Jody Scheckter vs Fernando Alonso

Champion of Champions

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)

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145 comments on Jody Scheckter vs Fernando Alonso

  1. Bartholomew said on 2nd January 2011, 14:07

    Comparing Alonso with Scheckter is like comparing a mule with an ostrich

  2. Marco said on 2nd January 2011, 14:08

    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… :)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd January 2011, 14:14

      I don’t understand how you’ve arrived at those figures.

      • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 2nd January 2011, 14:22

        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.

      • Marco said on 2nd January 2011, 14:40

        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 :)

        • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 2nd January 2011, 14:49

          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.

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 2nd January 2011, 15:18

            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.

          • Marco said on 2nd January 2011, 15:24

            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…

          • Marco said on 2nd January 2011, 16:25

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

        • Andrew White said on 2nd January 2011, 15:58

          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.

          • Marco said on 2nd January 2011, 16:19

            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)

          • Marco said on 2nd January 2011, 17:00

            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…

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 2nd January 2011, 18:43

            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.

  3. MrKing (@) said on 2nd January 2011, 14:31

    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.

  4. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 2nd January 2011, 14:36

    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. :)

  5. RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 2nd January 2011, 14:43

    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.

    • Burnout (@burnout) said on 2nd January 2011, 15:29

      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

      • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 2nd January 2011, 19:20

        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.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 2nd January 2011, 18:47

      …the 2010 World Championship was lost due to Alonso’s errors in the first half of the season.

      As well as one very strategic error in Abu Dhabi.

      • Hitman Contract said on 2nd January 2011, 19:04

        Agreed but it was mostly Ferrari’s error not Alonso’s

      • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 2nd January 2011, 19:30

        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!

  6. Alonso is really good. But being beaten by a rookie (in the same car, which is for me the only honest way to compare drivers) is something to consider. I am a Ferrari fan and would prefer to have Raikkonen, Vettel, Hamilton and, sure, the old Schumi in a red car. Just to mention this generation.
    I just like the fastest drivers. And I am sure consistency is something that a good driver can learn.
    About the contest, a good approach would have been to split the drivers in groups, like the World Cup. Eight groups of 4. Each group would have 2 for the next phase. It would be more fair, maybe. :)

    Congrats for the site and for the contest!

  7. 1992 Peugeot Talbot Sport (@peugeot-905-92-93-le-mans-winner) said on 2nd January 2011, 16:05

    Why is Jarno Trulli not a notable teammate?
    In 2004 he won Monaco and out qualified Alonso some events…

  8. jonnyw360f1 (@jonnyw360f1) said on 2nd January 2011, 16:26

    I’m not a fan of his personality, but there’s no denying Alonso is one of the most naturally gifted and fastest drivers on the grid today.

    • BillHicks said on 2nd January 2011, 19:55

      Neither can you deny he is a cheat! The man is a disgrace to F1… F1 is a sport, is it not? Alonso is no sportsman… he is a coward in a red suit who abuses his position to gain an unfair advantage. Even when he cheats, he still can’t win. Gosh!

      • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 2nd January 2011, 20:14

        I tend not to respond to misguided comments like this however, a couple of ridiculous comments, admittedly in other posts, warrant a response. Alonso has never been successfully prosecuted against for any sporting infringement and has had his name cleared when he has been in court. If a casual supporter of the sport read your comment then their view would be unfairly distorted. Nothing you have said here has basis and you are needlessly deriding a champion through bias. Britain seems to enjoy slating great champions because they a cut above and then are too narrow minded when thinking of their own favourite. It will come as no surprise to you that I am an Alonso fan however, if Hamilton or any other driver was subject to such unfounded slander then I would have to back them up. I have no problem with opinion, but your comment suggests football-esque hatred that should have no place among intelligent comments on our favourite sport.

        • BillHicks said on 2nd January 2011, 20:39

          “OK, so, Fernando is faster than you.” Oh yeah! Overtake then! Oh, wait, you can’t cos you’re rubbish. Unfounded slander my rear end!

          A $100,000 fine says he (and Ferrari) are cheats. Your response suggests you need open your eyes. And he still couldn’t win, like I said.

          He’s not the only one by any means, but he’s the subject of this discussion is he not?

          • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 2nd January 2011, 21:37

            My point on being narrow minded still stands.

            Name one driver who would not have accepted his team-mate slowing down in front of him.

            Alonso was faster than Massa in the previous laps and, crucially, was Ferrari’s favoured driver for the championship due to his experience. This was entirely vindicated later in the season.

            “rubbish”, not even the greatest Alonso hater can deny his ability.

            I do not mean to insult you or an other viewer of this comment however, I feel that bias is the root of your comment and that is unfair. I do not know if you are a Schumacher fan but, his career was derided a little in this country due to always being a rival to a British driver earlier in his career. The same has happened to Alonso, read any article from before May 2007 on Alonso and you will here nothing but superlatives about the man and his talent.

          • Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 2nd January 2011, 22:01

            @RBAlonso, Wherever Alonso goes there is trouble. he is a champion for himself alone. I would probably like him if he weren’t such a coward. This is my opinion. We have all heard his moaning prior to the move by Massa. Ferrari had Massa right where they wanted him after their uncharacteristic generosity following his crash last year. He owes them.

            Alonso, for all failures as a Man, and for his pitiful justifications for his conduct throughout his career, is a great ‘driver’. I agree. But its not the clothes that make the man. It’s not the driving alone that is the mark of a true champion. Champion or not, Alonso will always be a disgrace, and not worthy of my vote. There used to be a day when honor and sportsmanship counted for something.

          • JustAnF1Fanatic (@justanf1fanatic) said on 2nd January 2011, 22:55

            I too dislike Alonso, mostly for his personality etc. plus i am a Hamilton fan, this you would think gives me the grounds to hate Alonso with the blind passion that you seem to do billhicks, yet i cannot ignore his talent. As much as i don’t like him i cannot ignore races like Singapore this year etc. he is amazingly talented and you must be incredibly naive to not see it!

          • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 2nd January 2011, 23:30

            I accept and respect your opinion Trenthamfolk, mainly because your are not alone in your estimations. I also agree that a Champion must be OF good character. But, does that make Button a better champion than Alonso? I think not. Alonso is not the nicest person in the world, he is probably not the nicest person in his house (!), but he is ruthless and uncompromising with a personality. In the characterless world of f1 which we are in, perhaps Alonso will be remembered s a great champion in years to come, time can only tell.

            I believe that “coward” is used in the wrong context here, all his overtakes have been brave and by definition you can not race being a coward. He has also never feared an argument.

            The days of honour in sport left some time ago and no driver in formula 1 can claim to be whiter than white in this cut throat environment. Also, Alonso entered formula 1 during the Schumacher era of questionable politics.

            I would also disagree with trouble following him everywhere. He was clean until spy-gate and was proven to have nothing to do with crash-gate. The team orders affair included Alonso indirectly. Admittedly, this is some co-incidence but co-incidence nonetheless.

  9. melkurion (@melkurion) said on 2nd January 2011, 17:55

    I want to vor Sheckter, simply because I don’t like Alonso….but as pinted out, this is not a popularity contest, so I vote Alonso.

    I think Sheckter was most deffinetly a worthy champion. And his season with Wolf shows that he was on the pace, even if he did not have the best car ( although the Wolf was not to shabby offocurse)

    Alonso however has demonstrated that he can remain on the top muh longer, and more importantly in my oppinion , did not let his motivation get down when he had two not so great seasons due to an infirior car.
    Something Sheckter obviously did the year after he won the title…

  10. mrgrieves (@mrgrieves) said on 2nd January 2011, 18:04

    I’ve had quite a long think and look through Wikipedia at Scheckter before deciding to go with Alonso. Scheckter’s defence of the title was awful, only got 2 points but have discovered the car was to blame as Villenuve only got 6 points.

    Alonso in my opinion is the faster and probably the smarter of the two so he takes it however Jody was the most underated driver of the 70’s. His season with Wolf was amazing and had some great drives in the Tyrrell so bad luck drawing Nando

    • Firstly, please dont cite Wikipedia as a source of info, its not an accurate site. But Jody’s awful defence of the title? He was driving one of the worst cars of 1980 which would probably top the list of worst cars that ever came out of Ferraris F1 design bureau. It was an aweful car, dont be swayed by the miracle results that Gilles got out of it. I saw similarities between Jody circa 1979/80 and L.Hamilton going from 2008 into [the first half) of 2009. When he was in a competitive car (as you have noted) he produced some great drives. Hope this doesnt look too aggresive from me (not intended to be), but i felt the need to defend Mr Scheckter a little for his last seasons display.

  11. mrgrieves (@mrgrieves) said on 2nd January 2011, 18:05

    Also wondered if maybe supplying a link to there pages on the F1 website or wikipedia might help show people see who was the better driver

  12. kowalsky said on 2nd January 2011, 18:21

    i chose alonso, but if you look at a video of the south african at brads hatch in 1977 with a wolf during qualy, going side ways on most of the bends, you would love the guy. That is f1 at it’s best.

  13. joac21 (@joac21) said on 2nd January 2011, 18:32

    I remember reading an article about villenueve at sidepodcast. and it said that in a wet practice session jody went out and said he literally scared himself out there and that nobody could go faster. then gilles went out and took 10 seconds off jody lap time…

    that fact alone could make me go for alonso..

    • Your thinking of the 1979 USA GP, when he was 9-10secs faster on the Friday. Not to detract from Gilles time, but only 6 others (of which Jody was 2nd fastest) dared set a time.

    • kowalsky said on 2nd January 2011, 21:41

      it was 1979, and he was already on his way out of f1. Villeneuve was at his prime.
      If you look back a couple of years, he was as fast as anyone.
      Let’s not forget, that f1 was a dangerous sport in those days, and today, a driver like alonso, can keep going for two decades.
      I would choose a driver from the early years, before any if i follow my heart, but using the head, i have to go for alonso.

  14. Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 2nd January 2011, 19:50

    I’m really enjoying reading these comments. I’m still scratching my head a bit wondering were this Champion of Champions competition is going to end up and the future pairing of competitors really has me intrigued.

    Keith, I think you’ve really got a winner with this.

    Oh, and please save the Kimi vs James Hunt comparison till we get a bit nearer the end :)

  15. Alonso. Other than Schumacher (and maybe Hamilton in the near future), he’s the only one of the current generation who many would say is one of the all time greats.

    • TBH, I don’t think that any other than Schumacher can claim that out of the current lot. And I have this funny feeling that Schumacher’s great days aren’t over yet.

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