Champion of Champions: Jody Scheckter vs Fernando Alonso

Jody Scheckter vs Fernando Alonso

Champion of ChampionsPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Champion of Champions Round 1: Jody Scheckter vs Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso is already a two-times world champion; with better luck, Jody Scheckter might have been.

In his first full season with Tyrrell in 1974, Scheckter placed third in the championship, ten points behind winner Emerson Fittipaldi.

As Tyrrell went up a blind alley with the six-wheeled P34, Scheckter moved to new team Wolf for 1977. he nearly ‘did a Button’ in the championship after winning the first race of the year, but finished the year runner-up to Niki Lauda’s Ferrari.

Two years later Scheckter had a Ferrari of his own and although he and team mate Gilles Villeneuve were closely matched, Scheckter had the edge. Late in the season the team ordered Villeneuve to let Scheckter claim the title.

Had Alonso won this year’s world championship he would have emulated Scheckter by winning the title in his first season for Ferrari. But Alonso already has a pair of titles under his belt from his Renault days.

As well as finishing runner-up this year, he tied on points with second-placed Lewis Hamilton in 2007, a single point behind champion Kimi R??ikk??nen.

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.

Jody Scheckter Fernando Alonso
Jody Scheckter, Nurburgring, 1975 Fernando Alonso, Interlagos, Renault, 2004
Titles 1979 2005, 2006
Second in title year/s Gilles Villeneuve Kimi R??ikk??nen, Michael Schumacher
Teams McLaren, Tyrrell, Wolf, Ferrari Minardi, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari
Notable team mates Patrick Depailler, Gilles Villeneuve Giancarlo Fisichella, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa
Starts 112 158
Wins 10 (8.93%) 26 (16.46%)
Poles 3 (2.68%) 20 (12.66%)
Modern points per start1 8.00 10.58
% car failures2 18.75 10.76
Modern points per finish3 9.85 11.86
Notes Partial season as McLaren’s third driver in 1973 Debuted for Minardi in 2001 then spent a year testing for Renault before making race return
Spent three seasons with Tyrrell before giving Wolf a win in their first race in 1977 Back-to-back titles for Renault in 2005 and 2006
Won the 1979 title for Ferrari after Gilles Villeneuve was instructed not to pass him at Monza Formerly the youngest ever world champion
Bio Jody Scheckter Fernando Alonso

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?

  • Jody Scheckter (21%)
  • Fernando Alonso (79%)

Total Voters: 718

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Images ?? Ford (Scheckter), Renault/LAT (Alonso)

145 comments on “Jody Scheckter vs Fernando Alonso”

  1. Alonso has been more consistent than Jody. WDC in 2005 and 2006 – albeit Raikkonen in the McLaren and Schumacher in the Ferrari was faster for long periods respectively and arguably only lost the titles because of car failures.

    Anyway 2nd in 2007 and 2010. The second half of 2010 was simply marvelous with only one big mistake in 7-8 races. That’s 4 top two finishes in 6 years. Spectacular.

          1. And because people recognise that a couple of dodgy instances are not enough to call someone a cheat, when they are a bloody good driver.

  2. Alonso’s title win in 2006 in my opinion was one of the greatest championship triumphs ever. He gave himself a good lead early on, but then Ferrari caught up and I think Alonso did a great job dealing with the pressure from Schumacher.

    Scheckter’s stats in general are not as good as Alonso’s though he looked like a great driver. But these days everyone is talking about his team mate Villeneuve, though dare I say, his death is probably one of the reasons why.

    Scheckter was great, but he never took Formula One by storm like Alonso has done.

      1. What was so great about a lucky win resulting from an untimely engine failure? The only reason ALO won in 2005 and 2006 was because he had a more reliable car. Kimi and Michael,and Lewis in 2007 all outdrove him.

        1. Soumya,

          Alonso won the title on both 2005 and 2006 with an inferior car. That does say something. Din’t you watch Imola 2005?

          Alonso stopped the Schumacher & Ferrari dominance and inaugurated a new phase in Formula 1. That in itself is a reason to place him among the greats. What was great about 2006 was that though Schumacher was much faster Alonso was close behind, never giving up. That’s how championships are won, at least in Formula 1.

    1. I agree with you on that 2006 championship. It had the mass damper stripped, the FIA rallying for Ferrari on several occasions and Alonso and the team knew he was going to McLaren in 2007 from even before the season started. He really did in for Schumi at Ferrari.

    2. Totally agree. Great championship that year. My vote to Alonso for bringing down Schumacher’s and Ferrari’s reign in 05&06 with an inferior car and a FIA in love with the german.

      1. woops, ment to say don’t really compare, Alonso just on another level.

        Not like with Farina where the war robbed him of his best years, so his true potential was hidden from us.

  3. Despite the modern points per available finish I feel Alonso was up against it more. Schumacher titles before his own made it difficult to touch the first place finish he longed for before his titles/Renault career. Alonso did more with the cars he had. And yes, like Atticus said, 4 top 2’s in 6 years. But then again to compare that Hamilton’s been in contention into the last race for 3 out of the 4 years, with 2 of those years in a convincing position.

  4. Surely Yoong and Piquet count as notable team mates for Alonso. But seriously i’m gonna back Alonso it took Scheckter 5 years to win his first title by which point Alonso’d won two. Also in those days Alonso didn’t need someone to move over for him to win unlike Scheckter.

    1. This is a false accusation as Villeneuve was not asked to let Jody by in any races ie. Alonso & Massa…Furthermore, Gilles wouldn’t of heeded such a call anyway! Scheckter was a very good driver who decided to leave Grand Prix racing before it got the better of him.

      1. I can only think that Alonso won in 2005 because McLaren had an unreliable car and Ferrari didn’t have their best machine either. 2006 was better but drivers champions from the old days just seem a bit more special than Alonso’s championships.

        1. Ferrari didn’t win because the FIA gave Renault and McLaren (and the other Michelin cars) an advantage. Michelin already had a tyre that could last a whole race where Bridgestone had to start researching it just before the season started.

          1. Bridgestone did really mess up their tyres for 2005, as they didn’t adapt well to the regulations that year stating that tyres had to last a full race distance.

      2. Better driver or better champion? There seems to be more that goes into winning championships than pure driving. There’s patience, consistency, ruthlessness, team politics. E.g., Button almost lost his massive lead in 2009 because he wilted under the pressure, some commentators asserted.

        So I’m voting for one of my least favorite F1 personalities (ALO) because he’s won in multiple ways. I remember Scheckter, but not as a dominant threat to win consistently.

      3. I agree with Keith 100%.

        This is not a popularity contest.

        Alonso is probably not one of the nicest guys on the grid, but he is undoubtedly on top of his game, his stats speak for themselves, no arguments there.

        These drivers are not on the F1 grid to make friends, they are there to win races and championships and its sad to say that in the current world of competitve sport, in order to be the best, you have to make some unpopular moves along the way.

        We will talk of Alonso v Hamilton and possibly v Vettel for years to come, just like how we still talk about Senna v Prost. It just shows that these drivers are up there with the greats.

        Alonso v Schekter…sorry Jody, Alonso takes the cake here.

        Keep in mind that Alonso is still the youngest double world champion ever!

        1. I 100% agree, I personally can’t stand Alonso, He’s a dirty foul tempered arrogant person in my opinon.

          But I think he is clearly the greater of the two, When I can remember my password and be bothered to log in, I’m not going to vote for Alonso because I like him. Because I don’t. I’m going to vote for Alonso because I believe that he is the greater champion.

  5. Scheckter looked like he had more of a hard time getting to the top, he did well with Tyrrell and won with a 6 wheeled car. with wolf he had 8 different chaises in 2 seasons. And he beat Gilles Villeneuve which is a very impressive achievement. I know Alonso will win this so I voted for Scheckter because I don’t think he deserves to be beaten by miles which is what I suspect will happen.

    1. That is pretty good reasoning for going with Scheckter, I agree that it feels as if Alonso had it a bit easier getting to the top, and beating Villeneuve is indeed a very notable achievement.

      I have to say, it would be hard to swallow losing Alonso in the first round though. Sure in 2005 others lost a lot of points through unreliability, but still, Alonso was there to pick them up. 2006 – I didn’t watch a lot of that season at the time, but have seen most of the races since, and it was really a very good season for Alonso, as I saw others remark, he really beat Schumacher/Ferrari and they knew it. 2007 he was very fast as well, and would have taken that title, if it hadn’t been for Hamilton. 2008 he did well to get the most out of the car, even if we forget about Singapore, he still won a race and didn’t give up during the season. So I

      But maybe I just have more images of Alonso doing impressive things than I have for Scheckter.

      1. Alonso got to the top so quickly because of what he did in the Minardi, he drove that car so far beyond what it was capable of that he got major attention for it.

        He was lucky that the big team who sat up to take notice started challenging for championships two years after he got the drive.

        1. Scribe,

          Alonso didnt just end up at Renault and got handed a great car, he was testing for them since 02 and raced two seasons before getting the championship wining car unlike some of his contemporaries..its fair to say that he had a hand in developing the cars that won him the title.

          1. Your point being?

            Didn’t say he didn’t help with development. Are you saying he single handedly took Renault too front running status? I hope not. All I’m saying is he picked the right team, he might have ended up at Toyota or something before Renault.

          2. There is no driver on the grid or in history that has taken a car single handedly to the front of the grid. This is a very subjective matter.

            Some would say that Michael Schumacher single handedly transformed Ferrari to World Champions from where they were in the 90s, obviously that cant be entirely true, because he was just a very important component in a team full of very talented people.

            Same can be said about Alonso. He was in a team with the right people and he would have been an important component in the development of the car. So yes, Alonso and everyone in that team developed the car to a Championship winning one.

            When you say he “picked”, what do you mean by that? I dont think he had a parade of race seats to pick from at the time, he was driving for Minardi, and with Flavio as his manager, the move was only natural. He never got handed a car that could win races from day one, he worked at it with the team and eventually got his first win at the Hungararing in 03.

  6. I had to go for Alonso. Even if you don’t like the guy, I don’t think you can deny he is one of the best (IMO the best) on the field at the moment. I like the match-up as they have both used tea orders to win, hopefully taking away the bias, or so you thought :p

  7. I expected this to be closer than the vote is indicating, in only because Schekter beat Villenuve in the same car. However, whenever you see one of these types of ‘all-time best’ things the moderns always do better than I expect.

  8. Its harder then it looks, despite Jody’s 1 WDC to Nandos 2, im trying to judge (all of these polls) evenly due to the varying rules/standards of the day, not to mention i wasnt born when Scheckter was driving.

    So, from the statistics… ive gone for Alonso. Ive considered them all and he nudges it. But credit to Scheckter, he won a title in the decade of Lauda, Hunt, Peterson and Villeneuve which is a great achievement in itself.

    Keith (or someone please), didnt drivers of the 70s have to discount 2 race (points) results from their final standings, has this been included in Jody’s Points/modern points stats that you’ve included??

    1. I don’t think it has. Keith states in the introductory article that he has used the modern points system.

      I agree with you that this changes things a little. If you can only improve your points tally by winning, then why not try that impossible move? Because someone might not take that into account in an ‘all-time best driver’ poll 40 years later isn’t an idea that crosses your mind.

      In the early days of the championship you also got a bonus point for fastest lap.

      Some seasons there were far fewer people to beat.

      In the days of 10-6-4-3-2-1 you would probably be more aggressive at the pointy end than in the days of 10-8-6-4-3-2-1 too, just applying modern points doesn’t take these things into account.

      This is why I thought that what would be better was a percentage of points possible. If you do this per race and per season you get a better picture. Though you’d probably also want to include the mean of points possible too for reference.

  9. There are two quotations in the original text that have made me chose Alonso very easily.

    “Won the 1979 title for Ferrari after Gilles Villeneuve was instructed not to pass him at Monza”


    “Late in the season the team ordered Villeneuve to let Scheckter claim the title.”

    Now we all know that Alonso is the current number 1 at Ferrari, but I think its also widely thought that Alonso is also better than Massa (and indeed all of his prior teammates). Scheckter hasn’t managed to shake off any ‘Gilles would have won the title if…’ criticisms, but no one at all thinks that Fisichella would have won the title in 05 and 06. Alonso dominated his team mate and the sport in his title winning years and is still a major player. I dislike him intensely, but Alonso gets it in this round convincingly.

  10. Jody Scheckter is an incredibly underrated WDC. As Keith said, he was a match for Gilles Vileneuve in the same car, and yet the driver we all idolise and talk about is GV…that’s being very unfair to Jody. He overcame a reputation as a crasher early on in his career to become a WDC against greats that included Villenueve, Jones and Andretti. That has to count for something.

    I wouldn’t say he is better than Alonso, but I voted for Jody because he was more than a match for some of F1’s all time legends.

    1. The ostrich would be faster right? I would rather say it is like comparing two running horses who are both successfull in different countries (as there are no direct comparisons besides statistics and background information)

  11. Btw, with a little luck Jody had the title (1979) as he wasn t the best driver of that season… :)

    1979 calculations:

    01. Gilles Villeneuve – 79 points
    02. Alan Jones – 59 points
    03. Jody Scheckter – 49 points

    I used lap by lap chart, which can be found at f1stats website and awarded drivers performances with
    9-6-4-3-2-1 points…
    Jody s best year in terms of performances was in Wolf team /1977/, where he finished again 3rd, but with 60 points, only 13 behind winner Andretti and 11 after 2nd Hunt… :)

      1. Marco, I watched the 1979 Season Review this morning to prepare myself for this debate and it clearly stated the Scheckter was a) a “very worthy” world champion and b) would have won the championship if points for all races were counted, not just 4 results from the first half and 4 from the second.

      2. Tours en téte 1979 :
        /laps in lead from f1stats/

        1. G.VILLENEUVE 308
        2. A.JONES 216
        3. J.SCHECKTER 170
        4. P.DEPAILLER 110
        5. J.LAFFITE 95
        6. J.JABOUILLE 35
        7. C.REGAZZONI 30
        8. R.ARNOUX 11

        Gilles was almost 2x more laps in the lead of the race then Jody…

        And here is explaining of my calculations:


        ARG – out of top 6
        BRA – 5. /6,154 his average pos. on track/
        JAR – 2. /1,526 his average pos. on track/
        USA – 2. /2,350 his average pos. on track/
        ESP – 4. /3,413 his average pos. on track/
        BEL – 4. /3,100 his average pos. on track/
        MON – 1. /1,000 his average pos. on track/
        FRA – 6. /5,278 his average pos. on track/
        GBR – 6. /4,328 his average pos. on track/
        GER – 5. /4,000 his average pos. on track/
        AUT – 5. /4,481 his average pos. on track/
        NDL – 4. /4,147 his average pos. on track/
        ITA – 1. /1,220 his average pos. on track/
        CND – out of top 6
        USA – 5. /4,313 average. pos. on track/

        total points for performances – 49
        best driver on the track – 2x

        G Villeneuve

        ARG – out of top 6
        BRA – 6. /7,103 his average pos. on track/
        JAR – 1. /1,526 his average pos. on track/
        USA – 1. /1,000 his average pos. on track/
        ESP – out of top 6
        BEL – out of top 6
        MON – 2. /2,037 his average pos. on track/
        FRA – 1. /1,438 his average pos. on track/
        GBR – out of top 6
        GER – out of top 6
        AUT – 3. /2,741 his average pos. on track/
        NDL – 1. /1,388 his average pos. on track/
        ITA – 3. /2,240 his average pos. on track/
        CND – 1. /1,306 his average pos. on track/
        USA – 1. /1,085 his average pos. on track/

        total points for performances – 69
        Best driver on the track – 6x

        I find these calculations usefull and excellent as it just reflects what happened on the track… So it is obvious why many F1 fans rate Gilles highly then Jody… :) Judging only his track performances, he was on the way for his 1st title with only 34 GP completed… He just needed more luck :)

        1. I must concede Marco that I also believe Villeneuve was the superior driver but that is not this argument, it is Alonso vs Scheckter. Villeneuve like Peterson and many other greats of this sport will be remembered for flashes of greatness in a career cut too short, unfortunately we will never know.

          Interesting way of looking at championships, I’ll give you that. Perhaps similar methods could be used to view season like 1982 and 1989.

          1. Of course, in the end for a champion, it matters how you finish a race, not just how much you led it as a driver. Just a bit of a different skill set to drive fast and win, or drive calculatingly fast enough to just win. But a very interesting way of comparing the drivers, I agree.

          2. I know results is the one and only thing that counts, but I was looking for a way how to extract “the luck” out of there to see who had the abilities to be champion and who was only a benefitor of some technical issues… You can take Chris Amon as an example… Some people say, he should have won a gp… It is clearly true… In year 1968 he was leading in Canada and Spain while nobody ahead of him retired… Sadly, he was the one to do that on both occacions… And another example is Johnny Herbert, who won 3 times… But was he really able to win because of his own abilities, or was it just a pure luck? In GBR Hill and Schumacher collided and in Italy both Ferraris, both Williams and Schumacher were out… Amon was in the lead, because he had “that something”, Herbert was there only because someone else retired… And this is very different for me, when I judge drivers… And you are very right with 1982 and 1989… I have analysed all seasons from 1950 til now with results being interesting and quite beliavable… So, some things are clearer now for me as I read great things about Sir Moss, Gilles Villeneuve or Ronnie Peterson, but they all ended with empty hands… My analysis, which I made for pure fun showed me why they attracted so many fans and why are they considered among the greatest drivers even without winning titles…

          3. In Alonso vs. Scheckter comparison I would go clearly for Fernando… His 2 titles are fully deserved, especially in 2006 was an excellent one…

        2. I just cannot agree with that method. It takes away from a driver who comes up through the field to win. Going by that, a performance like Raikkonen in Suzuka 2005 would rank lower than a driver who leads for ages but then crashes out due to his own mistake. The result at the end is all that matters, not who was leading on lap 11 or whatever.

          1. And the same can be use for results… Vettel did an excellent job this year in Korea leading all the way and? He retired, because of technical problem and the result was one big zero… Big profiteur was Alonso… The same goes for Hamilton s
            14th in Spain or Schumachers 12th in Monaco… What those result say about drivers performance? NOTHING… Another example is Massa and his probably best race in whole career in Hungary… The result was 0 points and 17th place… If I didn t watch that race and was new in F1 problematic I would say what a horrible performance! And it was the direct opposite… :) Every system has his pluses and minuses, but I see less minuses here as the season has often more then 17 races not one (the Raikkonen case)

          2. And another thing… What can you read from this?

            Season 2001, best places of Minardi drivers:

            Marques – 2x 9th place
            Alonso – 1x 10th place

            Was Marques really better?
            Fernando just didn t have the needed luck in key races… My own season analysis showed that he was the faster driver with consistent performances not Marques as results say… And indeed, he was the one who got a drive in Renault, while Tarso was released from the contract and never returned back to F1…
            Another example is Buemi and Alguersuari this year… Why was Jaime praised from Franz Tost at the end of the season? For his 19th place in Drivers championship and for scoring less points then Buemi? :) Again the results didn t show the true reality… Its very simple… :) If you want to see the true potential of driver properly, sometimes points aren t the best indicator…

          3. That’s true. Points aren’t always the best indicator, and Alguersuari definitely shows more of a spark of potential than Buemi does. That’s why Keith has provided the statistics he has, but lets everyone vote their free mind. If it were just down to points and stats we all know Schumacher would have it, and there’d be no point to this whole thing.

  12. Alonso is currently the “most complete driver on the grid”, he is consistent, statistically he is better than Scheckter, and most importantly, Alonso is still in the middle of a very successful career. I reckon he could end his career as a 4/5xWDC at least.

  13. I know Alonso will win this, but I like Jody a lot. Did well as he suddenly became lead driver at Tyrrell (when Cevert died), then dragged Wolf up to the front where it had no business running.

    Jody also beat Gilles to the title in 79 – and given Gilles’ talent, that says something for me. :)

  14. I would like to think that this debate and other debates with Alonso or British drivers will not be warped by hatred. Alonso is, arguably, the class of the field at the moment and his stunning comeback this season showed a variety of skills and silenced many critics. Obviously, I am an Alonso fan and must say that the 2010 World Championship was lost due to Alonso’s errors in the first half of the season. That said I still believe that Alonso is the better driver of the two simply on the basis of consistency and race victories. Scheckter was a talented driver and worthy champion but, like Hunt before him and Raikkonen after, seemed to see the championship as mission accomplished and saw no need to take further risk. The true greats of motor racing are never satisfied and always push the boundary and testament to this argument is that Alonso, given better luck, could possibly be a 4 time champion going into 2011.

    1. Or perhaps that’s what makes Surtees, Hunt and Raikkonen great. That they were detached enough from F1 to see there were other things to accomplish. I think it takes a huge amount of will power and confidence to walk away from something you’re good at to do something different.

      For the record, I voted Alonso. Imola 2005 seals the deal for me :D

      1. To an extent I agree with you Burnout, but I feel that if all drivers mentioned had continued then they could have shown further evidence of their skill. All are worthy champions but we must have some perspective here. If Senna or Schumacher had retired the day after being Champion not only would our sport be a poorer place but critics would imply that the reason they were Champion was down to the car. We all know that this is entirely hypothetical but a great in my opinion is someone who had the ability to win against any opponent on any day regardless of track, weather or even a mechanical issue. If you list the greats of the sport there are always a few instances that blew the public away ie Donington 1993, Hungary 1998, Nurburgring 1958, Monza 1967 etc.

      1. I accept this point obviously, but every team makes mistakes. I feel that had every race went perfectly for Alonso in the first half of the season ie. no jump start, no collision in Australia, better qualifying in Malasia, not crashing in Monaco then Alonso would have been champion. However, every Vettel fan would say had his car survived in many races and had such silly errors ie Turkey not happened then he would have dominated. Likewise every Webber and Hamilton fan will point out several instances when they were unduly outdone.

        Overall, Vettel is a worthy champion and must be seen as one despite the fastest car. In years to come we will cherish 2010. I also am almost perversely happy by defeat as critics would never allow Hockenheim to be forgotten and this result ensures Alonso’s legacy is remembered as a man who can led a team and will never give up. That alone silenced critics who may have believed Alonso could only fight for the title by having a great start to the season and preserving that lead for example.

        It would be interesting to hear other contributor’s view on this controversial comment!

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