Highest Number Of Winners In Field?

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    So with some of the talk this season being about the depth of talent in F1 nowadays and the fact that 5 champions are driving at once, I began to think about how many race winners there are in the field. If I’m not mistaken, there are ten race winners currently having driven in a race this season (and I think the only one who hasn’t driven in every race is Jarno Trulli). That would mean at some point around 41% of the field were race winning drivers.

    So my question to you stats people is: what’s the highest percentage of F1 race winning drivers to have started a championship race?

    And to lengthen the discussion: would you guys feel the field with the highest percentage represents the most talented/challenging field of drivers in F1 history or would you argue for that belonging to some other era/season/race?



    There were 12 in 2009, and we only had 20 drivers back then, which makes it 60%. Not quite sure about the record, but 2009 has surely got to be close to it.

    It’s hard to say: does having so many champions/winners mean we have an incredibly talented field or is it because noone stands out for being great? Hard to say and as ever, hard to compare different eras.



    There were also 12 winners in 2008, with Coulthard on the grid and Webber yet to win.



    Yes, but only after Monza. In 2009 it was only for one weekend, between Webber’s first win and Massa’s injury, which happened at consecutive races. So in 2009 there was actually no actual race start with 12 winners, if I’m not mistaken.



    I think it is from end 2008 really.

    I had to look on San Marino 1982 but there was only four: both Ferrari and Renault drivers. Alboreto was the only one from the rest of the field who won later.



    If you can count eventual race winners, in the 1961 Dutch GP, 12 drivers out of the 15 who started were or would go on to win a race or races.

    I think some random race in the 60s or 70s might have the highest number.



    The races with the highest number of winners on the grid were Belgium and Spain 1978, with the following 15: Andretti, Brambilla, Depailler, Fittipaldi, Hunt, Ickx, Jones, Laffite, Lauda, Mass, Peterson, Regazzoni, Reutemann, Scheckter, Watson. None of Brambilla, Mass or Regazzoni had qualified for the previous race (in Monaco) which was Depailler’s first win, and Jacky Ickx did not qualify for the following race (in Sweden).

    Conversely, 3 races have not seen a single winner on the grid (excluding future winners of course): Britain 1950 (the first World Championship GP), Indianapolis 1950, and Italy 1960 (several teams withdrew on safety grounds).

    Since then the record low (excluding USA 2005 with 2 winners) is the early races of 1995 (when the only winners were Schumacher, Hill, and Berger) before Alesi won his first race, as well as the 2 races in 1994 for which Schumacher was banned (Hill, Berger, and Alboreto were the only winners).

    Thanks to http://www.statsf1.com for this!



    1985 has 15:

    Alain Prost

    Michele Alboreto

    Keke Rosberg

    Ayrton Senna

    Elio di Angelis

    Nigel Mansell

    Nelson Piquet

    Jacques Laffite

    Thierry Boutson

    Patric Tambay

    Alan Jones

    John Watson

    Gerhard Berger

    Rene Arnoux

    Riccardo Patrese

    That’s got to be the most, isn’t it?



    There were 11 last year, of course, with the current ten plus Robert Kubica.

    If you count eventual winners (like Kingshark) we’d be up to 13 or 14. Not sure who and when the next new winner will be, but I think we can add Rosberg, di Resta and at least one current Sauber driver.

    It makes the field appear stronger if there are more winners and champions. The opposition looked weak during (or just after) the periods when Senna and Prost, or Schumacher, dominated. But I’m convinced today’s drivers are stronger in depth than when people like Montoya, Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher were regular winners.



    Good find, Paul! And since the first part of my question was about the highest percentage of winners to start a race, I don’t think we ought to count eventual winners. HOWEVER, I do think that counts for something in regards to arguing over what was the best field in the sport’s history. Hence, the second half of my question.

    I’m checking those two grands prix and both had 24 starters. That means 62%. That still doesn’t quite answer the question definitively as to which race had the highest percentage of winners (though if I had more time and was truly bored, I’m sure I could use that website to scour each race and figure it out).

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