Will any of today’s F1 drivers beat Michael Schumacher’s records?

Michael Schumacher won seven world titles and 91 Grands Prix

Michael Schumacher won seven world titles and 91 Grands Prix

Michael Schumacher’s colossal achievements means he dominates the F1 record books.

Will anyone ever rake his place at the top of the lists of race winners, pole sitters, and pretty much everything else? Could it be one of the drivers on the grid today? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Most F1 race wins

Most F1 race wins (click the enlarge)

Most F1 race wins (click the enlarge)

With 91 wins, Schumacher has almost as many as the next two most winning drivers combined: Alain Prost (51) and Ayrton Senna (41).

In order to stand any chance of matching Schumacher’s record, today’s top drivers will need to spend at least as much time in race-winning cars. Schumacher had a car capable of regularly winning races for 11 years (1994-5, 1997-2004, 2006). On top of that, like Fernando Alonso this year, he still won races in years when his car wasn’t a front-runner.

Given the length of his career, Schumacher’s victory hit-rate is an extremely impressive 36% (below). The driver most likely to match that – if McLaren remain competitive – is Lewis Hamilton, currently on 25%. Even then it’ll take him a decade or longer to reach 91 wins at his current rate.

But with increasing standardisation of F1 car parts the days of one team winning almost all the races in a season – as Ferrari did in 2002 and 2004 – may be over. That will make it even harder for anyone to surpass Schumacher’s record.

Most F1 race wins (percentage) (click to enlarge)

Most F1 race wins (percentage) (click to enlarge)

Most F1 pole positions

Most F1 pole positions (click to enlarge)

Most F1 pole positions (click to enlarge)

Schumacher narrowly surpassed Ayrton Sen’a tally of pole positions – but Senna’s 40% hit-rate is far better. Other drivers with shorter career lengths managed even better hit rates.

But a pole position in 2008 isn’t what is was in the time of Senna, or Clark or Fangio for that matter. Today it’s about fuel load; before it was a question of who could set the fastest single lap. With the prospect of refuelling being banned in 2010, hopefully qualifying will soon become more meaningful again and comparisons like this will be possible.

Most F1 pole positions (percentage) (cick to enlarge)

Most F1 pole positions (percentage) (cick to enlarge)

Most F1 fastest laps

Most F1 fastest laps (click to enlarge)

Most F1 fastest laps (click to enlarge)

Kimi Raikkonen is well on the way to catching Schumacher’s record for most fastest laps. He has 35 to his name – ten of which he set this year, despite only winning twice.

Hamilton isn’t getting as many fastest laps though – only three so far.

In percentage terms, Masahiro Hasemi is untouchable – he only did one race and he set the fastest lap. Well, he’s credited with the fastest lap at Fuji in 1976, but as he was overtaken by several cars on the lap it happened there’s some dispute over whether he actually did it. Timing then wasn’t what it is today…

Most F1 fastest laps (percentage) (click to enlarge)

Most F1 fastest laps (percentage) (click to enlarge)

Most F1 laps led

Most F1 laps led (click to enlarge)

Most F1 laps led (click to enlarge)

Over 5,000 laps led is a measure of Schumacher’s abilities – and how dull F1 races were in the early 2000s. Frankly I hope no-one gets anywhere near this record.

Most F1 points scored

Most F1 points scored (click to enlarge)

Most F1 points scored (click to enlarge)

Schumacher is the only driver to rack up more than 1,000 points, although when Alain Prost started his F1 career drivers only got nine for a win – today they get eight for second.

Will any of today’s F1 drivers beat Schumacher’s career totals? Could any of them match his seven world championships?

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47 comments on Will any of today’s F1 drivers beat Michael Schumacher’s records?

  1. matthew said on 24th December 2008, 17:43

    I think it’s a little unfair to say that he had competition from only Villeneuve and Hakkinen – Early in his carreer he was up against Senna, later he had Raikkonen, Montoya and Alonso to contend with.

    In the next decade I’m certain Hamilton or Vettel will be the ones to break some of his records. They’re young, they have all the time in the world to do so.

  2. Hamilton is the only one with a chance but dont think he’ll stay in f1 that long

  3. F1 Drivers have won world championships with only 1 race win in the past 1982 Rosberg for example. I am against this medal table thing. How will the drivers who finnish below 3rd place be rated??

  4. my 2 cents:

    im sure some people might top off schumi. me being a die-hard/obsessed Ferrari fan even i have to admit lewis is a good driver along with new talents yet to come in f1. now i think they can beat the pole positions and race wins and stuch but maybe not fast laps and ill give my 2 cents on that:

    what really grinds my gears is the way the cars will look for 09. from lean&mean to womp womp.. =[ not only are the cars appearance hideous, they will be slower and have been getting slower since what...2006? i know it is to reduce costs in this economy but i believe the cars should look as they do now [2008] with slicks, i think the sport is entertaining enough, its my favorite of them all! =)

  5. Personally I dont think anyone will beat Shummacher – reason the cars are becoming too alike through the new rule changes and at the time the ferrari perhaps with extra funding behind it – they always had more test time on their own track – that wont stop – will it?
    Anyway – merry christmas Keith – and to one and all – roll on next year and the return of the circus and the little funny fella – all the best

  6. Very interesting statistics. I don’t think there is any current driver who is capable or indeed willing or dare I say motivated enough to beat Michael’s records.

    Incidentally Keith, are these your charts or can the complete charts be seen elsewhere?

  7. It’s really early to say if anyone will even get near Schumacher’s stats – the closest person, in terms of WDC wins, is Alonso, and he would be the only one who took the fight to Schumacher and still in the game.

    I do believe that it’s possible to beat Schumachers records – and there’s a lot of promise for some drivers to do well – but it would take an astronomical effort by driver and team over a long period. It would have to be a mission starting right now to beat it, otherwise it’ll take too long.

    You can take into account Schumacher’s lack of rivalry at the time, and number 1 status – etc. etc. – but you also have to remember you need a team that is as motivated as you. You hear about Schumacher making tea for his mechanics when they were working on his car – I’m not saying nobody else does this, but it’s all these small things which he did that helped BUILD a team into dominating winners.

    There’s a lot of factors, good and bad depending on how you view them, that contribute to Schumacher’s success – and I don’t see anyone having half of those factors just yet.

    Hamilton’s got a while, but he’s only finished his 2nd season so he’s got plenty of time to smash records if he so wishes.

    Alonso doesn’t have the same luxury, and unless he gets himself into a championship winning team – and stays put – then you have to say it doesn’t look like he’ll get close to Schumacher.

  8. Steven said on 24th December 2008, 22:44

    Yes, with standardization is will be a lot more difficult. On the other hand, look at Jimmie Johnson of Nascar in the Sprint Cup Series with three titles in a row and the cars in those races are pretty much all the same.

  9. Tombong said on 25th December 2008, 1:42

    I don’t think Michaels record will be broken in the future. let’s say if any driver closing Michaels statistic, F1 is getting boring. Repetition of season 2002?? i hope not

  10. Hmmm someone else has started posting as K. That’s a bit confusing.

    Anyway despite being a big Michael fan I’d say yes at some point all of his records will be broken sooner or later.

  11. his world champion mark will be broken but not his race wins. 91 is a huge number, which just shows how dominant ferrari was…

  12. i really hope not for the simple reason it would be bloody boring!

  13. Some great stats compiled there, i must say. Well, 91 race wins is a pretty huge number. Such records happen in a life-time and you have to span a life-time to witness something of this sort. Having said that, no record can be left unbroken. It’ll surely be broken someday, but no driver of today can achieve this feat. One who can come seemingly close to it is certainly Lewis Hamilton.

  14. why you forgot ICEMAN who beat HAMILTO-ALONSO in 2007. as MASSA perform in 2008 next few season will be FERRARI 1 only like SCHUMI-BERRICHELLO dominate from 2000 to 2004. Hamilton is not fair driver, i think RON need a stewart with his teaw everytime who guide HAMILTON to drive under rules.. HE is kidding…

  15. no 1 can beat SCHUMI ever. why he had won more than others ?
    A engineer or michenic understand car more than the others and he only who did job of racing car mechanic and when a doctor of cars drive it himself no 1 can beat him ever and this is only fact of his dominancy in formula 1.

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