Top 3 most dominant team seasons in F1 history: can Red Bull join this list in 2023?

Red Bull have swept all seven of the races that have taken place so far in 2023. Therefore, can they sustain this and match the most dominant F1 seasons that the sport has ever seen?

The reigning constructors’ champs have stamped their authority over the entire field this year. Max Verstappen has won five of the seven races in 2023, with Sergio Perez taking the chequered flag at the remaining two.

Additionally, their RB19 has made sure to dominate Saturdays as well, claiming pole in six of seven races.

After winning 17 Grand Prix in 2022, Red Bull are on course to surpass this total, with 15 rounds remaining this season. No team can get near them on Sundays; their race pace is incredible, their tyre wear is supreme, and Verstappen is at the top of his game.

So, could Red Bull really rival past greats who have put together the most dominant F1 seasons ever? To totally dismantle their opposition, teams need a mixture of pace, reliability, and luck. Here are the top three outfits in Formula 1 history that had all these factors to crush their rivals in a particular campaign.

Quick note: We have ranked them by win percentage, the fairest factor with which to compare seasons of different lengths.

Teams that had the most dominant seasons in F1 history: #3 – Ferrari, 2002

Just over 20 years ago, the Scuderia had one of the most outstanding campaigns.

Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello won 15 of the 17 races in the 2002 championship, registering an 88.2%-win rate. The two rounds in which a Ferrari driver was not on the top step were Malaysia and Monaco.

Michael’s brother, Ralf Schumacher, took the win in Sepang whilst driving for Williams. Meanwhile, McLaren’s David Coulthard finished first around the streets of Monte Carlo.

This absolutely unreal season from the Scuderia saw Michael Schumacher claim a then-record-equalling fifth driver’s title. He would go on to add two more WDCs in 2003 and 2004 – a testament to the Ferrari’s untouchable nature during the early 2000s.

#2 – Mercedes, 2016

One of just two teams to ever win more than 90% of the races in a season, Mercedes ruled all in 2016.

This was the Silver Arrow’s third-consecutive year as the runaway leaders in F1. Merc were undoubtedly the Kings of the new turbo-hybrid era – with 2016 their best year of all.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton won 19 of the 21 races during this particular campaign. This saw Mercedes finish with a win rate of 90.5% – a truly ridiculous tally.

In fact, just one other squad managed to earn a first place in 2016. Red Bull put both drivers on the top step of the podium, at the Spanish and Malaysian Grand Prix respectively.

Firstly, Max Verstappen claimed his first career win on his Red Bull debut in Spain. This one came about fortuitously after the Mercedes drivers wiped each other out on lap 1. Later in the season, Daniel Ricciardo took the chequered flag in Malaysia.

However, they could not deny Mercedes from taking a driver’s and constructors’ double once again. This time, Rosberg got the better of Hamilton to claim his one and only WDC.

#1 – McLaren, 1988

No.1 on the list of the most dominant F1 seasons of all time belongs to McLaren. They may not be fighting at the front now, but in 1988 they left everyone in their dust.

With Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost behind the wheel of their all-conquering MP4/4, McLaren won 15/16 races on the 1988 calendar. This translates to a win percentage of 93.8%, which is just ridiculous.

The British team came unbelievably close to sweeping the season. However, they came up short in just one round – the Italian Grand Prix. Here, Gerhard Berger restored some Tifosi pride by leading home a Ferrari one-two on home soil.

Nevertheless, McLaren were untouchable for the rest of this season. Ayrton Senna went on to win the driver’s championship, edging out his teammate by just three points. Meanwhile, the two McLaren stars had more than double the points of third-place Berger.

F1 had never seen and, currently, has not yet seen sheer one-car supremacy like this.

In 2023, Red Bull have an opportunity to join this illustrious list of the most dominant F1 seasons ever. Assuming that the Emilia Romagna GP is not re-inserted back on the calendar this year, Red Bull would have to win 20 out of the 22 total races in 2023 to make the top three.

They have a long way to go before thinking about reaching these records. However, given how far ahead they are of the rest of the grid, who’s to say Red Bull can’t pull it off?

Featured image credit: Getty