Champion of Champions: Ayrton Senna vs Jack Brabham

Ayrton Senna vs Jack Brabham

Champion of ChampionsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Champion of Champions: Ayrton Senna vs Jack Brabham

Ayrton Senna and Jack Brabham each won three world championships – but these two drivers had very different careers.

One interesting similarity is they both won the championship and then lost it to their team mate the following year. Although it happened in rather different circumstances.

Brabham’s third championship in 1966 was remarkable because he won it at the wheel of a car he’d built himself. But the following year team mate Denny Hulme took the title off him, then left the team.

The tension between Senna and Alain Prost (a fellow Champion of Champions quarter-finalist) at McLaren was on a whole other level.

Senna won the championship in 1988 but the following year Prost beat Senna to the title. The championship was decided after Prost controversially collided with his team mate at Suzuka.

It’s hard to put Brabham’s achievement of winning the title with his own entry into perspective today, when even the smallest teams have hundreds of staff. Senna’s technical abilities have sometimes been underestimated but even so its difficult to compare any driver with Brabham on this benchmark.

Senna’s career came to an end far sooner than it should have. Although Brabham started fewer races his career stretched across 16 seasons; Senna was killed in his 11th.

The superstar status Senna had in the later years of his career was not something ‘black Jack’ would have envied – he was well-known for spurning the increased attention that inevitably accompanied his success.

The engineering wizard and the master of the pole position. These are two very different thrice-champions.

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.

Ayrton Senna Jack Brabham
Ayrton Senna, Williams, 1994 Jack Braham
Titles 1988, 1990, 1991 1959, 1960, 1966
Second in title year/s Alain Prost, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell Tony Brooks, Bruce McLaren, John Surtees
Teams Toleman, Lotus, McLaren, Williams Cooper, Brabham
Notable team mates Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Mika Hakkinen Bruce McLaren, Dan Gurney, Denny Hulme
Starts 161 123
Wins 41 (25.47%) 14 (11.38%)
Poles 65 (40.37%) 13 (10.57%)
Modern points per start1 11.68 7.63
% car failures2 20.50 34.96
Modern points per finish3 14.70 11.74
Notes Won three titles in four years with McLaren Back-to-back titles for Cooper in 1959 and 1960
Controversial clash with Prost sealed second title Then became only driver to win a championship in his own car
Killed in third race for Williams in 1994 Runner-up in 1967 to team mate Denny Hulme
Bio Ayrton Senna Jack Brabham

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?

  • Ayrton Senna (83%)
  • Jack Brabham (17%)

Total Voters: 524

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Images ?? Williams/Sutton (Senna), Peter Denton (Brabham)