5 most dominant Formula 1 cars of all time
How do successful Formula 1 constructors ensure their dominance in F1 seasons? Is it important to find passionate drivers who align with your vision? Certainly, but even more importantly, the teams need well-designed cars to help the drivers reach their full potential.
Over the years, Formula 1 has seen some masterful cars that have helped drivers unleash their peak performance and dominate a particular season. Successful F1 drivers like Hamilton, Schumacher, Vettel, and others have benefitted from this kind of domination. Today, we will take a look at some of the Formula 1 cars that ruled the sport during their time.
#1. McLaren MP4/4 — Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna's legendary battles
With the McLaren chassis, Honda V6 engines, and the pairing of Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, McLaren MP4/4 ruled the season in 1988. Regarded as the greatest Formula 1 car of all time, the McLaren MP4/4 won 15 out of 16 races that season and secured a winning percentage of 93.8%. The car helped McLaren win that year's Formula One World Constructors' Championship with then-record 199 points.
Designed by Steve Nichols and Gordon Murray, this car also started the rivalry between Prost and Senna as they took up the first two podium positions in almost every race in 1988. Eventually, Senna won the Formula 1 World Drivers' Championship by winning eight races over Prost's seven.
#2. Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid — The most dominant Turbo-Hybrid era car
Following the mandated use of turbo-hybrid engines in F1 from 2014, Mercedes began its era of complete dominance. Starting from the Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid in 2014, to last year's Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance, the team has won every Formula 1 World Constructors' Championship and World Drivers' Championship in the past seven years.
With a total of 19 wins in 21 races, this car helped Mercedes score a record total of 765 constructors' championship points and win the title.
Designed and developed by Aldo Costa, Paddy Lowe, Geoff Willis, Mark Ellis, John Owen, and Mike Elliott, the Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid also saw the peak of the Lewis Hamilton-Nico Rosberg rivalry, as the latter clinched the Formula 1 World Drivers' Championship by five points over Hamilton before Rosberg announced his retirement.
#3. Ferrari F2002 and Michael Schumacher — A match made in heaven
The Ferrari F2002, designed by Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Aldo Costa, Marco Fainello, and Nikolas Tombazis, saw the best of Formula 1's most successful driver Michael Schumacher. In 2002, Ferrari dominated the season by winning 15 out of 19 Grands Prix. Schumacher contributed with a record total of 11 wins, while the rest were clinched by his teammate Rubens Barrichello. That season, Ferrari secured the Constructors' Champinship with 221 points.
Schumacher's performance with the Ferrari F2002 was exceptional as the German driver finished every race on the podium and sewed up the title after his 11th race of the season.
#4. Williams' FW14B — Nigel Mansell's key to winning the 1992 title
The Williams FW14B, designed by Patrick Head, Adrian Newey, Paddy Lowe, and Eghbal Hamidy, was derived from its previous iteration - the Williams FW14. This design favored Nigel Mansell's driving style and helped him win his sole Formula 1 Drivers' Championship by securing nine Grand Prix wins.
The team, in total, won 10 Grands Prix in 1992 (Riccardo Patrese won a single GP), and lifted the Formula 1 World Constructors' Championship title with 164 points.
#5. Red Bull RB9 — The high point of their dominance with Sebastian Vettel
Red Bull Racing won three F1 titles in a row with Sebastian Vettel from 2010 to 2014. However, their 2013 triumph was especially spectacular. Driving the Red Bull RB9, Vettel dominated the championship that year. Out of his 13 GP titles, he won nine of them consecutively, still holding the record for most consecutive Grand Prix wins.
The car was designed by legendary Formula 1 car designer Adrian Newey, along with Rob Marshall and Peter Prodromou, enabled Red Bull to lift the Constructor's title with 596 points.
RB9 was also the last Renault-powered Formula 1 car to win the Constructors' title.