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"Worst" Championship car to win in the past 40 years?


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#1 George Costanza

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:36

What was the "worst" car to win the driver's championship since 1982? Would it be Alain Prost in 1986 or Michael Schumacher in 1995?

Curious of everyone's opinion.

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#2 Risil

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:41

I don't think the Brawn was particularly good, but it had more downforce than the others at the beginning and Button made things count in the first half of 2009. The way it nightmarishly turned into a car that Button struggled to get into the points overnight makes me think there was something pretty wrong with the design that only came to light once they started to develop and push the envelope.

 

Vettel's inexperience, Toyota's underinvestment in its drivers and the astonishing coincidence of the four(!) best teams in 2008 all producing dogs were all required for Button to get a look-in.



#3 pacificquay

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:42

Both Prost and Schumacher were in the best car of the year, when best takes into account speed and reliability



#4 FTB

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:43

Williams 1982, then McLaren 1986. I included 1982 in the last 40 years because 2022 is not over yet.


Edited by FTB, 05 August 2022 - 16:44.


#5 Neno

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:44

Every Mercedes fan will tell you how Hamilton worked really hard for those almost few titles in row. 



#6 Risil

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:47

Every Mercedes fan will tell you how Hamilton worked really hard for those almost few titles in row. 

 

The 2018 Mercedes might qualify as a relatively poor car to win a world championship. Bottas was beaten by both Ferarris and a Red Bull.



#7 Afterburner

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:49

My knowledge pre-2000's is fuzzy, but those sound like good choices to me. Evidently the 1996 Benetton drivers thought the 1995 car was undrivable...



#8 RA2

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:49

May be the Brawn GP at the end of the year


Edited by RA2, 05 August 2022 - 16:51.


#9 Clatter

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:57

I don't think the Brawn was particularly good, but it had more downforce than the others at the beginning and Button made things count in the first half of 2009. The way it nightmarishly turned into a car that Button struggled to get into the points overnight makes me think there was something pretty wrong with the design that only came to light once they started to develop and push the envelope.

 

Vettel's inexperience, Toyota's underinvestment in its drivers and the astonishing coincidence of the four(!) best teams in 2008 all producing dogs were all required for Button to get a look-in.

 


Over the course of the season Brawn was the best car. The results bear testament to that regardless of the fact they were well and truly overtaken in the development race. The really annoying thing for me was that they chose Silverstone to screw the car up. There we were for the weekend, and it was like a different team had turned up.

Edited by Clatter, 05 August 2022 - 16:59.


#10 Venom

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:57

The 2018 Mercedes might qualify as a relatively poor car to win a world championship. Bottas was beaten by both Ferarris and a Red Bull.


By that metric Vettel must’ve carried the RB8 to a championship in 2012 with Webber only coming 6th.

#11 Ali_G

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:58

MS in the 95 Benetton is his greatest achievement. And to win the WDC so convincingly at that.

#12 KavB

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:58

I don't think the Brawn was particularly good, but it had more downforce than the others at the beginning and Button made things count in the first half of 2009. The way it nightmarishly turned into a car that Button struggled to get into the points overnight makes me think there was something pretty wrong with the design that only came to light once they started to develop and push the envelope.

 

Vettel's inexperience, Toyota's underinvestment in its drivers and the astonishing coincidence of the four(!) best teams in 2008 all producing dogs were all required for Button to get a look-in.

I'm not sure about this. Barrichello was able to win a couple races in the second half of the year and scored a podium when Button was nowhere in Silverstone. Though I do think the car wasn't as quick later on in the season.



#13 Risil

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:59

By that metric Vettel must’ve carried the RB8 to a championship in 2012 with Webber only coming 6th.

 

Maybe he did? It's a valid question, could anyone else have won the 2012 championship in that Red Bull?



#14 Alfisti

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 16:59

This is proper tough. I lean towards the 95 Benetton but man, it's tough. 



#15 Dhillon

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:00

1997 Ferrari was the worst car to 'almost' win the championship.

Edited by Dhillon, 05 August 2022 - 17:51.


#16 Risil

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:01

1996 Ferrari was the worst car to 'almost' win the championship.

 

I reckon I could find a worse car that finished 105 points behind the championship winner  ;)



#17 Venom

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:09

Maybe he did? It's a valid question, could anyone else have won the 2012 championship in that Red Bull?


While I believe 2012 was Seb’s most underrated year, my answer to that is yes.

The Red Bull wasn’t always the quickest car, maybe not even the quickest overall, but with McLaren’s number of errors and Ferrari’s lack of general performance it’s not really an underdog story.

#18 William Hunt

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:09

For sure the Williams of Keke Rosberg in 1982 by a mile. Not a championship winning car at all on paper but Keke did it. No other car ever came close.

PS: why limit it to the last 40 years, why not just all championship years?


Edited by William Hunt, 05 August 2022 - 17:11.


#19 NewMrMe

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:17

1982 Williams and I would have said 1982 regardless of which car won.

 

Ferrari was the best car of the year but both drivers suffered appalling accidents. The year was also weird in that the turbos had a significant performance advantage but at the expense of very poor reliability. It just so happened that the two almost evened each other out and at the end of the year, the best normally aspirated cars scored marginally more points than the leading turbos.

 

In any other year cars as far off the pace as the leading aspirated cars would not have been in with a chance and neither would a car with the reliability record of the turbos.



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#20 Collombin

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:21

What does worst mean? There have been occasions in which a slower car has delivered a WDC over a faster but less reliable car (eg 1967, 1977, 1982) but being more reliable is part of the equation too.

#21 FNG

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:24

1986. Prost had no business winning that. But it was probably less Prost brilliance and more two Williams drivers doing everything they can not to win the championship.



#22 cpbell

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:26

My knowledge pre-2000's is fuzzy, but those sound like good choices to me. Evidently the 1996 Benetton drivers thought the 1995 car was undrivable...

The 1995 car was very tail-happy, and Johnny Herbert struggled badly with it.



#23 Baddoer

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:34

Worst compared to what? Brawn was clearly second car to Red Bull, and 91 McLaren was second to Williams for example, same story with that Benetton. MP4/20 was much faster than R25. There are few other examples where second best car won titles.



#24 ANF

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:36

Worst compared to what? Brawn was clearly second car to Red Bull, and 91 McLaren was second to Williams for example, same story with that Benetton. MP4/20 was much faster than R25. There are few other examples where second best car won titles.

Worst compared to each other...

#25 FNG

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:36

1991 is a good example yes. Forgot about that



#26 Alfisti

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:39

People forgetting the Brawn was 1.5 seconds a lap faster for a few races, they built up a HUGE lead, RBR were never a chance. I remember this like yesterday because I was going to put $10K on a Brawn WDC at 88:1 (after their 2nd day of practice) and my balls shrunk.... so I watched every race cursing and throwing **** at the TV. 



#27 FNG

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:44

People forgetting the Brawn was 1.5 seconds a lap faster for a few races, they built up a HUGE lead, RBR were never a chance. I remember this like yesterday because I was going to put $10K on a Brawn WDC at 88:1 (after their 2nd day of practice) and my balls shrunk.... so I watched every race cursing and throwing **** at the TV. 

 Damn son, that would have been a magnificent bet.



#28 Ali_G

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:45

People forgetting the Brawn was 1.5 seconds a lap faster for a few races, they built up a HUGE lead, RBR were never a chance. I remember this like yesterday because I was going to put $10K on a Brawn WDC at 88:1 (after their 2nd day of practice) and my balls shrunk.... so I watched every race cursing and throwing **** at the TV. 

 


Wasn’t there a thread in here going on about people putting down big sums. The odds hardly moved at all which was strange. They must have thought the bets coming in were just mad.

#29 Alfisti

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:51

Wasn’t there a thread in here going on about people putting down big sums. The odds hardly moved at all which was strange. They must have thought the bets coming in were just mad.

I still dead set lose sleep over it. 

 

Remember it is 2009 so betting is still a ways off in north america but is huge in Australia. I already had accounts with two agencies, i opened three more and had $2K lined up in each account for a total of $10K. I had been dabbling is sports betting for 3 years, making small profits, but always thought motorsport would one day throw an opportunity because of the reliance on the machine. So I was sort of looking for this opportunity. Day 1 I saw the pace and watched day 2 closely, then i opened the  accounts i mentioned above. The 5 accounts was to avoid suspicion and to fall well within individual win limits at each agency. 

 

I called the wife at work, had a long chat. No kids, double income at this point but entry point of our careers. I walked her through the numbers, she left me with "if you think it is a good bet I trust you to make the right call". Now, i'd only been married 3 years but I knew damn well if it fell through i'd never live it down. So I walked away. 

 

FP1, about 20 minutes in, i knew I was ****ed. 

 

I did make a large bet on Kimi and Ferrari in 2007 but nowhere even CLOSE to that pay off. 



#30 Nemo1965

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:56

The Ferrari of 1977, in which Lauda won the world championship. No contest for me. But I’ve posted too much about that year already…

#31 PayasYouRace

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 17:58

I honestly don't understand this obsession with F1 fans to find the "worst" of out of a set of best things.



#32 MastaKink

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 18:57

I don't think the Brawn was particularly good, but it had more downforce than the others at the beginning and Button made things count in the first half of 2009. The way it nightmarishly turned into a car that Button struggled to get into the points overnight makes me think there was something pretty wrong with the design that only came to light once they started to develop and push the envelope.

 

Vettel's inexperience, Toyota's underinvestment in its drivers and the astonishing coincidence of the four(!) best teams in 2008 all producing dogs were all required for Button to get a look-in.

 

 

I agree, iirc the Brawn had an issue in higher temps with their tyres and it hurt them over a few hot races in the summer 2nd half but were ok in the cooler temps again but I think by then the RB and at times McLaren were better in the 2nd half but took points off each other and Button held on.



#33 Amz964

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 19:02

I agree, iirc the Brawn had an issue in higher temps with their tyres and it hurt them over a few hot races in the summer 2nd half but were ok in the cooler temps again but I think by then the RB and at times McLaren were better in the 2nd half but took points off each other and Button held on.


I thought it was the other way round to be fair thought they struggled in cooler temps like Silverstone and Germany for example they were really struggling and they were great in higher temps as thier tyre wear was better?

Edited by Amz964, 05 August 2022 - 19:02.


#34 MastaKink

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 19:04

I thought it was the other way round to be fair thought they struggled in cooler temps like Silverstone and Germany for example they were really struggling and they were great in higher temps as thier tyre wear was better?

 

I think you're right, yeah. My bad.

 

Knew it had something to do with tyres and heat but got it the wrong way round.  :stoned:



#35 P123

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 19:05

There are championships that should have been closer but for the other team having a bit of a nightmare, whether in terms of reliability or operations.  1991, 1995, 2018.  Perhaps 2022 will join that list.  None bad cars though.  Had Alonso won out in 2012 that would easily top the list, but like some of the others mentioned, that required other teams squandering away good results, especially McLaren.  Brawn faded in 2009, but still had high points in the second half of the year.  Perhaps McLaren 1986, but then again that only failed Prost once, less than what befell Mansell and Piquet, and Williams with teh stronger lineup had both taking points from the other. So therefore it could be said it was quite a useful championship car, and intra-team situation.



#36 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 19:05

That Brawn car was a beast - if you consider it had an engine added so late.
They turned up in Australia, with barely any proper pre season testing and smashed everyone. They were not the only car with double diffusers, but they had massive amounts of pace.

Through the year they had no chance to improve - If you read Ross Brawn's book they were winning yet laying off people since they could not support the F1 program so it was really hard times.

Interesting also how Mercedes bought the team and did not want to invest in it - while other teams invested - it took them some years to convince Mercedes to put money behind the team - and they did that, too late for Brawn though as Toto was already working him out with Mercedes HQ.



#37 Henri Greuter

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 19:14

1982 Williams and I would have said 1982 regardless of which car won.

 

Ferrari was the best car of the year but both drivers suffered appalling accidents. The year was also weird in that the turbos had a significant performance advantage but at the expense of very poor reliability. It just so happened that the two almost evened each other out and at the end of the year, the best normally aspirated cars scored marginally more points than the leading turbos.

 

In any other year cars as far off the pace as the leading aspirated cars would not have been in with a chance and neither would a car with the reliability record of the turbos.

 

Respectfully, I think you must exclude Ferrari from being a turbo team having a poor reliability.

If anything, their reliability matched, if not bettered that of many atmos. But a number of races with only a single car in the field and 2 races without any representetation as well as the fact that the tema had to diveid all races starts over no less than 4 drivers combined was their lone undoing. That they still won the constructors championship with nowhere near as many race starts and the other teams was an incredible achievement.

Ferrari proved in 1982 that turbocharged engines could be reliable after all and that was the main reason why they saved at least something during that horrible year.


Edited by Henri Greuter, 05 August 2022 - 19:15.


#38 Henri Greuter

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 19:17

The Ferrari of 1977, in which Lauda won the world championship. No contest for me. But I’ve posted too much about that year already…

Would also be my candidate for the weakest WDC winning car ever. But yet another case of the approval that without reliability you never get anywhere, certainly in those days.



#39 Beri

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 19:31

The Ferrari of 1977, in which Lauda won the world championship. No contest for me. But I’ve posted too much about that year already…

 

Since 1982 was the OP's question   ;)



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#40 Anderis

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 19:42

and the astonishing coincidence of the four(!) best teams in 2008 all producing dogs

Was it really astonishing coincidence that the teams which put the most resources into their 2008 campaign came a little underprepared in early 2009?

 

Teams like Williams, Toyota and Honda (Red Bull possibly too) were writing the 2008 season off alltogether to focus on 2009. BMW switched the resources by mid season but Ferrari and McLaren fought a close championship and Renault for some reason kept pushing the development of the 2008 car too as evidenced by their rise of form in the 2nd half of the season (probably insecure about keeping Alonso IIRC?).



#41 messy

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 20:19

I’m reading most of these - Brawn 2009, Benetton 1995, and thinking they’re pretty bad suggestions. Bit the more I think about it I think that’s because there really aren’t many examples. 1982 and 1986 are probably the only ones I’d say yeah, probably, that car didn’t really have any business winning a World Championship. But since then? There are a few fairly naff cars that a great driver has almost hauled to a title, but they’ve always fallen tantalisingly short. Best examples - Ferrari 1997 and Ferrari 2012. McLaren 2003 too. But they’ve always fallen short.

Actually, the more I think about it, the 2012 Red Bull was nothing special. That was a strange year. You could argue that the McLaren was the clear best car of that season, with a rusty Kimi Raikkonen beating Mark Webber in the championship being enough evidence to suggest to me that the Lotus might have been a better car too. So actually, maybe that’s not a terrible suggestion.

#42 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 20:28

William 1982 by a full lap or two.



#43 GuilhermeMach

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 20:29

Over the course of the season Brawn was the best car. The results bear testament to that regardless of the fact they were well and truly overtaken in the development race. The really annoying thing for me was that they chose Silverstone to screw the car up. There we were for the weekend, and it was like a different team had turned up.

Honestly, it was Red Bull who turned up with a different car in Silverstone that year. They introduced a major update package there (with the wide nose) and from there on were the best car on high-downforce circuits.



#44 Nemo1965

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 20:34

Since 1982 was the OP's question  ;)


Ah. Not fair!

#45 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 20:35

It's a very relative comparison. You can't win a season-long contest with a 'bad' car. 



#46 motorhead

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 20:37

Williams 82



#47 Risil

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 20:49

I’m reading most of these - Brawn 2009, Benetton 1995, and thinking they’re pretty bad suggestions. Bit the more I think about it I think that’s because there really aren’t many examples. 1982 and 1986 are probably the only ones I’d say yeah, probably, that car didn’t really have any business winning a World Championship. But since then? There are a few fairly naff cars that a great driver has almost hauled to a title, but they’ve always fallen tantalisingly short. Best examples - Ferrari 1997 and Ferrari 2012. McLaren 2003 too. But they’ve always fallen short.

Even the 1982 and 1986 examples, those weren't bad cars, they were highly-developed versions of very good ones that were a bit past their prime. The MP4/2 was the class of the field in 1984 and Prost easily won the 1985 championship with it, and the FW07 was the best car of 1979-80 and more than adequate to win the championship in 1981.

#48 Risil

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 20:51

It's a very relative comparison. You can't win a season-long contest with a 'bad' car.


Worst car to win a Grand Prix?

#49 Sterzo

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 21:03

Worst car to win a Grand Prix?

1996 Ligier-Mugen?



#50 Henri Greuter

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 21:06

It's a very relative comparison. You can't win a season-long contest with a 'bad' car. 

Hmmm  I think 1977 and 1982 prove you can be proven wrong occasionally.

 

in 1977 the Ferrari was on average all season long the 3rd best car but often even less than that but since Lauda kept on finishing while the better and faster cars retired in too many races he was the champ that year.

 

1982: Williams was arguebly second best among the atmo's thought I think the Brabham BT49, the McLaren MP4 and the FW08 being very close to another. The Renault and the Brabham-BMW were faster on a number of tracks while the Ferrari was speedwise sometimes the fastest turbo but on occasion also `only` third best. But again the for the time amazing reliability of the Ferrari paying off handsomely.And it needs to be remembered that 1982 was alos about the final year when there were tracks that definitely suited atmo's better than the heavier turbocharged cars. In fact, I think that 1982 was in that respect the most interesting year ever during the transition years form atmo to turbo: Both kind of cars had tracks on which they excelled over the other and as a whole the season was interesting because of that.

But I dare to say that if only one driver who started the season for Ferrari had survived the season and had been able to drive in all races, then he would have made the season look more biased towards the turbo already. .


Edited by Henri Greuter, 05 August 2022 - 21:08.