Over the past ten seasons of Formula One, we have only seen three different drivers win the World Championship, but if we look at the driver who took the honour of the lowest-ranked driver in the final standings, it tells a different story. We could have just picked one driver from each season and gave our thoughts on why they were the worst that year, but instead, we are going to use statistics and look at the final driver’s championship standings between 2010 and 2019 and tell you who the lowest classified driver from each year was.
This does mean that some drivers on this list took part in only one or two rounds, but as they finished their races, they got classified and officially are at the bottom of the standings, so let’s get into this.
2010 Christian Klein
It is probably a little unfair of us to include Klein on this list given he only took part in three races, but finishes in Brazil and Abu Dhabi means he was classified in the final standings, all the way down in 27th place.
He raced for the Hispania Racing Team or HRT as they are more commonly known, with a car that was not the most competitive on the field. His first race for the team was in Singapore where he retired on lap 31 with a hydraulics issue. After a two-race gap Klein was back in the car for the Brazilian Grand Prix finishing in 22nd and last place. In his next race, his final race of his short return to the sport after a four-year gap, he finished in 20th place in Abu Dhabi
Since leaving Formula One, Klein hasn’t had the most successful career to be honest. He has competed in the Le Mans series, the European Le Mans series, the World Endurance Championship, V8 Supercars, the International Supercars series, Auto GP, Super GT, Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup and the Bathurst 1000. His standout result was third place in the 2014 European Le Mans series finishing third overall, including a win at Paul Ricard.
2011 Karun Chandhok
This one is a little unfair, maybe even more so given Chandhok only took part in one race this season. This was the German Grand Prix where he replaced Jarno Trulli for Team Lotus, finishing in 20th place and 28th overall in the Driver’s Championship.
This wasn’t Chandhok’s only race in Formula One, however, with the Indian driver racing the previous season with HRT up until the British Grand Prix.
This would also be his final race in Formula One, as he purposed a career in Endurance Racing, taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 2012 and 2017. He has also raced in European Le Mans, the FIA GT Series and a full season of the World Endurance Championship in 2012 after he left F1. One series that I did not mention was Formula E, where he raced for Mahindra Racing in the inaugural 2014-15 season, we have a video taking a look at Chandhok’s time in Formula E and what he has been up to since on our channel which you can view by clicking the card on screen now or in the description below.
2012 Pedro de la Rosa
Finally we have a driver that took part in the vast majority of races during a season. I say this as de la Rosa and his team-mate Narain Karthikeyan didn’t actually qualify for the opening race of the season in Australia as they were both outside the 107% qualifying cut off point in their HRT cars. HRT are becoming a real theme in this video.
I think you know where this is going but de la Rosa scored a grand total of 0 points during what would be his final season in F1, a career starting back in 1999 for the Arrows team. His best finish was 17th which he placed in for the European Grand Prix in Valencia, the Singapore Grand Prix, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the Brazilian Grand Prix. He ended the season all the way down in 25th place, but if its any consolation to him, Daniel Ricciardo in 18th place was the first of the point scoring drivers, who drove for HRT the previous season.
Despite finishing last in the driver’s standings, he did get a move to Ferrari…. as a test driver before ending his motorsport career with a pre-season Formula E test for Team Aguri, where he is currently sporting and technical director off, they did change their name to Teecheetah in 2016 and won the Team’s Championship in 2018-19, with Jean-Eric Vergne winning the driver’s Championship in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
2013 Max Chilton
Taking the honour for last place in the 2013 season is Max Chilton who finished 23rd in his Marussia car. His teammate for the season was the late Jules Bianchi, who put in some impressive drives to help Marrusia be classified ahead of Caterham in the Constructor’s standings.
Chilton got his best result of the season in Monaco finishing 14th place, the final driver to finish the race. He scored 0 points during the season in a car that was uncompetitive, but he had done enough to have a race seat for the following season.
Since leaving Formula One, Chilton has been taking part in Indycar, starting out with the Indy Light’s series in 2015, finishing in 5th place, before stepping up to Indycar with Chip Ginassi Racing with a fourth-place finish the 2017 Indy 500 being the standout result for him. He is now with the Carlin team, being replaced by Conor Daly for the oval races. Just after he left Formula One he had a stint in Endurance racing, taking part in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, failing to finish.
2014 Will Stevens
Stevens only took part in one race during the 2014 season, which was overshadowed by the tragic accident of Jules Bianchi in Japan. Stevens was driving for the Caterham team, with his appearance at the season finale in Abu Dhabi being his race this season.
In that race, he finished in 17th place, in a race where double points were awarded. It was also the final race for the Caterham team, and Stevens wasn’t the lowest ranked driver if you look at everyone who took part. Andre Lotterer taking part in the Belgian Grand Prix but failed to finish and therefore was not classified. Alexander Rossi was also listed below Stevens, but never actually took part in a race as Marussia withdrew from the US Grand Prix after Bianchi’s accident and the team went bust before the end of the season.
Since leaving Formula One, Stevens has been taking part in the World Endurance Championship, enjoying success in the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTE AM class. He has also been taking part in the European Le Mans series as well as the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup.
2015 Will Stevens
Taking the spot for the second season in a row is Will Stevens, who was again in a very uncompetitive car. For this season he was racing with the Manor Marussia Team, and took part in every round of the Championship finishing in 21st and unsurprisingly last place.
His best result of the season was 13th place at his home race at Silverstone. The only driver that was lower than him on the standings was Kevin Magnussen, who replaced Fernando Alonso for the Australian Grand Prix but failed to make the start and therefore was not classified in the Driver’s Standings.
2016 Rio Haryanto
Taking the 2016 spot for the worst driver on the grid according to the official standings of classified drivers is Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto. He drove for Manor Racing MRT, the renamed Manor Marussia team.
Like all drivers so far he failed to score a World Championship point, with his best finish being P15 in Monaco before being replaced by Esteban Ocon from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards.
Since leaving Formula One Haryanto has been very quiet but did make a return to motorsport in 2019 for the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia, finishing in 31st place on 11 points, with a best finish of 7th place.
2017 Brendon Hartley
Another driver that is unlucky to make this list, purely for the lack of races they took part in. Hartley competed for Toro Rosso in the final four rounds of the 2017 season, ending the season on 0 points and 23rd in the Driver’s standings.
He only finished two of his four races, with 13th place in the USA and 15th place in Abu Dhabi coming either side of two engines failures.
The Kiwi driver was given a full-time race seat with Toro Rosso the following season, ending the season in 19th place with 4 points with his best result coming in the USA after finishing in 9th place.
He was dropped by Toro Rosso for the 2019 season and moved to Formula E with GEOX Dragon, with Hartley currently sitting in 20th place in the Standings with six rounds of the season left to be complete in Berlin in August 2020. He is also currently racing in the World Endurance Championship for Toyota Gazoo Racing, currently sitting second in the standings. This move came after competing for SMP Racing at the Sebring round the previous year.
Hartley also took part in the Weathertech Sportscar Championship for the Sebring round in 2019, claiming a podium after a third-place finish.
2018 Sergey Sirotken
It probably isn’t a surprise that a Williams driver will be on this list closer to the modern-day, with this being the first proper year that they struggled massively. Sirtoken didn’t have the most memorable time, but there were flashes of potential.
After stepping up to Formula One from his Renault F1 Test driver role, with two consecutive 3rd places finishes in GP2 the two years prior, he scored his only Formula One World Championship point in Italy after a tenth place finish.
2018 was his only season in Formula One and since leaving the series he has been relatively quiet. He took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for SMP Racing, failing to finish, while also taking on the role of Test and Development driver for Renault F1 and the role of reserve driver for McLaren. In 2020 he drove for ART Grand Prix in the Formula Two pre-season test, while continuing on with Renault in the role of Reserve driver.
2019 George Russell
Lets’ be honest, the only reason that Russell has made this list after what he described as “driver error “allowed his team-mate Robert Kubica to pass and end up scoring a point after the two Alfa Romeo cars were disqualified.
His best finish was 11th place in Germany, with the Williams car not being great, they didn’t even make the start of pre-season testing.
Russell was consistently better than Kubica all season long, out-qualifying him 21-0. He is still racing for Williams but many believe he will make the step up to Mercedes within the next season or two, with him also becoming the F1 Virtual GP Champion during the long break before the start of the 2020 season.
So there is the worst drivers of each year in Formula One from 2010 to 2019. Obviously, not all of these drivers were the worst ability-wise in the respective season and this is only looking at the classified driver’s standings from each year. Let us know in the comment section below who the worst driver ability was from each season.
I have also made this article in a video format, and you can check that video here: