Records are meant to be broken. When Sebastian Vettel drove the F1 car in 2006 at the age of 19 and followed it up with his first win at the age of 21, it was very much the consensus that this record would hold the test of time. However, a few years later, Red Bull’s new protégé, Max Verstappen, stepped up in Suzuka to take part in a Practice Session at the age of 17 and went on to win the race in 2016 in Spain at the tender age of 18, proving true the age old saying. However there are still a few F1 records that are set to be unbreakable. Here’s a take on some of them:
Well this record is one that is sure to get a chuckle out of fans. Some athletes show promise but have their careers struck short for one reason or another. Instead of decades, these athletes have their careers measured in years or even months. And then there’s Marco Apicella. Specifically, the Italian F1 racer who only ever raced in one GP and made it around 800 meters in his Jordan before crashing. The race was the 1993 Italian Grand Prix and Apicella was racing with Jordan teammate, Rubens Barrichello. In the first series of chicanes Sauber’s JJ Lehto came in too fast and took both the Jordans out. Consequently, Apicella’s race was over and his subsequent return to Japanese F3000 racing meant that the race at Monza was his only taste of F1.
Most modern Grand Prix are close contests when compared to this one, with tight restrictions on the car designs, ensuring the field remains relatively evenly matched and winning margins vary between a few seconds to half a minute at the most. But in the recent years, more regulatory freedom meant that cars often varied hugely in performance. Coupled with the high rate of attrition, it meant that many races concluded with huge gaps between the drivers.
Jim Clark’s sensational victory by 4 minutes and 54 seconds in the 1963 Belgian Grand Prix will surely never be surpassed. He burst through from eighth on the grid to take the lead and was never surpassed around the fearsome 14.1 km Spa circuit. The conditions during the race were so dreadful that Clark’s team boss, Colin Chapman, urged officials to abandon the proceedings at one point. Clark lapped the field and at one point, second-placed Bruce McLaren, unlapped himself. This meant that ,when Clark took the line to finish, it took almost five minutes for McLaren to appear in second place. Today’s tracks simply aren’t long enough for such a feat to be possible. Spa remains the longest track on the map, but is half the length it used to be and this record is destined to stand.
Thanks to the performance and the reliability of his Ferrari F2002 and, earlier in the season, the F2001, Schumacher not only finished every race of the 2002 season, he never even finished lower than third. And he only finished there once! No matter how the future races pans out, but that 100% hit rate is never going to be beaten.
The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix lasted for four hours, four minutes and 39.537 seconds.
The track was wet as the Canadian Grand Prix was underway at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2011. But on lap 19, a fresh downpour forced the race to be red-flagged for two hours. By the time the race finally resumed, and ran its scheduled 70-lap distance, the entire event had taken over four hours.
This prompted the introduction of a new rule in 2012 requiring all races to be completed within four hours, regardless of any stoppages. It’s a good thing the rule wasn’t in place a year earlier, or Jenson Button wouldn’t have been able to hunt race leader Sebastian Vettel down and pass him on the final lap. With the introduction of the four hour limit, this is one of the few F1 records that is set in stone.
The 1997 European Grand Prix at Jerez is chiefly remembered for the infamous clash between Michael Schumacher and his title rival, Jacques Villeneuve. But the astonishing events of the previous day’s qualifying session are no less wonder. It saw the same two drivers, along with Villeneuve’s team mate, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, stop the clocks at the same time to within a thousandth of a second.
First Villeneuve, followed by Schumacher and finally Frentzen lapped the 4.4km Jerez circuit in 1’21.072. Unless F1 follows IndyCar’s like system and starts measuring times to four decimal places, this record is stuck at 0.000s.
Although the future is uncertain, and what looks like a feat at one moment may be completely demolished by another the next time around. The ones mentioned above are most certainly set to go down as unbreakable F1 records.