In the last two seasons we’ve seen car failures at critical moment have a huge bearing on the championship: like Michael Schumacher’s engine failure at Suzuka in 2006, or Lewis Hamilton’s gearbox failure at Interlagos last year.
Will another car failure change the course of the 2008 championship? Here’s a breakdown of how reliable each driver’s car has been this year.
Full marks to BMW – neither of their drivers have had their races ended by a car failure so far this year. In comparison they had four race-ending car failures in the whole of 2007.
McLaren too are doing an excellent job, with Heikki Kovalainen’s wheel failure at the Circuit de Catalunya the only problem that’s forced a retirement. Lewis Hamilton has not lost a race to a car problem yet, although he was delayed by a wheel problem at Sepang, a puncture at the Hungaroring, and had to use an unfavourable strategy due to other tyre problems at Istanbul.
Ferrari led the way in improving reliability earlier this decade but they are not living up to their old standards at present. The two mechanical DNFs for Kimi Raikkonen (Valencia) and Felipe Massa (Melbourne) tell only part of the story.
Massa lost a likely race win to an engine failure at Hungary, but was classified 17th, and Raikkonen also stopped with a car failure at Melbourne, but still picked up a point for eighth. Raikkonen also had a car problem in qualifying at Melbourne and fell from first to second with a broken exhaust at Magny-Cours.
Factor in those two failures, and only Force India’s VJM01 has been less reliable than the F2008.
What has happened to Ferrari’s famed reputation for reliability? And will they – or any of their closest title rivals – suffer more untimely trouble in the final three races?
Total race-ending car failures by team
Toro Rosso 2
Red Bull 2
Super Aguri 2
Force India F1 Team 5