Last year, after the Abu Dhabi race, McLaren broke the record of the longest streak of races finished in the points in Formula One history. Before that, the previous record was set by Ferrari in 2003. In the meantime, the Italian team also managed to break their previous record, while McLaren further improved their run.
This might seem like a useless record, but we think it’s quite interesting to see what Formula One teams were most constant throughout history. As you can probably guess, the top is dominated by performances achieved after the year 2000, when the cars’ reliability has been significantly improved. Actually, there’s only one presence from before 2000 and that is Cooper.
But enough talking, let’s see the longest point finishing runs in Formula One history (at least 20 races):
11. Red Bull (22 consecutive races finished in the points, between 2009 and 2010)
The season that was marked by Brawn GP’s domination also marked the beginning for Red Bull’s climb in Formula One. It all began with Sebastian Vettel’s podium at the Belgian Grand Prix and it ended the following year, at the 2010 Korean Grand Prix, when both drivers abandoned (Vettel with engine failure and Webber made a mistake and hit a barrier).
A total number of 22 consecutive races were finished in the points by at least one driver, including 10 wins and 4 races in which both Red Bull pilots were on the first two steps of the podium. The streak almost came to an end at the 2010 Australian Grand Prix, when mechanical problems forced Vettel to abandon and Webber finished only ninth (the new points system had just been implemented, because until 2010, only the first eight drivers scored points).
10. McLaren (26 races, 2000-2001)
In a time when only the first six drivers scored points, McLaren achieved 26 consecutive finishes in the points, starting with the 2000 San Marino Grand Prix, when both Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard finished in the points (the Finn second and David third). The two would go on and win a combined number of 9 victories and 29 podiums until the 2001 German Grand Prix, when both were forced to retire with car problems.
Despite these results, McLaren didn’t win the Constructors’ or the Drivers’ Championship that year, because, unfortunately for them, Ferrari and Michael Schumacher were just about to start what it became probably the most impressive domination in Formula One history, which brought them five consecutive Championships.
9. Cooper (27 finishes, 1959-1962)
Considering the more “romantic” times when this performance was achieved, it’s probably one of the most impressive on our list, even though it’s only on the eighth spot. There are “only” 27 races, but let’s not forget that there were only nine races in the calendar in those times, so the British team’s point finishing streak span over four seasons. Not to mention that in one of these seasons (1959) only five pilots were awarded points.
Jack Brabham got the most impressive results (seven wins), but Bruce McLaren also won three races, before starting his own team. The streak started at the 1959 Monaco Grand Prix and ended with a win at the 1962 Monaco Grand Prix (in the following race, the Belgian Grand Prix, all Cooper drivers abandoned).
8. Lotus (29 finishes, 2012-present)
After Tony Fernandes acquired the rights for the Team Lotus name, he announced that Renault will be renamed to Lotus F1 Team and that its drivers for the new season will be Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen (who returned to Formula One after a two-year break, during which he raced in the World Rally Championship). And what the two drivers achieved is quite impressive, because at least one of them managed to score points in all the races from the 2012 and 2013 season (including two wins and nine podiums). And it looks like they’re not planning on stopping here (in the last race, the German Grand Prix, they placed 2nd and 3rd) so there is still room for the team’s streak to improve and move its way up on this list.
7. Ferrari (33 finishes, 2003-2005)
The Italian team’s point finishing streak started at the 2003 San Marino Grand Prix and by the end of the 2004 season, Ferrari drivers managed to win an impressive total number of 23 races (19 for Schumacher and 4 for Barrichello). But everything started crumbling in 2005. Barrichello placed second in the first race and Schumacher 7th in the second one, but the streak ended at the Bahrain Grand Prix, when hydraulics failure forced Schumacher to abandon and Barrichello only finished ninth.
This was the beginning of an awful season for the Italian team, finishing the season third in the Constructors’ Championship, with the champions, Renault, scoring almost twice the number of points. Also, at the end of the season, Barrichello was replaced by another Brazilian driver, Felipe Massa.
6. Red Bull (33 finishes, 2010-2012)
Ferrari’s achievement was matched by Red Bull seven years later. After the 22-race streak ended in 2010 in Korea, Red Bull began another impressive streak, starting with the next race, the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix (Vettel actually won the remaining two races of the season). The streak continued throughout the entire 2011 season (when Red Bull didn’t have any rivals, winning 12 races) and ended in 2012 at the Italian Grand Prix, when Vettel retired due to alternator failure and Webber spun.
During these 33 races, except for just three races, at least one of Red Bull’s drivers managed to finish above the sixth place.
5. BMW-Sauber (34 finishes, 2007-2008)
During its brief Formula One spell, the BMW-Sauber team managed to earn a spot on this list through the results achieved by Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica in the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Except for the last race of 2008, the team scored points in every race in these seasons.
During this time there are two important moments worth mentioning. First one when Sebastian Vettel saved this streak by finishing 8th at the United States Grand Prix (after Heidfeld abandoned due to hydraulics problem), also becoming the youngest driver in Formula One history to score points, at 19 years and 349 days. He came as a replacement for Robert Kubica, after the Polish driver suffered a terrible crash in Canada. And a year later, at the same Canadian Grand Prix, Kubica won the first and only race for BMW Sauber, before financial difficulties forced the team to withdraw from Formula One in 2009.
4. Ferrari (46 finishes, 2006-2008)
In 2006, the year Michael Schumacher announced his first retirement from Formula One, the German started an impressive run for Ferrari at the San Marino Grand Prix. The streak was later continued by Kimi Raikkonen, who began his career at Ferrari with a win in his first race, the 2007 Australian Grand Prix and who became World Champion at the end of that season.
2008 was Felipa Massa’s year, who won a total number of five races, including Valencia and Spa-Francorchamps, before ending the point scoring streak at the Singapore Grand Prix. That was probably one of the worst races of the year for the Italian team: Raikkonen crashed just 4 laps before the finish and Massa only placed 13th, after he spun and was also involved in the famous pit accident when he left with the fuel hose still attached to the car. Many agree this race also cost Massa the Championship title, Alonso winning the title by only one point.
3. Ferrari (55 finishes, 1999-2003)
Five seasons, that’s how long Ferrari managed to score points without missing one race, leading to one of the most impressive point scoring streak in Formula One history. The run was started by Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher at the inaugural Malaysian Grand Prix. Between 2000 and 2002, Schumacher and Barrichello won a total of 34 races and there were only nine races when at least one Ferrari driver wasn’t on the podium. Ironically, the Sepang race (which was now the second race of the season) was also the last one in the impressive run, Barrichello finishing second and Schumacher sixth, before both abandoned in the next race, the Brazilian Grand Prix.
2. Ferrari (57 finishes, 2010-present)
With Red Bull dominating the last two Formula One seasons, it’s clear that the current Ferrari car isn’t living up to Fernando Alonso’s expectations. However, the Italian team is currently on a point scoring streak that could go straight into the history books. It all started at the 2010 German Grand Prix, which sparked a lot of controversy with Ferrari’s famous team message “Felipe, Fernando is faster than you”, urging Massa to let Alonso pass. Anyway, the point is that until now, at least one Ferrari driver managed to score points in each race. Actually, except for four races (Belgium 2010, Canada 2011, Belgium and Japan 2012), Alonso scored points in every other race he started.
The 2013 British Grand Prix was the moment when the Italian team broke its previous record, the one set between 1999 and 2003. It’s also worth mentioning that if Ferrari keeps going like this, they might also break the overall record that belongs to…
1. McLaren (64 finishes, 2010-2013)
McLaren became the team with most consecutive race finishes in the points when Jensen Button placed fourth at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, breaking Ferrari’s nine year old record. The incredible run started with Lewis Hamilton finishing on the podium at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix. Three incredible seasons followed, with the two British drivers winning a total of 16 races and 45 podiums.
The streak was pretty close to an end when the team almost failed to score points at the 2012 Korean Grand Prix, with Button abandoning after a crash with Kamui Kobayashi in the first lap and Hamilton only managing to finish 10th. The current season saw McLaren losing Hamilton, who was replaced by Sergio Perez and it looks like things aren’t going to well for the British team, considering the best performance in the first five races of the season being a 5th place won by Button in China. And three races ago, at the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix, McLaren’s incredible run ended after Perez finished 11th and Button 12th.