Schumacher’s 91 wins record looks safe for now

F1 Statistics

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2006Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel’s wins this year have raised them higher up among the most successful F1 drivers of all time.

Alonso is now tied with Nigel Mansell as the four most-successful driver ever in terms of race wins. At the last round Vettel surpassed Jackie Stewart’s tally of 27 race wins, which stood as the record for 14 years.

But even if you took Alonso and Vettel’s win totals and threw in Lewis Hamilton’s for good measure, you’d still be well short of the ultimate record.

Michael Schumacher’s 91 race wins is 60 more than the next best driver currently racing in F1.

Most wins by an F1 driver: 1950-2013

Here’s how the record for most Grand Prix victories has grown since the beginning of the world championship in 1950:

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/winsrecord.csv

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415 416 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436 437 438 439 440 441 442 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 454 455 456 457 458 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 490 491 492 493 494 495 496 497 498 499 500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 511 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 520 521 522 523 524 525 526 527 528 529 530 531 532 533 534 535 536 537 538 539 540 541 542 543 544 545 546 547 548 549 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 559 560 561 562 563 564 565 566 567 568 569 570 571 572 573 574 575 576 577 578 579 580 581 582 583 584 585 586 587 588 589 590 591 592 593 594 595 596 597 598 599 600 601 602 603 604 605 606 607 608 609 610 611 612 613 614 615 616 617 618 619 620 621 622 623 624 625 626 627 628 629 630 631 632 633 634 635 636 637 638 639 640 641 642 643 644 645 646 647 648 649 650 651 652 653 654 655 656 657 658 659 660 661 662 663 664 665 666 667 668 669 670 671 672 673 674 675 676 677 678 679 680 681 682 683 684 685 686 687 688 689 690 691 692 693 694 695 696 697 698 699 700 701 702 703 704 705 706 707 708 709 710 711 712 713 714 715 716 717 718 719 720 721 722 723 724 725 726 727 728 729 730 731 732 733 734 735 736 737 738 739 740 741 742 743 744 745 746 747 748 749 750 751 752 753 754 755 756 757 758 759 760 761 762 763 764 765 766 767 768 769 770 771 772 773 774 775 776 777 778 779 780 781 782 783 784 785 786 787 788 789 790 791 792 793 794 795 796 797 798 799 800 801 802 803 804 805 806 807 808 809 810 811 812 813 814 815 816 817 818 819 820 821 822 823 824 825 826 827 828 829 830 831 832 833 834 835 836 837 838 839 840 841 842 843 844 845 846 847 848 849 850 851 852 853 854 855 856 857 858 859 860 861 862 863 864 865 866 867 868 869 870 871 872 873 874 875 876 877 878 879 880 881 882
Giuseppe Farina 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Juan Manuel Fangio 0 1 1 1 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 8 8 9 10 10 11 12 13 13 14 14 14 15 16 16 17 18 18 18 18 18 19 20 20 21 22 22 23 23 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24
Johnnie Parsons 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Alberto Ascari 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 2 2 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 9 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13
Jim Clark 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 5 6 7 7 8 8 9 10 10 11 12 12 13 13 13 13 13 13 14 14 15 16 17 18 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 21 21 21 22 22 22 22 23 24 25
Jackie Stewart 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 6 7 7 8 9 10 10 11 11 11 11 11 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 13 14 14 15 16 17 17 17 18 18 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 21 22 22 22 23 23 24 25 25 25 25 26 27 27 27 27 27
Alain Prost 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 3 3 3 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 7 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 11 11 12 12 12 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 16 17 17 17 18 18 18 18 19 19 20 20 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 22 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 24 24 24 24 25 26 26 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 28 28 28 28 28 29 29 30 31 31 31 32 32 32 32 32 32 33 34 34 35 35 35 35 35 36 36 37 38 38 38 38 39 39 39 39 39 39 40 40 40 40 41 42 43 43 43 43 43 43 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 45 45 45 46 47 47 48 49 50 51 51 51 51 51 51 51
Michael Schumacher 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 4 5 6 6 7 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 11 11 11 12 13 13 14 14 15 15 16 16 16 17 18 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 21 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 23 23 24 25 25 25 25 26 26 26 26 27 27 27 27 28 28 28 28 29 30 31 31 31 32 32 33 33 33 33 33 34 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 36 37 38 38 38 39 39 40 40 40 40 40 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 46 46 47 47 48 48 49 50 50 50 51 52 52 52 53 54 54 55 56 57 58 58 59 59 60 61 62 62 63 63 63 64 64 64 64 65 66 67 67 68 68 68 68 68 68 69 70 70 71 72 73 74 75 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 82 82 82 83 83 83 83 83 83 83 83 83 83 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 85 86 86 86 86 86 87 88 89 89 89 90 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91
Jenson Button 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 3 4 5 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 12 12 12 12 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 15 15 15 15 15
Kimi Raikkonen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 12 12 12 12 12 13 13 14 15 15 16 16 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 19 19 19 20 20 20 20
Fernando Alonso 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 8 9 9 10 10 10 11 12 13 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 15 15 15 16 16 16 17 17 17 17 17 18 18 18 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 23 23 23 24 25 25 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 28 28 28 28 28 28 29 29 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 31 31
Lewis Hamilton 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 12 13 13 13 13 13 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 18 18 18 18 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 21 21 21 21 21 21
Sebastian Vettel 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 9 10 11 12 12 13 14 15 15 16 16 16 16 17 18 19 19 20 21 21 21 21 21 21 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 23 24 25 26 26 26 26 26 27 27 28
Record: Fangio to Clark 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24
Record: Clark to Stewart 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25
Record: Stewart to Prost 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27
Record: Prost to Schumacher 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51 51
Record: Schumacher to ? 91 91 91 91

Giuseppe Farina won the first ever world championship race but Juan Manuel Fangio and Alberto Ascari quickly outstripped his wins tally. The latter lost his life in 1955, leaving Fangio to set the benchmark at 24 wins when he retired from racing in 1958. Two of those were shared victories with other drivers.

Armed with the Lotus 49, Jim Clark would probably moved the tally further than he did had he not been killed in 1968. Fellow Scotsman Jackie Stewart picked up the baton and his 27 wins stood as the record from 1973 to 1987.

Niki Lauda came closest to Stewart’s record in the meantime, winning 25 times. But it was his former McLaren team mate Alain Prost who finally beat it.

Prost already had 17 victories to his name when Ayrton Senna became a winner in 1985. Senna never surpassed the wins tally of his great rival. He came closest following his victory in the 1993 European Grand Prix at Donington Park, with 38 wins to Prost’s 45, but by the end of his final season Prost had raised the bar to 51. Three races later Senna lost his life at Imola.

In the absence of Prost and Senna plus Nelson Piquet and, later, Nigel Mansell, the way was clear for Michael Schumacher to begin his assault on the record books. The combination of his supreme talent and an often dominant Ferrari allowed him to push the record to extraordinary new heights.

Will Schumacher ever be caught?

Lee Wallard, Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser, Indianapolis 500, 1951Just as impressive as Schumacher’s total number of wins is the high rate of wins he enjoyed across 19 seasons of Formula One. Despite a winless three-year comeback with Mercedes he departed the sport having won almost 30% of all the races he started.

That’s more than Vettel and any of the other drivers enjoy at the moment. For Vettel to reach Schumacher’s tally at his current rate he would need to start a further 237 races which would probably take until 2027.

It’s not inconceivable the 25-year-old Vettel will carry on racing into his 21st season. But it’s doubtful Alonso, 31, will hang around until 2032 to amass the 591 starts he requires to match Schumacher’s win tally at his current rate.

It’s a statistical oddity that the driver who enjoys the highest win rate for world championship races is Lee Wallard, winner of the 1951 Indianapolis 500. The race countes towards the championship that year and it, along with the previous year’s race, were the only two championship events Wallard started.

Among regular grand prix drivers Fangio has the highest win rate. But Schumacher’s is especially impressive given it spanned a career of over 300 races.

Here are the top ten race winners in terms of total wins and their winning rate:

Driver Starts Most wins rank Wins Win rate rank Win rate (%)
Michael Schumacher 306 1 91 6 29.64
Alain Prost 199 2 51 9 25.63
Ayrton Senna 161 3 41 10 25.47
Nigel Mansell 187 4 31 16 16.58
Fernando Alonso 200 4 31 18 15.42
Sebastian Vettel 105 6 28 8 26.67
Jackie Stewart 99 7 27 7 27.27
Jim Clark 72 8 25 5 34.72
Niki Lauda 171 8 25 20 14.62
Juan Manuel Fangio 51 10 24 2 47.06
Lee Wallard 2 72 1 1 50.0
Alberto Ascari 32 21 13 3 40.63
Bill Vukovich 5 61 2 4 40.0

Over to you

The increasing number of races on the F1 calendar and improvements in driver safety go a long way towards explaining why the record for most wins has continued to grow.

But can it go much further? Will we ever see a driver hit 100 wins? And will someone on the grid today be the person to do it?

Have your say in the comments.

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53 comments on Schumacher’s 91 wins record looks safe for now

  1. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 2nd May 2013, 13:11

    It won’t happen unless races start to get incredibly porcessional and one of the top drivers gets a very fast and reliable car in consecutive seasons.

    Red Bull and Vettel might be dominant force in recent seasons (and 37 wins in 3 and a bit years is incredibly impressive), but with current tyres and DRS and all… I’m not so sure.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 2nd May 2013, 13:23

      @fer-no65 That is impressive. Question is, is it impressive enough? The Red Bull-Vettel partnership has won 21 races from 2010-2012. The Schumacher-Ferrari partnership won 24 races in 2000, 2001, and 2003 (it’s 3 “not-so-dominant” titles), and won another 24 races in 2002 and 2004 alone.

      • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 2nd May 2013, 19:02

        Schumacher won 48 races in the 5 consecutive seasons from 2002-2004. That’s an average of 10 wins per year, and he won something like 57% of the total races held during this period of time.

        Tbh, I can never see such a domination period replicated again.

        Another thing to note was that Schumacher was exceptionally good at bagging in lots of race wins, including during his non-dominant years.

        For instance, in 2000 Schumi won 9 races compared to 4 for Mika.
        In 2003, he won 6 races when no one else won more than 2.

        Nobody can argue that he had a dominant car in these two seasons, and he still won much more races than anyone else.

        • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 2nd May 2013, 19:08

          5 consecutive seasons from 2002-2004

          2000-2004.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd May 2013, 20:19

            Agreed: even though Vettel has undeniably had a good car these last three years, neither could hold a candle to the level of sustained dominance the Ferrari’s had.

            That, coupled with an arguably more talented field relative to the champion and I can’t see Vettel winning thirteen races in a season. Eleven was highly unexpected.

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 2nd May 2013, 23:27

            Schumacher did not have a dominant car in 1995, 2000 nor 2003 yet he still won a ridiculous amount of races that season compared to his rivals. Michael was the master of bagging up wins.

  2. knoxploration said on 2nd May 2013, 13:15

    Ah, but now take your graph above (which brings my browser to its knees, by the way) and disable every line except Schumacher and Vettel. Take a screenshot, and overlay Vettel’s win record over Schumachers, precisely aligning the moment of both drivers’ first wins.

    Notice anything? Vettel has hit that 27th win at almost exactly the same moment in his career that Schumacher did. And Schumacher got that first win at the age of 23 years and eight months, or near as makes no difference. Vettel was two and a half years younger when he got that first win, so realistically he could remain in F1 for easily an extra two and a half years over what Schumacher managed.

    I am not a betting man, but if I were, I would not be betting against Vettel to take that record from Schumacher.

    • Is the graph in Atari mode? It loads like 1 minute after the page and delay my browser.

      First off, I’d thought Schumacher record won’t be nor approached, nor equalled, nor beaten. But if Vettel can carry on this way, anything could happen.

    • safeeuropeanhome (@debaser91) said on 2nd May 2013, 14:11

      Yes but Michael Schumacher has 6 or 7 years coming up in his career where Ferrari approached a level of dominance that I am extremely sceptical that we will ever see again. Its not the age, Vettel needs to have a good car basically every season for the rest of his career.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd May 2013, 14:43

        yes, a great – or even dominant – car, and that for the next 10 years at least. Not likely to happen indeed

      • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 2nd May 2013, 16:23

        @debaser91 don’t forget champions get good contracts and with that, good cars. Or the car may not be exceptionally good, but they can develop it (Schum did it with Ferrari, I don’t think it’s a miracle Red Bull is a dominant car, just for Newey, Vettel must be part of “reading” what the car behavior is).
        So if Vettel keeps till 40 in F1, it could happen.
        Of course, don’t forget there are stronger rivals now than in Schum’s times. That makes the record difficult to reach. And don’t forget, as well, that new talents (real talents) appear from time to time. In 3 or 4 years, I think Hulkenberg, maybe Bianchi, maybe Perez, can be in the fight for the title as well, so even when Button, Webber or Kimi step aside, new guys will replace them to snatch victories (and championships)

        • safeeuropeanhome (@debaser91) said on 2nd May 2013, 16:48

          @omarr-pepper It is true the best drivers end up in the best cars but I cannot see Vettel going through the entirety of his career without a lull i.e. where he doesn’t have a car that can win 5 or 6 races a season. If you had posed the question at the end of 2006 as to who would get close to Michael Schumacher’s record people would have said Fernando Alonso. If you had done it at the end of 2008 the same for Lewis Hamilton. Both guys are world champions and should end up in the best cars right?

          In practice it doesn’t quite play out that way, and in the meantime they have both had cars that weren’t capable of winning consistenly, in some cases not capable of winning at all (Alonso 2009) and that has really shot their chances of getting close to 91 wins. All Vettel needs is a few seasons like this and the record will be out of reach.

  3. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 2nd May 2013, 13:17

    The thing with Schumacher’s record is, it expects a lot from the guy who’ll take it (Vettel or someone we haven’t seen yet).

    1. In seasons where they will win the title, they need to dominate (at least 6, ideally 9 wins per year). There’s more chances to hit this mark now in a year. Vettel’s hit this mark once (2011), but the competition has just been too tight for him to pull it off in other years. And they need to win titles almost half the time – Schumi won 7 titles in his 15 full seasons before his first retirement.
    2. In seasons where they will NOT win the title, they need to contend for it anyway (at least 3, ideally 5 wins per year). In Vettel’s case, we haven’t seen him in such a situation yet. Perhaps when he moves to Ferrari…
    3. They need to stick around – Schumacher got his 91 wins by winning for 15 consecutive seasons. Not even Alonso is close to pulling that off (0 wins in 2009). Vettel is already on 6 straight (including this year), but he’s got 9 years to go yet.

  4. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 2nd May 2013, 13:50

    I actually think it’s quite likely that Vettel could do it. As long as he continues on his current trajectory and stays in top cars (he’ll pretty much be able to pick his seat once Red Bull finally starts to fade) his ambition to rack up the numbers and break records will keep him going well into his forties. Advances in medicine, physical conditioning and nutrition should make that a doddle.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd May 2013, 20:33

      @spawinite the thing is though, I think what he really needs is not to be in the sport for a long time but to have a car which can reliably score him wins akin to the RB7 for a good few seasons, which is pretty much a statiscal impossibility given the current constrictions of the rules.

      I could absolutely see him winning 7 or more titles (he’s nearly halfway there and only 25!) but 91 victories? Seems like a longshot to me…

      However, Schumacher’s 68 pole positions record I think is far from safe!

  5. M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 2nd May 2013, 14:03

    Personally hope the record never gets beaten, and I don’t say that merely because Vettel would be the most likely to judging by the strength of Red Bull, but because I feel any driver dominating so regularly is damaging for the sport in the long run.

    Schumacher is highly respected, there’s no doubt about it, but people don’t hold up ’02 or ’04 as his ‘golden years,’ they’re viewed as what they were – snooze fests where other often equally great drivers (Montoya/Kimi/Hakkinen before he burnt out etc) were unable to touch him because the car was simply so dominant.

    For any driver, and this goes for ones like I like, and the ones I don’t, to match that, he would have to have multiple seasons that would be;
    a) Incredibly dull to watch.
    b) No reflection on the driver’s skill and deservedness of a championship, one way or the other.

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 2nd May 2013, 21:06

      Oh I so agree. Not because I have anything for Schumacher, it’s just that these records represent fundamentally boring periods of racing. I remember those seasons where I didn’t even bother finding out who won because it was always Schu – they were dead years, and I hope they never happen again.
      Overall, this article just shows how irrelevant statistics are. If Lee Wallard can post a 50% success rate and Brawn can post a 100% success rate (don’t talk to me about name changes; Brawn was the entrant), it shows how pointless these exercises are. Sorry Keith.

    • Brakius (@brakius) said on 2nd May 2013, 21:36

      While there might have been quite a few dull races to watch, I think we also got to see some flashes of brilliance. The 2004 French GP for example was an example of strategic brilliance and flawless execution from the entire team. For a boring season that was one hell of a race I won’t forget.

  6. Toro Stevo (@toro-stevo) said on 2nd May 2013, 14:09

    Schumacher’s dominance on his way to his 91 wins has made it more difficult for other drivers to reach this point, as difficult as that feat is to begin with. This is because his success, particularly with Ferrari, was a major factor in the resulting changes in philosophy of those running F1. The way F1 is run and regulated now I believe makes it much more difficult for a single team to dominate, the regulators are much quicker in changing the rules up to head off dominance.

    There has been a gradual shift in the philosophy of how F1 is run from the days where it was not considered unusual nor a problem for a team or driver to dominate a few years running (Fangio, Clark & Stewart look just as dominant as Schumacher). Now competition between drivers and teams is required by those running the sport for financial reasons, not just between years but within each individual season. And those that run the sport are now much more involved in ensuring that this occurs. Now it’s silly to attribute this change entirely to Schumacher, this change would have occurred eventually, but I believe the success that Schumacher had coupled with the decreasing viewership during those years had a fundamental impact on the people running F1. Hence why his success on the way to 91 race wins has helped ensure that he is likely to hold his record much longer than previous holders.

    The jokers in the pack though are Vettel, Newey and how many races Bernie can fit into a season.

  7. RON LANTERN said on 2nd May 2013, 14:36

    A potential problem that is on the horizon is the 2014 chassis and engine combinations. Who is to say that REDBULL will still get it right and another team won’t. When the formula takes a new direction often the pot of success is stirred in such a fashion that maybe Caterham suddenly becomes the cream of the crop. Although unlikely none of us has a crystal ball and for Vettle to continue to amass so many wins seems questionable.

  8. JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 2nd May 2013, 14:37

    Vettel definitely looks like he has the best chance of the current crop of drivers, but even if he had triple the amount of starts, and kept the same win rate, he would ‘only’ tally up to 84 wins, which whilst impressive it would still fall short of the ultimate record.

    For Seb to do it, he’s going to need to (providing we stick with a calendar of around 20 races) win 6 or 7 races a year for the next ten years, and if he were able to do that, he would not only be the most successful driver in terms of wins, but given how many Champions (or near Champions) have won that amount during their Championship year lately (Hamilton and Massa in 2008, Button in 2009, Vettel and Alonso in 2010, Vettel in 2012) he’d have a great shot at the 7 world titles, which is slightly daunting.

  9. BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd May 2013, 14:41

    Will we ever see a driver hit 100 wins? And will someone on the grid today be the person to do it?

    I most certainly hope not to see any driver doing that one. I sincerely hope that in between we will have enough great drivers entering the sport that by the time they come in their prime, the likes of Button, Massa, Webber, Kimi and Alonso will be gone and the Vettels, Hamiltons, Rosbergs, Perezes, Hulkenbergs and who knows will also have to be on top of their game to match the new upcoming talents.

    One factor in Schumi’s career has undoubtedly been him raising fitness to a new level. Today the field is more leveled as everyone is about the same level as standards have gone up. I doubt we are going to see the same kind of situation with this exceptional driver, a relative lack of other top drivers at top teams and the dominant package Ferrari were able to build in the 2000′s get together anytime soon , and I am glad it wont.

  10. mantresx (@mantresx) said on 2nd May 2013, 16:19

    Whether Vettel could do it or not is not up to him actually, you can be the best driver in the world but if the car is not dominant for several years in a row there’s simply no chance Schumacher’s wins record will be beaten.

  11. Traverse (@) said on 2nd May 2013, 16:35

    And will someone on the grid today be the person to do it?

    I’m willing to bet a pack of 6 almond rounds (with a tin of custard of course), a Dime bar (half eaten) and a signed picture of Flavio Briatore butt naked doing Usain Bolt’s victory stance, that Jules Bianchi will be the man that beats Schumi’s tally of 91 wins.

  12. Moh'd AlAmmari said on 2nd May 2013, 16:44

    Let’s not forget the surcumstances were different back then, they use to have 12-14 races a year whereas now 20 in per season.
    Drivers used to join F1 in their 20s whereas now u can join F1 at age 18-19.

  13. Makana (@makana) said on 2nd May 2013, 16:48

    91 wins seems incredibly difficult to reach but 7 world championships, for a triple world champion at 25… hmmm possible.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd May 2013, 21:28

      @makana agreed: 91 victories seems a long shot considering the competitiveness of the grid, but that might turn out to be his alibi in his efforts to win 7 titles: it’s very posisble he could be a 4 time champion at the end of this season, which at 26 is really good going!

      I think the only other record of Schumacher’s he could touch though is 68 pole positions – that doesn’t look that hard to beat for someone who already has 38!

  14. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 2nd May 2013, 17:40

    The rules of modern F1, where the FIA more or less openly enforces a high degree of parity between cars, make it virtually impossible for a modern driver to duplicate Schumachers feat of 91 wins. Unless they expand the season to 30 races: then, perhaps …

    Given the rules of the sport as they have been for the last several years, it’s extremely impressive that Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton have been able to rack up the numbers they have. Just imagine any of them in a car as dominant as an MP4/4 or FW14B or F2004.

    • anon said on 4th May 2013, 9:09

      Schumacher only ever had a truly dominant car in 2002 and 2004. In 2001 Ferrari was only slightly better. Williams had terrible reliability and Hakkinen had a poor season (Schumacher broke his will), so it flattered the Ferrari’s performance.

      He never had the best car in the 90′s, but was always competing for wins. It wasn’t until 1999 he had a car on par with the McLaren, but then he broke his leg. It seemed like it was never going to happen for him at Ferrari despite clearly being the best driver on the grid by far.

      2000 the Ferrari and McLaren were even. The middle of the season was disastrous for Schumacher and by the time Ferrari got to Monza it seemed McLaren had the faster package and all the momentum. Hence why the pressure of everything got to Schumacher and he cried in the interview after winning at Monza. If Hakkinen’s engine doesn’t blow up at Indy it might have changed everything and Hakkinen would have put himself among the legends of the sport winning three straight titles.

      It seems people forget how special 2000 was. He didn’t have the best car. It seemed like his championship for the taking until he had reliability problems like in Monaco and being taken out through no fault of his own like at the A-1 Ring and Hockenheim. Hakkinen puts that pass on him at Spa, everything was against him it seemed. He wins that critical race at Monza. If Hakkinen won and Schumacher had of been second it would have been 10 points difference with 3 races remaining.

      2003 he had a car almost uncompetitive at times because Michelin were the superior tyres. He didn’t have a dominant car, let alone a superior car in 2003. The FIA had pulled out all the stops to stop Ferrari dominating like they did in 02. It was his great drive at Indy in the wet that won the championship in the end. He had clearly been the best driver of the season again, though I thought 2003 was the first time in his career that he had some actual “bad” races. The same hunger wasn’t there in a few races. The closeness of the championship gave Schumacher and Ferrari a scare and made them realise the field had caught back up and nothing short of 100% commitment at all times would suffice. And that’s how the dominance of 2004 came about.

      I sometimes think Schumacher’s legacy would have been better served by losing 2003 and instead winning 2006 instead because people with poor memory or those who didn’t watch the races seem to brush over the era as Ferrari being unbeatable from 2000-2004 when it’s far from the case. Yes, a dominant car in 2002 and 2004, but only unbeatable in Schumacher’s hands. He only ever had the best car for three seasons in his career, and when he did have the best car he broke every record in the book.

  15. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 2nd May 2013, 17:43

    That’s an impressive jump by Schumacher, almost as good as Webbers after his first win!

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