Top 10 biggest deficits between F1 World Champions and their team-mates

Luke Murphy
Max Verstappen speaks with Red Bull F1 team-mate Sergio Perez. Bahrain, March 2023.

Max Verstappen speaking with Sergio Perez.

The form of Sergio Perez has caused alarm bells with F1 fans – and possibly Red Bull – but how close is he to having the biggest deficit to a World Champion team-mate?

Once considered to be an outside threat for the 2023 Drivers’ Championship, a series of clumsy races and underperformance has put the Red Bull driver over 200 points behind World Champion Max Verstappen.

As things stand, Perez has 48% fewer points than Verstappen, but he will still have to go some way to being the lowest-performing team-mate in the sport’s history.

For this top 10, we have compared World Champions and the team-mates they raced against in the same title-winning season. We have discounted many of the seasons where multiple drivers were used in the second car (for example, Michael Schumacher’s team-mates in the 1994 season), but included the years where a driver pairing lasted in a consistent run of races for most of the season.

In instances where the second driver missed one-off races, we have only calculated the points totals where both drivers participated in the race. The drivers in this top 10 are measured by how far behind, in percentage, their team-mates’ points total they were, due to F1’s points system changing over time.

10: Eugenio Castellotti vs Juan Manuel Fangio – Ferrari – 1956 – 75% points behind

Ferrari’s young charger had already started forging a reputation in sportscars when he joined the F1 grid in 1955, and took third place in the championship in a season where he raced both Lancias and Ferraris.

Sticking with Ferrari for 1956, he, alongside Peter Collins, had the task of keeping up with F1 legend Fangio, who went on to take his fourth of five Drivers’ titles. Castellotti fared the worst of the three permanent drivers, and took one podium finish all season, although this was not helped by enduring worse reliability than his colleagues in the seven-race season. Tragically, Castellotti was killed during a test session in 1957.

9: Richie Ginther vs Graham Hill – BRM – 1962 – 76% behind

With Hill being the established driver at BRM, Ginther was brought into the team for 1962 to help their mission for their first World Championships. Hill took the headlines with four wins and a first World Championship, whilst Ginther managed two podium finishes. Fortunately, only the results of one driver counted towards the Constructors’ Championship, as was the case for many seasons included in this top 10, so BRM also claimed that accolade.

Incidents and reliability issues put Ginther in a worse light than his results would suggest, and his results improved for the following year, with the American actually finishing level on points with Hill in ‘63.

8: Derek Daly vs Keke Rosberg – Williams – 1982 – 78% behind

There were a flurry of one-sided driver battles in the early eighties, including Daly’s attempts at matching 1982 Drivers’ Champion Rosberg. This could be seen as a harsh inclusion, as the Williams team started the season with a driver pairing of Rosberg and Carlos Reutemann, only for the latter to retire from F1 after two races of the season.

Mario Andretti was substituted for round three, whilst Williams were one of several teams not to compete at round four in San Marino, so Daly was drafted in for round five, and stayed until the end of the season.

Even subtracting Rosberg’s points from the start of the season when Daly didn’t race for the team, it’s still a very one-sided affair over their 12-race stint together. The Irishman didn’t disgrace himself, but he could still only manage lower point scores in a hotly-contested year.

7: Hector Rebaque vs Nelson Piquet – Brabham – 1981 – 78% behind

The first of two drivers on this list to struggle against Piquet, Rebaque was probably more famous for attempting to set up his own team in the late seventies. However, when that avenue closed he found a seat at the Brabham team partway through 1980, and was retained alongside Piquet for 1981.

Piquet took his first world title at the final round of the season with a total of 50 points, whilst Rebaque struggled to a P10 finish overall. He failed to achieve a podium finish, and could only manage a best Grand Prix result of fourth place. He left the sport at the end of the season.

6: Riccardo Patrese vs Nelson Piquet – Brabham – 1983 – 78% behind

Recruited to race alongside lead driver Piquet for 1982, Patrese was expected to deliver more in his second full season with the team in ‘83. Piquet took three Grand Prix wins and a last-gasp Drivers’ Championship win over Alain Prost, whilst Patrese took a solitary victory and one other podium finish.

More might have been achieved with improved reliability, and without crashing out from the race lead at the San Marino GP, but a lack of pace meant Patrese was dropped for 1984, and it took him several years to return to a front-running car.

5: Niki Lauda vs Alain Prost – McLaren – 1985 – 81% behind

Perhaps a surprising name to include in this list, but the career of Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda ended with minimal glory, and the three-time World Champion was thoroughly overshadowed by hotshot Alain Prost.

Lauda had pipped Prost to the 1984 title the season before, but the young Frenchman took command of the McLaren team in ‘85, and took five wins en route to a first Drivers’ title. There was one final victory for Lauda in his final season, and the Austrian fended off Prost to take victory at the Dutch GP. However, retirements and an injury meant Lauda took just 14 points all season.

4: Mike Spence vs Jim Clark – Lotus – 1965 – 82% behind

Widely regarded as a driver that could have achieved more in Formula 1, Spence’s first unenviable task was to try and match number one driver Clark, with 1965 being his first full season in the sport.

With Clark taking six wins, Spence claimed one podium and just 10 points all season, but was unlucky to miss out on points on numerous occasions. He developed into a fine racing driver, taking wins in sportscars, but a crash during practice for the Indy 500 claimed his life in 1968. recommends

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3: John Miles vs Jochen Rindt – Lotus – 1970 – 96% behind

As an established sportscar racer, Miles rose through the Lotus ranks in the late sixties via the Formula 3 and Formula 2 championships. He became their test driver for an experimental four-wheel-drive Lotus Formula 1 car for the 1969 season before forming part of their race lineup for the 1970 season.

While Lotus primarily focused on the efforts of main driver Rindt and customer team driver Graham Hill, Miles still put a lot of focus into the developmental work. However, when equipped with similar machinery, he wasn’t able to match Rindt’s pace.

Rindt’s title success famously came posthumously, having been killed at round ten of the championship. Miles pulled out of the same race and left the team after that, having only claimed two points in the same number of races, not aided by a string of retirements during the season.

2: Trevor Taylor vs Jim Clark – Lotus – 1963 – 98% behind

The formidable combination of Jim Clark and Lotus was an often-unstoppable force in Formula 1, and the 1963 season was one of the most dominant in the sport’s history. In a season where only the best six races out of nine counted towards the total points, Clark’s six wins meant he achieved the maximum allowable points in a championship. However, team-mate Taylor managed just one solitary point all season.

Taylor was actually in his second full season at Lotus and, while he was never destined to become a World Champion, managed a podium finish at the 1962 Dutch GP, and showed sufficient form in non-championship races to continue alongside Clark in 1963.

Unfortunately, a series of big accidents had taken their toll on Taylor’s confidence, which resulted in worsening performances in 1963, and triggered Lotus owner Colin Chapman to suggest Taylor take a sabbatical from F1.

1: David Walker vs Emerson Fittipaldi – Lotus – 1972 – 100% behind

In a season where Fittipaldi was claiming the first of his two World Championship titles with two races to spare, Walker claimed the undesired accolade of being the only driver to score zero points with a World Champion team-mate.

The gritty Australian had impressed in his title-winning Formula 3 season in 1971, and showed sufficient potential in a one-off Grand Prix to be given a chance at Lotus for the ‘72 season. However, it was clear from the outset that Fittipaldi was to be the number one driver, and the lack of equality in the team soon frustrated Walker, even though Lotus were completely justified in throwing all their weight behind title-challenging Fittipaldi.

A dispute in the team meant he was dropped for two races and replaced by Swedish driver Reine Wisell, but he was unable to get any closer to the dominating Brazilian.

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