Mercedes’ crushing dominance was the theme of the year again but 2016 also saw F1’s ever-growing calendar reach new heights.
Formula One’s highly complex V6 hybrid turbo power units aren’t yet as reliable as the normally aspirated V8s they replaced. But in 2016 they got much closer to achieving that level.
Out of the 462 attempts to complete a race distance made by the 22 cars in the field this year, just over 10% ended with a non-classification caused by a technical failure. As the graph above shows this is a significant improvement on the previous two seasons with these power units but still well off the record low of 6.7% seen in the final year of V8 power.
This was despite the arrival of a new team in the shape of Haas. Unsurprisingly the newcomers did not reach the chequered flag as often as their rivals. However their technical failure rate of 14.29% was not that far above the average and represents an excellent first effort.
Sourcing the maximum possible hardware from Ferrari undoubtedly paid off for the fledgling squad, who bagged the majority of their points during the first two races of the year when others were still experiencing teething trouble.
The power unit regulations remain largely unchanged for next season which might lead us to expect further gains in reliability. However the relaxing of restrictions on development could lead manufacturers to push their rate of progress even harder, leading to more failures.
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Mercedes’ stranglehold on the series over the last three years is unmistakably clear in the data above. Only once have their two drivers failed to take pole position in each of the last three seasons.
This season at least featured more different winners than the last two, though between them they won fewer races. The last three Mercedes-dominated seasons have seen fewer different winners per year than was the case when Red Bull held the upper hand (2010-13) and when Ferrari were at their peak (2000-04).
Drivers, teams and races
Are schedules of 20 races or more going to be the norm from now on? The 2017 F1 calendar features 20 rounds at present as the German Grand Prix will not take place next season.
However with the French Grand Prix set to return in 2018 and Formula One’s new buyers Liberty Media keen to boost the schedule yet further, even longer calendars may prove inevitable.
The 2016 season in statistics
Review the stats highlights from each race during 2016:
- Rosberg ends longest-ever wait for championship
- Rosberg has a 90% chance of title victory
- One more win will clinch title for Rosberg
- Rosberg can become champion at this weekend’s race
- The four slow starts which cost Hamilton dearly
- Hamilton retains best reliability rate of any champion
- Mercedes’s second chance to equal longest winning streak
- Honda claim first fastest lap since 1992
- Hamilton makes rare podium run from outside top 20
- Hamilton on course to equal Prost this year
- Schumacher’s Hungary record falls to Hamilton
- Hamilton closes on British GP wins record
- Hamilton claims 250th British win
- Williams hit record speeds on and off the track
- Hamilton closes on Schumacher with fifth Canada win
- Ferrari’s Monaco win drought reaches 15 years
- Verstappen smashes youngest F1 winner record
- Mercedes poised to equal wins record
- Rosberg joins Vettel, Schumacher and Ascari on six-in-a-row
- Rosberg becomes eighth driver to win five in a row
- Rosberg extends career-best winning streak
2016 F1 season review
- The complete F1 Fanatic 2016 season review
- Your favourite F1 drivers and teams of 2016
- ‘Well done Baku’? No, it was 2016’s worst race
- F1 Fanatic’s must-read highlights of 2016
- Watch the top ten non-F1 races of 2016