Would Senna have won the 1994 championship?
28th April 2011, 10:16 at 10:16 am #129295
There was a brief discussion about this in the Vettel article but I thought it warranted closer attention, so I did a bit of number-crunching. Assuming Senna had survived Imola, I reckon it would have gone down like this:
ORIGINAL POINTS DEFICIT: 30
– Monaco: Schumacher was great that weekend, but let’s assume the king of Monaco would have won. Deficit: 26
– Spain: could have won from Hill with Schumacher stuck in 5th gear and home 3rd. Deficit: 20
– Canada: Schumacher finished 40 seconds of Hill so it’s hard to see Senna beating him. A close 2nd place probably. Deficit: 24
– Britain: would we have seen the formation-lap antics from Schumacher with Senna in the mix? I’m reckoning not. A Senna win and 2nd for Schumacher. Deficit: 20
– Germany: Ferrari were stunning this weekend so I think 2nd would have been the most for Senna. However Schumacher DNFd so it would have been a good haul. Deficit: 14
– Hungary: another great showing by Schumacher so I reckon another 2nd for Senna. Deficit: 18
– Belgium: this is where it gets tricky. Would Schumacher have had his lap 19 spin? You’d have to imagine Senna would have won this race anyway. Deficit: 14
– Italy: also tricky, as at this point Schumacher was serving a ban for the events in Britain which didn’t happen in this scenario. Benetton’s pace wasn’t that great here (though I’m going by Verstappen’s time, who to be fair wasn’t in Schumacher’s league. So I’m assuming a Williams 1-2. Deficit: 8
– Portugal: another race Schumacher missed. Verstappen did poorly here too but you’d have to fancy Schumacher getting a result. 2nd behind Senna for argument’s sake. Deficit: 4
– Europe: Schumacher finished 24 seconds ahead of Hill. Would Senna have done better, probably from pole? Let’s say he did. Deficit: 0
– Japan: Senna 1st, Schumacher 3rd seems likely. Advantage: 6
– Adelaide: Who knows? Schumacher beat Hill by half a second in qualifying, but Senna would have been closer on race pace as well. Mansell won the race after the famous collision, which does not happen here. Senna leads Schumacher to take the championship by 10 points.
There are, however, some assumptions which alter the balance somewhat:
– Senna still crashes in Imola, instead of just waltzing to victory. So his deficit would have been 8 less and his victory would have been by 8 more points. However from what we know about Senna’s death it seems the accident was just waiting to happen so I’m confident that Senna would still have been the whole 30 points behind.
– Senna has no retirements. Seems a little unlikely.
– Senna always beats Hill. Also seems a bit unlikely.
Verdict? I think it’s too close to say one way or the other. But it’s not the certainty it’s often painted to be.28th April 2011, 10:32 at 10:32 am #167842
First post ‘ere!
It’s a hard one to decide. Schumacher was – let’s not deny it – absolutely on fire in ’94. That the championship was so close was down only to the (some might say unfair) penalty handed out to the Benetton driver. Would Senna have won the title? Perhaps. After three-consecutive retirements from pole position, however, the Brazilian would more-than-likely have been feeling under some pressure. As we’ll never know what could have happened, I have the belief that you have to assume that Schumacher would have won the title. It’s a competition between what you think could have happened and what did happen.28th April 2011, 11:17 at 11:17 am #167843
There are way too many ‘ifs’ involved. But then again, Damon Hill almost took the title, and only lost it because of Schumi’s signature move. So.. I would have to say that Senna would have won the 1994 title.28th April 2011, 11:35 at 11:35 am #167844
Yes but Schumacher had 4 disqualifications which may have never happened in an alternate scenario, I think is the central point.28th April 2011, 12:05 at 12:05 pm #167845
Could you imagine Adelaide with Senna in Hill’s shoes?! That would have been interesting to see how that incident panned out afterwards!!28th April 2011, 12:22 at 12:22 pm #167846
Just today I was thinking about it (telepathy?). I remain with a great doubt, but I believe Schumacher would have won by little on Senna.28th April 2011, 12:26 at 12:26 pm #167847
Without Senna’s death, it’s also worth considering whether Williams/Senna would have pushed the governing body harder to take action on the possibility of Benetton using traction control.
Like you say though, Schumacher’s mid season DSQ’s determine what would have happened. With them then yes, I think Senna would have won it but without them I don’t think he could have done so – Schumacher was just too good that season.28th April 2011, 12:35 at 12:35 pm #167848
– Senna has no retirements. Seems a little unlikely.
– Senna always beats Hill. Also seems a bit unlikely.
Senna leads Schumacher to take the championship by 10 points.
The lead is little (10 points) and Senna has no retirements (mechanical/crashes), therefore if he had I think Schumacher would have beaten him.
But then Schumacher won with 1 point on Damon Hill, and Senna would have beaten Hill, so he would have been Champion.
But then Schumacher missed two races and his behaviour would have been different if the Brazilian had been around, so he might have had a greater advantage.
This question is very difficult to answer, and even with all the hypotheses we have made it is impossible for us to imagine what would have happened.28th April 2011, 14:42 at 2:42 pm #167849
Personally I believe 1994 was going to be Michael’s year anyway. Senna wasn’t happy with the Williams, nor was Prost really but it didn’t have the handling issues in 1993 (Prost said it felt like it was designed for Mansell, which it was really).
1995 would have been a very interesting year, a clean slate with two equal cars.28th April 2011, 15:17 at 3:17 pm #167850
So, filling my role of being the evil one on this site, here’s my attempt at how that season would have turned out, ending with a Schumacher win:
Original point advantage after San Marino from Schumacher’s POV: 30 points over Senna, 23 points over Hill
– Monaco: Senna continues his string of retirements by being involved in the first lap crash, Schumacher wins uncontested; new advantage: 40 points over Senna, 33 points over Hill
– Spain: Senna gets his act together and manages to score another victory with Hill in second after Schumacher’s gearbox problems; new advantage: 34 points over Senna, 31 points over Hill
– Canada: Williams struggle on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, allowing Schumacher to win with Hill in third and Senna in fourth; new advantage: 41 points over Senna, 37 points over Hill
– France: A slightly weaker Benetton allows Schumacher only to defeat Hill in a surprisingly close battle, Senna takes the victory; new advantage: 37 points over Senna, 39 points over Hill
– United Kingdom: Hill beats Schumacher, who however does not get black flagged and finishes second. Senna only finishes fifth after being beaten to the flag by Mika Häkkinen; new advantage: 45 points over Senna, 35 points over Hill
– Germany: Senna is the only top driver to not retire and manages to finish first, barely beating Gerhard Berger. Schumacher and Hill retire in the chaotic race; new advantage: 35 points to Senna, 35 points to Hill
– Hungary: Schumacher was not to be beaten and Hill and Senna had a surprisingly hard battle for second place ending with a win for Senna after tricking Hill into an off-track excursion; new advantage: 39 points over Senna, 41 points over Hill
– Belgium: Benetton and Schumacher get their disqualification, handing over the win to Damon Hill, who reversed the Hungary result to take a victory over Ayrton; new advantage: 33 points over Senna, 31 points over Hill
– Italy: Senna manages to score another pole, resulting in a good win for the Brazilian. Hill is a bit slower at Monza, only managing to take a third place behing Gerhard Berger; new advantage: 23 points over Senna, 27 points over Hill
– Portugal: Schumacher is still not running so Williams have a good chance to take points and they do and draw closer to Schumacher. In a controversial finish, Hill has to let Senna past; new advantage: 13 points over Senna, 21 points over Hill
– Europe: Senna and Schumi battle through the entire race and in what could have been an awesome race, Senna takes a very close win. Hill is not involved and drops out of the title race; new advantage: 9 points over Senna, 27 points over Hill
– Japan: In another controversial move by Williams, leader Hill blocks Schumi intentionally to allow Senna to gain 2nd place. That fails and Schumacher takes 2nd and wins the title; new advantage: 11 points over Senna, 23 points over Hill
– Adalaide: In a surprisingly chaotic GP, Senna retires after crashing into Gerhard Berger and Hill and Schumacher still have “their accident”, allowing Martin Brundle to take his only win; advantage unchanged28th April 2011, 16:15 at 4:15 pm #167851
In my opinion Senna was a total jerk and very unprofessional.
Too arrogant and selfish. His nature to argue took another drivers life.28th April 2011, 16:57 at 4:57 pm #167852
I remember there was a book about this or something?28th April 2011, 17:04 at 5:04 pm #167853
“Jerk”? Perhaps. He pushed everybody to the very limit. A “move or be hit” on-track nature was common. But that was his style of racing. He was aggressive. Every driver has done something unscrupulous during their career.
“Unprofessional”? Certainly not! He was, arguably, one of the most professional of his time. He would stay back for hours – sometimes even nights – with his engineers in order to assess the car and how to improve its performance. He was known to spend much of his day (Literally. I’m talking numerous, numerous hours) going over how to approach particular circumstances, what areas of the car need to be improved et cetera. Labelling him as unprofessional is just ridiculous.
“Arrogant”? Again, perhaps. He drove to be the best. He went to McLaren and immediately started trying to destroy Alain Prost – both on the racetrack and in his mind. He would hit other cars, yes. Again, this was psychological. Very few of his contacts were made without reason. Of course, the reasons weren’t necessarily positive, but they were all steps in mentally beating an opponent. Once a driver had moved out the way for Senna so that there wasn’t contact – he would know that every single time he came up to them, the driver was going to be easier to pass. It was psychological and, again, style.
Your accusation of him being “selfish” is ridiculous, however. Senna was an overwhelmingly generous person – both financially and spiritually. He donated millions of dollars to aid the poor in Brazil. As well, he was a great person at heart (watch: http://tinyurl.com/3px6ltm).
I don’t support some of Ayrton’s antics. Contact with Prost at Suzuka in 1990 was downright dangerous and shouldn’t (and never is) seen as a positive move. But your critcisms are – simply put – ridiculous.28th April 2011, 17:33 at 5:33 pm #167854
“Unprofessional”? Certainly not! He was, arguably, one of the most professional of his time.
Huh? He never did anything through winter testing, while he was team mates with Prost he was living it up in Brazil while the rest of the team was working hard for the next season. Professionalism at it’s highest right there.28th April 2011, 22:48 at 10:48 pm #167855
I have my opinions on Senna, but il keep this on ’94.
Who really knows? Sometimes i wonder if Clark would have won in ’68 or Villeneuve in ’82? But then I think to myself that its quite disrespectful to those that did go on and win it. They didnt ‘win’ because people died, its about results. Senna *might* have won, but then its possible that Senna might have played a part in Damon Hill winning the WDC.
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