Introducing F1 Fanatic’s Champion of Champions

Champion of champions

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F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions

A new series beginning on January 1st at F1 Fanatic will bring a fresh approach to one of the sport’s most interesting and trickiest questions: who was the greatest champion of all time?

It’s often been said that it’s impossible to compare drivers from different eras.

Although it’s certainly not easy, I think it’s definitely worth applying the collective intelligence of the F1 Fanatic readership to the challenge. Here’s how we’re going to do it.

Starting tomorrow we’ll pit two F1 champions against each other every day in a poll to pick which driver goes through to the next round.

In order to help you assess the drivers their career statistics have been through the F1 Fanatic number-cruncher in an effort to make them easier to compare. Among the stats will be:

The titles they won – When and how many
Race wins – The percent of races started they won
Pole positions – As above, but with pole positions
Car failures – How often did their car let them down?
Points scored – Re-calculated using the current points system
Points scored per ‘available finish’ – How many points they scored in races where their car did not break down

There will also be biographical notes and supporting information on each of the drivers including the teams they drove for, their team mates and more.

There will be a new poll on the site every day throughout January. All the drivers have been seeded to keep the multiple title winners apart until the latter stages of the Champion of Champions.

The first round will have 16 pairs, round two will have eight, then there will be quarter-finals, semi-finals and grand final.

And by the end of all that pre-season testing for 2011 will be about to start!

Remember you need an F1 Fanatic account to vote in the Champion of Champions so make sure you’ve got one. You can register an account here or read more information here.

The 32 F1 drivers who are in the Champion of Champions are as follows:

Alain Prost, Alan Jones, Alberto Ascari, Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, Denny Hulme, Emerson Fittipaldi, Fernando Alonso, Giuseppe Farina, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Jacques Villeneuve, James Hunt, Jenson Button, Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, Jody Scheckter, John Surtees, Juan Manuel Fangio, Keke Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Mario Andretti, Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Mike Hawthorn, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Niki Lauda, Phil Hill and Sebastian Vettel.

Join us for round one of the Champion of Champions on New Year’s Day 2011.

Champion of Champions

Browse all Champion of Champions articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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183 comments on “Introducing F1 Fanatic’s Champion of Champions”

  1. Interesting, I’m gonna guess Jackie Stewart as Champion if Champions!!

    1. I guess Senna but I’m voting Clark an Fangio ahead of him.

      1. miguelF1O (@)
        1st January 2011, 5:51

        Von tripps who died while leading the champ or jochen rindt the only champ after death

        1. Von Tripps isn’t on the list. He didn’t win the Championship afterall.

      2. Fangio i think. He drove like a god winning titles with different teams.

    2. Sir Jackie FTW!

      1. Stirling Moss will win your hearts and minds with Crumpets.

        1. David A likes The awkward moment when you tell a fan that Keith left Moss out because he was never an F1 champion.

          1. Sush Meerkat apologises for drunken post forgetting that his hero was never a champion, also Sush meerkat enjoys speaking in the third person.

          2. pick the odd man out

            Alain Prost, Alan Jones, Alberto Ascari, Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, Denny Hulme, Emerson Fittipaldi, Fernando Alonso, Giuseppe Farina, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Jacques Villeneuve, James Hunt, Jenson Button, Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, Jody Scheckter, John Surtees, Juan Manuel Fangio, Keke Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Mario Andretti, Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Mike Hawthorn, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Niki Lauda, Phil Hill and Sebastian Vettel.

  2. Calum, are you keen to put some $ on that?

    1. Sorry, I only bet in £. :P

      1. Anyone taking bets in &?’s

        1. No, but I will bet %@^%.

          1. 8 crumpets on Calum not taking $

            take your bets!

          2. I’ll bet my sandwich he does!

  3. Sounds great, though I can’t see anyone other than Schumacher winning this.

    1. If it’s purely on stats, but since people get to vote, there will be an element of popularity as well and I dare say there are more than a couple people out there (Todfod I’m looking at you) who have incredible disdain for Schumacher.

    2. Personally I don’t see anyone other than Senna winning.

      1. How about Alonso?

        1. No driftins got it I reckon, Senna always wins these kind of things.

          Fernando looked at objectivley will go far but, fanboy interferance aside, not into the realm of the true all time legends. I think my top five would include Fangio, Schumacher, Prost, Senna and Clark. Alonso might just slip onto the rung below them. Pretty rareified air none the less. Of those 5 and between the rung below them where you’d have your Stewarts, Lauda’s possibly Alonso’s. I wouldn’t want to make judgements between them. Part of the magic is we can’t ever know.

          Look at Luizzi for instance, apparently the man was a god like karter, what if he’d been around in a much lower downforce era? Skill sets make certain drivers shine in different era’s. Although those that can drive anything faster than anybody else, something Clark was known for, tend to shine through.

          1. That looks like a pretty fair list to me. It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out.

          2. I agree, Alonso I think would be highest rated driver running at the moment, but he is still in the middle of his career so he time to move up the order.

        2. I hope I’m not opening Pandora’s Box here, but surely 2009 alone would rule him out. The likes of Senna, Prost, Stewart, Schumacher, Clark, etc. never finished a season 9th in the championship when they were in the prime of their careers. He was on the podium a grand total of once. I know that was a dog of a car, but surely if he’s the wunderkind we’re all supposed to believe, he should be able to drive his way around a problem and make the car work for him. Schumacher always did when he was in his prime, and I’d be willing to bet that some of the other greats did as well. I suppose this will all be hotly debated in the coming days though.

          1. Alonso? I don’t think so, apart from the fact that you’d have to be a total robot not to get dispiraited the second year you can’t challenge and the car is even worse. He put in some good drives and there are mitigaiting factors. Drivers make less of a differance these days, Schumachers sucsess in poor cars came down to them suiting his specific skill set, look how badly he’s done in a car that doesn’t. I think Alonso’s situation was fairly unique, an he’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s still got it.

            An again Hamilton looked simularly abject in the mp4-23, just shows what a bad car can do to talent these days.

            I’m not sure any of the drivers on this list got dumped in cars as bad as Alonso’s during the prime of their careers, possibly Schumi’s early Ferrari’s but his team mates prooved the allrightness of those rides.

          2. I think if Alonso got the maximum out of his R29, he wouldn’t have finished much higher. The likes of Senna, Prost, Stewart, Schumacher, Clark etc. never had to drive such slow cars in the prime of their careers.

          3. I don’t agree, he had a dog of a car. No driver can do more than the car is capable of. For example, Hill’s performance in 97 is something I admire, despite his lacklustre results.

            Maybe you could argue that he wasn’t motivated in that car. But that’s just a reflection of his personality.

      2. Agreed everyone just votes for Senna for these polls, though I won’t be

        1. With Keith’s objective stats that may not be the case though. We’ll see.

      3. It’s an internet poll. Look for 5,000,000 Raikonnen fans to show up and produce a “surprise” winner.

        1. Well, we could hope that the “register account to vote” measure stops that for a large part :)

        2. How about Hamilton fans?? Or Senna,Clark,Stewart,Alonso fans???(Not counting Schumacher as i dont think he is very popular). Dont they exist??? Why should Kimi be blamed for being popular??? There must be some reason for his popularity.

    3. Schumacher winning on this site would be an impossibility,too much hatred.He has my vote though.
      Guess what,this post will not be moderated :)

      1. I think Senna should win this as well! Alonso is great and all, possibly the best since Senna, but not quite as good. Senna is the most exciting to watch, incredible feel for the car. With Alonso it´s kind of like Prost, really calm and a true thinker. Senna was a thinker but he also drove a lot on natural instinct. I bet he wouldn´t have gotten stuck behind Petrov in Abu Dhabi. If it took too long he´d do a do or die action. He wouldn’t have been champion since he probably would have crashed out but it still makes him a more exciting driver to watch.

  4. Great idea Keith! This’ll be a very entertaining way to pass the doldrums of the off season, and with the stats adjusted for present day it should actually give us as fair a comparison as we can make given the major changes the sport has been through from the time of Fangio to Vettel.

    1. Errr, Fangio? Fangio Fangio Fangio. Fangio would have given him a hug, tucked him into bed with a glass of warm milk and preceeded to break his lap record at Suzuka in the saftey car.


      1. Yeah I can’t wait to see how Fangio stacks up with all his stats adjusted to present day points tallies!

        1. I can’t see Fangio winning. Even after statistics comes into things, not many would have seen him win and therefore have a connection. People will still vote for others based upon their personal preference, not matter what the statistics say.

          1. Oh thats definatley true, but still, just reading about him makes spine tingle.

          2. Like he essentially missed a championship season due to a change in the championship Formula and broken neck (’52)?
            He also raced in Grands Prix before the F1 World Championship started in 1950. I wonder if those stats will be included.
            Back then there were also non-championship races in the season. Another potential source of confounding statistics!

          3. Nope it’s just going to be stats from the world championship.

          4. I agree with you completely.

      2. Damn scribe you sound like me mother when she trys to wind me up supporting vettel lol.


    2. I agree with US Peter here Keith, great idea for the off season.

      It already got us betting and aruging etc. even before the first pairings are voted on. I hope F1Fanatic succeeds in making it an evened out comparison.

  5. DiamondEagle (@)
    31st December 2010, 18:42

    Brilliant idea, though I do hope we don’t get to the ‘quarter finals’ and we already have to choose between Senna and say Prost or Stewart….

  6. Personally I think the only thing that matters is not any of those stats which will be mentioned, but simply how good a driver they are no matter what car they had, and also possibly how much character / charisma they have off the track. Stats alone Schumacher is the champion of champions but there’s more to being a ‘great’ than simply numbers.

  7. only 1 champion lies in the range Q-Z in terms of first letter of their first name. (seb vettel)

    useless observation I know.

    1. Have drivers with last name starting with S won the most titles? Haven’t counted but seems that way, given that Schumacher, Senna and Stewart won 13 – and there are also Schekter and Surtees winning one each.

      1. Actually there is two for V, Vettel and Villeneuve.
        I made up a tally,
        S is the most successful letter to have with 15, followed by H and F on 10 and 8 respectively.
        Interestingly, 5 drivers with S have won the world championship, but 8 H drivers have done it.
        Schumacher, may have skewed the results a bit with his 7. The forth most common letter P, is made up of just two drivers, Prost and Piquet.

        A 5
        B 4
        C 2
        F 8
        H 10
        J 1
        L 3
        M 1
        P 7
        R 3
        S 15
        V 2

        1. Damn, with all that time for statistics, you should be spending it on NFL instead! ;)

        2. lol thats great Mike, so i guess your 5 times more likely to win a world title with a name like Schumacher then a name like Raikkonen.

          good post mate.

          Be funny if Jenson is reading this and changes his last name to see if it works.

      2. In terms of first names, the best one to have is a J name: Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Jacques Villeneuve, James Hunt, Jochen Rindt, Jody Sheckter, Juan Manuel Fangio.

  8. I think it will be a close call between Fangio, Clark, Senna and Schumacher…

    1. That would be my guess, I hope fanboys don’t distort it horribly. I’d guess not though, probably be to difficult.

      1. The statistics Keith provides should help objectify it and prevent fanboy distortion of the polls. It will be based on polls though, so you never know, some people may just choose to ignore the stats.

  9. Considering percentages alone, Fangio will win this.

    1. I think Clark and Stewart could get close on percentage terms. If you take out Schueys return his percentages are completley obcene.

      1. I think Schumacher was slightly ahead of Fangio for percentage of podium finishes before this season. Now he’s slightly behind. Schumacher still leads Fangio in percentage of points finishes, but of course points extended further back in the places through all of Schumacher’s career than they did in Fangio’s time.

        1. Oh, and Hamilton is right behind Fangio in percentage of points finishes. Alonso is a bit behind him, Prost a bit behind him, then Ascari, Vettel, Räikkönen, Montoya, Kubica, and Senna all in a row. Just shows that the points extending to more places in the modern era has skewed that particular statistic drastically in favor of modern drivers.

          1. But if all finishes are normalized to 2010 points, that might take care of skewing. However modern F1 cars are extremely reliable, so current drivers will have fewer mechanical DNFs than earlier drivers.

  10. I’m looking forward to this.
    Normally I would be Clark \ Stewart, but it’ll be interesting to see fresh views and go from there.

  11. Ooh this sounds like a good bit of fun :) I bet Senna wins though. It does sadden me how some of the greats Gilles, Alesi, Cevert never got a title so we can’t stick them in too but nevermind!

    1. they’ve all made the expanded list of 64 on Page 2! not quite the same, i know…

  12. % of race wins is a little unfair. These days drivers are bread into the sport and start in top ranking teams (Lewis for example). In the past drivers would begin in a manadri and spend 3 seasons fighting to get into a position to win races. I can see Lewis winning that field easily, considering he moved into McLaren simply due to his connections within that team. He never spent a year in a slow car (no, not even the title losing McLaren’s classify as slow (enough)).

    1. Is the 2009 McLaren slow enough?

      1. It won two bloody races.

        1. Hamilton did yes.

          1. So by induction the car wasn’t a complete dog.

      2. The lotus, Force India, Torro Rosso, etc – are complete dogs. Cars where you have absolutely no chance to win no matter how much skill or talent a driver has.

  13. It will be between Schumacher and Senna. With Schumacher destroying him in every sense.

    1. @ RIISE. Do you remember seeing Senna in the Williams on the day he died before the race?

      No one ever seems to mention this,but I would like to hear of others who noticed that Senna had the look of complete fear in his eyes as he was getting ready for the race.He just wasn’t with it,it wasn’t his usual persona.I will never forget his look,I knew he would drive his last race.

      At that point,Senna knew 100% that this young driver called Michael Schumacher was going to destroy him – he knew that his passion was about to be extinguished.So VERY sad.

      The same is true of all great Champions,there will always be the next Champion waiting in line.If Ayrton was Michael now,he would not be able to take the criticism in the way Schumacher is,simply because Schumacher is more detached from himself,he has the same burning passion, but it is more controlled.The passion controlled Senna,with Schumacher it is the other way around.

      Michael Schumacher to me will always be the greatest of them all – he faces adversity full on,and then, he climbs over it.

      He will be on the podium again,and he knows it.

      1. the post for dianna is an early contender for silliest comment of 2011…..some of the worst dribble I have seen in a long time on this site.

        fangio,senna,prost, schumacher… that order.

        1. Contender for least well explained nomination of 2011 right above.

        2. Indeed. As Schumacher has demonstrated, he’s all about the car.

      2. I’m sorry Dianna but this should not be allowed. If someone who has a casual or passing interest in the sport read your comment then their view would be unfairly distorted. We all know what happened on the Saturday of the race and that memory would linger with all the drivers the next day.

        The fact remains that Senna qualified on pole for the first 3 Grand Prix of the 1994 season, and in a difficult and unstable car at that. In Brazil Senna led up until the pit stop, and lost the lead only to the fuel rig controversy. In Aida Senna was out at Turn 1 and he led the first seven laps of the San Marino GP.

        I feel that this information is well known and whilst Senna had his flaws, so did Schumacher. I fancy that this poll will be won by Senna but the winner will surely be worthy if the poll is not distorted by bias.

        1. While Senna was good (a Legend because he is dead), Shumi is better on paper.

          No point going “if he had carried on, blah blah”. Survival is/was part of the sport.

          1. I completely agree with you Steve on both points. I am a Senna fan and as a result felt that Dianna’s comment implied Senna would have retired after the race and was different on the day of the race because of a fear of Schumacher, even the most ardent Schumacher fan can not believe that to be the case.

  14. This. Sounds. Awesome.

    Great idea and cannot wait until tomorrow to get it started. This sorts my January internet out :)

  15. Right now I’m promising myself to be as fair as possible. Faced with the questions it may not be so easy. It’ll be interesting to find out how it goes..

    And what a great way to get us through January!

  16. While thinking who will go against who in the round one, I think the first round of voting should not involve drivers who raced against other too much.

    So, first order drivers by the year they won their first title. Four groups of eight drivers which are these.
    Group 1: Farina to Clark (5 drivers with multiple titles, 3 with only one)
    Group 2: Surtees to Andretti (3 multi, 5 single)
    Group 3: Scheckter to Schumacher (4 multi, 4 single)
    Group 4: D Hill to Vettel (2 multi, 6 single)

    Of course in the last group there are Hamilton, Button and Vettel who have one title to date, but I can easily see at least Hamilton and Vettel winning more titles in their career.

    But generally seeing drivers from group 1 to go against group 3, and drivers from group 2 against group 4. In the meantime, try to avoid big name pairs early on. Taking groups 1 and 3 as an example, no Fangio/Clark against Prost/Senna/Schumacher. Those five names are the ones who shouldn’t be eliminated early.

  17. My vote would go to Alain Prost. A fantastic driver who would have won far more championships if he’d arrived later in f1.

    I would pick ayrton, but I don’t think he ever appreciated safety in the sport (Alain saw far too many fatalities to be as blasé about crashing).

    You only have to see who he was racing against. I personally think Schumacher would never have been as successful had he come up against Alain, ayrton etc.

    Any chance of a

    1. Erm seriously? Michael a rookie, beat Senna at his peak numerous times so how do you work that out? I rate Prost higher than Senna since he should’ve had 6 titles, not 4, but Schumacher v Prost? in the 00’s Schumacher no doubt, at times he had to dig out some serious results and made it look easy the way he destroyed Barrichello, not to mention Williams and McLaren putting up a serious fight.

      But it will be decided in this I guess.

      1. Really, I mean really RIISE. Two of Schumacher titles came from absolutley dominant cars, one of his titles came from a distinctly dogy change of rules when Michelin where forced to change their tyres. I’m not saying he wasn’t great but arguing that Schueys dominance only from him is kinda silly. Especially considering the rubbish fight McLaren and Williams put up most of the time, the situation at Ferrari regarding his team-mates, an Ferrari’s dominance over the rest of the feild.

        We never got to see a proper fight between Senna and Schumacher, not really, not over a season, claiming Schuey had the edge over Senna is ridiculous.

        In the end, number of titles? Statistics statistics and damn lies, Prost may have just missed a few titles, but miss them he did, Senna didn’t get to reap the rewards of the next few years of Williams dominance, but hey.

        This poll is based on personal opinion in the end anyway so it only matter what we think when we cast our votes, not something to take toooo seriously.

        1. One of his titles came from a distinctly dogy change of rules when Michelin where forced to change their tyres.

          And how about the rules changes for the start of 2003? People absolutely love to forget this, and the role Schumacher played in getting his cars to be dominant.

          Especially considering the rubbish fight McLaren and Williams put up most of the time

          Hakkinen put up a good fight, but the other drivers failed to utilise the resources of their teams. Schumacher made them look rubbish, and as a result the likes of Coulthard, D. Hill, Villeneuve, Montoya and Ralf Schumacher are not multiple world champions like Schumacher and Hakkinen (or Alonso).

  18. Sorry Keith,
    I meant to say any chance of a greatest f1 driver never to reach the top (Tom pryce comes to mind) due to fatality etc.

    If anyone has not read the lost generation I can thoroughly recommend.

    1. It’s a very good book and I think you’re right, that’s definitely a topic for discussion one day.

  19. a dead champion will win it. But who? there are several. And some died going full throttle.

  20. perfect year to do this as there are exactly 32 Champions all time…would be interesting if you had to cut a champion or 2.

  21. schumacher will be always no.1

  22. Fangio pushed like a GOAT in his day, and over 8 years he took 5 WDC, 2x 2nd and 14th in his final year.

    He drove for Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati and Mercedes and won with all of them. Nobody in his era dominated the field like he did until the likes of schumacher came along. Fangio could of been 10 times world champion if it wasn’t for WW2 robbing him of his youth.

    Fangio would be saying to schumacher that he hasn’t even got out of his shorts yet if he said old age was affecting his chances for the 8th…

    Hope for a good turnout and not just a mass vote for 1 driver.

    1. Bit different though isn’t it. You have to be at the peak of fitness nowadays which is tough at 40+…But Schumacher set new standards for fitness so I don’t think Fangio would be saying too much. At least he consistently beat Stirling, that in itself is enough to make him a legend.

      1. Well fangio was in the army for god knows how many years maybe that’s what helped him stay on top in his era maybe? But he also continued after getting a broken neck and won 4 more world titles. But i believe Fangio was even fitter then schumacher regardless of the “new standards” schumacher opted for and what the world consider “fitter” then in the 50’s.

        Before F1, Fangio once traveled 5,868 (racing miles)in the “Gran Premio Internacial Del Norte” into multiple cities through Argentina and Peru and having to turn round and do it again, all in just 11 days. He had to go up mountains in a tuned up Chev coupe with heights up to 13,000 feet multiple times at Pulario, Villazon, Polcomayo and Potosi. These just wern’t normal roads but mountain passes with some sections a certain death if you messed up once and he still went on average 75mph.

        He also had no pitcrew to fix his car or change his tyres if he broke down in the middle of nowhere and towing was deemed cheating so no help there. After each sector he had to fix the car before sleeping if he had the chance. Fangio was regarded a hero after he won the series and can you blame them?

        So I just cant see “modern fitness” levels of schumacher help him one bit in that kind of series, that puts a stop regarding fangio’s fitness levels against the modern drivers.

        Don’t also forget Farina, Hawthorn and Ascari, they were also the other hotshots in the day with stirling trying to beat fangio and respect to stirling he was never a pushover.

        But the situation which defines fangio above the rest was that anybody who got close to how fast he drove, resulted in either a career ending injury or a likely death he was “The Master” for a reason.

        This isn’t an attack on you Riise since I know you know your F1 very well, but just a respectable debate on this post, because I’m sure you have good points to put across why my opinion is somewhat flawed in your eyes and so far it’s been a great chance to show you why fangio should be the GOAT in this poll.

        Respect Riise and a happy new year, i’ll stop waffling now because i’m tired and it’s late.

        1. I think your argument isn’t quite right. If your saying Fangio was physically fitter at his peak that Schumacher was, then I disagree. Simple because modern f1 requires so much more physical stamina. However, if your saying that he is able to cope with harsher environments better, then I could understand that.

          But really, because of the different time frames they lived in, it’s impossible to really compare them.

          1. Within the situation of what both Schumacher and Fangio required for “fitness” i guess you can say schumacher had the sensible and practical way of training in modern day F1. While Fangio always had it in his mind that it would be nere on impossible yet he still went for it and won. Maybe because his mental strength was far greater than the rest of the drivers is what made him so great in that era and why his record stood until Schumi beat it.

            Maybe I was wrong in the sense saying Fangio was fitter then schumacher in both their “prime” but regarding the timeline maybe both would find it hard in the other persons shoes.

            But back to mentioning fangio:

            Fangio didn’t have the kind of safety net Schumacher had being able to crash and then walk away from it unhurt or with just a few sprains. Just check the crashes of modern era from 00-10 and estimate how many drivers would be actually dead or have career ending injuries if they drove like that in the 50’s. We wouldn’t be seeing Kubica, Webber, Hamilton, Schumacher, Massa, Kimi, Alonso etc… Just because they have that safety net to drive around like “amatures” and crash an expensive car. If it wasn’t for this the whole world champion hall of fame would be alot different then we know it.

            I know most people will say that’s not fair that f1 is safer, but yet people still consider guys from the 50’s to the 60’s couldn’t handle the speed of modern cars, treating them like their from the stone age…

  23. Surprised that Lauda has not appeard much in the discusiion – 3 titles and so close to a 4th after his near fatal accident?

    1. Yes but it could’ve easily have been 2 titles had he not beat Prost by half a point in ’84. do’t be so quick to dish out deserved titles without reviewing facts.

      1. Touche my man, touche :)

      2. is it not deserved because he won by 1/2 a point? Lauda is highly underrated by “new” school fans. 1976, enough said…(& I’m a Hunt fan!)

        1. Well define “New school”? I’ve been watching F1 since ’87 but I have watched every race from 1980 from my Dads VHS tapes and no doubt Lauda was good, but ’84? Come on, Lauda knew he wasn’t as good as Prost so he sort of gained points when Prost (On more than one occasion) got hit by someone.

          But still each championship is deserved and Lauda is down as a great in my book. But Prost is better =)

          1. Eh, if Lauda hadn’t stuck to a principle he’d have got Hunts title, Prost was better but Lauda was past it. Lauda is on the second tier of F1 greats in my veiw.

          2. Ment to say, Lauda would have got Hunts title after missing two races! Pretty important huh? An he only lost by a point.

    2. Lauda is probably not mentioned much because all he does is complain about modern Formula One.

  24. While I understand the reasoning, as it is a poll of the Champion of Champions, it still is sad to see the noticeable absence of Stirling Moss from this list. He most certainly was a noble, honorable character and as true of a sportsman as there has ever been.

    This will definitely be an interesting endeavor, and a great way to keep us all entertained during this long two month racing drought.

    1. Stirling Moss remains my all time favourite driver in the world, even without the championship trophy on his cabinet. Yep, I like him more than Senna. Brilliant driver and a true gentleman.

  25. Stats aside, Stewart’s dominance during his short career, while competing in what was (in my mind, anyway) the most incredibly dangerous era of F1 racing, will forever get him my vote. That said (and we all have our favorites), it will be interesting to watch and see how this plays out.

    1. 3 titles, 99 races, says a lot doesn’t it.

  26. Nice way to keep people visiting the website (and use the 31 non F1 days for a “compare the champions” page).

  27. Expanding to 64, I reckon you’d have: (Who am I forgetting?)

    Michele Alboreto (W:5, P:23)
    Jean Alesi (W:1, P:32)
    Chris Amon (W:0, P 11)
    Lorenzo Bandini (W:1, P:8)
    Rubens Barrichello (W:11, P:68)
    Gerhard Berger (W:10, P:48)
    Tony Brooks: (W:6, P:10)
    Francois Cevert (W:1, P:13)
    Peter Collins: (W:3, P:9)
    David Coulthard (W:13, P:62)
    Piers Courage (W:2, P:20)
    Patrick Depailler (W:2, P:19)
    José Froilán González (W:2, P:15)
    Dan Gurney (W:4, P:19)
    Jacky Ickx (W:8, P:25)
    Jacques Laffite (W:6, P:32)
    Felipe Massa (W:11, P:33)
    Bruce McLaren (W:4, P:27)
    Juan Pablo Montoya (W:7, P:30)
    Sterling Moss: (W:16, P:24)
    Riccardo Patrese (W:6, P:37)
    Ronnie Peterson (W:10, P:26)
    Clay Regazzoni (W:5, P:28)
    Carlos Reutemann (W:12, P:45)
    Peter Revson (W:2, P:8)
    Pedro Rodríguez (W:2, P:7)
    Jo Siffert (W:2, P:6)
    Wolfgang von Trips (W:2, P:6)
    Maurice Trintignant (W:2, P:10)
    Gilles Villeneuve (W:6, P:13)
    Mark Webber (W:6, P:20)
    John Watson (W:5, P:20)

    LAST 5 IN: Amon, Alboreto, Watson, Barrichello, Siffert

    LAST 5 OUT:
    René Arnoux (W:7, P:22)
    Patrick Tambay (W:2, P:11)
    Thierry Boutsen (W:3, P:15)
    Didier Peroni (W:3, P:13)
    Richie Ginther (W:1, P:14)

  28. Hi Keith,

    Out of curiosity, are you also going to adjust the re-calculated total points scored to account for the number of races in each season? This could have a significant effect on the end result by either adding bias toward dominant seasons with lower number of races, or by favoring the race rich past several years when comparing fairly average seasons from earlier.

    For example, consider the 1969 season of Jackie Stewart where he utterly dominated the competition scoring 63 points, and his 2010 adjusted points would total 180. However, there were only 11 races that year, so if Stewart’s score is race adjusted to 19 races then his point total balloons 311 points. When compared to Vettel’s 256 points accrued during his campaign in 2010 Stewart looks as though he would make statistical mincemeat of Vettel.

    I think doing this is a bit of a double edged sword, because while it can give much better context to compare two drivers from different eras, it also does introduce a great level of assumption for the seasons with very few races.

    1. No because it’s divided by the number of races they participated in, so that kind of a adjustment is not necessary. Good thought, though.

  29. Hunt the Shunt. For sheer enjoyment! Schumis stats are incredible but in each of his championship winning years the other teams where either several steps behind or had inferior drivers in the cars!!!

    1. Not really. It was only in 2002 and 2004 where you could say he had a clear car advantage. And 1994 if you want to include that.

      And if you consider the likes of D. Hill, Hakkinen, Montoya, Raikkonen, Coulthard or Button (who have 89 race wins, 5 titles and 6 runners up spots between them) inferior then what does that say about Schumacher’s quality?

      1. Weal, I’ve always though 2003 was tainted by the Michelin tyre buisness. An 1994, he kinda cheated. Dude deliberatley took out his rival, an whatever he says, he subsequent actions kinda point to him taking Damon out.

        1. 2003 saw the other teams catch up because the rules were changed to end Ferrari’s dominance. You know it, and let’s face it, Raikkonen and Montoya simply didn’t do enough to beat MSC and his six victories to the title.

          Perhaps MSC did take Hill out, but Hill misjudged his overtake (unlike Villeneuve in 1997) and failed to win the championship despite having 4 extra rounds to score points.

  30. Sorry…Courage’s stats are wrong & he should be removed from the list, being replaced by…Peroni, Ginther or Arnoux.

  31. I think Alain Prost deserves more recognition as one of the all-time greats. He didn’t just win 4 championships. He was runner-up in 1983 by just 2 points, runner-up in 1984 by just half a point (!), runner-up in 1988 despite getting more points over the whole season than Senna, and runner-up in 1990 after Senna punted him off the road in Suzuka. One might argue that he should have been a 6-time champion, and with just a little more luck he could have been an 8-time champion!

    1. Yes, this, always been a big Prost fan, most underatted super champion of all time.

  32. 3 predictions

    1) Schumacher will do well in stats & Vettel be much higher than he should be
    2) Voting will be for current drivers, senna, prost and a few older drivers who made a mark
    3) People will complain that it misses diagnoses the result as several stats have been left off.

    I would do the 3rd now… Such drivers as Hamilton will do much better (3 out of 4 years in championship contention, 1 win, 1 1 point off and 1 last race), while others like Brabham who actually put together his own team and had to deal with all of that will end up much lower. I am not saying Brabham = Hamilton or one is greater than the other, but the stats will show drivers who have almost always been in contention in far greater light than drivers who have had to work there way there.

    1. I don’t agree – obviously I’ve had the benefit of seeing all the stats already but I think ones like the reliability really help add some perspective to this problem. We’ll see as it all unfolds.

  33. I think it was Piquet; he won two titles in the inferior Brabham and showed he could still win at Bennetton, and he offered great technical feedback. However, I greatly admire Clark and Senna, they were geniuses in their cars, too. But what made me choose Piquet was not his stats or my ethnicity (Brazilian), but rather, his ability to perform in an underpowered car, which reminds me of Kubica in today’s field.

    1. That BMW Turbo Brabham was fairly, powered.

      1. Rébaque didn’t makemit seem that way…

  34. The idea is cool. The only problem I have is with the way you’ve set this up: the outcome will be decided by the matchups.

    For example, if you had Schumacher up against Senna in round 1, regardless of who goes through, a large proportion of us will feel that the driver we would have voted for, did not get a “proper shot” at it. I’m sure you will recognise this and therefore you won’t have that matchup in round one. But I would argue that in itself constitutes a “rigging the results” of sorts (that sounds harsh, I don’t mean it to come across as harsh).

    Even if you had the matchups decided in the fairest possible way I can think of (blind draws), how far certain drivers will progress will most definitely depend on which drivers they encounter as time goes on. Alonso is a world class driver. But if he comes up against Fangio in round 2, that won’t be reflected in his end-ranking. There aren’t a lot of drivers in this particular list that I don’t rate higher than Vettel*, but if he’s lucky, he could still end up in the quarter finals and end up 8th overall. Which, again, in this particular company does not in my opinion reflect his relative ability.

    It’s a cool mental exercise to try to come up with the best driver of all time, but the knockout tournament setup does not lend itself to this particular purpose. Unless you are going to commit the time it takes for each and every one of these drivers to go up against each and every other one of the drivers, tot up the results to eliminate half and then go on to the next round and do the same again. And again, until the end.

    *This is not necessarily his fault, it’s just hard to compare someone with only 4 seasons under his belt and judge him fairly against the people in this select company.

    1. For example, if you had Schumacher up against Senna in round 1, regardless of who goes through, a large proportion of us will feel that the driver we would have voted for, did not get a “proper shot” at it. I’m sure you will recognise this and therefore you won’t have that matchup in round one. But I would argue that in itself constitutes a “rigging the results” of sorts (that sounds harsh, I don’t mean it to come across as harsh).

      That is an inevitable drawback of this kind of approach but I’ve tried to seed the first round match-ups (and potential subsequent pairings) carefully and fairly to prevent that happening.

  35. Senna was the people’s champion, so he will win this. Schumacher is statistically the greatest, and possibly always will be. Clark, Stewart and Lauda were all fantastic characters too and will be ranked highly.

  36. That will be great.For quiet sometime I was way too bored since the teams went for the holidays.As the car launches won’t start before the middle of the month thanks Keith for providing us with something which not only will keep us busy but also will be interesting to find out what happen.

    Can’t wait for it to start.

  37. Pardon me if this is a silly question, but how are we going to go about pairing them up? What if Alonso has to compete with drivers like Button, who had an extended run to the crown and thus naturally giving him the advatnage, whilst Schumacher had to contend with the likes of Stewart and Senna.

    It’s a bit like the World Cup: a lot of the final result is dictated by who plays who early on.

    1. Maybe the top 16 (or 8) could be seeded, like the World Cup or Wimbledon.

      1. (or 8) is what that’s supposed to say, not the happiest F1 driver.

        1. OR EIGHT!

    2. I think that will make it easier to judge. Since the drivers belong to the same era, the safety, car design and track variables are removed. So what if Alonso or Hamilton get an extended run? If they are not worthy they will be beaten in the forthcoming rounds. Of course, we could face a Senna Vs Schumacher, or Clark Vs Stewart too early into the poll as well. But then these men competed against one another on the track, so why not in a poll? I feel it will be better to judge the best of the respective eras, and then sort it out among those winners.

  38. Senna will be on pole for this one again!!!!!

  39. Accidental Mick
    1st January 2011, 8:57

    Keuth, I would relly like to paticipate in this. Please, please with sugar on it, sort out my corrupted password.

    How about John Surtees – the only person ever to be both bike and F1 world champions.

    1. I emailled you twice in November explaining that I’d changed your password but never got a reply.

  40. Great idea Keith. Excellent way to spend the rest of the month. I do share some of the apprehensions regarding ‘driver pairing’ and Senna’s popularity. We do not yet know who’s going to win this one, but whoever the winner is, I’d like to compare him to some of the legends that didn’t win a championship. I’m thinking of people like Gilles Villeneuve and Sir Stirling Moss.

    I believe Gilles Villeneuve is the greatest F1 driver ever to have lived, and would put Sir Stirling Moss ahead of the likes of Schumacher and Prost. I’m sure there were many more giga-talented drivers who were denied the glory they deserved by various external factors. It would be interesting to compare those against a few of the finalists in this poll.

  41. Ayrton Senna was the best of the best…his legacy still stands his passion for this sport was tremendous and most of all SENNA was very humanitarian you have to be born in his time to understood why hi is THE CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS.
    for all of you which didn’t know i cut this part from wikipedia

    …After Senna’s death it was discovered that he had donated millions of dollars of his personal fortune (estimated at $400 million at the time of his death)[84] to children’s charities, a fact that during his life he had kept secret. His foundation in Brazil, Instituto Ayrton Senna, has invested nearly US$80 million over the last twelve years in social programs and actions in partnership with schools, government, NGOs, and the private sector aimed at offering children and teenagers from low-income backgrounds the skills and opportunities they need to develop to their full potential as persons, citizens and future professionals…

    1. And no other world champion has done extensive charity work?

  42. Definately Jimmy Clark. The best there will ever be!!

  43. My vote goes to Gilles Villeneuve as I care about racing in stead of comparing driver stats.

    1. Exactly my thoughts, andyC!

  44. Dianne,

    Ayrton looked not himself at imola as he’d just seen ratzenberger killed and Rubens have an enormous shunt. But how ironic that Alain spent quite some time with him at imola. Two great champions.

    It had nothing to do with Schumacher, who in my view is flattered by the number if wdcs he won. He is an excellent driver, but just see who Prost, senna, Stewart were driving against and beating.

    Clark and villenueve were two of the very best.

    1. just see who Prost, senna, Stewart were driving against and beating.

      Schuamcher had great drivers to beat, and often did it by making his opposition look silly. Prost and Senna were great, but weren’t individually able to stand out in the way Schumacher often did.

  45. Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso and Schumacher….

  46. And before anyone mentions it, I didn’t think Gilles won a wdc :-) he was just a great driver.

    1. It shouldn’t matter. He was a champion.

  47. A nice way to spend the break, of course we all know that it’s just for fun as there is no reasonable way to really compare drivers from different eras, driving different cars. Every statistics one can come up with will necessarily be faulty as a benchmark for one reason or another.

    Now judging from the make-up of readership, most readers have Uncle Xmas, Santa Claus, St. Nicolas, Dyadya Moroz or some other equivalent entity. How about next Xmas we all collectively wish for a time machine and a replicator? Then we could pull those champions (and almost champions) to our time, put them all into Alfa Romeo 158’s and let them race on a couple of interesting racetracks. Then we would put all of them into Lotus 49, McLaren M23, Lotus 79, Williams FW07B,… That would be the dream season.

  48. Attention, sarcasm ahead!

    I bet Hamilton will win this with all you British people here!!!111!

    Sorry, had to be said:P. In all seriousness though, my vote goes to Fangio. Winning 5 world championships in a gas tank with an engine bolted to it is just an achievement that no one will ever do again.

  49. andy c has it spot on. Keith is there any way to add in an additional weighting – who they beat in their world championship year(s)? So a driver who won a WDC in a team with another WDC would score higher than one who beat a dedicated number 2…

  50. @scalextric:
    Like he essentially missed a championship season due to a change in the championship Formula and broken neck (’52)?
    He also raced in Grands Prix before the F1 World Championship started in 1950. I wonder if those stats will be included.
    Back then there were also non-championship races in the season. Another potential source of confounding statistics!

    Its ok that u mention ’52 but then u have to mention ’56 also ;)
    He wasn’t going to be WDC that year but got the title handed to him on a golden plate by his teammate

    1. Peter collins gave the title out of sportsmanship to fangio and not team orders before anybody gets any ideas. Fangio’s car broke with a broken steering arm in the final race at Monza, and was in the posistion to win the world title anyway before it happened.

      His teammate Peter Collins decided to forfeit his lead and chance to become the first British world champion because he wanted to beat Fangio fair and square and not by pure luck.

      Fangio was very very grateful for this gesture and the reason why he got this response from the younger drivers, was because he was highly respected in many reasons.

      1. I never said it was teamorders but without that Fangio was only a 4 time champion. And Collins was stupid to give it away because he said he’ll be WDC later. Only thing he forgot was that in those days it was performance before safety, and that killed him 2 years later without ever coming close the being WDC again.

        1. The sentance was aimed at the other readers mate not you “before anybody gets any ideas.”

          Why was he stupid? in those days world titles meant nothing to what they are nowadays it was all about winning the grand prix’s. The WDC trophy in those days was just a end of year award for the best driver and Collins considerd himself lesser than Fangio.

          You have to understand there was a far different mentality back in those days and nothing like today.

  51. Suggestion: Try to put some videos as well.

  52. Car Failures – I imagine Kimi Raikkonen will be quite high up on this list ;)

    1. Later on in the series I’ll compile all the stats together so you can compare all 32 drivers directly.

  53. I don’t think the current points should be used for each driver. Instead points should be scaled as a percentage of those available each race.

    I say this because potentially you drive differently depending upon how your efforts are rewarded. This is especially true for the drivers who could get a bonus point for fastest lap, or for the drivers who drove with the 2008 points system where there was little difference between winning and finishing second compared to other systems. Also, drivers who were running 7th when the points only went down to 6th would often push beyond the limit trying to get the last point, if you reward the top 10 in that situation it’s not a fair comparison.

    If you scale as a percentage of points available then each driver is rewarded in the same ratio as they would have been at the time. I think that’s a fairer comparison.

    1. You can take this a step further and do % of points available in a season and a career, which I think would be a good measure.

      I’m not so sure about taking reliability into account. It could work out well, though in the early championships cars broke down a lot but a driver who was mechanically sympathetic could make a bigger difference.

  54. I think of a list of the masters of each era roughly. I have heard this list mentioned by experts and there is quite a consensus on it so here we go.

    Fangio, Moss, Clark, Stewart, Lauda, Prost, Senna, Schumacher.

    And since 2005 there’s clearly another ‘era’ of drivers so we could come up with a last name – Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel maybe. In that particular order.

    But I think only time will tell who will this last name be.

    The greatest? I don’t know I’m curious about the pairings.

    1. I’m hoping people vote for who they actually think is the best, and that it doesn’t turn into a popularity contest (or in Schumacher’s case an unpopularity contest).

  55. It’s a shame Moss only managed four 2nd and three 3rd places in the World Drivers’ Championship in a seven year span so he’s not eligible to contest…

    1. I know, but that’s the way it is. As someone suggested earlier perhaps we can do a “best non-champion” version later.

      1. Perhaps. Or we could name the contest as a “best of the best” thingy thus eliminating the champion criteria. But then again it would be much more subjective.

        Anyway I won’t pick Moss out as the best so for me it doesn’t matter. I’d choose from Fangio, Clark, and Senna.

  56. We Want Turbos
    1st January 2011, 13:52

    @ David A – sorry using mobile site. Hill was not in the same class as Drivers from the generation previos, 2000 was the only year that Hakinnen/Schumacher really had the machinery to challenge each other. 2001 mclaren was fast but too fragile!! 2003 there was a clear car advantage, the championship was close but whilst Ferrari didn’t have the same advantage as in 2002 they still had a clear advantage. There is no doubting Schumachers class and he is rightly compared to Senna Prost Fangio but I feel of the 4, based on 1994, 1997, 2006 and 2010 he is 4th of the 4.

    1. Actually, many considered Williams to be the best overall package of 2003, after the sweeping regulation changes designed to help the others catch up to Ferrari.

      Both Mclaren and Williams had the car to fight Schumacher for wins in 2001, but none of the drivers had the consistency of the 7 time champ.

      In 1994 he won the title despite having 4 less rounds than his rivals to score.

      In 1997 he did a stupid thing at Jerez, but then again, who else could have come so close to the title in such a slow car compared to the FW19?

      And if being beaten by Alonso in 2006 can be used against Schumacher, then Prost being beaten by Senna in 1988 and 1990 an be used against Prost. And every other occasion that any driver didn’t win the title.

  57. Polls like this cant work in my opinion, its a case of listing them by their eras.

    Fangio was the best of the 50’s, Clark of the 60’s, Stewart of the 70’s (although Lauda runs it close) and only a fool would attempt at splitting Prost & Senna for the 80s (but then theirs Piquet!!!) etc

    On the whole, id vote for Clark. his record as statistics is just incredible. And he raced his whole career at Lotus in cars that would let him down when he least needed it (around 23 retirements in total). 25 wins in 73 races having 33 Pole Positions & with 32 podiums. Incredibly, he only finished 2nd on 1 occasion. So when the car didnt let him down he finished with some points or the win itself.

  58. How about “Gilles” instead of “Jacques”?

  59. There are drivers, who have not been champions, but were better then some of those mentioned… Stirling Moss, Gilles Villeneuve, Ronnie Peterson, Jacky Ickx or even Rene Arnoux can be seriously compared… Especially Fittipaldi, Button, J Villeneuve, Surtees, Hawthorn or Hulme are overated… Just look at how “many” laps they led in races (f1stats)… Most of the time they were just benefitors from other drivers technical issues, so not really WCs for me…

    My top 10 is:

    01. Alberto Ascari
    02. Juan Manuel Fangio
    03. Jim Clark
    04. Ayrton Senna
    05. Michael Schumacher
    06. Stirling Moss
    07. Jackie Stewart
    08. Alain Prost
    09. Niki Lauda
    10. Nigel Mansell

    I am looking at drivers abilities, not luck involved in results…

  60. schumi schumi schumi schumi

  61. Fangio….Fangio….Fangio, an unforgetable performance by El Chueco at the 1957 German GP at the Nurburgring… gravel traps or run off areas their, only ditches and trees to greet you with a mistake.

  62. Great idea Keith…..something entertaining to do during during the break.

  63. “Point scored per available finish”: I bet that’s easier to do in a McLaren than it is in a Minardi! LOL

    1. Surely that’s heavily weighed in favour of such as Hamilton?

  64. Forget the voting or whatever and just give it to Jim Clark.

  65. Excited already! I didn’t realise there have been only 32 champions in 61 years of racing.

  66. phantom racer
    2nd January 2011, 1:20

    Beside Robert Kubica there is NO champions in F1!
    Give Kubica same car as others and watch him squeezing all!
    Schumacher never was good, he always cheated very good!

    1. Hahahaha, best jokes in a long time!

  67. Hamilton will win it :)

  68. The most readers don’t know the old drivers of the beginning of the F1 era. I do and believe me it’s a completly different cupcake to compare them.

  69. Can you please upload today’s pair of drivers?

  70. why tehnical problems shouldnt be count? Schumi is famous for knowing the car so well that it almoast never brake down

  71. Jimmy Clark

  72. How are two drivers paired? Randomly?

    1. From the article:

      All the drivers have been seeded to keep the multiple title winners apart until the latter stages of the Champion of Champions.

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