Michael Schumacher vs Giuseppe Farina

Champion of champions

The first round in the Champion of Champions pairs up the sport’s most prolific title winner, Michael Schumacher, with the original world champion, Giuseppe Farina.

On the face of it the pair seem to have little in common. These are both drivers that sometimes drew criticism from their peers for their driving, particularly their defensive moves.

But while Farina claimed the first ever world championship for Alfa Romeo in 1950 the following year his team mate Juan Manuel Fangio turned the tables on him.

That’s something that rarely happened to Schumacher, at least until his 2010 comeback when he partnered Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

Schumacher is of course best known for his record five consecutive championships while driving for Ferrari. His 180-race stint with the Scuderia is the longest any driver in F1 history has remained with a single team.

Which of these drivers should go through to the next round of the Champion of Champions? Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Michael Schumacher Giuseppe Farina
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Istanbul, 2010 Giuseppe Farina
Titles 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 1950
Second in title year/s Damon Hill, Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi R??ikk??nen, Rubens Barrichello Juan Manuel Fangio
Teams Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, Mercedes Alfa Romeo, Ferrari
Notable team mates Nelson Piquet, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello Juan Manuel Fangio, Alberto Ascari, Mike Hawthorn
Starts 268 33
Wins 91 (33.96%) 5 (15.15%)
Poles 68 (25.37%) 5 (15.15%)
Modern points per start1 14.05 13.55
% car failures2 8.21 15.15
Modern points per available finish3 15.30 15.96
Notes Missed several races in 1999 after breaking his leg at Silverstone Had several non-championship Grand Prix successes before 1950
Retired in 2006 after 11 seasons with Ferrari Badly burned in a crash at Monza in 1954
Returned with Mercedes in 2010 Retired the following season, still suffering from his injuries
Bio Michael Schumacher Giuseppe Farina

1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Michael Schumacher (86%)
  • Giuseppe Farina (14%)

Total Voters: 711

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Read the F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions introduction for more information and remember to check back tomorrow for the next round.

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Images ?? Mercedes (Schumacher), uncredited (Farina)

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140 comments on Michael Schumacher vs Giuseppe Farina

  1. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 1st January 2011, 19:14

    Easy choice at this stage! Even if he’s not your favorite and/or you can’t stand him, taking everything at face value and looking at the facts objectively, Schumacher’s got to be at least in the top 5 F1 drivers of all time. Can’t say the same for Farina even if he did beat Fangio.

  2. melkurion (@melkurion) said on 1st January 2011, 19:17

    Like several people have already pointed out, Farina
    was past his prime going into the first chmpionship.

    But I feel that even had he been younger he still would have lost out to fangio and ascari, en for that alone I would vote schumacher….not to mention 7 titles and a dominitaion of the sport that, although it was awe inspiring I personally never hope to see again.

  3. jonnyw360f1 (@jonnyw360f1) said on 1st January 2011, 19:30

    I voted Farina purely because he beat Fangio. Likewise, I’ll vote for Fangio when he comes up and Hakkinen. These sort of giant-killing performances really show a how a driver performs under pressure.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 1st January 2011, 23:08

      Interesting side-point, Hakkinen was definitely second only to Schumacher in my eyes but he had clearly the best car in 1998 and nearly lost to Eddie Irvine in 1999*, Schumacher would probably have been champion if not for his broken leg. So how do you sqaure that with the “giant-killing” factor?

      Also, Fangio won his titles by making sure he was in the best car, even switching teams mid-season (in 1954, I think). Compare that with the “Schumacher just had the best car for 3 years” argument.

      *Ironically, a team order that prevented Irvine from passing an ailing Schumacher in the French Grand Prix cost Ferrari their first championship in 20 years.

      • Marco said on 2nd January 2011, 8:59

        Irvine was only close to Häkkinen, because Mika s technical issues… Remembering Silverstone, Hockenheim or Melbourne? Irvine had a reliable car, that was his main advantage, not his abilities, or pace… Under normal circumstances with no luck involved, Irvine would have finished only 3rd…

  4. Went for Schuy. I have nothing against Farina, says a lot about a driver if Sir Stirling Moss idolised him (and copied his technique) but the War cost him the best days of his driver career (and that F1 didnt exist ofc).

  5. LHJBFTW (@lhjbftw) said on 1st January 2011, 20:01

    Simply on the basis of 7 championships to 1 it has to be Schumacher. BTW first post, registered to vote champion of champions.

  6. Argent (@argent) said on 1st January 2011, 20:02

    Other than being the first Formula One champion, I knew absolutely nothing about Farina, so I was a bit puzzled with this match-up. I decided to a bit of reading before casting my vote, and a few quotes from his peers were quite telling. One that stood out to me was Fangio describing his driving to be so crazy that only the Virgin Mary could keep Farina on track, and Farina himself would pray gratefully to her after every accident. Farina was definitely an interesting character.

    Based purely on the statistics I voted for Schumacher. I believe that it’s difficult to argue a vote otherwise, as we have to consider only the Formula One careers of each champion.

    This was an interesting first round, and I’m really looking forward to the rest on this series!

    • Statisticaly, Schumachers numbers beat everyone, but there where other circumstances that lead to such crushing superiority in certain cases. I don’t think we can just use statistics to compare drivers.

      Nice Farina info by the way, I love finding out about the greats whose names arn’t screamed like the rest.

      • Daniel said on 2nd January 2011, 6:16

        Statistics are an aid to compare drivers, they summarise a lot. They are not the be all and end all. In this case though, you have statistically the greatest driver of all time, the non-statistical arguments are going to have to be very persuasive.

        • In F1, the problem with stats is they ignore the differance made by the cars, two of Schumachers seasons where always going to be whitewash the car he was driving. Sort of like the RB6 lol, which says more about Vettle than Schuey really. F1 stats are also subject to interferance from other circumstances, like the competition faced by a driver, whatever went on in his team, car failures in front of him etc etc. Like I’ve said a few times in these comments, stats can’t show the full story and don’t. There where lots of things that led to Schueys total dominance of his period, part of that was skill, part of that was circumstance, leading to inflated stats.

          Statistics are an aid to compare drivers, they summarise a lot. They are not the be all and end all.

          Like you say.

  7. Marco said on 1st January 2011, 20:06

    My vote goes for Schumi, but I think 4 drivers
    (Ascari, Fangio, Clark and Senna) were still possibly better then him…
    I just wonder why only comparing “champions”, not Grand Prix winners? Sir Stirling Moss with 0 titles (should have won 3 – in 1956, 1958, 1959, if technical issues wouldn t stop him) officially won 16 GP, even more then Sir Jack Brabham, who is a 3 time World champion! So, something is clearly wrong there…

  8. RBAlonso said on 1st January 2011, 20:31

    From the outset I will state my belief that Schumacher was the superior driver. However, I fear that Farina’s ability is being almost belittled in a few comments. It must be remembered that Farina (like Fangio) lost his best years to the war and had been extremely successful beforehand, with extreme competition (Varzi, Caracciola, Chiron, Rosemeyer, Kling and of course Nuvolari). Although I must concede that that also adds a further dimension to this debate, as Farina did not have the intense global spotlight as a rookie, as much as in controversial and highly intense championship battles, that Schumacher faced. However, to be able to pull off one championship is impressive regardless of competition but to achieve the same results on a consistent level proves that Schumacher is and will always be remembered as a world class driver over the course of an era.

    I enjoyed a comparison that is rarely drawn as oppose to the continual Senna, Clark, Fangio and Schumacher debate that flourish during “Best Driver Ever” articles.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st January 2011, 20:34

      I enjoyed a comparison that is rarely drawn

      I’m glad – I really wanted to get into that kind of thing with these articles.

      • Daniel said on 2nd January 2011, 6:18

        I concur. Nice work Keith.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd January 2011, 11:07

        I think you have acheived that beautifully here Keith. Look at Argent above who looked up what Farina was about, it really brings us fans in deeply.
        I myself had read about him before a couple of years ago when looking at the matter of the last European championship (controversy) and then following up on these pre war drivers.

        • Daniel said on 2nd January 2011, 13:15

          I love reading about the European Championship and the early days of Grand Prix racing: so many heroes – many of whom died young – so many amazing circuits and exploits…

  9. Chippie (@chippie) said on 1st January 2011, 20:58

    I hate myself for saying so, but I believe Schumacher was the greater driver of the two. Unfortunately my hand slipped and I accidentally voted for Farina, oops, clumsy me!

  10. Stephen W S said on 1st January 2011, 21:13

    How you can compare these two drivers is beyond me,chalk and cheese come to mind because the only common denominator is they both won a WDC,or more.

    I can only see a reasonable comparison for any of the champions by either electing teams and decades,ie Ferrari 1950-1960 and its drivers,or Williams 1980-1990 and its drivers,on the face of it if this is how the votes are decided,frankly it means little.

  11. mrgrieves (@mrgrieves) said on 1st January 2011, 22:01

    I really hope there wont be a lot of “Schumacher was better but i disliked him so im voiting for the other guy” This is to find the Best driver, not best sportsman otherwise arguably two of the best, Schumi and Senna wont be in it for long.

    Anyway rant over and back to the 1st round. Schumacher takes this at a canter. Seriously challenged for drivers title 11 time. Only Prost comes close with realistic title battles 9. Took the mantel of best driver of the time from Senna, before his death in my opinion and has every record you could want.

    Great idea Keith to fill in the pre season cant wait for the results and debates once the later stages comes up.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 1st January 2011, 22:42

      Sadly, Piffles went and did exactly what you feared.

      • In my defense, I didn’t vote. I only commented.

        Furthermore, my dislike for Schumacher is not only emotional, it’s based on facts. The strength of one’s opposition as well as one’s sportsmanship are extremely valid elements in these comparisons.

        • David A said on 2nd January 2011, 16:17

          As I’ve already pointed out, you’re argument regarding strength of competition isn’t valid, since the guy certainly did have to fight for his titles. Saying that Schu “cruised around” certainly isn’t based on fact, it’s based on a willingness to belittle one’s achievements.

        • David A said on 2nd January 2011, 19:00

          And I’m afraid you’re significantly overplaying sportsmanship as an argument for who is a better driver. A nice guy doesn’t necessarily win races. MSC’s few moments of madness are being overused in your posts as well.

          • Duke (@duke) said on 2nd January 2011, 20:45

            I don’t get this Anti Schuey brigade.Anyone would think all the others are a Whiter shade of pale,when in fact all F1 drivers,not only Champions are ruthless in wanting domination,and the obvious final crown.
            You would think that Schuey did something personal to themselves or their families.
            It gets beyond a joke,and how they can call them selves F1 fans is a joke too.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd January 2011, 0:13

      I agree… I don’t intend to vote like that and I really hope others don’t either.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 2nd January 2011, 0:45

        Agreed. Unfortunately some will, and probably already have.

        • Scalextric (@scalextric) said on 2nd January 2011, 6:28

          Is there any record of Farina participating in activities similar to those that make people dislike Schumacher? Did Farina pressure his teams to give his team mates inferior equipment? Did he ‘accidentally’ collide with potential championship contenders to take them out of the running? Did he nearly run fellow drivers into the wall?

          Guess we’ll never know. But all of these factors go into what makes a champion in some sense.

          It has been said that such factors helped make Shumacher a champion or characterize the way he drives and they have been used to detract from his achievements.

          To compare drivers we’d need to compare more than just wins and losses but also how these were achieved. This would be the work of a large book or three, not a short blog comment!

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd January 2011, 11:09

      I am not too worried about people voting “against” Schumi. But I agree on your statement, that Schumi had taken the mantle of best of his time of Senna. I had the same feeling from the start of that 94 season.

  12. Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 1st January 2011, 22:05

    I thought this was going to be about stats? Reading the comments I see how the stats are already replaced by “I think he’s the greatest of all time, therefore …”

    • No no no no, stats only ever tell half the picture. For instance, IJL Trott is not the second best test batsman of all time, yet he currently has the second best test average. If we wanted to know the best driver by statistics we could wiki it and discouver what we all know already. It’s Schumi. An yet even from the totally objective I don’t think you’d ever find even near unanimous agreement that he’s the greatest ever.

      • Daniel said on 2nd January 2011, 6:42

        Sure, but try quibbling with anyone who says that Bradman is the best Test batsman of all time based only on his statistics. You can’t can you? Bradman’s average is 50% again better than Trott’s. There are some statistics you just can’t argue with.

        • Scribe (@scribe) said on 2nd January 2011, 17:55

          Stats only tell half the picture is what I said. Stats are often very misleading, Bradman’s incredible average is somewhat inflated by the era in which he played in, ie quality of the bowling, feilding and the pitches, he was still possibly the greatest batsman ever, but the quality he faced wasn’t nearly what Tandulkar, Lara and Ponting had to deal with. To claim you can’t argue with his stats is ridiculous and narrow minded. (Oh look there’s perfectly decent arguments to be had)

          No statistic tells the whole picture, be it Schumachers 7 titles and win rate, or Bradmans average. In future don’t tell people what they can and can’t argue with, especialy while making baseless assertions.

          • Daniel said on 2nd January 2011, 23:53

            If it’s so easy to argue with Bradman’s stats why did you go straight to the guy with the second best batting average as an example of stats not telling the whole story?

            Quality of the (mainly English) bowling? Really? You know he averaged 98 in 1st Class cricket too. Were the bowlers in Bradman’s era 50% worse than Trott is facing these days (Bangladesh included)? This was before the super bats they have these days and before they brought the boundaries in too. He still averaged 50 when the English devised a style of bowling designed specifically to counter him. i.e. aiming at his head and body constantly before their were helmets or chest guards. Maybe I should have said that you can’t successfully argue with Bradman’s stats?

          • Why did I pick Trotts average?
            Because Trott’s average is a very good example of stats not telling the whole story, obviously.

            Well, no, you shouldn’t argue that you can’t successfully argue with Bradmans stats when you’ve done nothing to prove that I can’t. What you’ve done is get into a tizzy while above this post you have even said, an I’ll quote you again:

            Statistics are an aid to compare drivers, they summarise a lot. They are not the be all and end all.

            Really now this is getting silly, this is an F1 site, regardless, i’ll be as silly and finish the point. Bradman played in an era before the true professional sportsman, before professional coaches and the study of technique, before even the best bowlers could approach the consistency of the most average county journeyman. To deny that Bradman faced easier bowling is to deny the bleedin obvious. Regardless of the fact that England developed a plan to bowl to him, (something bowling units do for nearly every specialist batsman in the world nowadays) they wouldn’t have been able to execute it to anywhere near the level an attack like Englands current one might. Again, denying this is blatant obstinacy.

            The fact that Bradmans average was so high shows he was a differant kind of sportman to those around him, an by all acounts he was, training harder on the things that mattered, along with an enourmous natural gift. But to claim his average wasn’t inflated by the undeveloped age he played in? It’s just plain wrong.

            Whatever, my point is as you’ve so eloquently said, stats “are not the be all and end all”, or “statistics statistics and damn lies”. I’m not even sure what your trying to prove now but there are so often other story’s behind stats. Just like with Bradman and Trott, just like with Schumacher and Fangio.

          • Daniel said on 3rd January 2011, 6:27

            Of course I agree with the things I said.

            I also say, that in Bradman’s case the summary provided by the statistics is so compelling that you can’t successfully argue against them. You haven’t said anything to disprove that.

            My point in bringing that up is that statistics are useful, whereas you seem to want to claim, by your arguments elsewhere in the thread, that they are completely without worth.

            Statistics don’t lie, they just tell part of the truth. The reader needs to determine whether that is the important part. Sometimes it will be sometimes it won’t.

          • Again, no, the evidence I’ve provided clearly shows why Bradmans stats might be inflated. My evidence is also common knowedgle, not even controversial amongst those with an an ounce of histrorical cricketing knowledge. All you’ve done is discount my evidence, with no logical arguments, evidence or basis of your own. Bradmans stats are indeed compelling, but they don’t tell the whole story is exactly what i’ve been saying from the begining.

            I’ve not once said statistics are without worth, don’t attempt to twist my words, it’s pathetic. What your saying, doesn’t actually disagree with what i’ve said, all over the thread. I can even quote you in support of my early arguments. You seem to be arguing for the sake of it, while not really having any clear basis to attack my position, an recently, essentialy repeating what I’ve said.

            Unless your next post actually contains an argument of worth, not containing the same boring repitition this discussion has decended into internet comments farce and i’ll take no further part in it. Claim whatever you like, I’ll try and be civil if i bump into your comments over the rest of the site.

          • Daniel said on 4th January 2011, 0:56

            I’m twisting your words!? You’ve got to be kidding. YOu posted on the front page that now you were going to go and pick fights with others’ opinion and I think that’s all you are doing.

            You’re the one who has ignored the other evidence I gave regarding Bradman’s 1st Class average, and the argument about some of the weaker modern day attacks, or the argument about modern bats and shorter boudaries, and I didn’t even get into uncovered pitches, or the fact that Bradman had to deal with the media to a degree that is probably only matched by players in the last 10 years.

            But you’ve completely missed the point. Even if I believe you and take your argument that Bradman’s average is inflated, how much am I to believe his average is inflated by? This is my point Bradmand is so much better statistically than anyone else that you are on a hiding to nothing to argue that he wasn’t the greatest.

            If you go the the ‘It Figures’ blog on cricinfo you will find a recent article that shows that Bradman is top of the table when batsman are compared to the other batsman they played with in the same team. If the attacks of the time were so weak, how come Bradman’s team-mates didn’t cash in to the same degree? Why is he so much better than them?

            The idea of batting is to make as man y runs as possible without getting at, Bradmans’s stats show he did that better than anyone else in Test history. The idea of racing an F1 car is to win races and Championships. A number of people have done that pretty well, sometimes the stats will be enough for us to differentiate two of them, sometimes they won’t.

  13. Farina.

    He beat Fangio and had some pretty impressive team mates. Schumacher largely just cruised around in front with no real competition. There were no World Champions at all in F1 when he won in 1994 for the first time. After that, only Hakkinen is worth mentionning in the people he beat, the others were just good, reliable, second class drivers. Schumacher also enjoyed a huge car/tyre advantage in his later career.

    Another reason I go for Farina, even though I honestly know very little about him, is that he probably didn’t park his car in the middle of the track in qualifying, intentionally collide with rivals in last chance desperate manoeuvres, or resort to disgraceful team tactics to get his results.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 1st January 2011, 23:09

      I’m afraid you’ve voted for Farina based on your dislike for Schumacher more than anything else.

      If you actually looked at the statistics, or watched Schumacher’s performance properly between 1992-2006 you would have spotted that he had to beat plenty of good drivers on his way to seven titles. If you got the impression that he had no competition, then that’s what happens when you’re that good- you make the opposition look poor.

      And he only had a significant car advantage in 2002 and 2004, which partially came as a result of the technical staff Schumacher brought to his team and Schumacher’s hard work in testing. You simply can’t take away his unrivalled dedication and determination to win, which led to 15 seasons at (or near) the top.

      He simply was the best of his generation, whereas Farina was mostly outdone by Fangio and Ascari, so won’t rank amongst MSC, Fangio, Ascari, Senna, Clark, Stewart, Alonso or Prost in my eyes.

      • I’d hesitaite before describing Alonso as simply the best of this generation, partly because it hasn’t finished yet and partly because of 07 and the begining of 10.

        Also your ignoring an awful lot of things about the Schuey dominance years worth mentioning but meh, triffles, he’s still a better driver than Farina, though i’ve never seen Farina drive.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 2nd January 2011, 0:25

          Perhaps you’re right about Alonso.

          But I needed to balance out Piffles’ complete negativity regarding Schumacher with some appreciation for his talent.

          • Scribe (@scribe) said on 2nd January 2011, 2:07

            I wouldn’t worry about it, not hard to recognise genius if you put your personal feelings aside. I personally couldn’t stand the bloke, thought he was a cheat, if a sensational talent at that.

            Now I’ve warmed to him somewhat it’s easier to ignore Adelaide and Monaco etc and appreciate quite what it was that we saw, along with an understanding that somepeople are just driven to win, I’ve always felt it unfair that the dark side of Senna’s character is downplayed compared to Schumachers when comparisons are made.

  14. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st January 2011, 22:58

    Keith, how exactly are we pairing these guys up? Is it random draw, or are we using a system of seeding or some such? My big concern is that one driver is going to have an easy path to victory because he is paired with relatively “easy” to beat drivers, whereas others will be eliminated early when they don’t necessarily deserve to be.

  15. Hitman Contract said on 1st January 2011, 23:59

    My bet is Ayrton Senna will come out first in the end (he always does), even though his sportmanship leaved a lot to be desired. But in terms of driving ability and passion, he was easily the best of the last 40 years.

    I have been watching F1 since the Jackie Stewart days, but I missed Fangio. Maybe he really was the best of all time, but I have seen him only in a few short clips, so I really can’t say (and who can nowadays?)

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