F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions

Introducing F1 Fanatic’s Champion of Champions

Champion of championsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions
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

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

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  1. schumacher will be always no.1

  2. 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…

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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)

  8. 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.

  9. We Want Turbos
    31st December 2010, 23:41

    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.

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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. Formula None
      1st January 2011, 9:50

      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.

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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