2015 Formula One season

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2015 FIA Formula One
World Championship
Drivers' Champion: Lewis Hamilton
Constructors' Champion: Mercedes
Pole Trophy: Lewis Hamilton
Previous: 2014 Next: 2016
Support series:
GP2 Series · GP3 Series
Lewis Hamilton successfully defended his title after winning the United States Grand Prix.[1]
Mercedes won their second consecutive World Constructors' Championship at the Russian Grand Prix with the F1 W06 Hybrid.

The 2015 Formula One season was the 66th season of the Formula One World Championship, a motor racing championship for Formula One cars, recognised by the sport's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), as the highest class of competition for open-wheel racing cars. Twenty-two drivers representing ten teams contested nineteen Grands Prix,[2] starting in Australia on 15 March and ending in Abu Dhabi on 29 November as they competed for the World Drivers' and World Constructors' championships.

Lewis Hamilton was the defending Drivers' Champion after securing his second title at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.[3] His team, Mercedes, began the season as the defending Constructors' Champion, having secured its first championship title at the 2014 Russian Grand Prix.[4]

The calendar featured two significant changes. The first was the return of the Mexican Grand Prix, held for the first time since 1992. The other change was the cancellation of the German Grand Prix after a venue could not be secured, leaving the nation without a World Championship event for the first time in fifty-five years.

Hamilton secured his third Drivers' Championship with three races left in the season. The runner-up was his teammate Nico Rosberg, 59 points behind, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel third, another 44 points adrift. Mercedes clinched the 2015 Constructors' title at the Russian Grand Prix, ahead of Ferrari and Williams, and ended the season with a record 703 points. Hamilton also secured the FIA Pole Trophy with a total of eleven pole positions in the season and the DHL Fastest Lap Award. Ferrari won the inaugural DHL Pit Stop Award.

Teams and drivers

The following teams and drivers took part in the 2015 Formula One World Championship.[5]

Entrant Constructor Chassis Power unit Tyre No. Race drivers Rounds No. Free Practice drivers
Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari SF15-T Ferrari 059/4[6] P 5
7
Germany Sebastian Vettel
Finland Kimi Räikkönen
All
All
N/A
India Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India-Mercedes VJM08
VJM08B[7]
Mercedes PU106B Hybrid P 11
27
Mexico Sergio Pérez
Germany Nico Hülkenberg
All
All
N/A
United Kingdom Lotus F1 Team Lotus-Mercedes E23 Hybrid Mercedes PU106B Hybrid P 8
13
France Romain Grosjean
Venezuela Pastor Maldonado
All
All
30 United Kingdom Jolyon Palmer
United Kingdom Manor Marussia F1 Team Marussia-Ferrari MR03B[8][9] Ferrari 059/3[10][11] P 28
98
53
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Spain Roberto Merhi
United States Alexander Rossi
All
1–12, 15, 19
13–14, 16–18
42 Switzerland   Fabio Leimer
United Kingdom McLaren Honda McLaren-Honda MP4-30 Honda RA615H P 20
14
22
Denmark  Kevin Magnussen
Spain Fernando Alonso
United Kingdom Jenson Button
1
2–19
All
N/A
Germany Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 W06 Hybrid Mercedes PU106B Hybrid P 6
44
Germany Nico Rosberg
United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
All
All
N/A
Austria Infiniti Red Bull Racing Red Bull-Renault RB11 Renault Energy F1-2015 P 3
26
Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Russia Daniil Kvyat
All
All
N/A
Switzerland   Sauber F1 Team Sauber-Ferrari C34 Ferrari 059/4[6] P 9
12
Sweden Marcus Ericsson
Brazil Felipe Nasr
All
All
36 Italy Raffaele Marciello
Italy Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso-Renault STR10 Renault Energy F1-2015 P 33
55
Netherlands Max Verstappen
Spain Carlos Sainz, Jr.
All
All
N/A
United Kingdom Williams Martini Racing Williams-Mercedes FW37 Mercedes PU106B Hybrid P 19
77
Brazil Felipe Massa
Finland Valtteri Bottas
All
All
41 United Kingdom Susie Wolff
Sources:[5][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

Notes:

^‡ – Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi were entered for the first round in Australia, but although both they and Marussia were present, they did not compete as the team was unable to complete their cars in time for the event.

Team changes

McLaren renewed their relationship with Japanese manufacturer Honda, twenty-three years since they last competed together. Pictured is the McLaren MP4/6, one of the last cars built by McLaren to use a Honda engine, racing at the 1991 United States Grand Prix.

There were a number of team changes prior to the start of the season. Both McLaren and Lotus changed engine suppliers for the 2016 season. McLaren ended their 20-year partnership with Mercedes-Benz, in favour of return to Honda, who had previously supplied them from 1988 until 1992.[26] Honda therefore returned to the sport after a seven-year absence: they had previously provided British American Racing and Jordan Grand Prix with engines until they purchased the former in 2006 and then had competed as a constructor until 2008.[26]

Lotus ended their association with Renault in favour of a deal with Mercedes.[27] This ended a 20-year involvement of Renault with the Enstone-based team, after being an engine supplier to Benetton since 1995, and being the owner of the team from 2002 to 2010.[28]

Both Caterham F1 and Marussia went into administration towards the end of the 2014 season. The latter was saved narrowly from liquidation in February 2015, re-entering as Manor Marussia, when new investment was secured and the team left administration after an agreement with creditors was reached.[29] Caterham, however, ultimately folded and its assets were auctioned off by company administrators after the start of the season.[30][31][32]

Driver changes

Sebastian Vettel left Red Bull Racing – the team with which he won four World Drivers' Championships – at the end of the 2014 season to join Ferrari.

The driver line-ups saw a couple of changes prior to the 2015 season and one more prior to the Singapore Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso replaced Kevin Magnussen at McLaren, returning to the team after he last raced for them in 2007.[33][34] Following an accident during pre-season testing, however, Alonso withdrew from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, and Magnussen returned as his temporary replacement.[35] Sebastian Vettel left Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2014 season after five years with the team and nine years with its wider junior development programme to join Ferrari in the place of Alonso.[36] Daniil Kvyat was promoted to Red Bull from Toro Rosso to fill the vacated seat.[37]

Toro Rosso changed their entire line-up: along with Kvyat joining Red Bull, the team chose not to renew Jean-Éric Vergne's contract. Vergne went on to compete in the Formula E Championship while also becoming a Ferrari development driver.[38] They were replaced by the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion Carlos Sainz, Jr.[39] and the 2014 European Formula Three third-place finisher Max Verstappen. Verstappen became the youngest driver to make a Formula One début, at the age of 17 years, 164 days when he started the season.[40]

Esteban Gutiérrez and Adrian Sutil were released from Sauber, where they were replaced by the former Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson and the GP2 driver Felipe Nasr.[41][42] Gutiérrez and Sutil went on to join Ferrari and Williams respectively as reserve drivers.[43][44]

Manor Marussia also had two new drivers: They hired the former Caterham driver Will Stevens to drive for his first full season in the sport,[45] while another former Caterham test driver, Roberto Merhi, was signed to a short-term deal while he also drove in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.[46] Max Chilton relinquished his seat, joining the Indy Lights championship,[47] while Bianchi was in a coma at the start of the season and ultimately died from injuries sustained at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.[48][49][50] Alexander Rossi was later drafted in by Manor Marussia to make his Formula One début at the Singapore Grand Prix, replacing Roberto Merhi. Merhi returned to the team for the Russian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, sharing the car with Rossi for the remainder of the season.[51]

Kamui Kobayashi went on to race in the Super Formula series in Japan after the folding of Caterham left him without a drive in Formula One.[52]

Season calendar

Nations that hosted a Grand Prix in 2015 are highlighted in green, with circuit locations marked in black. Former host nations are shown in dark grey, and former host circuits are marked with a white dot.

The following nineteen Grands Prix took place in 2015:[2]

Round Grand Prix Circuit Date
1 Australian Grand Prix Australia Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne 15 March
2 Malaysian Grand Prix Malaysia Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur 29 March
3 Chinese Grand Prix China Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai 12 April
4 Bahrain Grand Prix Bahrain Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir 19 April
5 Spanish Grand Prix Spain Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona 10 May
6 Monaco Grand Prix Monaco  Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo 24 May
7 Canadian Grand Prix Canada Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal 7 June
8 Austrian Grand Prix Austria Red Bull Ring, Spielberg 21 June
9 British Grand Prix United Kingdom Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone 5 July
10 Hungarian Grand Prix Hungary Hungaroring, Budapest 26 July
11 Belgian Grand Prix Belgium Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot 23 August
12 Italian Grand Prix Italy Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza 6 September
13 Singapore Grand Prix Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore 20 September
14 Japanese Grand Prix Japan Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka 27 September  
15 Russian Grand Prix Russia Sochi Autodrom, Sochi 11 October
16 United States Grand Prix United States Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas 25 October
17 Mexican Grand Prix Mexico Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City 1 November
18 Brazilian Grand Prix Brazil Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo 15 November
19 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi 29 November
Sources:[2][53]

Calendar changes

Comparison between the layout of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez last used by Formula One in 1992 (top), and the redeveloped used from 2015 (bottom).

There were a few revisions to the calendar from the previous season. The Mexican Grand Prix returned to the Formula One calendar for the first time since 1992. The race was held at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit located in the centre of Mexico City, which was the location of all Mexican Grands Prix in previous decades.[54] The circuit was substantially reconfigured to accommodate the sport's return.[55]

The Grand Prix of America and the Indian Grand Prix were both contracted but did not feature on the calendar.[2] The former originally aimed for a debut in 2013 at the Port Imperial Street Circuit in New Jersey after a fifteen-year contract was signed, but was delayed for a third straight year,[56][57] while the latter was cancelled for the second consecutive year due to an unresolved tax case in the Bombay High Court.[58]

The German and Korean Grands Prix were both included on the provisional calendar.[2] The former was set to return to the Nürburgring, in accordance with the event-sharing agreement established between the Nürburgring and the Hockenheimring in 2008.[59] The Nürburgring had previously hosted the race in 2013 and so was scheduled to host it again in 2015, but the venue was left off the provisional calendar,[60] leaving the event-sharing agreement at a stalemate.[61][62] With both venues unwilling to host the event,[63][64] the race was ultimately cancelled, leaving the country off the Grand Prix calendar for the first time since 1960.[53] The Korean Grand Prix was scheduled to return to the Formula One calendar after being removed in 2014,[2] but the plan was ultimately abandoned.[65]

Regulation changes

Technical

Power units

Sparks returned in 2015 due to titanium skid blocks attached to the underside of the cars.

The number of power units that a driver could use in a season was reduced from five in 2014 to four in 2015.[66] This was tweaked after the 2015 British Grand Prix, with new power unit manufacturers being allowed one additional power unit in their first season of competition. The change was retroactively applied to Honda.[67] The rules regarding engine development that were introduced in 2014 were changed as well, with the manufacturers allowed to perform half the development permitted in 2014.[68]

Noses

Following the backlash over "ugly" nose designs in 2014, the FIA moved to amend the rules surrounding nose designs for the 2015 season. Noses were lower than in 2014, retaining a minimum cross section, but they had to taper to a point at a fixed linear rate, effectively outlawing the dramatic finger shapes seen in 2014 in favour of a more gradual shape. Furthermore, the design of the nose had to be symmetrical and consistent with the centreline of the car, thereby banning the more exotic designs, such as the "twin-tusk" approach used by Lotus on the E22 chassis.[69]

Weight and bodywork

The minimum weight of the cars at all times during an event was increased to 702 kilograms (1,548 lb), an increase of 10 kilograms (22 lb) from 2014.[2] The ban on front-and-rear interconnected suspension systems (FRIC) that had been implemented in the middle of the 2014 season was formalised, with the regulations stating that the front and rear suspension had to be designed in such a way that any change in performance had to be a direct result of a change in load applied solely to them.[2] The anti-intrusion panels on both sides of the survival cell were extended upwards to the rim of the cockpit and alongside the driver's head.[2] Titanium skid blocks on the underside of the car were made mandatory for the 2015 season, which led to a return of sparks being created by the cars as the underbody touched the track.[70]

Sporting regulations

Penalties

Several rules regarding penalties were changed for the 2015 season. The replacement of a complete power unit, exceeding the maximum number allowed per season, no longer resulted in a penalty in itself. Penalties continued to be applied cumulatively for the replacement of individual components of the power unit, and if such a grid place penalty was imposed and the driver's grid position was such that it could not be applied in full, the remainder of the penalty was no longer carried over to the next race, but was instead applied in the form of a time penalty during the race corresponding to the number of grid spaces remaining in the penalty.[2] This was tweaked after the 2015 British Grand Prix with immediate effect, to make demotion to the back of the grid the maximum penalty for engine changes. Additional time penalties to be served during the race were abandoned.[67]

In addition to the existing five-second penalty that could be served during a driver's scheduled pit stop, a new ten-second penalty was introduced, to be served in the same manner.[2] If a car was deemed to have been released from its pit stop in an unsafe manner, the driver would receive a ten-second stop-and-go penalty. Further penalties could be applied if the stewards believed that the driver was aware of this and attempted to drive the car regardless.[2] If any team personnel or team equipment remained on the grid after the fifteen-second signal had been shown before the start of the formation lap, the driver of the car concerned would have had to start the race from the pit lane. If the driver concerned failed to obey this, they would have received a ten-second stop-and-go penalty.[2]

Schedule and points

The rules regarding qualifying and the start times of some races were tweaked. The qualifying procedure was further clarified to cater to different sizes of starting grids: if twenty-four cars were entered for the race, seven would have been eliminated after each of the first two qualifying segments; if twenty-two were entered, six would have been eliminated after each qualifying segment and so on if fewer cars were eligible.[2] In light of a regulation introduced in 2014 dictating that a race could not run for more than four hours and following recommendations from the report into Jules Bianchi's accident the previous season, the start times of five Grands Prix were moved forward by an hour, so that races did not start with less than four hours until dusk. Thus, the Australian, Malaysia, Chinese, Japanese and Russian Grands Prix started an hour earlier than in 2014.[71]

Safety innovations

There were other changes introduced in a bid to further increase the safety of the sport. In the aftermath of Bianchi's accident, a new procedure called the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was introduced following trials during the last three Grands Prix of 2014. The procedure could be initiated when double waved yellow flags were needed on any section of a circuit where competitors and officials were in danger, but the circumstances did not warrant deployment of the actual safety car. It obliged drivers to reduce their speed to match one indicated on the displays on their steering wheels.[2] The safety car procedure was amended as well: once the last lapped car had passed the leader, the safety car returned to the pits at the end of the following lap. This was a change of the previous practice which required the unlapped cars to have caught up with the back of the pack before the safety car could return to the pits.[2]

If a race were suspended (red-flagged), the cars would no longer have lined up on the grid but instead would have slowly proceeded to the pit lane. The pit exit would have been closed and the first car to arrive in the pit lane would have proceeded to the exit with the others lining up behind in the order in which they arrived, regardless of race standing or garage location. Severe circumstances could still have required cars to stop immediately on track.[2]

Other

Beginning with the Belgian Grand Prix, radio communication from engineers to drivers pertaining to race starts, such as recommended torque map settings for optimal acceleration, was no longer allowed. This restriction added to the partial radio ban implemented at the end of the previous season.[72] Drivers were also no longer permitted to change the design of their helmet in-season.[73]

Season report

Max Verstappen (pictured at the Malaysian Grand Prix) set two records in his first two races: youngest driver to start a race, and youngest driver to score points.

Pre-season

Before the start of the season, Hamilton announced he would not be exercising his option of switching his car number to 1 for 2015, as was his prerogative as reigning World Champion, and would instead race with his career number 44. It was the first season since 1994, when Alain Prost retired from the sport following his fourth and final World Drivers' Championship title in 1993, that the field did not contain a number 1 car.[74]

Following the financial struggles faced by Marussia and Caterham in 2014, the FIA approved the use of 2014-specification chassis in 2015 provided that teams showed cause and received an individual dispensation to compete with their old chassis.[75] However, a request by Manor Marussia to use their 2014 car was later rejected by the other teams.[76][77] Subsequent regulation changes allowed the team to use a modified 2014 chassis which met updated safety and dimensional limits. The car was powered by a 2014 specification Ferrari power unit, with a new chassis to be introduced later in the season.[11] However, following the twelfth round, Manor Marussia elected to abandon those plans in favor of developing the car for the following season.[78]

McLaren's Fernando Alonso was involved in a pre-season testing accident that saw the two-time World Drivers' Champion hospitalised. McLaren claimed the crash was caused by a sudden gust of wind disrupting the car's downforce, while Alonso insisted the crash was caused by his steering wheel locking up.[79] On physicians' advice, Alonso elected to sit out the opening round in Australia, prompting the team to replace him with Kevin Magnussen for the race.[35][80] Alonso was cleared to race by the second round in Malaysia.[81]

Championship

In Malaysia, Sebastian Vettel secured Ferrari's first victory since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix and his first victory since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Opening rounds

Mercedes began the season with a 1–2 finish in Australia, resulting in a twenty-eight point lead after just one round. They finished over 30 seconds clear of Sebastian Vettel, who finished third and secured a podium finish in his first race with Ferrari. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finished a lap down in sixth,[82] prompting the team to continue to voice their frustrations with Renault, as they were forced to use its second of four allotted power units for Ricciardo on the very first day of the season.[83] The team also voiced its displeasure over the progress Renault had made in terms of power, with the team principal, Christian Horner, stating that the Energy F1-2015 was still 100 horsepower (75 kW) down on Mercedes's PU106B Hybrid.[84] After the race, the Red Bull team advisor Helmut Marko suggested that Red Bull might exit Formula One entirely if changes to the regulations were not made to level the field or cut development costs.[85] Renault countered with their own threat to pull out of Formula One as an engine supplier if its reputation continued to be damaged or if its participation was otherwise not profitable to the company.[86] Mercedes followed up by finishing second and third in Malaysia, while Red Bull continued to struggle, rounding out the top ten a lap down. By the end of the flyaway rounds, Mercedes led the field, having earned 159 points (with Lewis Hamilton acquiring 93 out of 100 possible points),[87] while Red Bull's struggles endured. The team acquired 26 points, enough for a distant fourth,[88] and Ricciardo entered the European stages of the season on his fourth and final permissible power unit with fifteen events remaining on the calendar.[89]

With McLaren's longest continuous testing session lasting twelve laps in Barcelona – a total of 56 kilometres (35 mi), a sixth of a total Grand Prix distance – before running into engine trouble, Honda elected to detune the power units for the opening Grands Prix in an effort to improve reliability and longevity while the manufacturer worked to improve these areas before homologation.[90] After both cars qualified on the back row, Kevin Magnussen failed to reach the grid after suffering an abrupt engine failure during the warm-up lap. Jenson Button managed to finish the race, albeit in the last classified position, two laps behind the leaders.[82] Magnussen relinquished his seat back to Alonso in Malaysia;[91] both cars qualified ahead of only the Manor Marussias and eventually retired.[92][93] The team showed signs of improvement in terms of performance and was able to compete with the midfield cars in China and Bahrain, although reliability continued to prove troublesome as Button's car was unable to compete in the latter Grand Prix.[94]

Following a tumultuous pre-season in which they went through a period of administration and were saved by late investment, Manor Marussia arrived in Melbourne with a car that had passed its mandatory crash tests but had completed no testing.[95] After the team's arrival in Australia, while assembling the cars, it was discovered that their computers had been wiped completely clean of all data in preparation for auction.[96] Despite the team's efforts, they were unable to solve the oversight and could not compete in the Grand Prix.[97] The team managed to get their cars running and on the racetrack by the second round in Malaysia, and were able to set times within 107% of the leading times in practice, giving stewards reasonable grounds to allow the team to race when they failed to do so in qualifying. Merhi was able to finish the race three laps down in 15th, while Stevens did not start. Manor Marussia continued to show signs of consistency, with both cars qualifying within 107%, starting, and finishing both Grands Prix in China and Bahrain. They were one of two teams, the other being McLaren, to return to Europe without a championship point.

Ferrari came into the season seemingly much more competitive than the previous season, finishing on the podium in the opening race. Kimi Räikkönen stated that the SF15-T was "much better" to drive than 2014's F14 T.[98] In Malaysia, Vettel won comfortably and Räikkönen finished in fourth, despite suffering a tyre failure. The team then had a 3–4 finish in China, and Räikkönen secured his first podium appearance since rejoining Ferrari the previous season with a second-place finish in Bahrain. With 107 points, the team returned to Europe fifty-two points behind Mercedes, and forty-six points ahead of Williams, who were third.

European and Canadian rounds

Nico Rosberg leads the field on the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix. He would go on to win the race.

Mercedes arrived at Spain already with a comfortable lead. Lewis Hamilton had scored 93 points out of a possible 100, giving him a twenty-seven point lead over his teammate Nico Rosberg entering the eight-race European portion of the season.

Rosberg quickly cut into Hamilton's championship lead by securing victories in Spain (reducing his deficit to twenty points) and Monaco. The latter win was aided by the result of a costly miscalculation by the Mercedes team to pit Hamilton with a 19-second lead during a safety car period (that briefly saw the use of the "Virtual Safety Car" for the first time in F1's history) with 14 laps remaining. Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel did not pit, allowing both to narrowly pass Hamilton by the pit lane exit. Racing resumed on lap 71 and Rosberg quickly pulled away, remaining in the lead till the chequered flag. Vettel held off Hamilton for second and third, respectively.[99] As a result, Hamilton's lead over Rosberg in the Drivers' Championship was cut in half, to just ten points.[100] Meanwhile, Button secured McLaren's first points of the season by finishing 8th.[101] This left the Marussia drivers of Stevens and Merhi, along with the other McLaren driver, Fernando Alonso, as the only full-time drivers not to score a point after seven rounds.[102]

Lewis Hamilton (top) gestures to his home crowd following his fifth win of the season at Silverstone, while Fernando Alonso (bottom) picked up his first point of the season.

At the following Grands Prix in Canada, Austria, and Britain, Mercedes put to rest the criticism following the result in Monaco[103] with three successive 1–2 finishes, extending their championship lead to 160 points over Ferrari. Williams collected their first two podiums of the season in the form of third-place results by Valtteri Bottas in Canada and Felipe Massa in Austria, while Ferrari lost ground to Mercedes following a retirement in Austria and an eighth-place finish in Britain by Räikkönen. Other power unit manufacturers continued to struggle, with Renault finishing in the top five only once, in Monaco, indicating their continued lack of power. Honda continued to have reliability issues and, up to the British Grand Prix, suffered nine retirements and two failures to start due to power unit problems, translating to only seven overall finishes out of 18 possible results.

The Drivers' Championship remained closely contested between leader Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, with the gap between them never larger than 28 points after Hamilton's victory in round eleven in Belgium. The two would trade victories between rounds six and nine, closing the gap to as little as ten points. Sebastian Vettel, who at one time was within three points of the lead after his second-round victory in Malaysia and was the only non-Mercedes winner after eleven rounds, could not overcome team errors in Canada and Austria, and fell 59 points off the pace of Hamilton after round nine. He rebounded in Hungary by winning his second race of the season, reducing the gap to Hamilton to 42 points in the process, but fell out of a point-scoring position in Belgium after a tyre failure on the penultimate lap, dropping him to 67 points behind the leader.

Hamilton closed out the European portion of the season with his seventh victory of the season in Italy. With Rosberg's retirement at the event, Hamilton entered the closing rounds of the season with a 53-point lead over his team-mate in the Drivers' Championship standings, the largest gap of the season at that point, while Vettel sat a further 21 points behind. Hamilton's tenth pole position in Belgium assured him of victory in the FIA Pole Trophy. Mercedes had built up a 181-point lead over Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship, with Williams in third, 263 points behind the leaders. After twelve rounds, half of the teams had been represented on the podium, while nine of ten had scored points.

Asian, Russian, and American rounds

American Alexander Rossi, seen here driving at his home race, made his Formula One race debut at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Shortly before the thirteenth round in Singapore, Manor Marussia announced that the American GP2 driver Alexander Rossi would race for the team, replacing Merhi in five of the final seven rounds, while Merhi was retained for the remaining two.[104] Vettel won his third victory of the season in Singapore, closing his gap to Nico Rosberg in second place to just eight points.[105]

Rosberg could not close the gap to Hamilton in Japan or Russia; despite winning pole position in both races, his leads were short-lived.[106][107] He was passed by Hamilton on the opening corner in Japan[106] and retired on lap seven in Russia.[107] Vettel capitalised on the results with a third-place and second-place finish, respectively, to take second place in the Drivers' Championship from Rosberg with four rounds remaining, while Hamilton extended his lead to 66 points, the highest lead he had held in the season.[108] A victory in the United States, with Rosberg and Vettel finishing second and third respectively, secured the third Drivers' Championship for Hamilton with three races left to run.[109] Rosberg won the final three races in Mexico,[110] Brazil,[111] and Abu Dhabi to reclaim second in the Drivers' Championship from Vettel.[112]

Awards

Nico Rosberg finished the season ranked second for Mercedes, 59 points behind Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton ended the season winning not only the championship, but also the FIA Pole Trophy for most pole positions of the season[113] and the DHL Fastest Lap Award. Ferrari won the inaugural DHL Pit Stop Award, posting the fastest pit stop time at seven of the first eighteen races of the season.[114] Both Hamilton and Mercedes collected their championship trophies at a gala held in Paris on 4 December 2015. Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen collected three post-season awards for Rookie of the Year, Personality of the Year and Action of the Year (for his overtake on Felipe Nasr through Blanchimont corner at the Belgian Grand Prix).[115]

Legal disputes

Sauber

Sauber's early season preparations were disrupted by a series of legal challenges from the former Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde, who claimed that the team had reneged on a contract to race that was signed in June 2014.[116] Van der Garde filed a motion with the Supreme Court of Victoria in Australia in an effort to force the team to replace one of their drivers with him at the opening round in Melbourne,[117] with the court finding in his favour.[118] Van der Garde later agreed not to participate in the event, with the driver and team settling the dispute for an undisclosed sum and terminating the contract following the first round.[119]

Lotus

Lotus suffered financially throughout the season, culminating in Pirelli withholding their tyres for the Friday practice sessions in Hungary. Before the Belgian Grand Prix, amid negotiations with Renault for a potential takeover, the former Lotus reserve driver Charles Pic initiated legal action against Lotus alleging lack of seat time in 2014, resulting in breach of contract. Belgian authorities later moved to impound the assets of Lotus for four days following Grosjean's podium finish.[120] After talks between the FIA and Lotus,[121] the team was allowed to leave Spa with their equipment and cars, and was able to start the following race in Italy.[122]

Results and standings

Grands Prix

Round Grand Prix Pole position Fastest lap Winning driver Winning constructor Report
1 Australia Australian Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes Report
2 Malaysia Malaysian Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Sebastian Vettel Italy Ferrari Report
3 China Chinese Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes Report
4 Bahrain Bahrain Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Finland Kimi Räikkönen United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes Report
5 Spain Spanish Grand Prix Germany Nico Rosberg United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes Report
6 Monaco  Monaco Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Australia Daniel Ricciardo Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes Report
7 Canada Canadian Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Finland Kimi Räikkönen United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes Report
8 Austria Austrian Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes Report
9 United Kingdom British Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes Report
10 Hungary Hungarian Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Australia Daniel Ricciardo Germany Sebastian Vettel Italy Ferrari Report
11 Belgium Belgian Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Nico Rosberg United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes Report
12 Italy Italian Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes Report
13 Singapore Singapore Grand Prix Germany Sebastian Vettel Australia Daniel Ricciardo Germany Sebastian Vettel Italy Ferrari Report
14 Japan Japanese Grand Prix Germany Nico Rosberg United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes Report
15 Russia Russian Grand Prix Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Sebastian Vettel United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes Report
16 United States United States Grand Prix Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Nico Rosberg United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes Report
17 Mexico Mexican Grand Prix Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes Report
18 Brazil Brazilian Grand Prix Germany Nico Rosberg United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes Report
19 United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Germany Nico Rosberg United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes Report

World Drivers' Championship standings

Points were awarded to the top ten classified finishers in every race, using the following structure:

Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Points 25 18 15 12 10 8 6 4 2 1

In the event of a tie, a count-back system was used as a tie-breaker, with a driver's best result used to decide the standings.[N 1]

Pos. Driver AUS
Australia
MAL
Malaysia
CHN
China
BHR
Bahrain
ESP
Spain
MON
Monaco
CAN
Canada
AUT
Austria
GBR
United Kingdom
HUN
Hungary
BEL
Belgium
ITA
Italy
SIN
Singapore
JPN
Japan
RUS
Russia
USA
United States
MEX
Mexico
BRA
Brazil
ABU
United Arab Emirates
Points
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 1 2 1 1 2 3 1 2 1 6 1 1 Ret 1 1 1 2 2 2 381
2 Germany Nico Rosberg 2 3 2 3 1 1 2 1 2 8 2 17† 4 2 Ret 2 1 1 1 322
3 Germany Sebastian Vettel 3 1 3 5 3 2 5 4 3 1 12† 2 1 3 2 3 Ret 3 4 278
4 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ret 4 4 2 5 6 4 Ret 8 Ret 7 5 3 4 8 Ret Ret 4 3 150
5 Finland Valtteri Bottas DNS 5 6 4 4 14 3 5 5 13 9 4 5 5 12† Ret 3 5 13 136
6 Brazil Felipe Massa 4 6 5 10 6 15 6 3 4 12 6 3 Ret 17 4 Ret 6 DSQ 8 121
7 Russia Daniil Kvyat DNS 9 Ret 9 10 4 9 12 6 2 4 10 6 13 5 Ret 4 7 10 95
8 Australia Daniel Ricciardo 6 10 9 6 7 5 13 10 Ret 3 Ret 8 2 15 15† 10 5 11 6 92
9 Mexico Sergio Pérez 10 13 11 8 13 7 11 9 9 Ret 5 6 7 12 3 5 8 12 5 78
10 Germany Nico Hülkenberg 7 14 Ret 13 15 11 8 6 7 Ret DNS 7 Ret 6 Ret Ret 7 6 7 58
11 France Romain Grosjean Ret 11 7 7 8 12 10 Ret Ret 7 3 Ret 13† 7 Ret Ret 10 8 9 51
12 Netherlands Max Verstappen Ret 7 17† Ret 11 Ret 15 8 Ret 4 8 12 8 9 10 4 9 9 16 49
13 Brazil Felipe Nasr 5 12 8 12 12 9 16 11 DNS 11 11 13 10 20† 6 9 Ret 13 15 27
14 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Ret Ret Ret 15 Ret Ret 7 7 Ret 14 Ret Ret 12 8 7 8 11 10 Ret 27
15 Spain Carlos Sainz, Jr. 9 8 13 Ret 9 10 12 Ret Ret Ret Ret 11 9 10 Ret 7 13 Ret 11 18
16 United Kingdom Jenson Button 11 Ret 14 DNS 16 8 Ret Ret Ret 9 14 14 Ret 16 9 6 14 14 12 16
17 Spain Fernando Alonso Ret 12 11 Ret Ret Ret Ret 10 5 13 18† Ret 11 11 11 Ret 15 17 11
18 Sweden Marcus Ericsson 8 Ret 10 14 14 13 14 13 11 10 10 9 11 14 Ret Ret 12 16 14 9
19 Spain Roberto Merhi DNP 15 16 17 18 16 Ret 14 12 15 15 16 13 19 0
20 United States Alexander Rossi 14 18 12 15 18 0
21 United Kingdom Will Stevens DNP DNS 15 16 17 17 17 Ret 13 16† 16 15 15 19 14 Ret 16 17 18 0
Denmark  Kevin Magnussen DNS 0
Pos. Driver AUS
Australia
MAL
Malaysia
CHN
China
BHR
Bahrain
ESP
Spain
MON
Monaco
CAN
Canada
AUT
Austria
GBR
United Kingdom
HUN
Hungary
BEL
Belgium
ITA
Italy
SIN
Singapore
JPN
Japan
RUS
Russia
USA
United States
MEX
Mexico
BRA
Brazil
ABU
United Arab Emirates
Points
Key
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Did not finish (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Race cancelled (C)
Blank Did not practice (DNP)
Excluded (EX)
Did not arrive (DNA)
Withdrawn (WD)

Bold – Pole position
Italics – Fastest lap

Notes:

  • † – The driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but were classified as they completed more than 90% of the race distance.

World Constructors' Championship standings

Pos. Constructor No. AUS
Australia
MAL
Malaysia
CHN
China
BHR
Bahrain
ESP
Spain
MON
Monaco
CAN
Canada
AUT
Austria
GBR
United Kingdom
HUN
Hungary
BEL
Belgium
ITA
Italy
SIN
Singapore
JPN
Japan
RUS
Russia
USA
United States
MEX
Mexico
BRA
Brazil
ABU
United Arab Emirates
Points
1 Germany Mercedes 6 2 3 2 3 1 1 2 1 2 8 2 17† 4 2 Ret 2 1 1 1 703
44 1 2 1 1 2 3 1 2 1 6 1 1 Ret 1 1 1 2 2 2
2 Italy Ferrari 5 3 1 3 5 3 2 5 4 3 1 12† 2 1 3 2 3 Ret 3 4 428
7 Ret 4 4 2 5 6 4 Ret 8 Ret 7 5 3 4 8 Ret Ret 4 3
3 United Kingdom Williams-Mercedes 19 4 6 5 10 6 15 6 3 4 12 6 3 Ret 17 4 Ret 6 DSQ 8 257
77 DNS 5 6 4 4 14 3 5 5 13 9 4 5 5 12† Ret 3 5 13
4 Austria Red Bull-Renault 3 6 10 9 6 7 5 13 10 Ret 3 Ret 8 2 15 15† 10 5 11 6 187
26 DNS 9 Ret 9 10 4 9 12 6 2 4 10 6 13 5 Ret 4 7 10
5 India Force India-Mercedes 11 10 13 11 8 13 7 11 9 9 Ret 5 6 7 12 3 5 8 12 5 136
27 7 14 Ret 13 15 11 8 6 7 Ret DNS 7 Ret 6 Ret Ret 7 6 7
6 United Kingdom Lotus-Mercedes 8 Ret 11 7 7 8 12 10 Ret Ret 7 3 Ret 13† 7 Ret Ret 10 8 9 78
13 Ret Ret Ret 15 Ret Ret 7 7 Ret 14 Ret Ret 12 8 7 8 11 10 Ret
7 Italy Toro Rosso-Renault 33 Ret 7 17† Ret 11 Ret 15 8 Ret 4 8 12 8 9 10 4 9 9 16 67
55 9 8 13 Ret 9 10 12 Ret Ret Ret Ret 11 9 10 Ret 7 13 Ret 11
8 Switzerland   Sauber-Ferrari 9 8 Ret 10 14 14 13 14 13 11 10 10 9 11 14 Ret Ret 12 16 14 36
12 5 12 8 12 12 9 16 11 DNS 11 11 13 10 20† 6 9 Ret 13 15
9 United Kingdom McLaren-Honda 14 Ret 12 11 Ret Ret Ret Ret 10 5 13 18† Ret 11 11 11 Ret 15 17 27
20 DNS
22 11 Ret 14 DNS 16 8 Ret Ret Ret 9 14 14 Ret 16 9 6 14 14 12
10 United Kingdom Marussia-Ferrari 28 DNP DNS 15 16 17 17 17 Ret 13 16† 16 15 15 19 14 Ret 16 17 18 0
53 14 18 12 15 18
98 DNP 15 16 17 18 16 Ret 14 12 15 15 16 13 19
Pos. Constructor No. AUS
Australia
MAL
Malaysia
CHN
China
BHR
Bahrain
ESP
Spain
MON
Monaco
CAN
Canada
AUT
Austria
GBR
United Kingdom
HUN
Hungary
BEL
Belgium
ITA
Italy
SIN
Singapore
JPN
Japan
RUS
Russia
USA
United States
MEX
Mexico
BRA
Brazil
ABU
United Arab Emirates
Points
Key
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Did not finish (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Race cancelled (C)
Blank Did not practice (DNP)
Excluded (EX)
Did not arrive (DNA)
Withdrawn (WD)

Bold – Pole position
Italics – Fastest lap

Notes:

  • † – Drivers did not finish the Grand Prix, but were classified as they completed more than 90% of the race distance.

Footnotes

  1. In the event that two or more drivers achieved the same best result an equal number of times, their next-best result was used, and so on. If two or more drivers achieved equal results an equal number of times, the FIA would have nominated the winner according to such criteria as it thought fit.[123]

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