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Who Is The Greatest Ever?

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Who is the greatest ever?

BBC:

By Andrew Benson

Motorsport editor

CAREER IN FIGURES

Titles: 1994, '95, 2000, '01, 02, 03, 04

Races: 232

Wins: 84

Born: 3/1/69

Michael Schumacher

_39419180_schu203.jpg

Michael Schumacher's seventh Formula One drivers' title means he can now claim to be the most successful Grand Prix driver of all time.

The brilliant German has eclipsed Juan Manuel Fangio's tally of five championships - a mark many believed would never be beaten - to add to his records for victories and points.

But being the most successful in history does not necessarily mean you are the best - and many F1 experts would argue Schumacher will never be that no matter how big the numbers he racks up.

We assess some of the 36-year-old's rivals [in no particular order] for the claim to be the greatest Formula One driver in history.

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CAREER IN FIGURES

Titles: 1951, '54, '55, '56, '57

Races: 51

Wins: 24

Born: 24/6/11

Died: 17/7/95

Juan Manuel Fangio

_39419168_fangio203.jpg

Fangio is the Pele of Formula One - a South American genius against whom all others are measured.

The Argentine's record of five titles may have been beaten by Schumacher's relentless march, but it is difficult to imagine how Fangio's career statistics will ever be matched.

He won his five titles in just eight years, and with four different teams. His 24 victories came in just 51 Grands Prix.

That is a win rate of just over one every other race.

It is even more remarkable when you consider that Fangio's best years were probably behind him before he even raced in F1.

He was nearly 39 at the inception of the world championship in 1950 and he won his first title at the age of 40. He drove his greatest race - victory in the 1957 German Grand Prix - at 46.

His rivals - including Stirling Moss - acknowledged that Fangio was on a different level, both as a driver and as a man, for he was regarded as setting a standard for sporting behaviour as well as driving ability.

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CAREER IN FIGURES

Races: 72

Titles: 1963, '65

Wins: 25

Born: 4/3/36

Died: 7/4/68

Jim Clark

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Jim Clark towered over his era just as powerfully as any other all-time great has over theirs.

The quietly-spoken Scot dominated the mid-1960s and came to be synonymous with the Lotus team, forming a formidable partnership with team owner and car designer Colin Chapman.

Clark often had the best cars to drive, but he made them perform better than any contemporary. And he would probably have won more than his two titles had it not been for the legendary fragility of Chapman's cars.

His winning average - he won 25 of his 72 Grands Prix - has been beaten only by Fangio and Schumacher. But he also demonstrated a stunning versatility.

Clark was quick - and won - in everything he turned his hand to, whether it be sportscars, saloon cars or rallying.

It was often said that Clark was at his best when leading from the front and driving off into the distance - but if he looked less convincing battling with rivals, it was probably because he had to do it so rarely.

More wins and titles would surely have followed had he not lost his life in the pouring rain at a Formula Two race at Hockenheim in April 1968.

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CAREER IN FIGURES

Races: 99

Titles: 1969, '71, '73

Wins: 27

Born: 11/6/39

Jackie Stewart

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Jackie Stewart can lay claim to being the first modern-day Grand Prix driver.

The bouncy, self-confident Scot changed the face of Formula One forever by refusing to accept that it was a sport in which being killed was simply a risk inherent in the job.

Stewart started a safety campaign that still goes on to this day, leading the way in the acceptance of what now appear to be such basic items as seat belts and crash barriers.

But Stewart would never have been able to get away with that if he had not been such a fabulous driver.

With the death of Jim Clark, there was a vacuum at the top of F1, and Stewart wasted no time in filling it.

Stewart was blindingly fast, but he also employed to great effect in his driving the intelligence that was apparent in his safety crusade and, later, his business career.

That extended as far as his decision to retire while still at the height of his powers, at the age of 34, just after clinching his third championship.

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CAREER IN FIGURES

Races: 199

Titles: 1985, '86, '89, '93

Wins: 51

Born: 24/2/55

Alain Prost

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Alain Prost is rarely the first name on people's lips in any discussion of the greatest drivers of all time, but his career stands comparison with that of any other star of the last half-century.

The Frenchman brought a rare intelligence to Grand Prix racing, and it was this ability that was at the core of many of his 51 wins - a mark only Schumacher has beaten.

Prost was probably better at the technical side of the sport than any driver in history.

He was at his best in the mid-1980s, when F1 cars had a limited fuel capacity and had to be managed to perform at their best over 200 miles rather than driven flat out.

But he was also blindingly fast - as the team-mates who suffered at his hands will tell you, among them fellow greats Niki Lauda and Nigel Mansell, as well as Keke Rosberg, John Watson, Damon Hill and Jean Alesi.

Only someone with genuine pace would have been able to give such a hard time to Ayrton Senna, with whom Prost fought perhaps the bitterest rivalry in the sport's history.

He retired after winning his fourth title in 1993 - but Schumacher could still be chasing a tally that could so easily have been seven championships had Prost's luck been just a little better in 1982, 1983 and 1984.

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CAREER IN FIGURES

Races: 162

Drivers' titles: 1988, '90, '91

Wins: 41

Born: 21/3/60

Died: 1/5/94

Ayrton Senna

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Ayrton Senna was Formula One's great romantic hero, a sportsman who transcended the limits of his chosen arena and touched the lives of millions across the world.

The Brazilian was arguably the fastest man ever to sit in a Grand Prix car.

Senna behind the wheel was like a force of nature, taking his machinery to limits few believed could exist, as his record of 65 pole positions in 162 races attests.

In races, he was remorseless and intimidating, but he also had an incredible delicacy of touch which was most apparent in wet weather, where he was untouchable.

He lived to drive F1 cars, and while his incredible self-belief and determination were vital parts of his armoury, they sometimes overwhelmed Senna himself as well as his rivals.

He dominated his teams as well as his rivals by the sheer force of his personality, but he also went beyond the pale in pursuing his goals, most notably in the title-deciding collision with his nemesis Alain Prost in Japan in 1990.

Senna was just as formidable a presence out of the car.

He had a magnetic charisma married to a formidable intellect, a poetic eloquence in several languages and a rare willingness to confront and discuss the risks of his chosen profession.

He also invested a lot of time and money in helping disadvantaged street children in his home country, Brazil, a fact he kept to himself until shortly before his death.

All this came together in a man who changed the face of his sport - for the worse, by changing forever what was acceptable in terms of on-track behaviour, and for the better by taking F1 to an entirely new audience.

His impact became truly clear when he was killed in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, an event that kept everything else off the top of news bulletins across the world.

Edited by Senna

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His impact became truly clear when he was killed in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, an event that kept everything else off the top of news bulletins across the world.

Dale Earnhardt's death did the same. Oh how well known Racing drivers are today.

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Dale Earnhardt's death did the same. Oh how well known Racing drivers are today.

Senna was an icon to millions. Of course his death was the top story on the news, worldwide.

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Senna was an icon to millions. Of course his death was the top story on the news, worldwide.

Indeed. I remember being outside after being forced to go on a "family trip", watching the race in one of those TV shop windows, and seeing Senna crash. My father tried to get me to move away, and I screamed at him that Senna had crashed. People heard and within minutes I was surrounded by about 20-25 people, just staring open mouthed.

It was a bad day for F1. I cried my head off when I knew he died. A true Legend in every aspect of the word.

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I didnt watch F1 back in 1994, or if I did I dont remember. I do remember some occasional footage and such.

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Dale Earnhardt's death did the same. Oh how well known Racing drivers are today.

Don't insult Senna by even mentioning his name in the same breath as Earnhardt's. There is no comparison between the two.

Whereas Senna was brilliant, intelligent, articulate and charasmatic, Earnhardt was an incurious thug who resisted safety innovations in a bullish adherence to "tradition" that smacked of arrogance and a self-serving celebration of his own uncultivated and uncultured approach to life. Quite appropriately, it ultimately cost him his life, but at least his death served to advance his 'sport' in a way he would never have achieved while alive.

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Don't insult Senna by even mentioning his name in the same breath as Earnhardt's. There is no comparison between the two.

Whereas Senna was brilliant, intelligent, articulate and charasmatic, Earnhardt was an incurious thug who resisted safety innovations in a bullish adherence to "tradition" that smacked of arrogance and a self-serving celebration of his own uncultivated and uncultured approach to life. Quite appropriately, it ultimately cost him his life, but at least his death served to advance his 'sport' in a way he would never have achieved while alive.

First of all, I never mentioned Senna in that statement. You misread me. Both deaths advanced the sport in safety, and no NASCAR driver has died in NASCAR since Dale Earnhardt. The same with F1 and Senna. Earnhardt had then what not many drivers today have: balls. He would go all out to win, do whatever he could. Watch 3: The Dale Earnhardt story and you will see where I am coming from.

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First of all, I never mentioned Senna in that statement. You misread me. Both deaths advanced the sport in safety, and no NASCAR driver has died in NASCAR since Dale Earnhardt. The same with F1 and Senna. Earnhardt had then what not many drivers today have: balls. He would go all out to win, do whatever he could. Watch 3: The Dale Earnhardt story and you will see where I am coming from.

NASCAR epitomizes the typically American philistine attitude towards motorsports - the cruder and less sophisticated it is, the better.

By design, NASCAR appeals to the lowest common denominator, and therefore specifically targets an ill-educated and coarse audience. That is why they adhere so staunchly to low-tech push rod V8 tube frame race cars - not only because they don't want to alienate their audience by utilizing technologies that they can't possibly understand, but also becuase they want to make the racing seem attainable, thereby enabling the fans to "identify" with the racers and see themselves in their favorite personalities.

And it goes far beyond just the technology, to include the way the series is promoted and how the actual racing is conducted. They celebrate this idiotic notion of "bump and run" racing, where "trading paint" is not only tolerated, but encouraged as part of "good clean stock-car racing". I'll grant that NASCAR doesn't exactly push the boundries of performance when they race on ovals, but still they certainly reach high enough speeds that contact with the walls is an ever-present and potentially lethal danger. Any activity that substantially increases that risk, never mind one that is specifically designed to put your competitor directly onto the path of such a collision, is not only inherently hazardous, but vulgar in its fanatical appeal to NASCAR supporters and fans alike.

As a result, I decline your invitation to watch any program that promotes the series in any way.

Edited by funkejay

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His impact became truly clear when he was killed in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, an event that kept everything else off the top of news bulletins across the world.

This is true. I was off doing a lightweight camping competition with Scouts that weekend. In those draconian days before we all carried mobiles and as Walkmans and my Game Gear with TV Tuner were banned from the event, I had no idea Ratzenberger had died on the saturday or Barrichello had escaped death by millimetres. Imagine my horror when my friends dad came and picked us up and switched on Power FM our local station and the newsreader litterally summed up a story that Senna's family had allowed the life support machines to be switched off.

And to prove the poster 'Senna's' point, do a quick google search for 1st May 2004. After some CERN and Wikipedia results that contain the words 1994 and May (and these are high because of the Google ranking system liking pages that are highly linked to) we have a link to 10th May 1994 stating Mandela had become SA president and then a BBC news link about Senna's death. There you have it, Senna's death still keeps all other news for 1/5/1994 off the frontpages to this day!

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NASCAR epitomizes the typically American philistine attitude towards motorsports - the cruder and less sophisticated it is, the better.

By design, NASCAR appeals to the lowest common denominator, and therefore specifically targets an ill-educated and coarse audience. That is why they adhere so staunchly to low-tech push rod V8 tube frame race cars - not only because they don't want to alienate their audience by utilizing technologies that they can't possibly understand, but also becuase they want to make the racing seem attainable, thereby enabling the fans to "identify" with the racers and see themselves in their favorite personalities.

And it goes far beyond just the technology, to include the way the series is promoted and how the actual racing is conducted. They celebrate this idiotic notion of "bump and run" racing, where "trading paint" is not only tolerated, but encouraged as part of "good clean stock-car racing". I'll grant that NASCAR doesn't exactly push the boundries of performance when they race on ovals, but still they certainly reach high enough speeds that contact with the walls is an ever-present and potentially lethal danger. Any activity that substantially increases that risk, never mind one that is specifically designed to put your competitor directly onto the path of such a collision, is not only inherently hazardous, but vulgar in its fanatical appeal to NASCAR supporters and fans alike.

As a result, I decline your invitation to watch any program that promotes the series in any way.

NASCAR was back in the day just as unsafe as F1 was in the 1980s and 1990s. You consider NASCAR "bump and run" and "trading paint" unsafe, but what about Gilles and Rene at Dijon 1979? They were doing about the same thing!

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NASCAR was back in the day just as unsafe as F1 was in the 1980s and 1990s. You consider NASCAR "bump and run" and "trading paint" unsafe, but what about Gilles and Rene at Dijon 1979? They were doing about the same thing!

First of all, F1 cars have always been open wheeled racers, and therefore incapable of the type of nonsense that passes for racing in NASCAR.

Second, NASCAR has never at any given time approached the standards of safety that have been employed in F1, no matter which era you want to talk about. That is not to say that F1 does not pose similar risks of injury or death, due to the greater speeds involved (not to mention open c##kpits), but there has always been a higher level of technology utilized in F1, whether you're discussing car design or safety equipment.

Finally, the "bump and run" techniques and "trading paint" we're talking about didn't happen twenty years ago, it is still a seminal part of NASCAR racing today, and sadly provides one of the primary sources of appeal to its present-day fans.

No, NASCAR wasn't just unsafe "back in the day", it remains unsafe now - but more importantly, it celebrates an ignorant and cavalier attitude towards that danger which ultimately will only cost more lives. It is a coarse, uncivilized and unsophisticated sport that is the racing world's equivalent of the WWE.

If there were some way of ridding the world of it, we'd all be better off.

Edited by funkejay

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OK, i have only really watched formula 1 for the last three years, before that i was too young to really understand it, i just watched and cheared for the red cars becasue red was my favorite color. But now, over the last 3 years I have become a great fan, since most of the races are in Europe and i life on the west coast of the US i have to get up pretty eirly, and in the last 3 years i havent missed a race.

I am a big Schumi fan not just because I am a greman or because im a Ferrari nut but because I find it fun to watch him drive. I think Monze proves the point that Schumi didnt just win because nobody could chalenge ferrari as lots of people claim. Or his proformance in Interlagos some years ago where he and Barricelo both spun on the opening laps and came back to a 1,2 if I remember corectly, is another indicator of his skill. He might have been somewhat reckless in the begining of his carear but i think he has changed over the last 10 years.

I really wish i was able to grasp F1 during the time of Sena for people tell me he was a dream to watch. But i do think again that his death not only created a safer Formula One but it also inflated his stature among other drives. Would Richthofen really have been so celebrated for being a great fighter pilot had he not died in the line of duty or would JFK really be proclaimed such a great president had he not been assasinated? Yes their faults are aknowlaged but if they had they died from old age would they really have been put on a mantel as high as they are on now? Maybe this preseption might just be because i never got to see him drive.

As for NASCAR, i think Bill Maher sums it up pretty good in on phrase "Its rednecks watching other rednecks turn left" my freinds tell me i should watch NASCAR but every time i watch i just can get over the fact that the only reason the cars have drivers is to avoid othere cars. i opnce watched a documetary on NASCAR and they explained that you copuld set up the car to run the lap with just having the wheel locked left and car setup, seems pointless to me.

Edit-

sorry if i wrote too much, first post

Edited by F1 FANatic

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:welcome: F1 FANatic.

Totally agree with you on NASCAR.

It is a coarse, uncivilized and unsophisticated sport that is the racing world's equivalent of the WWE.

If there were some way of ridding the world of it, we'd all be better off.

That is so true. Unfortunately, I don't see it's popularity diminishing any time soon.

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If there were some way of ridding the world of it, we'd all be better off.

Some say the same about F1, but NASCAR is too popular. No deaths since Dale Earnhardt prove how its grown in safety.

Motor racing in general is dangerous. Always has been, always will be, even in F1.

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Motor racing in general is dangerous. Always has been, always will be, even in F1.

As sad as it is for any driver to die in an accident, everyone in motorsport know the risks.

I read an interview with David Coulthard once in which he said that if he ever dies in an F1 accident his fans mustn't be upset because he would have died with a smile on his face.

I also smiled earlier in one forum topic, a certain clown.. I mean member said Alonso's pass on Schumacher in Japan wasn't good because it was too dangerous. Thats [email protected], It was pure racer, from two highly dedicated/superb drivers.

Maybe Mark Webber would avoid a somewhat dangerous overtaking move but not a true racer!

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Alonso's pass on Webber was good going into turn one, two wheels on the grass to get by him.

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NASCAR epitomizes the typically American philistine attitude towards motorsports - the cruder and less sophisticated it is, the better.

By design, NASCAR appeals to the lowest common denominator, and therefore specifically targets an ill-educated and coarse audience. That is why they adhere so staunchly to low-tech push rod V8 tube frame race cars - not only because they don't want to alienate their audience by utilizing technologies that they can't possibly understand, but also becuase they want to make the racing seem attainable, thereby enabling the fans to "identify" with the racers and see themselves in their favorite personalities.

And it goes far beyond just the technology, to include the way the series is promoted and how the actual racing is conducted. They celebrate this idiotic notion of "bump and run" racing, where "trading paint" is not only tolerated, but encouraged as part of "good clean stock-car racing". I'll grant that NASCAR doesn't exactly push the boundries of performance when they race on ovals, but still they certainly reach high enough speeds that contact with the walls is an ever-present and potentially lethal danger. Any activity that substantially increases that risk, never mind one that is specifically designed to put your competitor directly onto the path of such a collision, is not only inherently hazardous, but vulgar in its fanatical appeal to NASCAR supporters and fans alike.

As a result, I decline your invitation to watch any program that promotes the series in any way.

Harsh words. But you are right. There is no wonder it is a US sport.

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:angry: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGG

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:angry: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGG

Present company excepted of course Pumpdoc. :) (I was generalising again)

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Present company excepted of course Pumpdoc. :) (I was generalising again)

Thank you..........

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i think the reall differance between F1 and Nascar is that in NASCAR you are soposed to feel as though the dirvers are the guy down the street. they drive Fords and Dodges. They want you to beleive that any person on the street can be a NASCAR driver.

in F1 that isnt the case. i dont want to feel that Joe schmoe next door can be an F1 driver. if that were the case then F1 wouldnt be what it is. it is the best drivers in the world with the best tech and cars. i dont want F1 to be atainible by evwerybody. i want those drivers to really be great.

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I always thought that it was about driving the passenger versions of what the NASCAR guys drive. Hell, there was one guy who was discovered by a top NASCAR driver over the internet in a race over the internet, I think he's done quite well. Pumpdoc, a little help in identifying him...

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