Buy my Rating System

Patrick O'Brien's Grand Prix Rating System: Season Summaries


Available to purchase from Lulu.com. Click on the following link to order a (soft-cover bound) hard-copy which will then be shipped to you. e.g., for the 2000-2009 volume:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-obrien/patrick-obriens-grand-prix-rating-system-season-summaries-2000-2009/paperback/product-21395285.html


The 2013 Formula One season was dominated by the Vettel/ Red Bull-Renault package, which won 13 of the 19 races. Many reckon that Vettel is one of the great drivers. Some however argue that Vettel was fortunate in having the fastest car, the Red Bull-Renault. Just how good was Vettel compared with his peers? This publication compares grand prix and Formula One drivers, cars and packages in simple arithmetic terms. For the first time the driver has been separated from the car and each is expressed as separate performance elements that make up the performance package. Just how much current four-time champion Vettel contributes to the Red Bull-Renault’s recent dominance is explained and quantified. The author’s analysis starts from the first car race in 1894, from Paris to Rouen, and includes over 1,200 grand prix races. The Patrick O’Brien Grand Prix Rating System is divided into seven sections, one for each decade spanning the Formula One era (1950-2013). This book covers 2000-2009.

How can my Rating System be replicated and checked?
I explain various aspects in separate documents. A section entitled ‘Guidelines for interpreting my Rating System’ is included in all books which briefly explains my System.

Five chapters form my thesis. Chapter 1 introduces the problem that my study seeks to address as well as its implications; Chapter 2 reviews the literature on this topic; Chapter 3 discusses my methodology; Chapter 4, contains my findings (the Season Summaries from 1894-2013); and Chapter 5 is the conclusion (summarising the extent to which my Rating System is replicable). 

At present, there are eight ‘Season Summaries’ that comprise Chapter 4: 1940-1949, 1950-1959, 1960-1969,1970-1979,1980-1989,1990-1999, 2000-2009, and 2010-2013. I have also similarly analysed racing from the era 1894-1949, before Formula One commenced in 1950. 


Each season is in three sections, Package, Driver and Car, with the whole field rated and tabulated, and text discussing mainly the winners and the front-runners. My own illustrations are used, and reflect a spread of competitors for each season.

Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 5 may also be made available.

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After 12 years of development and refinement from its 2002 inception, my Rating System is being published. The Patrick O’Brien Grand Prix Rating System is divided into 14 volumes, one for each decade of the pre-Formula One era (1894-1949) and Formula One era (1950-2016). The Formula One era, 1950-2013, was published in 2014. The Explanatory Chapters constitute the 15th volume, published in December 2016.

The thirteenth book contains the 1910-1919 seasons, is 122 pages, soft-cover bound and available now online here.
The twelfth book contains the 1920-1929 seasons, is 188 pages, soft-cover bound and available now online here.
http://www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-obrien/patrick-obriens-grand-prix-rating-system-season-summaries-1920-1929/paperback/product-23234350.html

The eleventh book contains the 1930-1939 seasons, is 165 pages, soft-cover bound and available now online here.
http://www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-obrien/patrick-obriens-grand-prix-rating-system-season-summaries-1930-1939/paperback/product-22362853.html

The tenth book contains the 1940-1949 seasons, is 80 pages, soft-cover bound and available now online here.
http://www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-obrien/patrick-obriens-grand-prix-rating-system-season-summaries-1940-1949/paperback/product-22298647.html

The ninth book contains the 2014-2016 seasons, is 42 pages, soft-cover bound and available now online here.
http://www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-obrien/patrick-obriens-grand-prix-rating-system-season-summaries-2014-2016/paperback/product-23180321.html

The eighth book, the Explanatory Chapters 1894-2013, is 186 pages, soft-cover bound and available now online here.
http://www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-obrien/patrick-obriens-grand-prix-rating-system-explanatory-chapters-1894-2013/paperback/product-23176833.html

The seventh book contains the 1950-1959 seasons, is 91 pages, soft-cover bound and available now online here.

The sixth book contains the 1960-1969 seasons, is 82 pages, soft-cover bound and available now online here.

The fifth book contains the 1970-1979 seasons, is 90 pages, soft-cover bound and available now online here.

The fourth book contains the 1980-1989 seasons, is 81 pages, soft-cover bound and is available online here.

The third book contains the 1990-1999 seasons, is 80 pages, soft-cover bound and available online here.

The second book contains the 2010-2013 seasons, is 50 pages, soft-cover bound and available now online here.

The first book contains the 2000-2009 seasons, is 80 pages, soft-cover bound and available now online here.


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For my research, I corresponded with numerous prominent figures in Grand Prix racing. Below are some excerpts.

In 2007 I wrote to John Surtees and told of my Rating System referring to his competitiveness in the Sixties:

“Your basic assessment of my career is I think relatively accurate in that I believe I was as competitive as anyone through to at least 1968.”
~ John Surtees, personal communication, April 2007.

In 2007 I wrote to Stirling Moss about some of my Rating System referring to his battles with Fangio:

“I have taken your very interesting attachment [on some of my Rating System referring to his battles with Fangio] off my Apple and will try to answer it. I must say that I could beat Juan [Fangio] in sports cars, but in F1 he was usually faster. Not at Aintree in our W196 cars […] The Vanwall was not a nice car to drive, like a Maserati 250F, but it did win the World Championship. It was probably faster than the other cars at Pescara, but far harder to drive.”
~ Sir Stirling Moss O.B.E., personal communication, September 2007.

In 1982 I wrote to Fangio and asked about his strongest rival drivers:

“Alberto Ascari and Stirling Moss were my most serious opponents […] Perhaps two different temperaments, but Ascari was more aggressive than Farina.[...] Perhaps he [Gonzalez] was similar to Moss in certain respects. [...] I always considered Moss and Ascari to be the most complete drivers of my era.”
~ Juan-Manuel Fangio, personal communication, July 1982.

In 1982 I wrote to Stirling Moss to ask about his greatest rival drivers:

“Ascari was a personable man, charming and helpful. As a driver, he had sufficient dash, combined with great talent. The difference between him and Fangio was very small, but then the division between great drivers is minimal. Ascari was certainly one of the best drivers of his era, but in my opinion, Fangio was the best of all time.”
~ Sir Stirling Moss O.B.E., personal communication, June 1982.

In 1982 I wrote to Jackie Stewart to ask about his strongest rival drivers (after Clark’s death):

“I feel that Jochen Rindt was one of the better drivers in the history of Grand Prix racing. Even though Ronnie Peterson was fast, I think Jochen [Rindt] perhaps had the edge. Emerson Fittipaldi certainly was a very tough competitor […] However, again Jochen [Rindt] seemed to have that little extra flair…”
~ Jackie Stewart, personal communication, November 1982.

In the early eighties I spent some time with Giulio Ramponi at his home in Nelspruit, near South Africa’s Kruger National Park, and asked him about the drivers he had known in his career with Alfa Romeo from 1918-1933 and later:

“The top three drivers of the twenties were Pietro Bordino, Antonio Ascari and Giulio Masetti. Ascari was such a gentle driver, no wear and tear on the car; he was the first Nuvolari”.
~ Giulio Ramponi, about Twenties drivers, personal interviews, South Africa, 1982.

“Nuvolari was the best, very soft on the brakes. Caracciola was excellent, very delicate, faster than Varzi and Chiron. Seaman was going to be very good, but he was too ambitious.”
~ Giulio Ramponi, about Thirties drivers, personal interviews, South Africa, 1982.

“Wimille was very good, too fast for Varzi and Trossi.”
~ Giulio Ramponi, about Forties drivers, personal interviews, South Africa, 1982.

“Let’s try to eliminate all the extraneous factors-penalties, safety-cars, rain, mechanical problems – and look at the raw speed of the cars. For such analysis I usually consult Patrick O’Brien, a South African-based expert who has made it his business over the past three decades to devise an Absolute Measurement of F1 performance levels. His ratings are season averages and measure speed alone […] His work is time-consuming and intricate, and I am grateful for his cooperation with this feature.”


~ Peter Windsor, ‘Autosport’ magazine (Japan), ‘2008 Season Review’, November 2008.

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