Michael Schumacher vs Fernando Alonso

Champion of Champions

Champion of Champions: Michael Schumacher vs Fernando Alonso

“The most dangerous champion for me is always Michael”, said Fernando Alonso last week.

But does Alonso have the measure of the man he beat to the 2006 world championship?

Alonso has acted as Schumacher’s successor more than once in his career. He took the Renault team (previously Benetton) back to championship glory ten years after Schumacher won his last title for them.

Today he is in a similar role at Ferrari, picking up where Kimi R??ikk??nen left off as Schumacher’s successor.

The statistics make it clear how much work Alonso has to do to emulate Schumacher’s success at Ferrari. He doesn’t have the ‘dream team’ of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Paolo Martinelli behind him – but time is on his side.

Schumacher, meanwhile, had a troubled comeback season with Mercedes after three years out of the cockpit.

Both these drivers are still racing and adding to their records. But which 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 Fernando Alonso
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Istanbul, 2010 Fernando Alonso, Interlagos, Renault, 2004
Titles 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 2005, 2006
Second in title year/s Damon Hill, Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi R??ikk??nen, Rubens Barrichello Kimi R??ikk??nen, Michael Schumacher
Teams Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, Mercedes Minardi, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari
Notable team mates Nelson Piquet, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello Giancarlo Fisichella, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa
Starts 268 158
Wins 91 (33.96%) 26 (16.46%)
Poles 68 (25.37%) 20 (12.66%)
Modern points per start1 14.05 10.58
% car failures2 8.21 10.76
Modern points per finish3 15.30 11.86
Notes Missed several races in 1999 after breaking his leg at Silverstone Debuted for Minardi in 2001 then spent a year testing for Renault before making race return
Retired in 2006 after 11 seasons with Ferrari Back-to-back titles for Renault in 2005 and 2006
Returned with Mercedes in 2010 Formerly the youngest ever world champion
Bio Michael Schumacher 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

Round one

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Michael Schumacher (77%)
  • Fernando Alonso (23%)

Total Voters: 777

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Images ?? Renault/LAT (thumbnail, Alonso), Mercedes (Schumacher)

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198 comments on Michael Schumacher vs Fernando Alonso

  1. Hamish said on 17th January 2011, 10:24

    Why do I get the sneaky suspicion by round two a Hamilton vs Senna final is on the cards.

    And no, thats not a conspiracy theorist at work.

  2. Dougie (@f1droid) said on 17th January 2011, 10:26

    It’s impossible to argue with the Championships and the Stats, Schumacher is way out in front.

    In reality though I think this is very close and, as already pointed out, this match up is too early and will allow Champions through to the third round at Alonso’s expense. Ultimately it don’t matter though as there is only one winner and that is all that counts. The placings after that cannot be considered accurate, unless we use one of those sites that repeatedly pits random champion against random champion and scores accordingly, without the knockout element.

  3. Burnout (@burnout) said on 17th January 2011, 10:41

    It’s unfortunate, but Alonso is probably going to go out in round two. Schumacher is head-and-shoulders above every champion since ’94. He’s the master of the refueling era. I can’t imagine any other driver winning Hungary ’98 or France ’04 the way he did.

  4. debaser 91 said on 17th January 2011, 10:49

    Alonso is now approaching the same age/stage of his career that brought Michael Schumacher so much success at Ferrari. These next few years could be what defines his career and what he is remembered for if he manages to build Ferrari around him, as he did at Renault and like Schumacher did for so long.

    I had a look at the stats and when Schumacher was 29 (same age as Alonso is now)he had won 33 races which is close to the 26 Alonso has now, so there’s not that much in it at the same stage of their careers. They have also been competing for the championship the same number of times at the same age (both 4 Schumacher -94,95,97 and 98 and Alonso 05,06,07 and 2010)so there are some interesting comparisons.

    Despite not being a fan of some of his on track behaviour over the years Schumacher has to take this, I can’t see Alonso being the total dominant force he was in his prime, and the 96-99 years at Ferrari for me stand out from his career as he worked to develop the Ferrari, as well his Benetton title wins where the Williams was a better car.

    I suppose you could argue though that if Alonso ends up with four or five titles at the end of his career with drivers like Hamilton, Vettel, Button, Kubica etc as his rivals the competition he will have beaten will be much stronger than Schumacher, and then maybe he could rank ahead of him as after all he did beat him head to head in ’06 (when both had competitive cars) That is all rather hypothetical however so at the moment Schumacher wins in my opinion.

    • Burnout (@burnout) said on 17th January 2011, 10:53

      There’s also the question of longevity. I remember Alonso saying in an interview after he’d won his first championship that he didn’t see himself being in F1 as long as MSC had been around.

      Then again back in ’94 I don’t think MSC would have seen himself being in F1 for at least another 12 seasons!

      • Alonso did say that Burnout but I wonder if he’d be more willing to stick around now. At the time he had his title, was fighting for his second with Schumi about to retire and he was going to move to his dream team Mclaren. It looked liked he’d be the number 1 of F1. Since then he’s had two uncompetitive years at Renault, has a more challenging grid to face and has only just joined Ferrari. I don’t think he would have dreamt things would turn out the way they have.

  5. Burnout (@burnout) said on 17th January 2011, 10:49

    I’ve worked out the bracket, and Round 3 is going to get pretty crazy. All multiple champions and no easy choices. Vote wisely!

  6. Damon said on 17th January 2011, 10:57

    It’s got to be schumacer, he was no1 for a good decade. You can’t argue with stats. Rosberg did beat him but the layoff most surely was a factor in this. If rosberg bests him this year than I might start to wonder, but like schumi said, he’s not going to be as good as when he was in his 20s

  7. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 17th January 2011, 11:00

    It is amazing to think that Schumacher was teammates with Nelson Piquet, and Alonso drove with his son.

    Somehow that had never clicked for me before.

    Anyway, my vote goes to Schumacher. He was able to perform at an extremely high level over a very long time period, with limited errors. Maybe Alonso can get closer in the future, but as it is now, Schumacher is streets ahead.

  8. Oliver said on 17th January 2011, 11:06

    This one is hard to call. Undoubtedly, Schumacher is exceptionally talented and driven,and the same can be said for Alonso. Where things begin to get complicated is when you measure the opposition both were against when they were winning their championships.

    In Schumacher’s case, his wins for Benneton were unbelievably overwhelming, but at the same time shrouded in controversy as there were claims, later verified, that they ran illegal traction control software. The sudden death of Ayrton Senna suddenly thrusted Damon Hill into the championship chase while he was psychologically unprepared for such a role.
    Tne Wiiliams was the only worthy challenger for the title and essentially only one Hill the logical protagonist as there was no stable second driver.
    The other teams, notably Mclaren were fielding new drivers and also were saddled with uncompetitive engines, while Ferrari were still in their limbo years.

    The FIA did try to engineer a title contest, which eventually ended in the walls of the Adelaide Circuit in Schumachers favour.
    Shumachers championship of 95 was more dominant before he left for Ferrari, where he spent the next 3years as Ferrari slowly built up the potential of the car.

    The 98/99 season, saw the Mclaren-Mercedes-Mika, combination, fully developed in potential and confidence and they were the true worthy opposition to Shumacher and Ferrari. By this time the Ferrari were very competitive, Mika won the championship of 98, and a broken leg stopped Schumacher mid season hence he lost the championship.

    By 2000, Mclaren was already somewhat on the decline, but still generally a credible front running team, Williams was also slowing ascending back to their pre 97 capabilities. But in all Ferrari was already enjoying a dominating lead in terms of car performance and all out support for a single driver championship push.

    Mika, haven become disillusioned with F1 at this time was preparing to make his exit, and Mclaren needing an all out racing driver that could take the car beyond the limits of the steady Coulthard, signed on Kimi, who proved to be an early opposition to Schumacher, when the car was reliable, alongside Montoya at Williams, who didn’t hesitate to rub wheels with Schumacher. Despite this, Ferrari still had a leg up on Williams and Mclaren hence their Dominance.
    Alonso’s entry into Renault, suddenly catapulted that team into the league of Williams and Mclaren, although Williams by this time was dropping its anchor. These 3 team opposition to Ferrari, were constantly heaving at the cracks of the Ferrari armour and occasionally stealing wins and positions.

    The equipment superiority Ferrari had enjoyed was no longer the case like wise, the driving talent, was on par or close with Shumacher.

    A few regulations changes did cloud the competitiveness of some teams, but that cannot detract from the fact that Ferrari and Schumacher, suddenly faced a tenacious adversary in a Renault, in the name of Alonso. Though his car lacked the outright speed of the Mclaren, at least in the hands of Kimi, it more that made up for it in the area of reliability. Ferrari were also scoring an own goal with a bewildering car design, combined with tyres of an unknown quantity -Michelin was enjoying a sudden performance upsurge – Alonso thus won his first championship, while reliability essentially robbed Kimi.

    Suddenly Ferrari were exposed and beatable. The quality of the drivers was also increasing.
    Which brings one back to Alonso. While his talent is unquestionable, and he did enjoy a certain level of preference in his Renault stint, he has found himself in a situation were, he has at any given time, more than 5 drivers capable of operating at his level and also with quality machinery.
    As a matter of fact, the quality of drivers is to high that it is sometimes hard to establish when the machinery is deficient. It is this very reason, that has prevented Alonso from enjoying any form of dominance in F1. It is also this same reason that has prevented Shumacher decimating the field as he once used to do.

    Baring any deficient car design by the front running teams, it is unlikely we will see the same level of dominance by a single driver like Schumacher had in his early years. It is possible to have multiple world championships consecutively, but the title fight will always be a close contest.

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th January 2011, 11:22

    Have added a summary of how the two drivers did in round one to the text.

  10. Michael Griffin said on 17th January 2011, 11:25

    Voted for Schumacher. Alonso is great, but Schumacher is even better.

  11. Damon said on 17th January 2011, 11:29

    Keith, you forgot to note that Schumacher’s 1997 points were erased.
    They’re not included in his totals, right?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th January 2011, 11:32

      I’ve re-calculated all the points based on the current point system for the purposes of comparing how the drivers performed. With that in mind, I’ve not taken Schumacher’s 1997 ‘championship disqualification’ into account because it’s not relevant for that purpose. And it’s not as if anyone’s forgotten all about what he did in Jerez, is it?

  12. Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 17th January 2011, 11:36

    Gwad this is getting brutal! I can see this coming down to a Fanzio, MSC, Clark, Senna, Prost and Stewart shoot out.

    Dammit man I love Alonso, but…

  13. brum55 said on 17th January 2011, 11:40

    Has to be Schumacher. It is barely a debate. Also Alonso will never match Schumi’s achievements as Schumacher, Brawn and Todt are a dream team which can only be matched if Brawn and Newey decide to join Fernando at Ferrari. Even then it will be a tall order.

  14. jihelle (@jihelle) said on 17th January 2011, 11:52

    It’s Schumacher for me. To rule over F1 (whether on the track or the media) for almost 20 years, 7 championships, 91 wins. Even Alonso said a couple of days ago that Michael is the one he fears the most. It speaks for itself.

  15. RIISE (@riise) said on 17th January 2011, 11:59

    Sorry Fernando, ever since Schumacher moved to Benetton in ’92 I supported. You saw the talent from the moment he stepped into an F1 car, and to keep the success going for over a decade is remarkable.

    Greatest driver that has ever lived period.

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