A total of 16 teams took part in the Formula One World Championship in the 2010s, but just which team ultimately was the best?
Today I bring you the first part of two statistical looks at the 2010s when it comes to Formula One by looking closely at the constructors who put their mark on the sport between the years of 2010 and 2019.
For this list I analysed all the statistics for the decade, comparing number of races, wins, podiums, poles, fastest laps and points across each of the ten seasons.
To come up with the order of this ranking, I did so based on total points scored across the decade.
Initially I was going to weight in extra elements such as wins and championships, however the final list all but reflected any extra weight that would’ve occurred if I had have included those.
So with that in mind, let’s get to the rankings.
Fastest Laps: 3
Best Constructors Finish: 6th (2012)
Sauber started the decade as BMW Sauber and ended the decade as Alfa Romeo, continuing a very interesting history of the Swiss based team and adopting well known car manufacturers as part of their identity.
There was absolutely no connection to BMW in 2010 except for a name agreement due to the late withdrawal of BMW in 2009, and I haven’t included their 2019 results as they raced fully as Alfa Romeo in that season.
Sauber had a varying amount of success throughout the decade. 2012 was by far their standout year, with all four of their podiums coming across that season.
Sergio Perez did enough in 2012 to earn himself a McLaren drive the following year, while Kamui Kobayashi scored a famous home podium in Suzuka.
Nico Hulkenberg drove well above the potential of the car in a fairly lacklustre 2013, while 2014 saw their worst ever result with the team not scoring a single point.
A mixed few years at the end of the decade and their eventual transition into Alfa Romeo concluded a fairly expected decade for the perennial mid-running team.
9. Toro Rosso
Fastest Laps: 1
Best Constructors Finish: 6th (2019)
Toro Rosso really spent this decade where many expected, firmly planted in the midfield with an occasional surprise along the way.
There weren’t any massive peaks like in their first years of existence in the 2000s, but a fairly solid year in 2019 brought about two podiums and strong results to help them to their best finish since 2008.
Toro Rosso of course is all about driver development and helping out the senior Red Bull team, and the team has done exactly that along the way.
It of course used Honda engines in 2018 before the senior team switched over a year later, and helped the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen step up into the big time in the sport.
It also helped nurture Alex Albon, Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat as well as giving plenty other drivers a chance who didn’t quite live up to expectations.
One special note has to go out to the extremely talented and wasted opportunity of Jean-Eric Vergne, who has gone on to be a superstar in Formula E. If there was one driver who perhaps was shafted too early by the Red Bull programme, Vergne would take that honour.
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen at the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo of Australia got his start at Toro Rosso (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Fastest Laps: 2
Best Constructors Finish: 4th (2018)
Renault had an interesting decade and some would classify them differently to I have. For this I have classified them as a constructor in 2010, and from 2016 onwards. Their other iteration of Lotus will be discussed very shortly.
A strong year in 2010 off the back of a strong performance by Robert Kubica really set them up for some solid potential. They were constantly the best of the rest outside of Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren that year and were always quick to pick up the pieces whenever the top teams failed.
Their eventual return in 2016 was a massive struggle for them as they limped home to only eight points, however they soon found their feet and eventually pushed their way back to that best of the rest status in 2018 with a solid fourth in the constructors.
Daniel Ricciardo was a massive signing in 2019 but the car just didn’t live up to where they hoped to be, and they slipped back behind customer team McLaren to ultimately finished fifth.
The hopes of every Australian rest in the French team moving forward as hopefully they can produce a car worthy of the talents that Ricciardo brings into the 2020s.
Fastest Laps: 5
Best Constructors Finish: 4th (2012 and 2013)
It was a confusing time in the 2010s to be a fan of the famous Lotus brand. First the team ‘returned’ as one of the three new teams in 2010 before that team ultimately became Caterham.
While in 2011 Renault became Lotus in what ultimately stayed Lotus but technically never had any connection to the previous team that came before it.
Confused? Yeah I still am. But let’s not dwell on that shall we?
The team as Lotus had a very solid and successful period in 2012 and 2013 with the return of Kimi Raikkonen. The lovable Finn famously won the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and backed it up by winning the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, and to this day remains team outside of either Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes to win a race.
Lotus was a constant podium finisher during that period, and Romain Grosjean also joined in the action and showed what he was capable of by putting in some great drives along the way to help the team score consecutive fourth place finishes in the Constructors Championship.
Things soon fell away in the hybrid era for them however with only 10 points scored in 2014, before a switch to Mercedes power in 2015 brought an improvement and another podium.
The team soon fell back into the hands of Renault and the brief love affair that Formula One had with Lotus and the Lotus name soon went back into the history books once again.
Fastest Laps: 3
Best Constructors Finish: 3rd (2014 and 2015)
Looking at this now it seems impossible to think that Williams actually didn’t have a horrible decade. Admittedly they also didn’t have their best decade, but they still walked away from the 2010s with a race victory, a couple of poles and some podiums which seems quite unbelievable based on their recent form.
That famous win of course came in 2012 at the Spanish Grand Prix, with the fan favourite Pastor Maldonado giving us the most unique win in living memory with a pretty incredible drive.
The hybrid era also brought about some success for the team, with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas putting in consistent performances with a strong car to claim consecutive third place finishes in the championship.
Sadly things turned sour for them in the subsequent years, with their last podium coming in 2017 with Lance Stroll taking third at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
It looks a long way back for the Grove based outfit to return to their former glory but with a strong legion of fans and a storied history, many will be hoping it will come sooner rather than later in the 2020s.
5. Force India
Fastest Laps: 4
Best Constructors Finish: 4th (2016 and 2017)
The highest placed constructor on this list not to have won a race this decade, Force India was the little team that always could and often did when it mattered.
Such a consistent team, particularly in their final few years, Force India were always ready to pounce on any single opportunity presented to them and scored solid points to always bring them up the field.
Only three times in the decade did they score under 100 points, and the team gave drivers such as Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon chances to shine along the way.
Adrian Sutil lead a large portion of the 2013 Australian Grand Prix in what was looking very close to being a famous victory, a feat that Nico Hulkenberg also nearly gave to the team at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix also.
However that win never came for the team sadly, although five podiums thanks to Sergio Perez across the decade definitely gave their supporters a lot to cheer for.
The team sadly went into administration in 2018 and was saved by Lawrence Stroll, and existed as Racing Point Force India for nine races before finishing the decade as Racing Point in 2019.
Fastest Laps: 18
Best Constructors Finish: 2nd (2010 and 2011)
In a similar vein to Williams early in this entry, it’s hard to remember that McLaren actually didn’t have the most terrible decade.
Again, by far not their best, but the team still won races and contended for championships in the 2010s in a stark contrast to their more recent struggles.
2010 was perhaps the year that got away for the team. Arguably with the strongest line-up on the grid, the MP4-25 was for most of the season the best car that year but both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button couldn’t quite bring home the points they needed and the team had to settle for second.
It was a repeat of that position in 2011, this time with Button taking the lead as Hamilton struggled in a year that was completely dominated by Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel.
2012 had promise but it soon faded, and from 2013 onwards the team seemingly went on a downwards spiral. No podiums in 2013 was followed by only two in 2014, and there wouldn’t be a McLaren driver sipping champagne until 2019 when Carlos Sainz Jr was awarded a podium post race in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Honda and Fernando Alonso experiment failed miserably and set the team back several years and only added to their ways, although the slight resurgence in 2019 with Sainz Jr and Norris brought some hope that the 2020s might help them back towards the front of the grid.
That and the return of Mercedes in 2021, and long-suffering McLaren fans might have something to hope for.
Fastest Laps: 35
Best Constructors Finish: 2nd (2012, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019)
It hurts me to see Ferrari in only third place. As a Ferrari fan, this entire decade has just hurt. The first decade in the history of the Scuderia that they went without winning a Championship is hard to swallow, especially with the potential that was there and the near misses had along the way.
2010 and 2012 were the closest Ferrari came to actually winning the championship, mainly the drivers, as Fernando Alonso went into both final races with a shot at claiming another title.
2010 was a particularly tricky one to swallow for the Spaniard as it was all thrown upside by a Renault and a Russian in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Brazil in 2012 also looked like giving Alonso the most famous of titles given just how bad the F2012 was, but again luck didn’t come his way and he was left staring at what could’ve been.
2013 and 2014 were forgettable years and Alonso was out, with the new saviour being Sebastian Vettel in a move that shocked the Formula One paddock when it was announced.
A successful German in a red car though, what could go wrong? Well, a fair bit sadly. Vettel actually put in some great drives in 2015 that are often overlooked to take three wins and the excitement was back for the team. A sub-par 2016 was soon forgotten, and a raft of rule changes brought hope into 2017 and 2018.
That hope was there for most of both seasons before the bad luck and mistakes set in and sadly Ferrari weren’t able to capitalise on what were perfect opportunities to finally break their title drought. 2019 followed with potential and then nothing to show for it, and the decade ended just as it did for the Italian team.
12 long years now without any form of title is way too long for Ferrari, and I like every other Ferrari fan will be crossing all those fingers and toes that the 2020s brings some much needed success.
2. Red Bull
Fastest Laps: 60
Best Constructors Finish: 1st (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013)
Four years into this decade and many people were moaning about how boring and predictable the sport had become because only one team was winning.
What a difference a few more years makes right? Remember when it was Red Bull dominating and not a certain silver team?
Before the hybrid era the energy drinks company dominated the sport, and with Sebastian Vettel at the peak of his powers it was hard to take anything away from them.
This was a team that only five years previously had entered the sport on a wave of rock and roll and attempted to bring ‘fun’ back.
They entered the 2010s with a serious threat to the status quo – and boy did they deliver.
Vettel and Mark Webber were the warring pair of the decade before Hamilton versus Rosberg and it was enthralling to watch.
Many Aussies still haven’t got over that feud and dislike Vettel to this day, which just goes to show the intense nature the rivalry had at peak times.
Many Aussies also still haven’t forgotten the 2010 Korean Grand Prix and what it ultimately meant for the chance to see Webber become the third Australian World Champion, but hey, we’ll get over it one day right?
In the post Vettel years the torch went to Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen and both have kept us entertained ever since.
The team hasn’t been a genuine Championship contender since 2013, however there are signs there that it will happen soon and their new found success with Honda where McLaren weren’t able to do so shows just how solid a constructor they are and why they should be very much at the front end of the grid for a long time.
If there was an award for overall most consistent team of the decade, it would go to Red Bull hands down.
Fastest Laps: 66
Best Constructors Finish: 1st (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019)
As soon as you clicked on this article you knew who was going to be number one right? By far the most obvious answer and most obvious number one. Mercedes have dominated the sport in a way never seen before and by far is the best team of the 2010s.
It was somewhat of a shock to have them return as a constructor having been away from the sport for over 50 years when they came back in 2010, but their buyout of Brawn brought with it a whole bunch of money and whole lot of history.
It also brought a certain Michael Schumacher out of retirement and a certain Nico Rosberg into a team to finally show what he was capable of.
While for the most part people remember Schumacher as failing on his comeback, it definitely wasn’t as bad as many people say. There was a podium, a bunch of solid points finish and that famous pole position in Monaco in 2012 that he was robbed of keeping. Rosberg did come out on top in the battle and even scored a win in 2012, but the car was never good enough to genuinely contend with the front runners.
2013 brought about the biggest driver move of the decade by far, with the also perhaps the most shocking moment of the entire decade coming when Lewis Hamilton announced his switch to Mercedes from McLaren. People blasted Hamilton in what was considered a stupid move. Boy how people can be wrong.
We all know what happened next. Six consecutive seasons with both drivers and constructors championships, a first time for the sport that had ever happened, and an absolute dominance from the team that doesn’t look like being matched anytime soon.
Yes, it hasn’t been the greatest thing to watch in terms of excitement and unpredictability, but there is no denying the success the team has had and just how much they deserve to come out on top as the best team of the 2010s.
This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here