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

Loading ... Loading ...

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

Loading ... Loading ...

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”

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3 4 8
  1. Everthing that involves the best of all the time end up on a Senna-Schumacher battle. And it’s to end up on it.

    Senna was from the very beginning a great driver, he was above average, fast, did unbelievable things on track.

    Schumacher is another great driver. Started in F1 with an enourmous moral, being hired by Benetton on his second race. Everyone knew he would be a winner. Now he holds all the records.

    Both of them are great, but for everything that Senna made while he was on track, he deserves to be recognized as the best. And he had great opponents, great champions. Schumacher didn’t.

    1. Perhaps Schumacher made great drivers look ordinary when compared to him!

    2. Explain how Hakkinen is not a great champion?

    3. but for everything that Senna made while he was on track, he deserves to be recognized as the best

      that’s quite subjective.

      If you look coldly at the facts, it turns up that Senna had a astonishing rate of poles but couldn’t manage to convert them into wins. This is a big minus. It’s exactly the opposite of Alain Prost, who got much more wins than poles. It proves Senna’s pace wasn’t good, and I fail to see how that support the claim that he’s the greatest ever.

      Also Senna won 3 WDC out of 4 years with the best car. And he wouldn’t even have won 88 championship with any other era’s F1 regulations. Now Schumahcer had a dominant car in only 3 years of his careers (99,02 and 04), and won 7 WDC. If i’m not mistaken, 7 is more than the double of 3.

      1. As for the argument that Schumacher didn’t had any competition. Well Senna had Prost, Piquet and Mansell, but people forget that Piquet never had a competitive car after 1987, Prost didn’t had a decent car in 91, Mansell same thing in 88-89, Piquet and Prost retired in 91, Mansel in 92.

        Remember that in 88 Prost beat Senna, not by 1, 2 or 3 points, but by 11 points!More than 30 points in modern system.

        in 89 he was beaten again by the only competition he had

        In 1990 Prost was catching up at the end of the season, when Senna conveniently took him out in the most dangerous way.

        In 1991 the McLaren was still the best car, but Williams got better by the end of the season, and Senna did manage to beat Mansell.

        In 92 he was crushed by a superior Williams, and was beaten by 22 year old Schumacher.

        Lost to Prost in 93 (ok, he had a really superior car)

        In 94 he took 2 poles in the first 2 races, as usual, but failed to score a single point.

        So, although Senna had a much tougher competition than Schummy, he only managed to beat it in ONE season! (1991). And even then he still had the best car!

  2. Without doubt Fangio. For the same reasons I voted Schumacher: Fangio got everything he could and beat Prost. And Fangio could have won more if he hadn’t retired immediately after his 5 titles, a record that was beaten by the person that in my opinion should win the Champion of Champions. Fangio immediately set the record of most titles and was beaten by Schumacher. So definetely Michael should be voted the best driver ever and Fangio chould beat Prost as Schumacher should beat Senna.

  3. Senna would risk killing a rival to win a world championship. Scumacher nearly killed either Barichello or someone exiting the out lane in a fight for 8th, I think?

    1. read my post little bit up…

      Senna drove reckless race by race, corner by corner, if you compare it to now days, and when Schu does a Senna on Barichello you all the hypocrites yell out !!!

  4. Senna. He drove with such fine detail and his wet weather driving was beyond description, and we can only speculate what could’ve happened had that fateful crash at Imola never occured. There is a chance he could’ve been champion in ’94. Assuming he would’ve stayed at Williams for at least the next 3 seasons he would definitely have won at least 1 of them, before moving to Ferrari(as he once said he wanted to drive for them before he retired), with a small chance of winning the title with them before retiring in ’99 or ’00 at the latest. This would make him at least a 5 time world champion on par with Fangio in terms of statistics, or 8 times at the very most, with Schumacher 5 or 6 times champion. Again this is only speculation.

    1. Schumacher was already 20 points ahead of Senna in the standings at the start of the race at Imola. Senna would’ve needed some more uncharacteristic consistency to win that title don’t you think?

    2. Senna would never arrived at Ferrari… because when Todt took over as team boss, they wanted the best driver, and the best for the future, someone who could build a car, and that someone WASN’T SENNA, he never had the capacity of building a winning car, he was an aging dinosaur at that time…

      1. lol…is Schumacher’s capacity of building a winning car the reason for Mercedes victorious performance ?

        1. Every result post 1996 at Ferrari is BECAUSE of Schumacher. Because of what he did there Raikkonen won his championship and Alonso has a great car today. Ferrari was rubish for 20 years before Schumacher and even Prost couldn’t change that. That is why Schumacher is the greatest ever: for his legacy at Ferrari and for the fact that it may be true that more people heard of Schumacher than of Formula 1 itself!

          1. what rubbish. Prost nearly won the championship in the Ferrari, Alboreto nearly won the championship in the Ferrari. in 1983 Ferrari were the constructors Champions. And Ferrari was on the upward curve ever since Todt’s arrival in mid-1993 already. In fact, Ferrari in 1995 had 73 points, in 1996 it had 70 points. Yes in 1996 Ferrari got 3 wins, compared to one in 1995, but that’s without counting the times Ferrari retired from the lead because of technical troubles.
            To say that all Ferrari got is because of Schumacher is complete desinformation and rewriting of history.Schumi’s a great driver, but he would do nothing without a great team Todt started to put together in 93-95 already.

          2. Again, Cristian and montreal you’re looking at things in a black and white manner.

            Was it solely Todt that put the team together? No. Was it solely Schumacher? No. It was a combination of Todt’s efforts, the Benetton staff, Schuamcher’s inspiration and on track driving.

            And perhaps Ferrari scored less in 1996 because Irvine underperformed in comparison to Alesi and Berger, with only 11 points. He at least got better by 1998.

          3. Perhaps what Cristian main point is how Michael played a bigger role in early 1996 and make it becomes a winning team for years. Also should be remembered that in 1996 Todt offered his resignation because of many media in Italy criticized him failing to raise Ferrari. It was Michael who stand up to support Todt and started to identified what did Ferrari lack of. Despite Todt lacked of experience in F1 because he was more experience in Rally at that time, His presence in Ferrari indirectly made Schumacher as unofficial boss in the team.
            Read it from F1 Racing Schumacher tribute edition.

        2. @Manu Again, nonsense comment made by you think i have to LOL again about it like we did before. Schumacher arrived at Mercedes last year with a car almost completely built and around Jenson driving style. As explained by Cristian, Schumacher raised Ferrari and made it into a winning team which not been the case since decades and it took years…

          1. I think you will find the whole Ferrari team and car in general 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. And lets not forget the helping hand of FIAT’s unlimited money involved of course.

            (sarcasm) So of course schumacher can make a team a bunch of winners all by himself. How hard is it to point at members of your old team saying, “sign him up he’s great”. Even I could do that…

            The unsung hero in Ferrari, Rory Byrne was of equal to Adrian Newey in his career, yet 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, FACT, so don’t go posting about thinking Senna could not of done the same.

            What’s that phrase you lot say “maybe schumi was just that much better then the rest of the field?” I think it should be “schumi was lucky to have Rory Byrne as a car designer” more like.

            Every world title Schumacher has ever won, has been a design involving Rory Byrne.

          2. Rory Byrne’s role is often undervalued, but it isn’t as black and white as saying “Schumacher was the key factor” or “Byrne was the key factor”. They were all key. And that’s why Schumacher gets his share of the credit for Ferrari’s dominance.

          3. Well said David A. Even Jackie Stewart believes the transformation of the Ferrari team was Schumacher’s greatest feat. The way he motivates and leads a team is one of Schumacher great ability perhaps Britney also can motivate a team by doing a stage performance :D

          4. and of course a regulation veto and a 80 million a year bonus helped …

          5. @ A David, sorry for the hoo haa from this post, was tired when typing it up and stressed.
            Yes I agree with you that schumi and Byrne together are not alone the key factors, that was a bit arrogant from me I’ll admit.

            @Dave I’ve read the book on Schumacher and he did motivate the team yes but only because the team motivated him as well, he had that urge in his mind to always thank every person in his crew no matter how little they done, he always felt compeled to do everyone a favour because they were helping him achieve greater things. If he felt he let the team down by a silly mistake he would repay with that by showing a better race next time. He was at home in Ferrari because he had the confidence of the people around him from his previous team.

            That Benetton team that went to Ferrari was the most solid group in f1 history and when they all started to leave schumi, they all got weaker from it.

            You can see why Schumi had no trouble being the number one in Ferrari since team ferrari didn’t have a choice or they lose the Benetton group.

          6. Well maybe it sound little bit arrogant for you but it’s fact. It was Michael who brought Ross Brawn to Ferrari and the way he supported Todt when most of them criticized him and bringing the team into one family, how he give a lot of great input to the engineers to improved the car not to mention his determination and commitment to work till late night to sort thing out and made the engineer started to respect him and listen to his input. That’s one of many thing why most people believe that Michael play the bigger role to Ferrari success which some still ignore it and finding excuses to shot down the fact. If you are interested you can read F1 racing Schumacher tribute that sum it all nicely.

          7. and of course a regulation veto and a 80 million a year bonus helped …

            A veto which they never used, a historical bonus that applies to to all teams.

        3. That can be judged only after 2011/2012. Schumacher had even less of a chance to help develop last years Mercedes as he had had with the 1996 Ferrari.

  5. senna because he gave me a lot of enjoyment watching him do those poles. On the other hand schumacher made me hate the sport for a while, because of his dominance.
    Both are great, and i think it’s a right final.
    But senna was the man.

  6. Michael!!!! )))

  7. Unfortunately, I never saw Senna racing. All I know about him came from blogs and sites like F1F, books and now the film. But from all I heard about him, my vote goes to Senna, instead of Schumacher who I saw 5 years in a row winning the championship, thinking that was true racing. After all, it was just a talented driver who won too much championships. That’s my opinion.

    1. You are joking right!?!

    2. It may have been boring to watch, but that certainly doesn’t mean he wasn’t as good.

  8. I believe surviving is a skill on its own. Senna was quick because he was reckless, which was also his downfall.

    Considering that, MSC has an overall better package as it allowed him to win more championships without falling prey to anything but age.

    My vote goes to MSC because the proof is in the pudding, and not in “what if” wonderland.

    1. I believe surviving is a skill on its own. Senna was quick because he was reckless, which was also his downfall.

      Aside from the fact that it’s just seem to become an easy fad to say that Senna was reckless – mostly I magine by people who never saw him race – Senna’s accident was caused by a broken driveshaft. So how was his ‘recklessness’ his downfall?

      1. umm – and by ‘driveshaft’, I do of course mean ‘steering column’ : P

  9. Unpredictable competitors are in the final ;)
    Seriously why didn’t we start with the final?

    1. Did you not see how close the semi-finals were? Take a look at the graphic.

      1. Great you put the whole chart in there Keith. I loved to see how close it was.

        So the best 4 drivers are Prost, Fangio, Senna and Schumacher (order to be decided by poll).
        Nice to see these are pretty much different animals altogether.
        Superfast and always wanting to be up front Senna, doing all that to win and teambuild Schumacher, clever developer and points gatherer Prost and being in the right car/team to win and do so convincingly Fangio.

        I suppose only personal prences decide on ranking this pack from 1-4.

  10. the only qualified men on this planet to rate an F1 driver are f1 drivers and engineers…ALL of them agree that Ayrton Senna was the greatest driver ever lived…

    our personal opinion is only a way to express our love to one or the other.

    Ayrton Senna da Silva was one of the greatest MEN of the last century and all of you should feel proud that he was an F1 driver.

    1. Thats a hugely sweeping statement to make, especially with no justification. Further, most of the engineers that worked with Schumacher never worked with Senna and vice versa. Pretty ridiculous to base your opinions on that.

      However, your last statement may well be true

    2. Ayrton Senna da Silva was one of the greatest MEN of the last century and all of you should feel proud that he was an F1 driver.

      We do. But this is a ‘Champion of Champions’ poll. Not a greatest personalities poll.

    3. Please explain the logic of why we should feel proud that Senna was an F1 driver?

      Look, man, he’s my favourite all-time driver, but get a bit of a grip before going with ‘greatest men of the 20th centur

  11. So far, not at all what I expected. Instead, I thought both polls would be neck-and-neck.

  12. that’s harsh.
    Senna’s always been my idol, although i’ve never seen him racing.
    Schumacher’s been the man who’s brought Ferrari back to the top after 20 years and has won more championships than anyone.
    Both have won most of their championships with the dominant car, but Senna had to fight in the same team with one of the four-five best drivers ever, while Schumacher had only sparring partners. Barrichello and Irvine were good drivers but nothing more, and at the same time the team was only on Michael’s side (i still regret of Austria 2002…).
    I think this time heart is stronger than pure maths, so i stand for Senna, his record of pole positions (Schumacher had a lot of time to beat him) and the amazing drives (Monaco 1984, Interlagos 1991 and Donington 1993 above all) can’t be compared to numbers and percentages.

    1. you all Senna fans are joking, right?

      you all accuse Michael for having inferior team mates… well guess why is that? because MICHAEL WAS SO GREAT compared to all others… also you forget that Prost did most of the testing work at Mrec at that time! hello!!! like it was already said somewhere on this blog, that a reason why he also left the team… he did the homework and Senna took the winnings!!!

      1. did Schu’s team mates build the car for him??? no, it was his achievement, his work and his merit!!! not like Senna who always moved to the best team around… for ex. from Merc to Williams

    2. his record of pole positions (Schumacher had a lot of time to beat him) can’t be compared to numbers and percentages.

      His pole position record IS a number. And not as important a number as wins, which Schumacher beat him in 2000.

  13. Senna is the greatest driver of all times, today, tomorrow and forever, this is undeniable.

    1. denied! :P

  14. Schumacher and Prost for me.

  15. Interestingly the closest fought match till now is Schumacher vs Clark in the Quarter finals. Only 4% points between them. It’s also the second-most voted on, after Hamilton vs Button.

  16. One has just to read the stats.
    For what the stats can’t account for, the early 2000s dominance he had was everything but random. He was responsible for that, he built it bit by bit. Can’t be said for any other driver, including Senna who gave up at the same task.

  17. Senna.

    The third place playoff is much much harder so I simply refuse to vote, haha.

  18. Like I said before in the Schumacher Vs Prost Semi.

    Schumacher is more than a driver, he is a master in so many fields. His ability, his fitness, his psyche, his passion, his willingness to succeed and how he with others as well built Ferrari from a midfield team back to glory.

    Senna & Prost didn’t do what Michael did, they just jumped ship if they didn’t have the best car. Michael built his success and he is the greatest for it. He could of done what they did and could be possibly a 10 time World Champion by now but a lesser Champion at that. Jumping in to the best car every year is easy but building a family over time and making them the best is the real achievement here and the best achievement.

    There’s only one Michael Schumacher

    1. totally agree… to be a F1 driver it’s more than just drive around the track!!!

  19. I tend to read A LOT into what former drivers have to say, especially highly respected ones like Sir Stirling Moss who says of Schumacher, “…if you’re talking about the best drivers of the past 30 years I don’t think he’d be in my top three, I really don’t.” Enough said…SENNA

    1. Sennaboy, it’s not about the best driver, it’s about the best champion, and there is a lot more than just driving the car that determines the champion of champions.

      1. We are comparing the “World Drivers’ Champions’ with emphasis on DRIVERS.

    2. @sennaboy3 that’s your opinion and Moss but for other including Niki Lauda and Murray Walker say MICHAEL SCHUMACHER in their top 3, even the greatest of them all.

      1. Actually, Walker just released his own top drivers recently & Schumacher did NOT make the cut (neither did Senna)…Furthermore, Murray Walker is not a former driver so he doesn’t really relate to my argument. Would like to see where Lauda puts Schumi into his top 3??

        1. if your curious, Walker’s Top 5 was: Moss, Clark, Prost, Fangio & Stewart.

        2. Then again it’s his opinion he ever said that before that for sure. As Lauda one, look at F1 Racing December 2006 Schumacher tribute issue “He’s the greatest no one will ever match him, as long as he lived” Niki Lauda. You can see the cover here:

          1. Correction….“He’s the greatest. No one will ever match him, as long as we live” Niki Lauda

          2. This quote proves nothing for me. Could mean, ‘greatest’ in terms of championships, which I concur will probably never be matched. However, for reasons gone over ad nauseam in other posts, championships tell only part of the story. I have a hard time believing Lauda thinks Schumi is the greatest of all time.

          3. And Moss opinion prove nothing for me too, like Mlracing said “i don’t think quoting mr moss is a very good choice. For the reason he is almost always negative about Schumacher.”
            Believe it or not.
            David Coulthard also hailed Schumacher as the greatest all-round racing driver in the history of Formula One if you are interested.

          4. The F1 drivers voted on this same subject at the beginning of the season and they voted (by a big margin) for Senna. Schuamcher came in second en Fangio third.

          5. I know that but i think i have to quote Mlracing again:”anyway i think Senna is perceived different because of his tragic death.”

    3. i don’t think quoting mr moss is a very good choice. For the reason he is almost always negative about schumacher.

      i think senna and schumacher belong in the top 5. But naming a top 5 all time drivers will always cause alot of discussion and disagreement.

      anyway i think senna is perceived different because of his tragic death. Not meaning he wasn’t one of the best see my top 5 statement.

  20. Schumacher takes it. For all the reasons everyone else has listed. The most complete driver ever to race in Formula One. Maybe Senna had more raw speed, but that’s about it. To counter drives like Senna at Donnington in 93, Schumacher had Spain in 96. Schumacher just takes it.

    For final validation, Schumacher has more wins than all the other current drivers FOR 2011 – COMBINED.

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3 4 8

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.