In my post this morning I said I thought Williams could end up best of the rest. And I was thinking after I sent it that it might not really be clear what that means.
In the constructors championship there used to be a top four or three. But in the past ten years it has been really a top two or three. This is largely because while Renault was hauling itself up Williams was falling away. The teams in this top four are kind of like the permanent members of the UN. And they have been Ferrari, McLaren, Benetton / Renault (the same team despite the name change in my book) and Williams.
Other teams have popped up from time to time, and some of this group have fallen lower. But the key difference is that none that have fallen in position after having risen have stayed the course – except for there four. This is why you can’t discount a return for Williams. It just might not happen this year.
In Formula One there seems to be a number of different ways to cut it. I normally think of the top two or three teams as the first tier. I would say that McLaren were not in this tier last year because they never really seemed to be challenging for the title. And we have had three way title battles as recently as four years ago when it was Ferrari, McLaren and Williams in the hunt until the second to last race.
Then there are the middle of the field people last year this was lead by McLaren (110 points – just over half the points scored by Ferrari), then it went Honda (86), BMW (36) and Toyota (35). Okay so there’s another big gap in there but it seemed to me that there these teams were the kind of teams which were usually in the points paying positions through the year.
Then we have what I was talking about as the best of the rest which was Red Bull racing this year. They had 16 points so less than half of Toyota above them, so a big gap. And really these are the teams that were excited to get just a point in a race let alone anything else. And obviously we have Williams, Toro Rosso, Midland and Super Aguri. The last two didn’t score any points at all in the season.
So yes this is a bit of a rambling post but the point is that there are always these three bands. The top teams, the middle teams and the rest. There isn’t a straight number of teams in each year but there always seems to be bands like this rather than the particular continuum that you would normally expect.
Really it splits, I suppose, into teams that win races, teams that regularly score points and teams that are surprised by points. But obviously that would have been a much shorter post!