Which teams made the best leaps forward in a season?

Your Questions Answered

There’s several questions on the site in the F1 Fanatic mailbox but first up here’s an interesting one on which teams have made great progress in a single season.

Teams making great leaps forward

Omar Roncal asks which teams have made the most progress from year-to-year:

What have been the best recoveries for teams after a bad year?

I though about the “Honda to Brawn” season but that is actually a case of two different teams, or McLaren 2007 to 2008 but McLaren was really strong both years, and only got disqualified for ‘spygate’.

My question is about “normal progress” from one season to another.

Using your criteria (and looking at just the current teams) I can think of a few good examples.

The most recent would be Red Bull, who were seventh in the constructors’ championship in 2008 but finished second the following season. Had the controversial double-diffusers been ruled illegal they could well have won the championship, and as it was they had the fastest car of the second half of the season.

McLaren had an even bigger jump back in the sixties. Bruce McLaren’s fledgling team were tenth in their second season of F1 in 1967, grappling with an underpowered car and missing the first race of the season.

The following year they expanded to a two-car team, welcomed reigning champion Denny Hulme and switched to Cosworth’s potent DFV.

The result: a first win for the team courtesy of McLaren, two more for Hulme by the end of the year, and second in the championship.

Williams provide two compelling examples. The team ended 1977 ninth but the arrival of the FW07 at round five of the following season propelled them into victory contention.

Under an unusual points system, Alan Jones scored the maximum points available in the second half of the year with one race to spare. The team ended the year second.

Then in 1989 the team switched from Judd to Renault engines and ditched their early active suspension suspension system, recovering much of their lost form. They rose from seventh to second in the championship.

If you recall any other great improvements by an F1 team – including those not on the grid today – share them in the comments.

Championship standings

Speaking of championship standings here’s some good news for Steve Jones:

I’m liking the new layout having taken a few days to get used to it.

However, there’s one thing I think is missing that was also missing on the old layout: Can we have a page showing the current championship standings, and a nice easy-to-find link to it?

Actually the championship points page is much the same as it was last year, with full tables and interactive charts for both titles. You can find it under 2012 F1 statistics here:

And from today you can see the top three in each series are displayed in the sidebar along with links to the full results.

Mobile apps

But I have to disappoint John Mackay:

Enjoy your website, do you have a dedicated iPad app or are you planning one?

The short answer is no – and that goes for all mobile devices at present.

The long answer is that I’d love to be able to offer dedicated applications for a range of popular mobile devices. But I haven’t got anything like the time, expertise or resources to do it.

As a result my priority has been to make the site work as well as possible on devices of all screen sizes. Last week several further changes were made to that effect – see details here.

Of course I wouldn’t rule out offering something along these lines in the future. But these things take time, resources and, ultimately, money I do not have.

As always, if you have a technical problem with the site please report it via this link (not in the comments) including as much information as possible:

And anyone who wants to contribute to the cost of running F1 Fanatic should see here:

Twitter integration

Finally, Kremer would like to connect his Twitter and F1 Fanatic accounts:

I’d like to synch my F1F acct to Twitter, though (F1F = @Kremer / Twitter = @Ksnickers).

Any way to link the two the way your registration works, or within the user options?

This is not available at present but it’s something I’d like to have – and for Facebook as well. I’ll keep you all updated on this.

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56 comments on Which teams made the best leaps forward in a season?

  1. JMLabareda (@jmlabareda) said on 2nd April 2012, 18:37

    Williams improvement was from 1978 to 79 not from 1977.

  2. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 2nd April 2012, 18:45

    A few:
    Sauber 2000>2001. In 2000, they scored points if four races and finished eight in the championship. In 2001, they even had a podium and twice had both cars in the points – result: fourth in the championship.

    And in-season:
    McLaren in 2004. Remember that horrible MP4-19? It was slow and unreliable. But once the 19B came out, Kimi was on fire.
    Jordan in 1998. Eight races into the season and zero points. And what happens in the next eight races? 34 points.

  3. f1_fan said on 2nd April 2012, 19:17

    why not honda/brawn ? they are basically same team, they rose from 9th in ’08 to 1st in 2009, which is great feat.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 4th April 2012, 13:51

      The criteria Keith was using does not account for different names/teams. Honda took away A LOT of resources so you can’t really count them as the same team, in my opinion.

  4. Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 2nd April 2012, 20:59

    I don’t think there’s two ways about it – Brawn went from essentially last on the grid to first.

    The Honda engine, had they run it, would have been just as strong as the Merc given a) the engine freeze and b) the fact it was better suited to the car, so I don’t think Mercedes power made a lot of difference. The car was just aerodynamically superior due to its diffuser, so would have won the races regardless.

    Given the majority of the Brawn/Honda staff who weren’t laid off are still at Mercedes, it’s categorically the same team.

  5. pH (@ph) said on 2nd April 2012, 21:45

    I think the champion in season-to-season improvement must be Tyrrell.
    1970: 0 points
    1971: Won WCC and WCD, took 32% of all points that season.
    A close runner-up should be Cooper:
    1958: took 17% of points (which was still good enough to #3 in WCC)
    1959: won WCC & WDD, took 52% of points (improvement by 35%, the largest season-to-season improvement ever).
    Other notables:
    Ferrari: 1950: 15% 1951: 44% (improvement by 29%, note: no WCC/D)
    McLaren: 1983: 9% 1984: 37% and WCC/D (improvement by 28%)
    Ferrari: 1951: 44% 1952: 68% and WCC/D (improvement by 24%)
    McLaren: 1997: 14% 1998: 38% and WCC/D (improvement by 24%)
    and I do think the following counts, it was the same people
    Honda/Brown: 2008: 2% 2009: 27% and WCC/D (improvement by 25%)
    Now in the other direction there is a close fight, in fact a tie for the top spot:
    Cooper: 1960: 50% and WCC/D 1961: 12% (decrease by 38%)
    Ferrari: 1961: 50% and WCC/D 1962: 12% (decrease by 38%)
    Brabham: 1967: 38% and WCC/D 1968: 4% (decrease by 34%)
    Vanwall: 1958: 32% and WCC 1959: 0 pts (the team fell apart sort of)
    Ferrari: 1979: 30% and WCC/D 1980: 2% (decrease by 28%)
    Ferrari: 2002: 50% and WCC/D 2003: 25% and WCC/D (decrease by 25%)
    This last example shows that comparing by difference may not be all that great. Another interesting option would be to compare _ratios_, but such a comparison has its own problems (base 0 for one) and above all, I do not have the data.

  6. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 2nd April 2012, 23:09

    I’d say Sauber’s 8th (2005) to 5th (2006) was a nice jump, considering the team was still half Sauber, and the BMW factor hadn’t really kicked in yet.

    I would say the Honda-Brawn thing would count, because they are basicaly the same team. The car was already designed when it was still Honda. The only things that really changed where the name and the engine. Most of the folks in the team remained. The car would basically have the Honda, so the engine was the only real change.

  7. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 2nd April 2012, 23:14

    or for that matter, the jump bmw-sauber made between ’06 and ’07.
    2005 (as sauber) 20pts, 8th
    2006 (as BMW-Sauber) 5th, 36pts
    2007 2nd (after disq Mclaren), 101pts.

  8. mark (@markp) said on 3rd April 2012, 0:15

    Worst progress for a top team. The almight Mclaren 1 constructors title since 1991.

  9. Gerdoner (@gerdoner) said on 3rd April 2012, 0:45

    Interesting read about the team which improved the most. Thinking about it, is there a chance of a follow up story à la “team that made the biggest step backwards”? Again, looking at the current teams, maybe Williams in 97/98?

  10. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 3rd April 2012, 1:30

    Keith, when you were referring to Williams, I think you meant that they finished ninth in 1978? They had their turnaround the following year (1979).

  11. Jose said on 3rd April 2012, 1:43

    No doubt that Sauber, Lotus F1 and Toro Rosso are cruising for more points.

  12. Alesici (@alesici) said on 3rd April 2012, 12:45

    For the ultimate turnaround from one race to the next, look no further than Leyton House March in 1990. In the bumpy Mexican race weekend, the cars failed to qualify, coming last (30th) and 2nd last in qualifying. Then, 2-3 weeks later, with the same car, on the super smooth Paul Ricard circuit in France, they were 1st and 2nd places on the grid, continuing to lead the field for almost the entire race before a mechanical problem slowed Capelli down to 2nd place at the end. The truth was that this early Adrian Newey design had amazing aerodynamics which sadly were extremely sensitive to bumps. It was a beautiful car too, really shrink-wrapped around the driver.

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 4th April 2012, 13:48

    It’s looking positive for Williams to make a significant improvement compared to last year.

    Good round of questions this time, especially the technical website stuff. I’ve always been a fan of web development so it’s great to watch this place grow and be involved. The new site certainly is faster on both mobile and desktop devices so well done @keithcollantine

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