Brawn's WCC Lead

After the Bahrain GP Brawn's WCC lead is 22.5 points, I was asked how often a team
has lost such a lead.

First a bit of background.

The WCC began in 1958. From that year until 1978 the scoring matched that in the WDC, except
that there were no points for fastest lap, and only the highest-placed finisher in any team scored
points. From 1958 to 1960 the maximum score in any race was 8 points, and then from 1961 to
1978 it was 9 points.

From 1979 to 2009 both drivers scores were counted. The maximum available in each race was 15
(1979-90), 16 (1991-2002) & 18 (since 2003).

These are the infrequent occasions when a team led the WCC by more than Brawn's 22.5 and
contrived to lose that lead.

1991 - McLaren led by over 30 points, but were caught by Williams.
They regained and lost the lead, but ended as WCC champions.

1994 - Benetton led by more than 30 points, were caught by Williams,
regained the lead and then lost again.

1999 - Ferrari led by 24 points after Monaco, were caught by McLaren,
but regained the lead and won the WCC.

2000 - Ferrari led by 29 points after Imola, were caught by McLaren,
regained the lead and won the WCC.

2005 - Renault led by 23 points after the European GP, but were caught
by McLaren, then regained the lead and won the WCC.

So in five seasons a lead of at least 22.5 points has been lost, but on only one occasion did the
team fail to regain it. The lead was not necessarily over the team which later caught them. In
some cases the other team were lying third or lower.

In 2007 McLaren 'lost' a large lead, but the official records exclude McLaren from the official
tables. They led Ferrari by more than 22.5 points following six of the events, but would have
been overtaken by Ferrari at the final race. That scenario assumes that they still lost their
15 points from the Hungarian GP, which were withheld after the Hamilton/Alonso qualifying
fiasco.

I also wondered if any team had led by as many points after only four events:

1981 Williams led by 26 points after the 2nd & 3rd events.
1989 McLaren led by 27 points after 3 events & by 36 after 4.
1991 McLaren led by 30 after 3 & 34 after 4.
1992 Williams led by 23 after 2, 37 after 3 & 41 after 4.
1996 Williams - 29 after 3 & 39 after 4.
1998 McLaren - 24 after 2.
1999 Ferrari - 24 after 4.
2000 Ferrari - 29 after 3.
2004 Ferrari - 29 after 3 & 33 after 4.
2007 Ferrari - 26 after 4 [ignoring McLaren].

While researching the above I saved the data and did some analysis:

Here is a list of the number of events after which teams led the WCC. The bracketed numbers
indicate events where they shared the lead by having the same number of points (in some cases
it would be possible to rank them depending on results, but I have not done that).

Last Time
Team Events GP Year
======================================
Ferrari 228 (6) BRA 2008
McLaren-Tag           29 (2)  Det 1987
McLaren-Honda 61 AUS 1991
McLaren-Ford 30 (4) Eur 1993
McLaren-Mercedes 35 (1) SIN 2008
155 (7)
Williams-Ford         27      USA 1981
Williams-Honda 26 (2) AUS 1987
Williams-Renault 60 (3) Eur 1997
Williams-BMW 4 ITA 2003
117 (5)
Lotus-Climax          23      MEX 1965
Lotus-Ford 53 (1) CDN 1978
Lotus-Renault 4 (1) MON 1985
80 (2)
Renault               46 (3)  BRA 2006
Cooper-Climax         24      MON 1962
Cooper-Maserati 1 RSA 1967
25
Benetton-Ford         13      Eur 1994
Benetton-Renault 12 AUS 1995
25
Brabham-Repco         16 (1)  MEX 1967
Brabham-Ford 6 (2) BEL 1975
Brabham-BMW 1 BRA 1983
23 (3)
Tyrrell-Ford          17 (1)  ITA 1973
BRM 14 MON 1966
Matra-Ford 11 MEX 1969
Ligier-Ford 4 ESP 1979
Brawn-Mercedes 4 BRN 2009
Vanwall 3 MAR 1958
March-Ford 3 NED 1970
Wolf-Ford 1 ARG 1977
BMW Sauber 1 BRN 2008
--------------------------------------
Total Events 743

Also, in 16 seasons one team led the WCC throughout the season:

Cooper-Climax   1959-60
Lotus 1968, 78
Matra 1969
Ferrari 1976, 2001, 04, 07
Williams 1981, 92, 96
McLaren 1984, 88, 90, 98

In another four seasons one team led the whole season except after the first event:

1961  Ferrari (Lotus)
1967 Brabham (Cooper)
1977 Ferrari (Wolf)
1989 McLaren (Ferrari)
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
I'll ignore 2007 if thats all right with you, Brian, I can't understand why we'd go on about Ferrari's lead when it was an off-track issue. Did Benetton-Ford in 1994 suffer the same problem, namely the mid-season loss of their (same) lead driver. You are likely to lose a WCC lead if you have to replace Michael Schumacher with Lehto or Salo!

2005 is always a good one imo, it showed that by being the faster car the WCC could be there for the taking despite a huge lead. The only problem was that exploding Mercedes - how often did Kimi start a race 11th because of a 10-place pen?

It is also interesting that McLaren 'only' led by 21 points after the 4th race of the 1988 season [Mexico], in a season they dominated the pants off...

So it looks good for Brawn at the moment, but you never know how high you can fly when your team gives you wings...

(Can ya tell who it is yet?)
 
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