He just needs to score a single point in 2024 to set a new record for most consecutive seasons having scored at least one point, as he is currently tied with Jenson Button on 17.

The most successful driver in Formula 1 also managed to set another new record along with rival Verstappen. Both multiple world champions have now shared a podium together more often than any other two drivers in the history of the sport – 58 times – overtaking the previous record of Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

Lando Norris had a highly successful season in 2023, but failed to achieve that breakthrough first grand prix victory once again. That leaves the McLaren driver as the unfortunate holder of the record for the most points in a Formula 1 career without achieving a victory, with Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg moving into second and Lance Stroll now sitting fourth behind Romain Grosjean. Norris also joins Nick Heidfeld in the sister category of most podiums without a win, with 13.

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First timers

Although McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri was the first driver since the FIA allowed drivers to select their own permanent racing number back in 2014, he was not the first to ever run number 81. The number had been used only once before, in 1951, by future Ferrari driver and Monaco Grand Prix winner Maurice Trintignant for the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in his Simca-Gordini.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Losail International Circuit, 2023
Rookie Piastri holds a unique record
Piastri’s rookie season was phenomenally successful by historic standards. His 97 points over the season was the second-highest of any rookie of the last fifty years behind Lewis Hamilton in 2007 -albeit with a completely different points system – and ahead of Alexander Albon’s 92 points in 2019. Piastri also holds an unusual status as being the only driver in Formula 1 to have won an F1 race over a grand prix weekend and still not be a grand prix winner, having won the sprint race in Qatar. Mercedes driver George Russell achieved the same last year in Brazil having won the Interlagos sprint race before his first grand prix win, however Russell went on to achieve his maiden grand prix victory the following day.

Before the 2023 season began, there was particular focus on Williams rookie Logan Sargeant as the first full time F1 racer from the United States since Scott Speed competed for Toro Rosso between 2006 and 2007. Although Sargeant is far from being the first American racer to complete a full season or score a point, he did become the first to score a world championship point since Michael Andretti in 1993 – exactly thirty years ago – after gaining tenth place in the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas when Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were both disqualified from the final classification.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix held its inaugural event in 2023. The penultimate round of the season in November, the race was unusually held on a Saturday – the first grand prix not held on a Sunday since the 1985 South African Grand Prix. It was, however, not the first grand prix to be held in the city of Las Vegas as the Ceasars Palace Grand Prix was held twice at the conclusion of the 1981 and 1982 seasons, around an infamously unpopular track on the casino’s grounds.

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Outstanding others

Fernando Alonso’s multiple podium appearances throughout 2023 were a rarity for drivers in their forties in the modern age. But while 42-year-old Alonso’s third place in Brazil made him the 18th-oldest F1 driver to take a podium, he was over a year younger than Micheal Schumacher’s final podium at the European Grand Prix in 2012 at the age of 43.

It was a year of very few retirements
After the end of the 2022 season, in which Pierre Gasly finished just two penalty points away from becoming the first driver to be banned for a race due to the superlicence points system, the FIA changed its approach to penalties in 2023. As a result, drivers no longer receive penalty points on their superlicence for lower-level offences like penalties for multiple track limits infringements during the race.

Because of the change in approach, a total of only 39 penalty points were handed out throughout the 2023 season – almost exactly half of the 77 imposed over the previous year and the second-lowest total since the system was introduced in 2014. Only 11 drivers received at least one penalty point over the year, again the lowest since the first year in 2014, when only ten drivers accrued points on their superlicenses.

During the Austrian Grand Prix, when nine drivers received a total of 16 track limits penalties, Esteban Ocon set an unfortunate record for the greatest number of penalties ever handed to a single driver during one grand prix with five – four track limits related penalties and one unsafe release penalty following a pit stop.

The 2023 season was also historically strong for reliability and drivers finishing races. Out of a total of 436 starts across the year, there were 60 official retirements from grands prix at a rate of 2.73 DNFs per grand prix – equal second-lowest of all time with the 2019 season with only 2021 being lower with a rate of 2.41 DNFs per grand prix. There were two rounds where every driver finished the race – Miami and Spain – joining only 2016 and 2021 as the only years in which there was multiple grands prix without a single retirement.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Red Bull Ring, 2023
Ocon broke a unwanted record in Austria
Despite the domination of Red Bull, 2023 was a surprisingly competitive season. Over half of the field – 11 drivers – stood on the podium at least once at the end of grands prix over the year, which is the third-highest count of the last decade after 2020 and 2021, where 13 drivers scored at least one.

Six teams, over half, led at least one grand prix lap during the year – Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Aston Martin and AlphaTauri. That is the most since seven teams led laps in the 2013 season. Five teams also secured multiple front row starts during the year, the first time that has happened since 2012.

The Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve has overtaken the Nurburgring by hosting its 42nd grand prix in 2023, becoming the venue to have held the fifth-most grands prix in history, behind Monza (73), Monaco (69), Silverstone (58) and Spa-Francorchamps (56).

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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26 comments on “Unprecedented dominance and Norris’s unwanted record: The 2023 F1 season in stats”

  1. That was the most boring season in my 50 years of watching motorsports.

    1. Yes, haven’t been watching for that long but was really boring, no competition at all, not even for race wins, definitely the most boring since I’ve been watching (1999), even in 2020 there was some occasional fight for wins and 2015 I wasn’t watching, luckily.

      1. Maybe not the best, but I thought there was some great racing this year.

        If you are only interested in competition for first place then I can see your point, but surely a 50 year motorsports fan is interested in the bigger picture.

        1. The bigger picture still includes competition for first place…

        2. Hear, hear! Wouldn’t know how I would have survived 8 years of Mercedes if I didn’t watch for the entire fields achievements. 2023 delivered a stellar season; unprecedented, historic high level of the driver in front and close battles throughout the year between the rest of the field.

    2. Absolutely. Even the Schumacher era had some challenges for Ferrari and the racing was closer between them and McLaren – And the Williams, McLaren and Mercedes eras had at least challenges from teammates.

      This was just dull.

      Anyone else wish that proper development was still allowed and the engines didn’t have to last so long, so the teams would actually properly push the equipment…. so at least there was the possibility of a mechanical issue throwing a surprise?

    3. I’d argue 2002 was far far worse. That’s the closest in 30 years of watching that I came to abandon f1. Not only 1 driver dominated but also there was almost no on track action and everything from qualifying to the race was as boring and predictable as watching paint dry. The current season isn’t even close. In fact there were a few which are closer namely 2004, 2011 and 2015. So the 2023 season is only the 5th most boring season of the past 30 years let alone 50

      1. Some great points there, all of those things considered I’ll still vote for this f1 season.

    4. Awww you poor Mercedes fans must be ready to leave already.
      Easy come easy go.

  2. we can only be nervous about 2024 can’t we. It’s frustrating cos without Max we’d have been on the edge of our sofas all year and the same to come

  3. Monaco has held 80 Grands Prix. The last paragraph should say “World Drivers’ Championship races” or similar, as many pre-war races were certainly recognised as Grandes Épreuves but obviously predated the current championship, which is where the 69 number comes from.

  4. Norris also joins Nick Heidfeld in the sister category of most podiums without a win, with 13.

    I wonder where Chris Amon is on this metric?

    1. Perhaps he retired the trophy.

      1. The devil is in the detail I guess

        the unfortunate holder of the record for the most points in a Formula 1 career without achieving a victory

        It does not say a F1 race or GP that counted towards the WDC.

        He won the Silverstone National Trophy in 70 then in Jan 71 he won the non-championship Argentine GP at Buenos Aires .

        Still (thanks to F1) he didn’t consider himself unlucky.

        . “I’m luckier than Jimmy [Clark] and Jochen [Rindt], and Bruce [McLaren], and Piers [Courage],” he told Motor Sport magazine in 2008. “Luckier than my team mates [Lorenzo] Bandini, [Ludovico] Scarfiotti, [Jo] Siffert and [Francois] Cevert.

      1. @kcrossle He’s next up with 11. He did win non-championship Grand Prix but those don’t count

  5. And all that dominance cost was $7.5mil.

    1. What are you referring to?

      1. Pretty sure it was the budget cap fine, it was around that number.

        1. That’s what I thought, but as we know, it was actually far less in reality. An ongoing and ridiculous axe grinding topic of RBR / Max haters. I dislike Max and RBR, but I am objective enough to see they received essentially zero advantage from that minor accounting error.

  6. “11 drivers stood on the podium, second behind 2021 in the last decade with 13”

    I’m not sure if you consider 2020 in the last decade, but that season 13 drivers also stood on the podium.

  7. Jonathan Parkin
    31st December 2023, 5:46

    Sorry to be that guy. Again

    But Oscar Piastri has won a Sprint SESSION not a Sprint RACE, and Las Vegas has never hosted a GP as the Caesars Palace races and this years have all taken place in Paradise not LV

    1. You’re not being anything. Winning a sprint session is massively different than winning a GP. Not sure if the article said he already racked up his first win rather than stating he nabbed a sprint win, but they’re not the same and I doubt Piastri himself feels as if he’s broken the duck.

      1. I think it’s not even half a win: it gives less than 1\3 of the points and it’s 1\3 of a race distance.

  8. RB19 was outperformed on the track in Singapore, in qualifying and the race. That never happened to McLaren MP4/4. For me MP4/4 stays the most dominant car in the history of F1. If the season of 1988. lasted as this one it would continue wining as well.

  9. I sometimes find myself recalculating the points total to the pre 2010 and pre 2003 systems. On the one hand to see how competitive the midfield is compared to earlier years, on the other hand to see how well the best drivers did. If either of these systems were used, verstappen would have scored more than 200 points. Such was his dominance this year.

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