Juan Manuel Fangio vs Jackie Stewart

Champion of Champions

Champion of Champions: Juan Manuel Fangio vs Jackie Stewart

As well as being multiple champions, Juan Manuel Fangio and Jackie Stewart are both drivers whose successes were concentrated into a relatively brief period of time.

Between them they started less than half the number of races Rubens Barrichello has.

Fangio won four world titles on the trot from 1954-7. Factor out the 1952 season he lost to injury and he picked up all five of his titles within six years of competition.

Stewart won three titles in five years and might have had more: he missed the 1968 title by four points and in 1972 was hit by an illness which kept him out of the cockpit.

Both drivers also understood the importance of choosing the right time to stop. Fangio did not stay long after winning his fifth championship. Stewart planned to retire after the final race of 1973, an arrangement that was hastened by the death of his team mate Francois Cevert.

The Nurburgring was the scene of some of their greatest drives. In 1957 Fangio recovered a minute to catch and pass the Ferraris of Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins. He did so by daring to take the Nordschleife’s corners in one gear higher than he’d been using before.

The same daunting and dangerous circuit was the target of Stewart’s forward-thinking safety campaign. But he mastered it as a driver as well, winning there three times. In 1968, in pouring rain and thick fog, he came home four minutes ahead of second-placed Graham Hill.

Between them they won eight world championships and over a third of their 150 race starts.

But 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 Jackie Stewart
Juan Manuel Fangio, 1955 Jackie Stewart, Matra, 1969
Titles 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957 1969, 1971, 1973
Second in title year/s Alberto Ascari, Jose Froilan Gonzalez, Stirling Moss, Stirling Moss, Stirling Moss Jacky Ickx, Ronnie Peterson, Emerson Fittipaldi
Teams Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes, Ferrari BRM, Matra, Tyrrell
Notable team mates Giuseppe Farina, Peter Collins, Stirling Moss Graham Hill, Johnny Servoz-Gavin, Francois Cevert
Starts 51 99
Wins 24 (47.06%) 27 (27.27%)
Poles 29 (56.86%) 17 (17.17%)
Modern points per start1 17.12 11.20
% car failures2 17.65 32.32
Modern points per finish3 20.79 16.55
Notes Missed 1952 season due to injury Finished his first six races in the points and won his eighth start
Handed 1956 title by team mate Peter Collins Runner-up to Graham Hill in 1968 before winning three titles in five years
Record haul of five titles unequalled until 2002 Retired on the eve of what would have been his 100th start after team mate Cevert was killed
Bio Juan Manuel Fangio Jackie Stewart

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 two

Round one

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Juan Manuel Fangio (65%)
  • Jackie Stewart (35%)

Total Voters: 586

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Images ?é?® Daimler, Pirelli (Fangio), Ford.com (Stewart)

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104 comments on Juan Manuel Fangio vs Jackie Stewart

  1. Azwing (@azwing) said on 27th January 2011, 17:10

    I respect Jackie Stewart to no end. However, Fangio’s stats speak for themselves. He sat on pole for more than half the races he entered and won nearly half.

    It’s probably controversial, but I also think Fangio ran against a stronger field. Ascari, Moss, Farina. Stewart faced mainly Fittipaldi.

  2. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 27th January 2011, 17:12

    Close-ish, but still Fangio. I never get tired of reading about his ’57 Ring heroics.

  3. Dougie (@f1droid) said on 27th January 2011, 17:18

    Now that we’re down to the hard rounds, I’m going to apply other arguments rather than stats, because at this point they are all of the stuff that makes a legend.

    This is Champion of Champions and Jackie achieved his without car hoping, or commandeering a team mates motor and, said earlier, on nothing but a handshake. Then what Jackie brought back to the sport in terms of safety will last forever, a true gentleman.

  4. Noelinho (@noelinho) said on 27th January 2011, 17:22

    Fangio was fantastic, no question about it, but so was Jackie Stewart. Monza 1969 was a pretty incredible race to win. He held, at the time, the record for most wins in F1. His tireless work towards safety in F1 for me makes him the best ambassador for the sport that F1 has ever had.

    Sorry Fangio.

  5. Hallard85 (@hallard85) said on 27th January 2011, 17:31

    On stats it’s close, and on wins it’s close too. But I cant help but feel like Jackie has had a more positive effect on F1 overall; that he has been more influential overall. I remember the interview on this site where Sir Jackie was talking about what it means to be a world champion, and how a world champion needs to be an ambassador for the sport, and Jackie certainly leads by examle in that regard. An extraordinary driver, and an extraordinary world champion. Jackie gets my vote.

  6. David B (@david-b) said on 27th January 2011, 17:42

    Fangio
    Stewart
    Fangio
    Stewart
    Fangio
    Stewart
    Fangio
    Stewart
    Fangio
    Stewart
    Fangio
    Stewart

    ….

    Ok, Fangio.

  7. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 27th January 2011, 17:49

    Fangio, just

  8. andy-carter (@andy-carter) said on 27th January 2011, 17:56

    why do we bother keith is rigging the vote!! every new driver had to face an old world champion but his beloved Hamilton!! ohh he had to beat button? big challange! and he wont close the vote on rd 2 till Hamilton wins even if it takes twice as long to “count the votes” as everyone else, don’t get me wrong im taking nothing from Hamilton but a young rookie with a handfull of years under his belt should not be given a free ride to the finals!! maybe in 10 years when he’s a 3 or maybe even 4 time world championships, keith should stack the deck to save us from ourself’s but for now it just stinks of a rigged comp!

  9. DiamondEagle (@diamondeagle) said on 27th January 2011, 17:57

    Fangio vs Stewart at the quarter final stage…evil.

    Both of them are in my all time top four (Fangio, Stewart, Senna, Schumacher) but I voted for Stewart in the knowledge Fangio had more votes.

  10. Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 27th January 2011, 18:03

    Stewart.

    Without him, I doubt we’d still have Schumacher (either of them), Massa, Hakkinen, Kubica, Alonso and many others. And those are just recent drivers that spring to mind who have had major accidents over the last while.

    His drive for safety has saved many, many lives. Combined with his charisma and skill, it makes him, overall, a better champion in my eyes.

  11. jodrell (@jodrell) said on 27th January 2011, 18:16

    Stewart…great stats and for the amount he did to bring safety into the sport. This has to be about more than just stats or we could just get the computer to work it out.

  12. LuvinF1 (@luvinf1) said on 27th January 2011, 18:40

    Very hard to choose between two magnificent and very dominant drivers, but I have always had Fangio in my top four – but Stewart was displaced from that group about 15 years ago.

  13. pakkalo (@pakkalo) said on 27th January 2011, 19:05

    Fangio… King of power-steering, pure gentleman, raw talent, won with every team he drove for, came back from a broken neck (!) in ’52, at 42 years old !!!, was kidnapped in Cuba ’58… his life story is just literally unbelievable. His name even made it to popular language (at least in french & dutch, we say “you drive like a fangio”)… during his lifetime !

    Steward, on the other hand, is partly responsible for seat belts, safety helmets, removable steering wheels, better marshalls, the disappearance of tracks like Nordschleife & old Spa, etc. (I know, I don’t have the facts anywhere near 100% right) Sir Stewart saved many, many drivers’ lives, by being publicly honest about his fears, and acting on them. Respect.

    But in my idealist (child’s?) mind, the Legend, the Champion of Champions, the Hero of F1 has to be someone oblivious to his own safety, to political correctness and all these other ‘adult’ concerns. Dreams stuff.

    Stewart nearly had it, but Fangio got my vote.

  14. olivier (@olivier) said on 27th January 2011, 19:11

    Fangio for me. The great Stirling Moss called him ‘Maestro’ and copied his driving style. In 1949 in his first full season in Europe he won 6 out of 10 times, the first 4 races, straight victories. When the F1 championship started he was already 39, an age most modern F1 drivers are already retired. Stewart is one of the greats, but Fangio (in my mind) is greater.

  15. f1yankee said on 27th January 2011, 19:26

    i’m surprised to see fangio leading. stewart’s contributions to the sport, with and without a steering wheel, are massive. multiple champion, teacher, statesman, leader… what more does it take?

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