When an F1 driver gets to race a championship winning car you’d expect them to have an alright season. Even if they can’t challenge for the title you might expect them to grab a few wins, or at the very least regular podium finishes.
Occasionally though there have been drivers that have seen their team mates win the championship, but for whatever reason have struggled badly and only managed a few points (or sometimes not even that). Here are six seasons where the difference between champions and their team mates was unusually massive.
1963 – Jim Clark 73 points, Trevor Taylor 1 point
While Jim Clark and Lotus dominated in 1963 to win his first championship, his regular team mate was having a slightly rougher time of things.
The season started out alright for Trevor Taylor with a 6th place finish at Monaco, but that would be his only points-scoring finish all year. It’s a striking statistic, especially considering that Clark (who to be fair was one of the most gifted and brilliant racing drivers of all time) won seven of the ten races that year.
It’s not that Taylor was a bad driver – he finished second in the Dutch Grand Prix the previous year – but accidents early in the year had dented his confidence. Monaco aside his strongest run came in the French Grand Prix when he was running in second place until his Lotus 25 broke.
The following year he joined the BRP team and finished 6th at Watkins Glen. Once his F1 career was over he switched to Formula 5000, where he was much more successful.
1970 – Jochen Rindt 45 points, John Miles 2 points
Like Trevor Taylor seven years before him, John Miles started his season off ok with a 5th place finish in South Africa, and like Taylor they would be his only points of the year.
Miles failed to qualify for the next race in Spain and the following round at Monaco – a race which team mate Jochen Rindt won. But while Rindt made the most of the revolutionary new Lotus 72 to take a string of mid-season wins Miles was, well, miles off the pace.
It wasn’t entirely John’s fault though – Lotus boss Colin Chapman saw Miles as little more than a test driver and didn’t put anywhere near the effort into his car as they did for Rindt. To make matters worse a young chap called Emerson Fittipaldi joined Lotus mid-season, making Miles even less of a priority.
When Rindt was tragically killed at the Italian Grand Prix Chapman withdrew his cars, but when Lotus returned to the grid two rounds later Miles wasn’t with them. That was effectively the end of his F1 career, but he went on to have success in sportscars.
1972 – Emerson Fittipaldi 61 points, David Walker 0 points
In 1972 Emerson Fittipaldi became the youngest world champion, but his team mate David Walker set a rather less enviable record. He scored no points whatsoever, becoming the only full-time driver to fail to score at all when their team mate won the championship.
Walker’s best result all year was a lowly 9th place while Fittipaldi won five races. Much like John Miles two years earlier, Walker claimed that Lotus gave him worse equipment and spent too much time focusing on his team mate.
If you haven’t noticed yet, there’s one thing in common with all three drivers so far: they all drove for Lotus. And you thought the number two drivers at Ferrari had it bad…
1981 – Nelson Piquet 50 points, Hector Rebaque 11 points
Hector Rebaque hadn’t really done much in F1 when he joined Brabham mid-way through 1980, so you might wonder why he 1) got such a good drive in the first place and 2) managed to keep it for the following season. The thing is, Rebaque brought a good amount of money with him, and Bernie Ecclestone owned Brabham. Ahh, now that makes a bit more sense…
On the face of it Rebaque’s season wasn’t that bad, his best finishes being a trio of 4th places, but the brilliant Brabham BT49 with its trick suspension system flattered him somewhat. On tracks where driver skill mattered most, he was poor – at Monaco he failed to qualify, team mate Piquet was on pole. He was replaced by Patrese for the following year and that was that for Rebaques F1 career.
1982 – Keke Rosberg 44 points, Derek Daly 8 points
It’s hardly surprising to see 1982 on this list – after all, it was a crazy year for Formula 1. Carlos Reutemann had actually begun the season with Williams, scored a podium and then abruptly retired, and then Mario Andretti did a one-off race for the team in Long Beach. It wasn’t until the 5th race of the season that Daly joined Rosberg at the team.
Daly was an experienced driver and while he was a regular points scorer at Williams, he never managed to capitalise in the same way that Rosberg did. He did come close to winning at Monaco that year, but then so did lots of other people, because the end of that race was utterly chaotic.
It proved to be his last F1 season, and Daly headed stateside to race in the CART series and later had a fairly successful sportscar racing career.
1994 – Michael Schumacher 92 points, Schumacher’s team mates 11 points
1994 was a bit of a weird season for Benetton. Although Schumacher won the championship and never finished lower than second all year, anyone else who drove the B194 couldn’t seem to get to grips with it.
JJ Lehto was supposed to be his team mate, but a neck injury in pre-season testing caused him to miss the first two races so Jos Verstappen subbed for him. Lehto came back but after four races had only scored one point, so Verstappen replaced him again. He managed a couple of slightly lucky podiums and a 5th place, while Lehto got another chance in the other car thanks to Schumacher’s two-race ban.
Then, with two races to go, Verstappen was replaced by Johnny Herbert (who had already raced for Lotus and Ligier that year) in an effort to help Benetton win the Constructors’ Championship, but he couldn’t manage any points either and Williams beat them to the title.
Many years later Verstappen claimed that his car wasn’t the same as Michaels, and that it didn’t have the illegal driver aids that were allegedly on the other car. It sounds like sour grapes, but if it did turn out to be true it probably wouldn’t be all that surprising.