Champion of Champions: Ayrton Senna vs Michael Schumacher

Champion of Champions Final: Senna vs Schumacher

Champion of ChampionsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Champion of Champions: Ayrton Senna vs Michael Schumacher

After almost 20,000 votes, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher have been drawn against each other in the Champion of Champions Grand Final.

In a way it’s quite appropriate, as it presents one of the great unanswered questions of modern Formula 1.

Namely, how the 1994 season would have played out had Senna not lost his life at Imola three races in. And how much longer these two would have gone on fighting for race victories and championship titles.

Their achievements in Formula 1 are sufficiently well known (and have been covered earlier in this series several times already) that they hardly require repeating.

It’s down to you to pick which of these drivers stands out among F1’s 32 title winners as the Champion of Champions.

Cast your vote below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Ayrton Senna Michael Schumacher
Ayrton Senna, McLaren, Hockenheimring, 2004 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2004
Titles 1988, 1990, 1991 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
Second in title year/s Alain Prost, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell Damon Hill, Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi R??ikk??nen, Rubens Barrichello
Teams Toleman, Lotus, McLaren, Williams Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, Mercedes
Notable team mates Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Mika Hakkinen Nelson Piquet, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello
Starts 161 268
Wins 41 (25.47%) 91 (33.96%)
Poles 65 (40.37%) 68 (25.37%)
Modern points per start1 11.68 14.05
% car failures2 20.50 8.21
Modern points per finish3 14.70 15.30
Notes Won three titles in four years with McLaren Missed several races in 1999 after breaking his leg at Silverstone
Controversial clash with Prost sealed second title Retired in 2006 after 11 seasons with Ferrari
Killed in third race for Williams in 1994 Returned with Mercedes in 2010
Bio Ayrton Senna Michael Schumacher

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?

  • Ayrton Senna (54%)
  • Michael Schumacher (41%)

Total Voters: 806

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Third place play-off

In true World Cup fashion there’s also a play-off for third place:

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Alain Prost (45%)
  • Juan Manuel Fangio (51%)

Total Voters: 715

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You need an F1 Fanatic account to vote. Register an account here or read more about registering here.

Read the F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions introduction for more information.

These polls close on February 13th.

Champion of Champions – voting so far

Champion of Champions table
Champion of Champions table (click to enlarge)

Thanks to Emory McGinnis for producing the Champion of Champions table.

Champion of Champions

Browse all Champion of Champions articles

Images ?? Honda (Senna), Ferrari spa (Schumacher)

450 comments on “Champion of Champions Final: Senna vs Schumacher”

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  1. SennaNmbr1 (@)
    5th February 2011, 17:50


    1. JohnGreen (@)
      5th February 2011, 18:33

      I agree Senna simply for me had it all.

      1. JohnGreen (@)
        5th February 2011, 18:35

        But in tht third place playoff it goes to Prost in my View.

        1. Third place, most definitely Juan Manuel Fangio.

      2. Extremely difficult for Michael to beat a dead man, especially one as young, dynamic and charismatic who died so dramatically, and still ahead of his game. I dont think Senna was better than Michael, anymore than I think Michael is better than Senna. Unfortunately, we will never know. I think they were both very similar racers, including the will to win – sometimes at any cost !!! Where I think Michael has the advantage is in team-building/car development.

        1. One aspect I think is overlooked in regards to “team building” is that Ferrari has never had to rely on a third party for engines. They do everything in house.
          When Senna and Prost were at McLaren, they were winning nearly every race, due largely to both being excellent at giving the team feedback, but McLaren fell flat when Honda pulled out of the sport in 1992 and they were forced to go with Ford as an engine supplier.
          There’s so much effort and investment by multiple parties that go into making a winning F1 car, it amazes me that so many people suggest Ferrari’s success is mainly due to Schumacher’s effort and ability. I would argue that Ferrari has been successful because they invested in their team (Michael included).

          1. Ferrari always had plenty to invest in everybody. If you will allow me, I will quote the words of one of the most respected voices in F1:
            Quote Schumacher’s greatest feat was not winning seven world titles, but turning Ferrari into Formula One’s best team, says Sir Jackie Stewart. “Michael brought Ferrari from 21 years of not winning a world title to being champions many times. I put that down much more to him than president Luca di Montezemolo or team boss Jean Todt. Without Michael Schumacher it would not have happened. Generally speaking, I think it’s true to say he re-shaped Ferrari and made the Ferrari the car it is today. “ unquote

    2. Shumacher is definitely the greatest of all the times.
      His diligence to details, discipline, vision, technical knowledge, relentless pursuit of perfection, ruthlessness, physical and mental preparation and speed!!! Makes him incomparable with anyone else.
      Senna: Big myth due to his death just gave him a place in history. Anyone that believes in a divine intervention in making him what he is he is other a nut case or a sure early death contender ( as it happens).
      This crowd will be with Senna for the simple reason that he won mostly with Ferrari. Oh I can hear the laments already surging, but “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”.

      1. James Whiteley
        5th February 2011, 19:43

        “This crowd will be with Senna for the simple reason that he won mostly with Ferrari.”


        1. I meant “he” = Schumi. Sorry.

      2. Oh dear, so you’re only voting Schumacher because you don’t like McLaren?

      3. Well you’ve nicely set it up now so that anyone who disagrees with you is nut case. Nice tactic.

        Anyhoo, Schumacher was certainly the most successful driver, but Senna the most passionate. It’s a ridiculous argument to say that Senna was made more of a legend by his early death, simply because it’s completely unprovable. I don’t know, maybe for some people his death did make him greater somehow, but I clearly remember being in awe of the guy when he was alive and well. Mind you, I have been in awe of Schumacher as well. They were both flawed, no question. And yet, what I remember of Senna is his speed. And what I remember of Schumacher is Austria 2002, not least because afterwards he had the gall to say that once the championship was secured then he and Barrichello would have “some real racing”. Senna for me.

        1. Yeah, it’s kind of amazing, the way people were talking and writing about Senna even when he was still alive. Anyone who thinks his status as a legend exists only because of his death should read, for example, Grand Prix People by Gerald Donaldson, published in 1990. (Actually, everyone should just read that book anyway!)

        2. Senna the most passionate.

          I think Rubens would properly take that one.

          what I remember of Senna is his speed. And what I remember of Schumacher is Austria 2002

          This I have to pick on, because Schumacher wasn’t exactly slow was he?
          And Senna wasn’t exactly innocent.

          They both have pros and cons, but if you take the best of Senna and compare it to the worst of Schumacher, It is a bit inevitable who you will vote for. (And vice versa)

          1. I’d say the difference is that Senna’s great moments trump his bad moments where as Schumacher’s do not. I remember Austria 2002 before Spain 1996 for example.

            For every great moment by Schumacher there seems to be an even bigger controversy. Senna had his incidents but for each controversy there’s a better drive.

          2. macca1977 (@)
            6th February 2011, 13:49

            You remember Senna’s great moments better than their bad because he is dead. That is a simple fact of human nature.
            I’m not saying he wasn’t one of the best. But I think he is a bit overrated. I would like Schumi to win cause he deserves it on the only way it can be measured, on wins and points and WDCs.
            But unfortunately I don’t think he will win.

          3. You remember Senna’s great moments better than their bad because he is dead

            These arguments are really getting under my skin. You’re assuming things about how people think not to mention stacking the debate because then rather than discussing the drivers’ merits and flaws we end up talking about whether people who think that Senna was the better champ are just blinded. Why can’t people just say what they think without being boorish about it?

          4. I disagree with Ragerod. That’s your opinion, but for me, the likes of Spain 1994, Europe 1995, Belgium 1995, Spain 1996, Italy 1996, Monaco 1997, Hungary 1998, Japan 1998, France 2004, Japan 2004, Brazil 2006 and many more trump the negatives that always get dug up.

          5. Macca, I could just as easily argue that you are down playing Senna’s achievements because he is dead.

            Time gave Schumacher an opportunity to win more titles, but it also gave him more occasions make a fool of himself. While he committed worse sins, Monaco qualifying 2006 sticks out for me.

            On the balance, for me, both were great and dominant drivers. But I’ve always thought that Schumacher’s success was more tainted, and the decks were always more or less stacked in his favor.

            Senna for me.

      4. Senna just a big myth?!? Seriously?!
        Poles 65 (40.37%)
        This makes the myth fully justified or doesn’t it?

        1. Yes he is indeed a myth. Yes Poles at 40% but he never converted it to a win!!! Look at his win percentage compare to MSC! then the truth will set you free! lol,

          1. As a Schumacher fan i am sure that you base all your arguments on stats. So before you shout out about Senna not winning all his races from pole why don’t you look at why he wasn’t able to finish all his races before making these comments. Do you deny that F1 cars were much more reliable by the time Schumacher was racing? Plus also, Schumacher competed in more reces anyway.

      5. Senna was already a myth before he died! Don’t state such a stupid thing. If you say something like that, you have not seen races or anything with Senna.

      6. you could win a marathon if you run it against yourself. a good chunk of Schumachers championship were won with him competing against his team mates. i personally think Hill was not up to the task otherwise he should have won at least 2 championship because of the Williams dominance then. also, dont forget that when Schumacher came against somewhat stiff opposition he always was making mistakes or trying to run them off the track i.e Hill and J Villeneuve. so we could assume that had there been a better line up like today, he might not have won 7 titles.

        1. you could win a marathon if you run it against yourself.

          Schumacher didn’t win anything against himself. He had ~20 other cars to race, most of them occupied with talented drivers like Hakkinen, Hill, Alonso, Raikkonen.

          also, dont forget that when Schumacher came against somewhat stiff opposition he always was making mistakes or trying to run them off the track i.e Hill and J Villeneuve.

          Schumacher actually drove a brilliant year in 1997, challenging Villeneuve despite much inferior machinery, but obviously, due to Jerez, it’s overlooked.

          so we could assume that had there been a better line up like today, he might not have won 7 titles.

          No we can’t, since the assumption that the rest of the field is better now is merely speculation. Schumacher was good enough in his prime to make good drivers look poor.

          1. Schumacher didn’t win anything against himself. He had ~20 other cars to race, most of them occupied with talented drivers like Hakkinen, Hill, Alonso, Raikkonen.

            All of them in cars 2seconds per lap slower, except the one that wasn’t allowed to beat him. “Wow” etc

          2. All of them in cars 2seconds per lap slower, except the one that wasn’t allowed to beat him. “Wow” etc

            If you look properly, the only years where he had an advantage even approaching that much were 2002 and 2004. Don’t get yourself confused.

      7. Schumacher, maybe is not as fast driver as Senna was, but he is definitely a better racer.

        1. Please stop with this “schumacher is a better racer” legend. Please define your idea of a “racer”???? A racer is someone, by definition, who competes in a race. Are you saying Schumacher competed more steadfastly in his races than senna did. What do you mean by that comment? As if senna did not try hard enough.? Of course Senna didn’t try?? Schumacher won a lot of his races in the era of refuelling. All his team had to do was fuel the car to allow him to overtake other cars in pitstops. Hardly what you call racing on the track. There were a lot of moments in Senna’s career when he completely out raced all his competitors as did all the countless F1 winners over the decades. Schumacher is not special because he has the best wins stats, or the most points. A formula 1 driver is a racer by defintion. Surely. Letś start with Monaco 1984. Senna passed many seasoned pros on his way to 2nd (which could easliy have been 1st). Then when Senna nearly didn get off the line at Suzuka in 1988 at the start. He somehow made his way back though the field from 14th to take the lead and win. Not bad for a non-racer as compared to being a great pole sitter. Also, don’t forget donnington 1993. 5 cars in one lap. I guess all the other racers let him by because they all thought he should have been on pole. How about Canada in 1993? Senna goes from 8th to 3rd in 2 laps. There are other examples of Sennaś racecraft, i’m sure. (he started in go-karts for christs sake). Of course, there were times when senna just led the field. But doesn’t that always happen when the dominant driver in that race has the best car. To suggest that Schumacher is a “better Racer” just does not make sense. All the top drivers are racers and Senna was amongst the best at overtaking for sure. Moreover, over the decades of Formula 1 reliablity and mechanical expertise has greatly improved. In my opinion, Schumacher, yes a great driver was a lucky recepient of a period when technology became more reliable.

          In anycase, by all means have your opinions on who is best but why say shcumacher is a better racer compared to Senna. Senna drove some immaculate races. Schumacher of course drove some immaculate races. But the stats should never tell the true story of formula 1 greatness.

    3. miguelF1O (@)
      5th February 2011, 22:13

      Senna is a pink tainted memory

    4. in a single lap, senna.
      to win a championship, schumacher.
      so, schumacher.

    5. This is like 2pac vs Eminem

      1. what? Do you mean Biggie vs. Tupac? Maybe an example from something which you are more familiar with! lol.

    6. Orlando (@thegroovocrats)
      8th October 2011, 21:06

      Senna 100% for me! He raced against real drivers during a time where races were won on the race track not in the pits! You surely can’t compare Prost, Piquet, Mansell, K. Roseberg, Nikki Lauda etc… with the D. Hill, J. Villeneuve and Mika…
      Senna won at Mclaren but he drove amazingly right from his Toleman days (ie: Monaco 84) and Lotus (Portugal 85)!
      Judging by his history it would be hard to believe that he would not have won 94, 95, 96 and 97 and the Schumi legend would have never existed!! But “ifs” don’t move the world and Shumi has his value but for me he is number 3, after Senna and A. Prost.

  2. i knew it would come down to these 2. so hard to decide :/

    1. stats say schumacher but we will never know what stats senna would have produced if he had survived

      1. ive gone for senna

        1. The Sri Lankan
          5th February 2011, 20:43

          me too

      2. Schumacher, just because we can’t turn back the time.
        Schumacher did all those things.
        Senna left a great question mark.

  3. It’s here! The final!
    Voted for Senna because I believe he dominated a better class of competition. It could be argued that Shumacher was more dominant over his peers, making them seem less competitive.

  4. I’m going to agree with Schumacher and vote for Senna as the best.

    1. If Senna were alive I’m sure he would have said, in retirement, that Schumacher was the best. Being fast doesn’t mean you are the best champion, it just means you are fast. Otherwise I suspect that Raikkonen would be in the top four and I love Kimi, but I wouldn’t put him as a top four champion because he’s so fast he gets bored driving an F1 car. Both of these two are fast, but the best champion has to be Michael. He’s a living legend and although everyone knew Senna was a legend while alive I agree that as he is dead his legend has grown because one can’t compete with the dead. I wanted to vote for Senna until I saw the actual numbers on the two and then I realized what Michael has actually achieved and remember that he was right there with Senna right from the start. The reality is that you are voting for Legend vs. Proof.

  5. Schumacher. Senna may have been the fastest ever and had a great attention to detail but Schumacher used every single tool around him. Senna may have been a bigger talent but Schumacher used his better.

    Schumacher also showed his technical quality and how good a racing driver was when he dragged Ferrari up from nowhere and helped to get a good team around him. As exciting as the races are they really only count a little way to the title when you consider the miles of testing and developing that goes on. Schumacher may never have had a team mate as hard as Prost like Senna had but he galavanised the team around him and maybe Rubens was actually quite good but Schumacher was so much better who knows.

    Also, when I look at Senna’s poles compared to his wins perhaps he was too reckless at times. His speed is clear and he got the maximum on a Saturday but it’s the wins that count.

    1. Agree with all this. My vote went for Schumacher.

      I may have appreciated Senna more if he’d been my era but the greatest for me is Schumacher.

      1. x3 I went for Schumacher as well, the stats speak for themselves, and as Steph points out, the way he built the team up around himself is very impressive. Dominating 5 years straight in the modern era of F1 is no small feat. I voted Fangio for 3rd, so it looks so far like I’m voting for the losers in both…

        1. Old_boy_racer (@)
          6th February 2011, 8:11

          Fangio was ahead by 8 votes when I voted: close!

      2. Senna would never, ever, go to ferrari. He wanted the best car.
        Going to Ferrari to build something shows attitude from Schumacher.
        This is to choose the greatest champion, not only the fastest. In this case, maybe it would be Clark, anyway

        1. We Want Turbos (@)
          6th February 2011, 7:59

          Senna had apparently stated numerous times he wanted to end his career at Ferrari…

          1. Yes but he also wanted the best car, in Senna’s era Ferrari didnt have close to the best car.

        2. Schumacher went to Ferrari for $50M per year if I recall….

          1. And I don’t recall any other reigning 2 time champs taking on such a challenge…

          2. He should have payed for the drive instead? Is it bad that those people felt he deserved every penny?

    2. Thank you Steph I couldn’t decide why I wanted to vote for Michael and now you gave me a reason for it.

    3. Yes, but you also have to take into account Senna’s failure rate as some of the failures would have occured when he started on pole which would account for some of the difference in pole to win rate! And 20% is quite a high failurea rate!

      1. That’s true Madman but it could beg the question of whether Senna simply pushed too hard and was a car breaker? He was very unfortunate with his failures though compared to Michael.

    4. Sorry Steph, I have to disagree. The fact that Schumacher never had a team mate who could challenge him is a huge factor in why I can never agree that he is the greatest ever. On the whole I’d have to say that Senna’s era was far more competitive with the likes of Prost, Mansell and Piquet around. MSC never had that calibe of opposition…

      1. The Sri Lankan
        5th February 2011, 20:52

        thats the reason i voted for senna. and im one of those people thats truly under the belief that had senna lived, Shumacher would have had less titles than he does now.

      2. That’s ok GeeMac I like a debate! To be honbest it’s been a sticking point with Schumi for me but then again Senna came into a team which was Prost’s while Schumacher never really had that situation. He always made the team around him and Senna’s only really team mate of note was Alain (arguably Elio too).

        Also, while Senna’s time perhaps had a greater spread of talent -then again maybe Schumacher was just showing everyone else up but that said I do genuinely believe the talent in the 80s was stronger- I always felt that the cars were closer in performance in the 90s and 00s which evens things out for me. Senna would sometimes only ever be racing Alain while Schumacher fought different teams rather than drivers and he did drag his early Ferrari’s into positions they really shouldn’t have been.

        This wasn’t an easy vote for me. Talent wise I’d have gone with Ayrton and I can’t help but admire how deeply passionate he seemed but for me, Schumacher was suprememly talented too and used every single thing at his disposal.

        1. I personally see Senna as much like a Raikkonen who won a few more championships – he was the outright fastest of his era (and has a similar fanatical fanbase too).

          Schumacher wasn’t necessarily the fastest (although he often was) but instead he was a more rounded, determined champion.

          The real reasons that people aren’t rating him as high as Senna are twofold:

          1) Senna died a hero [tough to say, but true]

          2) Schumacher won his championships dominantly. It does not matter whether he won them in a dominant car, as he did for a few of his championships, but there was always the feeling in the early 2000’s that he would simply win no matter what. That has been taken negatively by many fans as he did effectively make the sport ‘boring’. Those same fans though often don’t see that he made the sport boring simply because he was the best – by a long, long way.

          For similar reasons, I believe Jenson’s display at the beginning of last year was so great – we were watching a driver, in a great car, perform perfectly. It is boring in one sense, but poetry in motion for another.

          Both drivers were great, but Schumacher was just a step beyond anything that had been before in my opinion. In on track behaviour they were also exactly the same.

          1. SennaTheG.O.A.T
            10th February 2011, 2:43

            What the **** are you taking about.It’s ridiculous to say that “Senna as much like a Raikkonen who won a few more championships”..How old are you and say this?18?Raikkonen is nowhere near to Senna as a talent.Not even close..GTFO
            Senna is the best ever.Period.He had better opponents,he was faster and his technique was unreal.

          2. Wow, Senna fanboys can get touchy over anything…

        2. Schumacher fought different teams rather than drivers and he did drag his early Ferrari’s into positions they really shouldn’t have been.

          That’s why Schumacher challenged for the title in 1997 and 1998 whilst Irvine won no races. Schumacher really was dominant. Senna less, althought it may be because of Prost’s great ability.

      3. Schumacher did have capable team mates.

        Brundle, Patrese, Herbert, Barrichello and Irvine – 4 of those are race winners, the other is arguably the greatest driver to have not won a race (a driver, who was an equal to Senna in his early days).

        Its simply a myth to say that Schumacher didn’t have capable teammates. His performance clauses would mean nothing if he couldn’t beat them in the first place.

        The only difference between Senna and Schumacher in this respect is that Senna had Prost as a team mate. Its completely correct to say that Schumacher never had a Prost as a team mate – but then again, that will likely never happen again.

        1. Senna was even beaten by Prost, right? Both years… there is a passion around Senna, thats all.

          1. I think you’ll find it was one all. And dont give me any technical rubbish, they had one championship each.

            Did you ever witness senna driving, live? with your own eyes. The reason there is a “passion” is because the man had phenomenal car control, much greater than schumacher, or anyone else for that matter, and a fearless attitude which made him the Greatest of ALL time.

            Yes i am a “fanboy” cause he is my childhood hero, but for good reason.

            Schumacher was a blight, a wart if you like of the face of a once great sport. Since his comeback, i kinda like the guy, but the fact he was celebrating his victory at imola 94 so enthusiastically while everyone else was silent and downtrodden at the death of one of the greats, showing respect, made me question the morality of the man, which was later prooved beyond all reasonable doubt at Adelaide 94, jerez 97, qualifying at monaco 2004, and even hungary 2010.

          2. sorry typo, monaco 2006

          3. @mike-e

            Schumacher was not celebrating Imola 1994 enthusiastically – there is one edited video on youtube that makes it look like he is but its been deliberately edited to do that – just look at its’ comments. Further, as far as I know, no one knew that Senna was dead on the podium.

            For every mention of Jerez 97 or Adelaide 94, there is Suzuka 89. I don’t know Senna’s career as well as Schumacher’s as I was not old enough, but there will be other examples too. The drivers were as bad as each other, both ruthless when they needed to be.

            if you’re going to argue on the internet, get your facts rights. Your comments below of just slating Schumacher are unnecessary and don’t bolster your argument at all.

          4. I’d love an edit button on F1fanatic!

            I mean Suzuka 1990 above. ’89 is a contentious one, haven’t made up my mind who was at fault yet.


            I guess German’s hide their emotions well. That well.

        2. it happened with hamilton + alonso (although i’ll give you no one knew how good hamilton would actually be as a rookie)

        3. Old_boy_racer (@)
          6th February 2011, 8:22

          That is true what you say, Brundle was a match for Senna in junior formulae. Brundle sometimes managed to out race Schumacher when they were both at Bennetton but he could never out qualify him. Schumacher had more outright pace.

          Interestingly saw that Brundle made a comeback at the Daytona 24 hours the other week, 4th is not a bad effort having not driven for 10 years. Even the drivers whose careers were interrupted by the wars didn’t have that long between major races.

      4. While Senna’s era was definitely much more competitive, it is not Michael’s fault that his peers – Mika Hakkinen, Montoya, Raikkonnen, Alonso, Villeneuve, Hill – weren’t as talented as him.

        Schumacher compensated for this lack of competition by winning more dominantly than any driver in the history ever had. He was the sole reason the changes of the 2003 and 2005 season were introduced. I don’t think Senna has ever caused the riles to be changed.

        Regarding team-mates, you have to understand that Schumacher built the entire Ferrari team which led to world domination. The number of miles Michael has put in Fiorano and Mugello is staggering. The tifosi would have automatically made Michael their no.1 driver by looking at his hard work alone. Forget his talent.

        1. I disagree with this, hakkinen was more talented, and won 2 out of 3 championships they fought with competative cars.

          1. I can’t believe anyone could say that. How can you say Hakkinen was better in 1999, when Schumacher missed 6 races because of his accident? Hakkinen had a tough competition with Irvine until the last race and let’s not forget that Schumacher has been better than Irvine except those 6 races. The likes of you shouldn’e even have the right to vote, for God’s sake!

          2. @mike-e

            It’s such a challenge to win a championship when you’ve done 6 more races than your main rival who broke a leg.

            Well, Hill couldn’t do it with 4 more races.

        2. in fact, alonso too, even tho i dont like him beat schumacher 2 out of 3 times they had competative cars and is a more talented driver.

          1. I guess the 3 times are all in 2006, because that’s when all the events you describe happened.

          2. Cristian hit the nail on the head.

      5. Old_boy_racer (@)
        6th February 2011, 8:15

        PK was MS’s team-mate at one point.

        But the reason MS never had a better team mate than Martin Brundle or Rubens Barrichello is that nobody wanted to go up against MS in the same team and be found wanting.

        1. “Found wanting” that they hadn’t signed a contract that explained that they needed to let Schumacher pass you mean?

          1. Barrichello certainly found himself wanting before Austria, what with the 6 points he garnered, to Schumacher’s 44.

    5. well done on a post which explains why you woud vote Schumi over Senna without descending into silly comments which add nothing to the debate as so many people are doing here. Clear, concise and accurate. So many comments in this compeition I’ve rolled my eyes at (even supporting driver’s I’ve voted for), but this was actually really nice to read.

    6. Ferrari was rubbish until Todt, Brawn, Rory Byrne (chief car designer), 11 other “key” team players in Benetton and Schumi all came in to sort things out.

      Schumacher pointed out to ferrari on who they should sign up for his campaign dominance. Anyone can do that…

      The unsung hero in Ferrari, Rory Byrne was of equal to Adrian Newey in his career, and people undervalue Vettel’s WDC since Adrian Newey made the RB5-6 to what it is, Schumi had the same treatment in Benetton and Ferrari.

      The ferrari’s V12’s were also rubbish against the lighter V10-8’s of the Williams and Benettons. Ferrari only started to challenge world titles again when that lot came in and changed all that, all through most of Michaels campaign they were with him.

      Rory Byrne was the key factor in Ferrari’s dominance, not Schumacher.

      Schumi was lucky to have Rory Byrne as a car designer since every world title Schumacher has ever won, has been a design created by Rory Byrne, check if you want.

      1. Agree was the strongest team ever in F1 history with Schumacher singing a song in podium. Definitely he is not that special, by the way he put the world turning around him. So I would go for Senna.

      2. Rory Byrne was with Benetton since 1981 at Toleman and he didn’t deliver a winning car until Schumacher came to the team. Hardly a coincidence. And the first time he actually made the best car was 2002. Not THAT great as you suggest.

        1. No Christian, Rory Byrne started to win with his cars when he had the money backing him by Benetton to do so, more money = better equipment and better drivers.

          Schumi is a great driver but that 7 title record he has is thanks because of him and the other guys at Benetton.

          Only 2002? yer ok…

          All WCC, all Rory Bryne’s designs.

          Also try inlcuding multiple 3rds, 2nds..

          And also considering he was trying to design cars to beat the McLarens and Williams at their history peaks was like going through 2 Ferrari dominant era’s.

          Not that great eh?

          1. Huh? I said 2002 is the first year he actually made the best car. I never said he wasn’t one of the best designers in f1.
            Benetton was in f1 since 1985 and their money too. Byrne was with them…
            I never said Schumacher had Minardis to drive but I pointed that he was the most important part in a great assembly.

          2. Rory Byrne’s career.

            Toleman years:

            Benetton years:

            Ferrari years:

            Aldo Costa era, taking over from Rory slowly:

            Rory is now gone era:

            Anyway I prooved my point and I don’t have to go any further with this since the guy beat Adrian Newey when they both got similar budgets, equipment and drivers and people call Newey a demi god with cars.

            Newey and Vettel are doing the same thing at Red Bull… Great designer with a great driver, lethal combination should go far. Just like Rory and Schumi did.

          3. Toleman changed its name into Benetton after the buy-out. I don’t see the relevance of your last post since I just mentioned he was at Benetton since 1985. I missed a year but anyway it’s the same team, only the name changed.
            And I specified that the first time he made the BEST car is 2002. And it was a mistake, I give that to you. It was 1999.
            I admit though that my choice of words was poor as I said “winning” cars; by this I meant not race winners, but title challengers.

      3. I agree, how much input did schumacer really have in making Ferrari the great success it was? Was it down to schumacer or was he really fortunate in having the best people round him? I think if you gave senna and schumacer equal equipment senna would have come out on top.

        1. macca1977 (@)
          6th February 2011, 14:23

          Great discussion, but it getting silly with people now questioning about Schumacher’s input on the team.
          Do you really think his input wasn’t one of the key factors in Ferrari’s domination ? He drove the cars for 10 years !!!, in the late 90s fighting for championships against cars what were way better than his Ferrari, he did thousands of laps testing, always part of the setup/guidelines of the new cars (as every driver does). Obviously he didn’t do it all, but the people he brought in did it together, someone said that everybody can do that (bring the people to a team) and that is simply not true. Villeneuve tried to do it with BAR and he went nowhere, same with Irvine in Jaguar.
          It’s pretty unfair how people say Senna was a greater driver cause he struggled a lot more than Schumi to win, they forgot Schumi’s 97-99 years of building a team (together with the rest of the people from benneton).
          The facts are very clear he won 7 WDC, Senna 3 if you wanna say that Senna had more competition cause he fought a lot more against other drivers, remember the championships what Schumi didnt won and how tight they were. There were excellent drivers on Schumi’s era, but they weren;t WDC champions cause of Schumi’s dominance.

          1. No it’s getting silly people thinking Schumacher pulled up Ferrari all by himself.

            Funny how Rory announced his retirement intentions in 2004 for the 2006 season start and that his understudy Aldo costa would take over as being the chief car desinger before his retirment.

            Rory also credited the 2005 Ferrari design was Aldo’s work…

            Schumi never won a world title again.

            Funny that eh?

          2. Schumacher had an unrivaled level of dedication in testing, to ensure that Byrne’s designs would be so quick out on track.

            Indeed, other teams have had periods of dominance, but no other driver utilized his machinery as well as MS to ensure that they could win 5 titles in a row. Or finish on the podium in every single race of the season.

            Rory Byrne’s retirement didn’t stop MS from being very competitive in 2006, assisting the development for the successor to Costa’s 2005 car. And despite the tough first half of the season, the car was the fastest by season’s end.

          3. Senna was a very dedicated test driver. In fact, he probably set the precedent for others to follow. In 1985, when he joined Lotus he led more laps than any other driver but it was the car that let him down more often than not. Senna was a very good development driver but at the end of the day it is the designers inital draft that makes the difference as does the technology and reliablity.

            Schumacher was able to utilise his machinery as you say, but also the reliablity and technology. All the top drivers would have loved to have utilised that reliablity and techonolgy in their careers. But of course tragedy and age have got in the way.

            In my opinion Schumacher was the dominant driver of his period but should not be placed above other dominant drivers of their respective eras based on stats alone as he had the benefit of technology and safer circuits.

        2. @Nico Rosberg to win 2011 your comment getting unreasonable as already explained with fact by some and on your other comment how Schumacher plays a bigger role in Ferrari success. You just trying to bend the fact with nonsense argument just because you dislike Schumi. in 2005 The most-noted aspect of the season was Ferrari’s lack of pace caused mainly by a new rule prohibiting tyre changes during the course of a race. The Bridgestone tyres used by Ferrari could not find the right balance between performance and reliability, leaving the Michelin runners to battle for race victories. Further rule changes emphasised the new focus on reliability, with engines required to last two Grands Prix without being changed.

          1. Actually Dave I was a schumi fan until he retired, got the Ferrari hats to proove it.

          2. Then you should get your fact right

    7. Steph, is not easy one.

      I have voted for Senna because this man was unique in his class.

      In fact, an Italian colleague (a great Ferrari fan) gave me the best definition I heard talking about Michael and Ayrton. He just told me: “Ayrton could had been a leader in any activity he would choose. Michael just in F1”

      True must be told, he told me this in 1998 just before Michael win everything for Ferrari. But I think he was right. Ayrton had a special personality and every other driver simply admire Senna. Remember Michael crying in the conference press of Italian GP of 2000 when he equaled the number of victories Senna had.

      For me, the greatest champions are Senna and Clark. Thanks god I have not those two for voting who was the best.

    8. How do we really know that it was schumacer that brought the amazing success to Ferrari?

      1. He definitely played a part in it, having already won 2 titles with Benetton. Otherwise there would have been less or no success.

    9. I agree as well. My vote went with Schumi. I would have loved the Fangio-Schumi final though.

  6. Schumacher, this isn’t a ‘what might have been’ this is a ‘what they actually achieved’ vote for me, and everyone, even Senna, pales in comparison to this man.

    1. I agree with you because you could argue that while Senna could have won more after 1994, Schumacher could have won in 1999 and after 2006 had he stayed, so both have lost some seasons and for this the vote is regular in my opinion.

      1. Good point. And however unlikely, for all we know Schumacher can still return to his former glory and clinch an 8th title. If he can pull that off I think it will convince a few more of his place at the top of the heap.

        1. Right, Senna would have acheived more afte 1994, but then again I had the feeling Schumi was getting under his skin by that time, making him feel he was losing out (like Alonso did for Schumi in 2006).

          And I think Schumi is at least having a try at Mercedes. If he makes it worth a few wins, and a team capable of the championship, that would be 3 teams ready for top level he helpt build up, next to all those wins and statistics. Quit an acheivement.

    2. Nicely put.

      But as I expected, Senna is too widely liked for Schumacher to really have a chance in a poll such as this.

  7. Schumacher, because he got everyone and everything behind him. When he lost the whole team felt the loss. If there was argument about him being no 1 in a team, it was because he earned and not because he asked it.

    Senna has more poles percentage, but lower win percentage, that means simialr to Vettel he acted at times immaturely. Both have given us some memorable drives and moves, and its difficult to chose as it should be given that its the final, but because of the reasons stated above its Schumi for me

  8. Schumacher. I have no doubt that Senna was the more talented driver. Those 65 poles speak for themselves. But Schumacher is the driver you want over a season. We can all talk about how none of his teammates could compete with him. But none of his teammates were driving the team, be it Benetton or Ferrari, the way he did. Regardless of how boring he made the early 2000s, it was success that he fully deserved for the years spent pulling Ferrari out of the midfield.

    And if anybody wants to talk about unsporting behaviour, I only have two words for you: Suzuka 1990. That was an era when you could still die or be very grievously injured from a crash.

    1. In fact, in 1992, two japanese drivers colided in exactly tha same way at that first corner, and one of them died. I think it was F3000.

      So Senna could have killed himself or Prost.

    2. While a driver plays a significant role in developing a car I really don’t think that the success Ferrari enjoyed can be credited to Schumacher alone…which many people seem to be doing. The fact is that Ferrari in the mid 90’s decided to get the best driver and technical staff they could at the time. It’s a combination of driver, staff, and a huge increase in investment by Ferrari and it’s sponsors that gave them the advantage they enjoyed starting in 2000.

      1. Actually the fact is as i explained it before, it was Michael who brought Brawn into Ferrari. Michael was the one who stood up to support Todt when he was about to resign because he felt responsible for Ferrari failure. At that time Todt was more familiar in rally rather than F1 so it indirectly made Schumacher as the “team boss”. Michael then started to identify what did Ferrari lack of and then approached Brawn to Ferrari, together they persuaded Byrne into the team. Without Schumacher probably Todt wouldn’t stay in Ferrari and there would be no Brawn and Bryne etc and Ferrari wouldn’t have the domination years. Yes it was not Michael alone but he plays the bigger role on Ferrari success how his hardwork, determination, Great input for the engineers how he lead, motivate and bringing the team into one family that leads to years of domination.

      2. Exactly, Ferrari had the money to do it.

  9. Don’t know why I cannot vote from both my computer and my laptop.

    My vote would go for SENNA

    1. your laptop is also a computer mate *grin*

      1. Shared IP address.

        1. I use them both from home so I know that I share the same internet ip. At least from one of them I would have got access.

  10. Lewis Hamilton by a mile! Oh, wait though…

    Seriously though, wasn’t it always going to be these two in the final?

    Got to give it to the Red Baron, just for taking on a team that previously were something of a laughing stock in F1. Although I did go off Ferrari somewhat after he went there. LOL

    1. LOL, still amazing Lewis almost got past Jack Brabham isn’t it?

  11. Michael Schumacher,the greatest F1 driver of all time.

    Ayrton Senna,with absolutely my full respect,was a great driver, BUT,he would not have been able to match the great Michael Schumacher.Schumi was on a different level to all those that had been before,and all are at the present time and doubtless all will be in the future.

    It is without doubt a privilege to watch the great man in action again.Michael Schumacher is a legend in his own lifetime.

  12. This vote is pretty redudant. Everyone and their mother knows that when it comes to sympathy Senna beats Schumacher, because Senna’s, well let’s say, negative qualities tend to be ignored mostly. Ah well, nevermind. I for my part voted for Schumacher, both because their actual achievements speak for themselves and because I tend to answer the “What would have been question this way:

    Senna would’ve …
    * lost the 1994 title to Schumacher
    * gone to Ferrari for 1995
    * pulled a Prost ’91 there
    * come back five years later to run against Prost Grand Prix only with more mediocrity
    * range on the “annoyingness scale” somewhere between Helmut Marko and Luca DiMontezemolo in 2011

    1. Klon – Can’t agree with you more…. I have the same opinion.

    2. Schumacher could have won in 1999 and 2007/2008, had he remained at Ferrari, and this extends even more his supremacy. Senna could have won some more, but still less than Michael.

    3. I agree with you Klon, I just don’t understand why some people don’t vote from hard facts instead of, as you said, “What would have been”.

    4. You are spot on Klon! couldn’t have put it better myself.

      1. Also, disproportionate pole to race wins such as Senna’s tend to suggest wasted opportunities… Of course it shows someones got good pace too, and car failures do not help, but someone with that many pole positions should really have converted those into more wins. Vettel fits this mold well…

    5. Senna’s, well let’s say, negative qualities tend to be ignored mostly.

      No they don’t. They’ve never failed to come up in every stage of this feature, and the same is true for Schumacher.

      1. He means that Schumacher is vilified for making the same mistakes as Senna, but Ayrton is treated with a bit of forgiveness, perhaps because he died. I think I said it already at some other poll, perhaps the one with Jim Clark, but it’s sad that if Schumacher would have died people would have created for him a distorted and idealized image, just like in Senna’s case.
        One can only be appreciated if he dies?

        1. Good point Cristian.

        2. But that is just total speculation. Schumacher is seen as more tainted not because he’s alive but because he did more tainted things. Just count’em!

      2. I’d also say that some users tend to vote before they read comments. Those that do that are often the same ones that will ignore the negative qualities of Senna.

        Having said that, i’m sure that some do it the other way around too.

    6. Senna would’ve …
      * lost the 1994 title to Schumacher

      Schumacher won that title by a single point after taking Senna’s teammate out of the track
      I can’t see how he could had snatched it from Ayrton.

      1. Reason 1: Senna hadn’t finished the first three races (assuming his crash would’ve happened anyhow but he would have survived it) whereas Hill had at least some points, so Senna had to make more ground up.

        Reason 2: Is there any actual reason to think that Senna’s string of retirement would have stopped? All of his retirements in 1994 where collisions. The next track would have been Monaco. Speaks for itself, really.

        Reason 3: Would Schumacher have done the same, well, let’s say, mistake in the British Grand Prix of that year if Senna were his main contender?

        Reason 4: After Senna’s tragedy, Hill had to up his game to keep the team from having a moral breakdown. Would Damon Hill had the same kind of improvement if Senna had lived? And if not, could he have posed a threat to Schumacher and taken points of him as Senna would have needed to win?

        That are four reasons and I can surely think of more when given more time.

  13. Definitely Ayrton Senna Da Silva !!!

    1. You can only vote for Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher.

  14. Schumacher is greatly responsible for F1 as we know it, for drivers being 100% commited, fit, dedicated… The old days in where a driver would simply step on the car after eating 3 burguers and having 2 cigars are simply gone, mostly because he set the bar so high.

    In a pre-shumacher era, when did a driver went on running marathons? (Not that he has ever done that, but the fitness required is thanks to him).

    Senna was a master, but a past master, he never was as commited as MS mainly because he was blazingly fast. Schumacher was the all-around better driver.

    My vote goes for the 7 time champion.

    1. Schumacher played football at a professional level (during the off-seasons mainly) so that would equate to the marathons.

    2. Schumacher is greatly responsible for F1 as we know it,

      True in many respects, not the least of which is that not losing championship point is more important than going all out for a race win. One of the reasons Schumacher won all those championships, aside from talent and technology, is that he set out to win championships. he was an achievement junkie. He was, in many ways, perhaps the first true corporate driver. Senna set out to win every race, every lap, maybe every corner. Schumacher was dominant and calculating. Senna passionate and perhaps a little disturbed. But I’m pretty sure he didn’t eat burgers and smoke cigars before jumping into the car : P

      1. So how do you explain the skewed stats in terms of race win %???

        1. What I mean is – I don’t think Senna thought about the bigger picture as much as Schumacher. I think that he wanted to be the fastest, while Schumacher wanted to be the most successful. It’s a thin line, maybe, but I think it explains a lot about both their careers.

          1. Maciek, I think that gets the difference between these two brilliantly.

            Senna wanted to be the best at every inch of the track, Schumi set out to win all.

    3. I’ve always thought of Senna as the driver that was most commited to F1 and the driver that took his fitness and dedication to another level. Was he not one of the first drivers to hire a personal trainer?

    4. Actually Senna started that “fitness and attention to every detail” thing.

      1. Thank you for pointing that out, many don’t know it…

  15. I suggested a 3rd / 4th place vote :-)

    1. Could be the winner is 2nd place really.

    2. I love it as well. Also nice Keith put in the results of all the polls in that graph.
      Great idea for an off season past time Keith!

  16. My vote for the best ever driver : Michael Schumacher. Too bad he already won the final against Alain Prost.

    1. That was a semi-final.

      1. But,as it consisted of the two best drivers, that was the real final in my opinion.

        1. Senna beat Fangio and Prost is even with Fangio.

          So, the vote doesn’t agree with your opinion.

  17. Schumacher for me but Senna always wins these poll things. People seem to overlook Suzuka 1990 and yet constantly harp on about Jerez 1997. Also those who make that argument that his career was cut short, do you honestly think he would have won another 50 gran prixs to equal schumachers tally. To those who use the Schumacher vetoed his teammates line, Senna refused to allow Lotus hire Derek Warwick alongside him, need I go on. Sorry if this comes across as overly pretentious but Senna and Schumacher both have strengths and weaknesses. Why the constant reverence of Senna and judgemental attitude towards Sch?

    1. I agree with this largely. The drivers were as bad as each other when it comes to picking drivers and on track antics. They differ slightly in personality though, although this is perhaps more due to the more open, philosophical attitude that Senna had compared with Schumacher.

      The main difference between the two is the ‘competition’ argument where people say that Schumacher had no competition for his titles etc. I’d dispute that too – in fact, it was just that Schumacher was so good that we never saw his real competition. People forget it is still a great skill to win with a dominant car – in such a dominant way [i.e. Vettel had the dominant car this year, but made mistakes and only won in the last race].

    2. With Senna it’s Suzuka 1990.

      With Schumacher it’s: traction control 94, black flag Silverstone, Adelaide 94, Jerez 97, Austria 2002, Monaco 2006.

      Besides, it’s also tainted with the whole FIArari thing since 97 (veto + 80 million a year bonus)

      1. My thoughts exactly.

    3. Couple of points I want to add to Patrickl reply here:

      1)Some people tend to forget that before Suzuka 1990 there was Suzuka 1989, while there was no Jerez 1996, no Adelaide 1993, no Monaco 2005 etc. etc. It’s not just a simple multiplication of cases, it’s the nature of the man. Would Suzuka 1990 happen this way if Senna wasn’t robbed of his win a year before(not to mention the pole position side row)? Highly unlikely. There’s no reason to believe that about any of Schumi’s cases.

      2) A minor point, but Senna wouldn’t have had to get 91 wins to match Schumi as he would have probably got 10-15 wins less. And even if he wouldnt have catched him, on the upside Schumi would never beat Senna’s pole record had Senna lived(it took him over 240 races to amass 65 poles, Senna took 161 races to get the same amount). Wins aren’t the all n all statistic that means everything.

      One more thing, Senna clearly argumented the reason why he blocked Warwick ver openly: Lotus, in the disarray that it was in the mid-1980’s, wasn’t funded very well and couldn’t support more than one fast driver. Senna didn’t have any problem whatsoever going against Prost in the Mclaren did he? Or in the Williams in 1993, while Prost blocked the move with his contract clause. With Schumacher it was completely different to this.

      1. Wins aren’t the all n all statistic that means everything.

        But they mean more than number of poles.

        1. Agree, thats why I said it’s a minor point, none of those stats are in themselves a decisive factor.

  18. ANd Schumacher was third, almost runner-up, in his first full season in F1(1992). Senna was behind rookie Schumacher in the standings although his McLaren was much more better.

    1. And Schumacher was 3 points behind Patrese who drove for crushing Williams that year.

    2. Benetton had the works Ford engine while McLaren had the customer version. There was at least 3 tenths a lap difference between the two.

      1. You didn’t know what to say so you posted that? I thought the McLAren was exactly 0,233978 faster :))

        1. Senna 1992-3 wins. M. Schumacher 1992-1 win. Anyone who saw 1992 knows who was better. And you also kind of shot yourself in the foot with the Patrese follow-up: that only shows the final point tally isn’t always the right criteria to judge comparative performance.

          P.S. Didn’t know what else to write, so really had to write this and I apologize if it disagrees with your slightly misinformed opinion…

          1. It isn’t then spectacular that Schumacher beat in his rookie season Senna and was 3 points behind a driver in the best car( a car that won the season 5 races before the ending if I remember well)?
            Well, I guess any other rookie driver did kind of the same then if you say it isn’t a great achievement.

          2. Christian did you see any of the 1992 season live or on tape? unlikely, ’cause if you did you wouldn’t say any misinformed comments such as this. The only reason Schumi was close to Senna that year was because of Benetton much superior reliability. Senna was in front in the vast majority of the qualy/races and then the car broke down. It was a good season for Schumacher but in no way he was better, or on the same level with Senna.
            Don’t you see the problem with your Patrese comment? Mansell won 9 races with that car. How many races won Patrese?(clue:less than Senna, more than Schumi). Yes, Patrese finished the season in front of both Senna and Schumi in the points, but would anyone in his right mind ever consider Patrese performance a better on e than those two. That means comparing drivers just for their end of season tallies is a flawed method of judging performance. To judge Senna and Schumi that way is at best misinformed and then bring in Patrese , can be seen only as hypocritical IMO.

        2. The car was faster, but that was despite the engine being slower?

        3. Benetton was slower than McLaren! Even with Schummy standing ahead of Senna, McLaren was ahead of Benetton in constructor’s championship!

          The McLaren engine was a older spec F1 engine (by no means a “customer” version), which is not necessarily slower.

          You’re forgetting last year champion Red Bull had a Renault engine, and was years ahead of, say Force India with the best Mercedes engine.

          Saying Benetton was faster because of the engine is not acurate, if you actually compare lap times you’ll see McLaren was faster. And McLaren’s second driver (Berger) scored more points than Benetton’s second driver (Brundle), and even won 2 races!

          So Schumacher actually beat Senna in his almost rookie year, with a slower car. And was only three points behind Patrese, who drove a flying Williams!

          1. the reason schumacher beat senna in 92 was down to awful reliability of the mclaren

          2. I agree with damon.

            And I dont see how you can compare the RB situation with 1992 Mclaren. RB had absolutely the same engine as Renault. Mclaren had engine which was two specifications behind Benetton( in an era when engine development wasnt stopped as it is now)!

            Despite the worse engine Mclaren had better aero so was faster. But Benetton had much better reliability so it negated the speed advantage. All this means that Senna was faster, was usually in front of Schumi but with the retirements didn’t get the results he deserved.

  19. My avatar says it all…

  20. Schumacher is the greatest!!!

    know it’s not very personal, but NUMBERS DO NOT LIE!!!
    I think that they are equally fast, although Senna has more poles percentage, Schumacher proved that he has the speed in his blood not only on 4 wheels but also on 2 wheels, remember Schu testing the Ducati MotoGP bike, he scored some great laps on the time sheets and also he was pretty good in the races that he attended (remember he was 39ish).

    Honestly, you ca not compare Senna to Schu, they are so different in many ways… Schu is a complete modern driver not only from the race point of view but also from the capability of developing a winning car… Senna had that something, that instinct that made him special, but if we look back, nowdays a lot of his driving and overtaking, I’m sure he would be considered extremely reckless and nowdays would not achieve so many… Remember Schu’s move on Barichello last year, omg, the fuss behind that…

    In conclusion:

    Schumacher = GREATEST EVER !!!
    Senna = biggest natural talent in F1 racing.

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