Champion of Champions Final: Senna vs Schumacher

Champion of Champions

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 (46%)

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 (55%)

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)

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449 comments on Champion of Champions Final: Senna vs Schumacher

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  1. Schumacher is better than Senna….sadly most of guys who voted for Senna never really watched him driving…anyway i watched them both,was Senna fan until i saw Michael…What he did with crappy ferrari from 1996,97,97 Senna would never be able to do that.

  2. geoff hall said on 1st October 2011, 13:41

    sennna never pushed any one off the track to win he would just drive and win

  3. magic_senna said on 9th May 2012, 1:12

    Senna:
    +pole position (65 poles out of 161 races, so over 40% and 3 poles in the 3 races he contested in in 94. the lack of (high) finishes were often to irreliable cars although maybe sometimes he did push his cars too far and braking them basically but maybe on a few occaions only)
    +wet weather (estoril 85, donington 93)
    +passing manoeuvres too many to tell
    +almost regularly brilliant and genius on more than handful occasions
    +monaco specialist (outperformed teammate prost in 1988 by 2 sec in quali, source: racing is in my blood but performed well at any circuit regardless of its characteristics. did not need experience on a track to win there right away just like lewis hamilton)
    +could and did take on any teammate inc prost (exception of warwich as team lotus’ limited resources couldn’t support to fast drivers according to senna and i agree)
    +drove and beat most of the time many great drivers incl (multiple times) champions: prost lauda piquet mansell rosberg
    +team builder (great motivator and worked super hard which was inspiring, next to his huge talent and detail freak with long sessions till late in the evening including making working plans for the team. also humorous, friendly and sincere to teammembers while making sure he got the best people to work on his car. he didnt move the key players from his old team to his new team (as opposed to schumacher’s ‘teambuilding capabilities’ bringing ross brawn and rory byrne from benetton to ferrari, though byrne shortly retired at the end of 1994 in which benetton used the banned traction control was senna’s own opinion and that of others probably)
    +ability to drive cars above their perceived potential and be fast on cold tyres from lap 1 and being fast in any car also out of F1 with basically no testing required to get up to speed
    +constantly improving himself (he found estoril 85 with turbo charged enige im pretty sure with one honest mistake during the race according to then lotus teamboss peter warr, source a star named senna, a better performance then donington 93 cuz at the latter he had traction control whereas in the former he did not, source racing is in my blood)
    +learning from mistakes (e.g. loss of concentration crashing car in barriers monaco 88, chocking in backmarker causing own retirement as well monza 88, stalled engine suzuka 1988)

    - jo ramirez (former mclaren employee and friend of senna, surprisingly said in the docu the right to win that when the car was perfect prost was invincible, very hard to beat but that getting the perfect setup for a car was rare. i think he meant when prost won usually it was with a perfect setup, senna could probably easier makeup for deficits of the car also imperfect setups. i think when both had a perfect setup senna beat prost as well because more raw speed in both quali and race but also more precisely feeling of the car especially in the wet although in the dry prost did drive more smoothly vs senna’s go carting aggresive style but he could drive smooth like that if necessary e.g. in rain)
    - prost said he didnt think senna was the best in setting up a car in the docu senna. could be biased and in favor of himself or he actually believed it. could be that prost was better in setting up the car though, i can’t tell. i know senna was into technical details a lot that he wore technicians down going through sessions till late in the evening according to ducarouge (former lotus technician) in docu a star named senna.
    - senna was sometimes too aggresive causing him points or the whole race (e.g. monza 88. he admitted this in racing is in my blood, sometimes causing crashes in the rain as well, interlagos 94 spin trying to catch schumacher who passed him in the pits with the suspected lack of filter in the tank and forbidden traction control)
    - questionnable race speed as in low number of fastest laps during race. i actually think that’s a sign he backed off a bit to look after his car, interesting this one) i think before schumacher, senna ownt the record of most laps in the lead)
    - dangerous driving sometimes out of frustration and due to the feeling of injustice (suzuka 90) but strangely although the many colissions and crashes he didnt crash hard except for, next to imola 94 obviously, a few races. his car landed up side down in mexico 91 or something on sand/gravel trap.

    schumacher:
    + reading a race, maybe better than senna at least schumacher is more famous for it
    + driving many laps in a row during the race on the limit including just before pitting at which he was brilliant
    + wet weather though not as good as senna
    -
    lack of high caliber opponents in his era not his to blame though
    - unwilling to fight against teammates fair and square, that is he was the absolute number one, teammates had lesser material and were not allowed to pass him or when in front they were obliged to let him pass (austria 2002, ‘rubens, let michael pass’ i think this is more cowardly then senna’s going for the best team although both tactics were effective)
    - qualifying, despite being pole record holder he got outqualified a lot by opponents and took him way more races than senna to reach 65 poles.
    - sometimes silly mistakes in the wet (brazil 2005 or 2006, monaco 96?)
    - wall of champions visiter = crashing into the wall (montreal and melbourne)
    - dirty tactics (adelaide 94, jerez 97, monaco 2005 or 2006 etc where senna was no saint either in e.g. suzuka 90 but he had his reasons and values and would not lie about those, though sometimes it took him years to fully explain his thoughts feelings and intentions and why he did what he did)

  4. There wasn’t a racer in the sport better than Schuey. He’s the greatest racer in the history of Grand Prix racing.

  5. Nobody speaks of Schu. about his last years. Howcomes he can`t bring mercedes to a higher level. Eveybody tells about he brought ferrari by “himself”to it`s high level… I think he lost ( IF HE EVER HAD IT) that particiular skill.
    For me Ayrton Senna was/still is the ultimate formula 1 driver. Soit

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