Champion of Champions
One thing that unites these two multiple champions from South America is their readiness to switch teams in pursuit of their career objectives.
Juan Manuel Fangio’s status as the top driver of his time allowed him to cherry-pick the best cars of his day.
He narrowly missed out on winning the first world championship with Alfa-Romeo in 1950. He took the title with the following year then (after missing the 1952 season due to injury) moved on to Maserati.
He was head-hunted by Mercedes to lead their return to Grand Prix racing in 1954. He wrapped up his second title with them and added a third the following year before they left the sport.
Fangio entered a marriage of convenience with Ferrari, which yielded title number four in 1956. Then it was back to Maserati for his final title at the wheel of the 250F. It’s hard to image a modern F1 driver making so many changes of team in such a short space of time while enjoying sustained success.
Emerson Fittipaldi also switched from one top team to another in pursuit of the championship. Like Fangio he won the title in his second full season, driving for Lotus.
In 1974 he departed for McLaren, winning the championship in his first season with them.
Success came quickly to Fittipaldi: he was a Grand Prix winner in only his fourth start. That perhaps motivated his decision take his career in a different direction at the end of 1975, pursuing his ambition of driving for a Brazilian Formula 1 team.
His career can be split into two parts of almost equal size – 72 appearances with Lotus and McLaren, followed by 77 with his brother’s team, usually at the wheel of cars that were slow, unreliable, or both.
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.
|Juan Manuel Fangio||Emerson Fittipaldi|
|Titles||1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957||1972, 1974|
|Second in title year/s||Alberto Ascari, Jose Froilan Gonzalez, Stirling Moss, Stirling Moss, Stirling Moss||Jackie Stewart, Clay Regazzoni|
|Teams||Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes, Ferrari||Lotus, McLaren, Copersucar, Fittipaldi|
|Notable team mates||Giuseppe Farina, Peter Collins, Stirling Moss||Ronnie Peterson, Denny Hulme, Jochen Mass|
|Wins||24 (47.06%)||14 (9.72%)|
|Poles||29 (56.86%)||6 (4.17%)|
|Modern points per start1||17.12||6.90|
|% car failures2||17.65||25.69|
|Modern points per finish3||20.79||9.29|
|Notes||Missed 1952 season due to injury||Won in his fourth F1 start|
|Handed 1956 title by team mate Peter Collins||Spent five seasons with minor teams after winning second title|
|Record haul of five titles unequalled until 2002||Formerly the youngest ever world champion|
|Bio||Juan Manuel Fangio||Emerson Fittipaldi|
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?
- Juan Manuel Fangio (94%)
- Emerson Fittipaldi (6%)
Total Voters: 517
Read the F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions introduction for more information and remember to check back tomorrow for the next round.
Have you voted in the previous rounds of Champion of Champions yet? Find them all here:
Champion of Champions
- Ayrton Senna voted Champion of Champions by F1 Fanatic readers
- Champion of Champions in stats
- Champion of Champions Final: Senna vs Schumacher
- Ayrton Senna vs Juan Manuel Fangio
- Michael Schumacher vs Alain Prost
- Ayrton Senna vs Jack Brabham
- Juan Manuel Fangio vs Jackie Stewart
- Alain Prost vs Niki Lauda
- Jim Clark vs Michael Schumacher
- Jack Brabham vs Lewis Hamilton
Images © Daimler (Fangio), Gillfoto via Flickr (Fittipaldi)