C. Sainz* (Ferrari) 127 pts
G. Russell (Mercedes) 111 pts
L. Norris (McLaren) 58 pts
K. Magnussen (Haas) 16 pts
Y. Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) 11 pts
G. Zhou [r] (Alfa Romeo) 5 pts
M. Schumacher (Haas) 4 pts
A. Albon (Williams) 3 pts
L. Stroll (Aston Martin) 3 pts
N. Latifi (Williams) 0 pts
N. Hulkenberg (Aston Martin) 0 pts
* driver has won a race this year and will not be eligible for next season's trophy; [r] = Rookie
Challenger Trophy Rules and Winners
I have created a new F1 Trophy to be awarded at the end of each season. It is inspired by the Jack Sears Trophy in BTCC which recognises the performances of new and improving drivers. I won't go into the detailed rules of the Jack Sears Trophy because it has changed a fair amount over the years. Instead, I will give you my rules:
- A driver is eligible for the Challenger Trophy if they have not won an F1 Grand Prix before the start of a season.
- The driver with the most points at the end of the season wins the trophy.
With these rules, the trophy represents a good season by a driver that has not won a race before. We all know that most F1 drivers don't have a chance to win races because of their machinery, so the idea is to reward good seasons by midfield drivers and Rookies. I think it has some value and interest in highlighting a good driver with potential for future success.
So who would have won this trophy in F1 history?
TROPHY WINNERS (Gold = WDC; Pink = Multiple WDC)
2021 - C. Sainz Jr. (Ferrari)
2020 - S. Perez (Racing Point)
2019 - C. Leclerc (Ferrari)
2018 - N. Hulkenberg (Renault)
2017 - V. Bottas (Mercedes)
2016 - M. Verstappen (Red Bull)
2015 - V. Bottas (Williams)
2014 - D. Ricciardo (Red Bull)
2013 - R. Grosjean (Renault)
2012 - R. Grosjean (Renault)
2011 - N. Rosberg (Mercedes)
2010 - N. Rosberg (Mercedes)
2009 - M. Webber (Red Bull)
2008 - R. Kubica (BMW)
2007 - L. Hamilton (McLaren)
2006 - F. Massa (Ferrari)
2005 - J. Button (BAR)
2004 - J. Button (BAR)
2003 - K. Raikkonen (McLaren)
2002 - K. Raikkonen (McLaren)
2001 - R. Schumacher (Williams)
2000 - R. Barrichello (Ferrari)
1999 - E. Irvine (Ferrari)
1998 - E. Irvine (Ferrari)
1997 - H. Frentzen (Williams)
1996 - J. Villeneuve (Williams)
1995 - D. Coulthard (McLaren)
1994 - M. Hakkinen (McLaren)
1993 - D. Hill (Williams)
1992 - M. Schumacher (Benneton)
1991 - J. Alesi (Ferrari)
1990 - J. Alesi (Tyrrell)
1989 - T. Boutsen (Williams)
1988 - T. Boutsen (Benneton)
1987 - S. Johansson (McLaren)
1986 - S. Johansson (Ferrari)
1985 - A. Senna (Lotus)
1984 - D. Warwick (Renault)
1983 - E. Cheever (Renault)
1982 - K. Rosberg (Williams)
1981 - A. Prost (Renault)
1980 - N. Piquet (Brabham)
1979 - R. Arnoux (Renault)
1978 - P. Depailler (Tyrrell)
1977 - A. Jones (Shadow)
1976 - P. Depailler (Tyrrell)
1975 - J. Hunt (Hesketh)
1974 - J. Sheckter (Tyrrell)
1973 - R. Peterson (Lotus)
1972 - P. Revson (McLaren)
1971 - R. Peterson (March)
1970 - C. Regazzoni (Ferrari)
1969 - J. Rindt (Lotus)
1968 - J. Ickx (Ferrari)
1967 - D. Hulme (Brabham)
1966 - J. Rindt (Cooper)
1965 - J. Stewart (BRM)
1964 - L. Bandini (Ferrari)
1963 - R. Ginther (BRM)
1962 - G. Hill (BRM)
1961 - W. von Trips (Ferrari)
1960 - I. Ireland (Lotus)
1959 - J. Brabham (Cooper)
1958 - R. Salvodori (Cooper)
1957 - C.A.S. Brooks (Vanwall)
1956 - P. Collins (Ferrari)
1955 - S. Moss (Mercedes)
1954 - M. Trintignant (Ferrari)
1953 - M. Hawthorn (Ferrari)
1952 - P. Taruffi (Ferrari)
1951 - A. Ascari (Ferrari)
That is a pretty good list of top F1 drivers, which includes nearly all the drivers we consider as 'the greats'. There are also great drivers that missed out narrowly because another driver had a superb season. I won't bore you with the details of each season, but here are a few of note:
1. K. Raikkonen (McLaren) - 91pts
2. F. Alonso (Renault) - 55pts
3. J. Trulli (Renault) - 33pts
1. A. Senna (Lotus) - 38pts
2. N. Mansell (Williams) - 31pts
3. S. Johansson (Tyrrell) - 26pts
1. J. Sheckter (Tyrrell) - 45pts
2. N. Lauda (Ferrari) - 38pts
3. C. Reutemann (Brabham) - 32pts
1. G. Hill (BRM) - 42pts
2. J. Clark (Lotus) - 30pts
3. J. Surtees (Ferrari) - 19pts
To see how well this Trophy aligns with future Champions, I have done some totting-up. 23 out of 34 World Champions were winners of the Challenger Trophy. 10 out of 16 multiple WDC's won this trophy, those that didn't were:
- J. M. Fangio (not eligible as he won in the first Championship season)
- J. Clark (2nd to another WDC)
- N. Lauda (2nd to another WDC)
- F. Alonso (2nd to another WDC)
- S. Vettel (3rd in 2008. Kubica won)
- E. Fittipaldi (started his first season half way through and won a race meaning he had no real chance)
So you can see that Multiple World Champions are nearly always contenders for the Challenger Trophy. I'm sure that an assessment of single World Champions would show similar findings.
Good things about this trophy:
- It is a better solution than Rookie of the year because the driver pool is bigger and more competitive.
- It adds to competition in the midfield.
- I think drivers would value the trophy because it is won before or during the season of your first win. Of course, seasoned winners wouldn't care but they would no longer be involved anyway.
- The competition doesn't get stale because once a driver gets a race win they are no longer eligible.
- It's simple.
- There are just as many average drivers on this list as all-time greats.
- It is still reliant on car performance. George Russell hasn’t been near competing for this in the Williams.
- A driver can have a bad season in a good car and win this trophy.
- Occasionally you get a blowout season where a young driver goes to a big team and wins by miles.
- Occasionally a driver is punished for having an incredible one-off win in their first season. After that they cannot compete (see E. Fittipaldi).
- None of the above teams or drivers were aware that they were competing for said trophy. If they were, the results may have been different.
- I'm sure there are other factors at play that I haven't thought of.
Anyway, let me know your thoughts and sorry if someone has done this before.
Also, let me know if you spot a mistake. I pulled this together manually.
17/02/2022 update notes - see post #33
Edited by Joshrobins13, Yesterday, 08:35.