There’s already been some discussion about Rubens Barrichello being poised to break Riccardo Patrese’s 15-year record as the most experienced driver in Formula 1 – but exactly when will he pass the mark?
McLaren have one their least experienced starting line-up for decades and Ferrari could break 5,000 points this year – although they won’t hit it exactly unless they somehow score 0.73 of a point.
Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will probably both cross the 500 points threshold this year. Raikkonen is 44 points away, Alonso 10. Raikkonen is also six laps away from his 6,000th racing lap in F1.
Felipe Massa is approaching his 100th Grand Prix start which should come at the Belgian Grand Prix. He was also present at the 2005 United States Grand Prix, but failed to start, so he will register his 100th presence two weeks earlier at the European Grand Prix.
Carrying on in this vein Nico Rosberg’s 50th start (and presence) will be at Singapore and Takuma Sato’s 100th start will be at the Italian Grand Prix and his 100th presence at the European round.
Two drivers should hit the big 200. Giancarlo Fisichella is expected to get there first, registering his 200th presence at the Spanish Grand Prix and 200th start at the Monaco Grand Prix. He will be the ninth driver to achieve that, including Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard who have already past the landmark.
Jarno Trulli should be the next driver to hit 200 presences at the Japanese Grand Prix, but he will likely have to wait until the first race of next year to achieve 200 starts. He’s also 17 points away from his 200th, but he only scored eight last year so he may have to wait on that one too.
Rubens Barrichello is set to break the record for the longest F1 career, although there is some debate over when he’ll do it. Riccardo Patrese set the current record when he retired at the end of 1993, Barrichello’s first season in F1. Patrese appeared at 257 races and started 256 in a career that spanned 17 years.
Barrichello has been present at 253 races, but did not qualify for the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, putting him on 252 starts. Ollie at BlogF1 points out that there are argument for and against excluding the 1998 Belgian, 2002 Spanish and 2002 French Grands Prix, and that even Barrichello’s own site cannot decide whether he’s started 250 or 252 Grands Prix!
It’s clear enough that Barrichello will match Patrese’s 257 presences at the Spanish Grand Prix and surpass them at the following race. But when they will decide he’s broken the record for most starts is a bit of a mystery.
Barrichello now drives for Honda, and Riccardo Patrese started just one of his 256 races with Honda power – the 1987 Australian Grand Prix as a substitute for Nigel Mansell at Williams.
Ferrari are likely to notch up their 200th pole position this year assuming they can score five more. If they have a particularly dominant season they could even be the first team to score more than a 5,000 points.
By the end of last season Ferrari drivers had scored 4753.27 points, leaving them 246.73 short of the big 5,000. They need another 13.7 points per race to do this, which is a second and third in each race, so it’s a tall order. But they managed 262 in 2004 and are currently on a 35 race streak of points-scoring so it’s not beyond the realm of the possible.
How did they score 0.27 of a point? At the time of the 1954 British Grand Prix a point was still awarded for fastest lap. But time keeping equipment was basic and seven drivers were credited with having set the quickest time of 1m 50s. Two of these, Jose Froilan Gonzales and Mike Hawthorn, were Ferrari drivers, and so scored one-seventh of a point each. Rounded down in decimals that gives Ferrari 0.27 points, although it should be noted the constructors’ championship only began in 1958.
BMW will rack up their 50th race start at the Singapore Grand Prix – and so will Super Aguri if they actually make it that far…
Renault are 10 podiums away from their 100th, but as they only scored one last year it might be premature to put the champagne on ice.
Williams have run a series of special liveries in the off-season celebrating the approach of their 500th race start at the first round of the year at Melbourne.
McLaren have the highest pair of numbers on their cars since 1990, when they used Ferrari’s traditional pairing of 27 and 28. This was after Alain Prost took the title and number one he won at McLaren with him to the Italian team, in the days before teams were assigned numbers based on where they finished in the constructors’ championship.
Most unusually McLaren also have the second most inexperienced driver line-up on the grid. Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen have just 34 Grand Prix starts between them. I make that their least experienced starting line-up since they entered Jackie Oliver alone for the 1971 Italian Grand Prix, Oliver having appeared at 35 races but failed to start one.
Only Toro Rosso has a partnership with less experience: Sebastian Vettel (eight starts) and Sebastien Bourdais (none). Williams’ pairing of Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima have 36.
For debutants Force India, everything they do will be a first…
Canada will host it’s 40th Grand Prix this year which will also be the 30th at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. This milestone would have been reached a year earlier had the 1987 round not been skipped due to a sponsorship dispute.
Malaysia will host its tenth Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit and Singapore will be on the calendar for the first time, as will the Circuito Urbano Valencia. For the first time since 1994 the Nurburgring is off the calendar.
Finally, Bridgestone will mark their 200th appearance as an F1 tyre supplier at the German Grand Prix – the race being back on the calendar following its first absence since 1960.
Have you spotted any more records to be broken in 2008?
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