F1 Report

10 most dominant constructor seasons

Measuring by the average finish position of each car of a constructor we can rank the most dominant seasons of constructors.
Mercedes Safety Car driving through a corner in front of a black mercedes formula 1 car

Not every season offers tension

The 2021 season offered a lot of tension as Verstappen and Hamilton fought a tight battle that was literally decided in the last lap of the last race. Unfortunately, other seasons don't offer as much tension. If you followed the season before that (2020) HAM-BOT-VER may cause you to roll your eyes. Mercedes had a great pace advantage over the 2nd best team and on top of that Hamilton had his teammate Bottas under control.

As a relatively young F1 fan I wondered if this season was extraordinary in its boring way or if there were seasons before that were even less exciting.

Methodology

I decided to use the average finish position as a metric to rank the seasons. If your car is faster than the rest of the field you will finish at the top. Technical problems or DNFs of course lower the average position but I guess a reliable car and reliable drivers are a factor in a dominating team.

For the data, I used the Ergast API.

Results

Avg. Pos.
Season
Constructor
Races
Drivers
Positions
3.18
2017
Mercedes
40
  • L. Hamilton (363 pts., pos: 1)
  • V. Bottas (305 pts., pos: 3)
3.21
2015
Mercedes
38
  • L. Hamilton (381 pts., pos: 1)
  • N. Rosberg (322 pts., pos: 2)
3.24
2019
Mercedes
42
  • L. Hamilton (413 pts., pos: 1)
  • V. Bottas (326 pts., pos: 2)
3.31
2004
Ferrari
36
  • M. Schumacher (148 pts., pos: 1)
  • R. Barrichello (114 pts., pos: 2)
3.47
2011
Red Bull
38
  • S. Vettel (392 pts., pos: 1)
  • M. Webber (258 pts., pos: 3)
3.48
2016
Mercedes
42
  • N. Rosberg (385 pts., pos: 1)
  • L. Hamilton (380 pts., pos: 2)
3.72
1988
McLaren
32
  • A. Senna (94 pts., pos: 1)
  • A. Prost (105 pts., pos: 2)
3.74
2020
Mercedes
34
  • L. Hamilton (347 pts., pos: 1)
  • V. Bottas (223 pts., pos: 2)
  • G. Russell (3 pts., pos: 18)
3.86
2018
Mercedes
42
  • L. Hamilton (408 pts., pos: 1)
  • V. Bottas (247 pts., pos: 5)
3.97
2007
McLaren
34
  • L. Hamilton (109 pts., pos: 2)
  • F. Alonso (109 pts., pos: 3)

The average position of the 2020 season for Mercedes does not seem as dominant as I thought. But a few really bad results also lower the average drastically. But overall, Mercedes seems to dominate the results anyway. So I guess the data shows that the turbo hybrid era was the least thrilling one.

The 2011 season was pretty dominant too. Red Bull achieved all finishes in the top 5 except two outliers (P20 and P24). Note that both of these results drag the average down drastically.

In the most dominant season of 2017, Bottas finished third instead of second. Sebastian Vettel managed to fight a tight battle with the Mercedes team and beat Bottas. In the end, Mercedes was not only fast but super reliable with only one finish outside the top 9.

Notice how Senna won the Championship with fewer points than Prost? This is because the 1988 season had a rule where only the 11 best results counted. Overall Prost scored more points but Senna's top 11 races were better.

Other ways to look into this

Instead of taking the average position into account, another option would be to look at the speed. Looking at the time difference we could find out which teams built a comfortable lead and resulted in no tight racing.

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