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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Read the F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions introduction for more information and remember to check back tomorrow for the next round.

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

119 comments on “Ayrton Senna vs Jack Brabham”

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  1. Senna, but with a special mention for ‘Black Jack’ for building his own car.

    Why is it that you can still feel the hatred from certain members? Surely they never believed that Hamilton would make it this far, even by cheating?

  2. Hard call as they almost need to be measured on different criteria. But I’d have to go Senna.

  3. Couldn’t make my mind up on this one as it’s such an even call……so I flipped a coin.

    Head= Brabham, Tails= Senna

    Brabham won. But by the looks of it he only won the coin round!

  4. Brabham is an absolute racing legend, who’s position within the annuls of the sports history is cemented forever. A true Champion, an inspiration for anyone in motorsport.

    But Ayrton was the fastest man who ever lived.
    A great driver
    A great champion
    A great humanitarian

    Had he not been killed he would be even more reveered than he is today. And the record books would look a lot different too. Everyone knows it no matter who you are a fanboy of. He would also be most likely running his country too.

    1. faster then Usain Bolt?

    2. Possibly, although I feel that the mantle of best F1 current F1 driver was being passed over to MSC in 1994 just as MSC passed it onto Alonso in 2006.

      1. Who then had it taken off him by a rookie with his mother’s milk still wet on his face.

        Would Schumi have allowed a rookie to beat him? I would have loved to have seen that.

    3. We can decide the Champion of Champions rather easily. Which driver is held out by his peers, past and present, as the best of all time? Which driver is most loved by the fans? Which F1 driver is the most famous and legendary of them all?


  5. Well, now – to be consistent, all those who voted for Brabham over Lewis (supposedly) because the former raced his own car, they have to knock Senna out, and every other driver, for that same reason. After all, it would be entirely abritary to apply that criteria to just one comparison. It would make people think that there was a personal agenda against Lewis….

    Brabham was beaten by many of his teammates. For this, and other, clear reasons, Lewis is better.

    And Senna is better. Senna should win this. Although, I really do wonder how many posters on this site actually saw Senna and others race. It’s really just the myth, the legend, and not the driver, for many.

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