The fallacy of the great F1 driver checklist

This topic contains 30 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Hamilfan 3 years, 10 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 31 total)
  • Author
  • #133874


    With the rise of the internet, another new phenomenon entered the Formula One community: the ‘great f1 driver checklist’. While debates about who is the best driver in Formula One go as far back to 13 May 1950, when Michael Schumacher began his run of success, his detractors needed a new excuse: the checklist. “Michael Schumacher is not a great driver because he didn’t do X” or “Michael Schumacher is not a great driver because he didn’t do Y”.

    While there may have been loners walking around with this idea to find a way to discredit anyone from Fangio to Clark and from Ascari to Senna, it was not as widely accepted as it seems these days. Go to any Formula One website or forum, and within 5 minutes you’ll find someone to put forth (a variation of) the argument “Sebastian Vettel does not deserve all this praise, because he did not do Z”.

    While it is not a method of judging drivers I, nor anyone of the experts and pundits on the paddock, prefer to use, I am always open to explore new angles. So I took the 18 most heard achievements that people put forth as to what a driver needs to do to deserve praise, and equally judged the BBC top 20 Formula One drivers in history against this checklist.

    I think the result is clear: this idea that a ‘great driver’ needs to check off this checklist in order to be considered as such, is a fallacy. Only three drivers are able to score just 2/3rds of this checklist while Senna and Schumacher only check half of the boxes, and Jim Clark not even that.

    Is Jim Clark than worst driver than Nigel Mansell because he only ever drove and won in the Colin Chapman-designed Lotus. Is Ayrton Senna than a worst driver than Graham Hill because he never won from ‘low on the grid’? Of course not!

    Every great driver in Formula One history writes his own legend.


    Lucas Wilson

    Alain Prost is the greatest.

    So basically, Vettel needs to do more.


    Lucas Wilson

    How has Hamilton scored more than vettel? :-)



    It’s not a link, it’s my conclusion ;-)


    Fantastic work and thread idea. Although, I’d have formatted the ‘achievements’ text along the top the other way round. ;)


    Max Jacobson

    Apart from the “disrespect” column (which I think is far to subjective) good collation of arguments @mnmracer!


    @mnmracer I’m sorry to disagree, but some of your columns are meant to prove something for just one driver. Or some are with an X when it should be a check.
    For example:
    – Prost is the only one with that “victory in a backmarker”. It’s the same if I state “won in a dangerous race” I would have to that one to Button (half race in Malaysia) and Fisichella in Brazil 2003.
    – You missed a check in favor to Alonso (and I don’t like him at all) because he moved to Renault in 2008, so you can say he tried to take new challenges.
    -When has Vettel being beaten by a teammate? Even if you are including 2007, which is not a full season. Vettel got more points than Liuzzi (Give him the check).

    That’s just checking fast, so… It’s a great chart, but if you can, check it twice to see if some other facts need to be corrected.


    @mnmracer and Hamilton was beaten by Button during his McLaren time together, and Button is a 1WDC, not a “great” (2 or more at least). Put him the “X” :P



    – You missed a check in favor to Alonso (and I don’t like him at all) because he moved to Renault in 2008, so you can say he tried to take new challenges.

    Alonso didn’t really have a choice but to return to Renault, it was either that or endure a miserable second year with McLaren.

    I noticed that Alonso has a cross under “Won a race at least once from “lower on the grid”, which according to the notes means lower than 6th. Alonso has won a few times from lower than 6th.



    I’ve just taken the items and contexts as used by those who believe that greatness is dependent on some checklist. The fact that stuff like “won in a backmarker” is in there is just indicative of how silly an argument it is.

    “(close to) being beaten” is an argument that refers to Webber almost beating Vettel in 2010 (regardless of the context of unreliability) and early 2012. If that is the context some of these checklisters use, than that is what I go by, but also what I hold all the other drivers to. That’s also why Senna and Fangio are not checked in that box. Again, not something I agree with, but something that perfectly shows the fallacy of the argument.

    As for Alonso, Slr said it perfectly. His return to Renault was not a choice.


    @mnmracer Ok, if you wanted to prove the fallacy, it’s so well proven ;P
    See you around



    I don’t think Alonso “Proved” himself in a backmarker. Yes, he did drive for Minardi, but he lost to Tarso Marques, which I wouldn’t consider proving anything. Also Vettel hasn’t won races for two constructors since the 2008 Toro Rosso was constructed by Red Bull. Hamilton also did not move to a slower team. He moved to a team that was slower the previous year but at the moment Mercedes is faster than McLaren. However he has won races under two different sets of rules for example in 2008 and 2009.



    How has Alonso not won a race from lower than 6th? Do Valencia 2012 and Malaysia 2012 not count?

    Also, from that checklist we can safely conclude that Alain Prost is indeed the greatest driver of all time. I’m sure that this guy (http://www.prostfan.com) will be happy. ;-)



    Misplaced checkmark :)



    What’s the difference between “Won races for more than 1 team” and “Won races for more than 1 constructor”?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 31 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.