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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:14 am 
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tim3003 wrote:
A lot of people make the point that success in F1 is car-dependent. Fair enough, but as I think I said, the best drivers tend to get the best cars, so isn't the playing field thus level again?

Maybe it's the statistican in me that wants to define numerically who is the best ! Maybe my way is not the correct way. But if not can we agree on another objective criteria that is? If not then all we have is subjective views, of which there are as many as there are drivers! Surely that's not good enough..


Yeah, I don't see that as possible - I have not read every post, but if it was not mentioned, you have a number of top drivers with unfinished careers, so you could never really have an accurate measure. In any case, what is wrong with "the most success with the opportunities given, whatever they may be" statistic? That you have done a bang up job measuring.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:21 am 
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Zoue wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
Argentum wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
My method explicitly ignores the evolutionary changes in the sport
Your method does no such thing. It arbitrarily gives WDC twice the points of a second place? why? What if someone else thinks the ratio should be 3:1? Or 7:2? Or any other figure?
Fair enough, but I have to start somewhere!
I don't think it's enough to say you have to start somewhere. The weightings you give have to have some science behind them otherwise they're just arbitrary and they call any results into question, as Argentum was trying to explain. You can't accurately classify "best" by rolling dice on the criteria.

Someone earlier referenced POBRatings and I'd agree that his system seems the most scientific I've seen so far. I still think it has a degree of subjectivity but it tries its hardest to take the car into account, which I don't think your system does, not enough anyway. And before you think I'm just criticising let me say I couldn't do any better myself and if you re-labelled it as an attempt to classify the most successful drivers I'd probably be more on board with it. But as it is I don't think there's enough to convince me or others that "best" and "most successful" are interchangeable.


POB's daughter Catherine here, using his log-in:

Some analysts profess to take the car into account but don't actually. As POB argues:

“Smith claims to have taken the quality of the car into account (“it is rare that a great driver can prosper without a great car, or vice versa” (p. 10)), yet some of his findings seem to be results-based data, bolstering the dominance of he drivers whom he deemed to be the ‘top three’. Smith neglects the fact that his nominated three drivers, Fangio, Clark and Schumacher, had superior cars for longer periods of time than most.”
[...]
“Unpalatably to many, race results – such as Smith appears to use – have always had far more to do with the lucky timing of driver-car combinations and circumstances than with the popularly perceived but seldom occurring direct, level-playing-field, head-to-head competition between drivers.

“It is therefore not possible to distinguish between ‘Top Drivers’ across eras with any degree of quantifiable and convincing certainty. Smith’s ultimate conclusions – that Fangio, Clark and Schumacher were the top three Formula One drivers – remain an illogical and unsubstantiated leap.”

From: https://grandprixratings.blogspot.com/2015/07/review-of-roger-smiths-analysing.html

By using race times and re-computing the rating figures when drivers changed teams/cars and got new team-mates, POB's system does in fact take the car into account:

“My rating figures for the cars was obtained by subtracting the driver-rating figure from the package-rating and then adding back the base 100.0 figure to obtain the car-rating. For example, in 1950 the Fangio/ Alfa Romeo 158 package-rated at 100.0 and Fangio driver-rated at 100.0, so the ‘subtraction’ leaves 0.0 (100.0 – 100.0 = 0.0), then adding back 100.0 [a convention of POB’s Rating System] gives the Alfa Romeo 158 the ultimate car-rating figure of 100.0. That same year the next-fastest package was the Ascari/ Ferrari 375 which package-rated at 100.5. If we subtract Ascari’s driver-rating of 100.1 from his package-rating of 100.5 = 0.4, then add back the base 100.0, the resulting figure is 100.4, representing the Ferrari Type 375’s car-rating of 100.4 (100.5 – 100.1 = 100.4). The Sommer/ Talbot-Lago package-rating was 103.0; subtracting Sommer’s driver-rating of 100.8 results in the Talbot-Lago’s car-rating of 102.2 (103.0 – 100.8 = 2.2 + 100.0 = 102.2).
[...]
"Establishing how fast the car is can only be achieved by removing the contribution made by the team’s driver(s). By using the speed of the team’s fastest driver, this process will most accurately produce the ultimate speed of any particular car."

From: http://grandprixratings.blogspot.com/2017/01/explanatory-chapters-now-available.html

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:20 am 
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bourbon19 wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
A lot of people make the point that success in F1 is car-dependent. Fair enough, but as I think I said, the best drivers tend to get the best cars, so isn't the playing field thus level again?

Maybe it's the statistican in me that wants to define numerically who is the best ! Maybe my way is not the correct way. But if not can we agree on another objective criteria that is? If not then all we have is subjective views, of which there are as many as there are drivers! Surely that's not good enough..


Yeah, I don't see that as possible - I have not read every post, but if it was not mentioned, you have a number of top drivers with unfinished careers, so you could never really have an accurate measure. In any case, what is wrong with "the most success with the opportunities given, whatever they may be" statistic? That you have done a bang up job measuring.


POB's daughter Catherine here, using his log-in:

POB found that, in order to define numerically who is the best, we cannot escape some subjective interpretation. This means that the need for some debate or reasoned argument is unavoidable. With subjective views only, the question would be a case of ships passing in the night, while with raw statistics only, many of the nuances and complexities of racing would be bulldozed. Critique should therefore focus not on 'which measure' should be used but rather on 'whether the two measures/perspectives - objective and subjective - have been kept in adequate balance with each other' - without polarising. Once the set of measures has been established, POB argued that debate/critique then boiled down to which races to take into account (the database).

Relevant excerpts from POB's 2016 'Explanatory Chapters':
From: http://grandprixratings.blogspot.com/20 ... lable.html

"Results-based systems favour the best cars while points-based systems are relatively arbitrary."

"Methodologies that use race-results or which are purely statistics-based are biased in favour of the drivers in the best car/teams. As the best teams are at the top so their drivers will also be found at the top, not necessarily the best drivers." [paraphrased]

"Top cars/teams usually get the best drivers and drivers perform better in top teams/cars. This is where some subjective judgement enters my Rating System. However, the margin of error is limited by actual race and or pre-race times or an aggregate of the two times."

"They have not necessarily rewarded the fastest or best drivers. One cannot use the official points scores for driver comparisons, based as they are on the combined driver-and-car ‘package’ performance, and not for driver or car separately."

"driver competitiveness is not consistent over a career, even for the best drivers. My driver-rating study shows that rookies tend to build up to their peak after three to five seasons, and older men’s speed tapers off towards career-end."

The strength of POB's methodology is that it identifies the less-than-great drivers who won championships when in superior cars, and the great drivers who failed to win due to inferior cars.

Keeping both objective and subjective measures in intelligent balance with each other arguably offers the best chance of correctly measuring and identifying (1) the unacknowledged top-rated drivers and (2) the lesser drivers who won mainly through having top-rated cars. However, depending on individual psychologies, some feel uncomfortable with the nebulousness of the subjective and will therefore throw in their lot entirely with statistics, while others favour the subjective and are unable to sidestep personalities or nationalities, buying into today’s media-driven cult of the hero and the celebrity.

--
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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:55 pm 
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POBRatings wrote:

Response by POB's daughter Catherine, using his log-in:

POB's Rating System incorporates both raw statistics and subjective opinion - but this is not unconstrained opinion in that if one is taking into account the same 'secondary measures' that he is considering, one would have a high chance of coming to the same conclusion as him. After the point at which raw statistics are no longer decisive, his ratings and rankings are based on reasoned argument, based on a range of predefined criteria (his 'secondary measures').

I know POB would have enjoyed discussing these 'numerous sources' with you. Having studied every race since 1894, he identified them as:
[1] Driver
[2] Car
[3] Team-mate
[4] Rivals
[5] Own-team
[6] Mishaps/luck

He termed these his "six criteria for driver-dominance", dominance being defined as 'winning a high number of races per season'.

POB's thesis was that no driver, no matter how great and talented, would be able to dominate without enjoying at least two of these six criteria. "Obviously one of these two must be driver talent. Dominance is not however possible due solely to driver ability."

Evidence for his assertions about these 6 criteria can be found here:
http://grandprixratings.blogspot.com/2018/03/patrick-obriens-grand-prix-rating.html


This all sounds hugely and impressively detailed, but what are its conclusions? I can't find them on the Blog site..


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:20 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
POBRatings wrote:

Response by POB's daughter Catherine, using his log-in:

POB's Rating System incorporates both raw statistics and subjective opinion - but this is not unconstrained opinion in that if one is taking into account the same 'secondary measures' that he is considering, one would have a high chance of coming to the same conclusion as him. After the point at which raw statistics are no longer decisive, his ratings and rankings are based on reasoned argument, based on a range of predefined criteria (his 'secondary measures').

I know POB would have enjoyed discussing these 'numerous sources' with you. Having studied every race since 1894, he identified them as:
[1] Driver
[2] Car
[3] Team-mate
[4] Rivals
[5] Own-team
[6] Mishaps/luck

He termed these his "six criteria for driver-dominance", dominance being defined as 'winning a high number of races per season'.

POB's thesis was that no driver, no matter how great and talented, would be able to dominate without enjoying at least two of these six criteria. "Obviously one of these two must be driver talent. Dominance is not however possible due solely to driver ability."

Evidence for his assertions about these 6 criteria can be found here:
http://grandprixratings.blogspot.com/2018/03/patrick-obriens-grand-prix-rating.html


This all sounds hugely and impressively detailed, but what are its conclusions? I can't find them on the Blog site..


POB's daughter Catherine here, using his log-in:

Thanks for your interest. POB's reams of computations (and re-computations if something in the field changed mid-way through) were all done by hand. It was insane how many figures and variables he could hold in his mind at any one time. I can only conclude that he had one of those extreme systematising brains on the autistic spectrum, that could perceive a larger pattern built up from an infinite number of tiny details and nuances e.g., modifications to car models that caused his ratings to change. A poster on the F1 Fanatics forum characterised him as "...a most knowledgeable and charming man. I always thought he must be quite mad to be attempting to rate so many era's, drivers etc. something my brain could not even contemplate, definitely a touch of genius in him." However, I don't think he could have tackled (and critiqued) the question of 'which is the best F1 driver ever?' without his in-depth knowledge of motor-racing history. He could give an example from history to illustrate any theoretical point he was making in his Rating System, assuring me of its validity and rigour.

His conclusions are in his 17 published volumes, available on Lulu.com:

The keystone volume is 'Explanatory Chapters':
http://www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-obrien/patrick-obriens-grand-prix-rating-system-explanatory-chapters-1894-2013/paperback/product-23888213.html

His specific conclusions about which drivers top-rated each season are given in 14 volumes, one for each season from 1894 until 2016. These too can be found on the Lulu.com page. Each of these contains 'Guidelines', outlining his methods and how to interpret his figures. In these books, he doesn't expect you to take his conclusions on faith; he presents his reasoning. Some of his blog posts also discuss his conclusions.

'Further Analysis' was the last book he wrote on his Rating System, right before he died in 2017 (he left me a note about where I could find it on his computer):
http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-obrien/patrick-obriens-grand-prix-rating-system-further-analysis-1894-2016/paperback/product-23725565.html
This volume contains his '6 criteria for driver dominance'.

These 17 volumes are as much a distillation of GP history as they are the conclusions his System arrived at about the 'best drivers'.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:39 pm 
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I'm always late to these things. Anyway, Prost

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:46 pm 
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mcdo wrote:
I'm always late to these things. Anyway, Prost


That's an opinion. This thread is about how you prove it..


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:37 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
mcdo wrote:
I'm always late to these things. Anyway, Prost


That's an opinion. This thread is about how you prove it..

no, it isn't. mcdo is entitled to his opinion especially as there is no way to "prove" who the best ever driver in F1, no matter who one selects.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:44 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
mcdo wrote:
I'm always late to these things. Anyway, Prost

That's an opinion. This thread is about how you prove it..

Well clearly you can't and if you think about the whole thread is about opinions. Sure you can come up with some stats to back up your opinions, but that's all they're doing. Any system, however complex is flawed from the outset. You can't do it. No disrespect to anyone who tries, but you have to be realistic about what you are trying to do. Comparing drivers who never raced each other? Or who never drove the same cars? Think about it for a minute. Form your opinion, do some research, back it up to the nth degree, but never lose sight of the fact that it is just an opinion.

I give you an overheard conversation between my 8 and 10 year old boys

Boy 1 "That's just your opinion"
Boy 2 "So, I'm still right"
Boy 1 "It's an OPINION - you can't prove you're right! Opinions can't be proved - else it would be a fact!"
..slight delay..

Boy 2 "Well then what's the point in having one?...."

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:57 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
mcdo wrote:
I'm always late to these things. Anyway, Prost


That's an opinion. This thread is about how you prove it..

The way Michael did by dedicating his life to F1 exclusively for a number of years, even after he was married. Living apart from Corinna for over 18 months in his obsession to become an even better version of himself. He logged thousands upon thousands of laps and miles, looking to see where he could do things better/differently/unconventionally that would yield better results. And that didn't necessarily pertain to complete laps as a whole, and often he'd run laps in order to work on a single corner or series of corners in a bid tidy it up as best and as much as possible, seeking perfection in every possible facet for every possible scenario.

Never before, nor since has any driver ever gone to such lengths, and never has a driver been THAT much better than the rest of the field. Clark was likely the closest to this ability, and Senna as well, but as great as Senna was, he "expected" to win out of sheer arrogance at times and it wasn't unlike him to bullrush his way through the field in dangerous fashion, when his supreme ability would have allowed him to overtake those drivers anyway.

As well, in Michael's era and ever since, the significant car advantage a Jim Clark and many before Michael's era enjoyed was considerably greater than any advantage Michael enjoyed, and if you compare Michael's teammates' results in those years when he was on a completely different level, they didn't enjoy anywhere near the gap Michael would while driving the same machinery. Rubens was on a similar level at times during 2 of the seasons as Michael's teammate which says a great deal about both Michael & Rubens.

Prost is the most cerebral F1 driver of all time with elite skill & ability and knew better than anyone in history how to get inside the heads of his rivals, teammate or not. And on track he was a calculating machine. His ONLY knock was his dislike and perhaps too great respect for driving in the wet, but I don't blame him for that. He was an excellent wet weather driver, but when conditions became torrential, he wasn't comfortable pushing the envelope the way Senna could and would. But Prost is my #2

My O.G. list is as follows

1. Schumacher
2. Prost
3. Senna
4. Clark
5. Fangio


My Current list is as follows

1. Schumacher
2. Hamilton
3. Prost
4. Senna
5. Clark
6. Fangio
7. Stewart
8. Piquet (one of the most underrated drivers of all time, and the man could work on all aspects of his cars, likely the toughest road to F1 of all time)
9. Alonso (Would like to slot him in closer to Hamilton but his comparative lack of further success doesn't allow me to do so)
10. Lauda

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:11 pm 
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DOLOMITE wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
mcdo wrote:
I'm always late to these things. Anyway, Prost

That's an opinion. This thread is about how you prove it..

Well clearly you can't and if you think about the whole thread is about opinions. Sure you can come up with some stats to back up your opinions, but that's all they're doing. Any system, however complex is flawed from the outset. You can't do it. No disrespect to anyone who tries, but you have to be realistic about what you are trying to do. Comparing drivers who never raced each other? Or who never drove the same cars? Think about it for a minute. Form your opinion, do some research, back it up to the nth degree, but never lose sight of the fact that it is just an opinion.

I give you an overheard conversation between my 8 and 10 year old boys

Boy 1 "That's just your opinion"
Boy 2 "So, I'm still right"
Boy 1 "It's an OPINION - you can't prove you're right! Opinions can't be proved - else it would be a fact!"
..slight delay..

Boy 2 "Well then what's the point in having one?...."

I wouldn't go as far to say that it's impossible for a system to exist that would fairly rank the drivers in order of talent, and also that some opinions are more valid than others. It's more like there is a scale of accuracy to nonsense on both systems and opinions. Some opinions are accurate, sone are nonsense, some are somewhere inbetween.

The issue with a lot of systems that exist on the internet is that they come about it from the wrong direction. The creator of the system often has an idea in their head of who they think is the best, and suddenly notice a pattern that matches their opinion - or thinks of the qualities they deem important and construct a system - usually not realising they are manipulating it - that matches closely to their opinion and their confirmation bias means they think they have found the one true system.

If there is a one true system, then it will be ridiculously complex, far beyond any of the simple algebra formulas people are excited to announce to the world. There is no much nuance that affects the final data we end up with. There is also so much we don't know. We don't know who was favoured behind the scenes, it's impossible for us to properly assess dice roll races like Hockenheim this year. But just because a system couldn't be created by a fan doesn't mean that hypothetically one couldn't be created by some all knowing being.

Obviously, such a system is 'practically' impossible. It's like dividing by zero - but just as you get closer to zero, the output gets closer and closer to infinity - it would be possible to start getting closer and closer to an objective and accurate system with smaller and smaller error bars. But it would require a lot of research (vastly more than keyboard warrior is going to have to have put in with a couple of weekends browsing Wikipedia) and a great deal of statistical skill and analysis - it would probably take a PhD thesis to get close.

POB's system - as was the case with every other - was designed by a flawed flesh and blood system, but I am inclined to believe that it's closer to the accurate end of the scale rather than the nonsense one. Is it perfect? Far from it. But it's clear that a great deal of research was put in to it, and attempts to counteract a lot of the biases and rogue results that affect many of the mechanical mathematical models of the past.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:16 pm 
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Blake wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
mcdo wrote:
I'm always late to these things. Anyway, Prost


That's an opinion. This thread is about how you prove it..

no, it isn't. mcdo is entitled to his opinion especially as there is no way to "prove" who the best ever driver in F1, no matter who one selects.

This is entirely correct. You can't prove an opinion. You can - however - justify it and I suspect that is what tim3003 is driving at. Although I think that mcdo's post - even if it probably is his actual opinion - is meant to be read in a slightly facetious tone.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:08 pm 
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mcdo wrote:
I'm always late to these things. Anyway, Prost

Cheers to you as well. :)

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2014: Champion
2015: 3rd Place
2016: 4th Place

2017: 9th Place
2018: 7th place

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:45 am 
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Alienturnedhuman wrote:
I wouldn't go as far to say that it's impossible for a system to exist that would fairly rank the drivers in order of talent, and also that some opinions are more valid than others. It's more like there is a scale of accuracy to nonsense on both systems and opinions. Some opinions are accurate, sone are nonsense, some are somewhere inbetween.

The issue with a lot of systems that exist on the internet is that they come about it from the wrong direction. The creator of the system often has an idea in their head of who they think is the best, and suddenly notice a pattern that matches their opinion - or thinks of the qualities they deem important and construct a system - usually not realising they are manipulating it - that matches closely to their opinion and their confirmation bias means they think they have found the one true system.

If there is a one true system, then it will be ridiculously complex, far beyond any of the simple algebra formulas people are excited to announce to the world. There is no much nuance that affects the final data we end up with. There is also so much we don't know. We don't know who was favoured behind the scenes, it's impossible for us to properly assess dice roll races like Hockenheim this year. But just because a system couldn't be created by a fan doesn't mean that hypothetically one couldn't be created by some all knowing being.

Obviously, such a system is 'practically' impossible. It's like dividing by zero - but just as you get closer to zero, the output gets closer and closer to infinity - it would be possible to start getting closer and closer to an objective and accurate system with smaller and smaller error bars. But it would require a lot of research (vastly more than keyboard warrior is going to have to have put in with a couple of weekends browsing Wikipedia) and a great deal of statistical skill and analysis - it would probably take a PhD thesis to get close.

POB's system - as was the case with every other - was designed by a flawed flesh and blood system, but I am inclined to believe that it's closer to the accurate end of the scale rather than the nonsense one. Is it perfect? Far from it. But it's clear that a great deal of research was put in to it, and attempts to counteract a lot of the biases and rogue results that affect many of the mechanical mathematical models of the past.


Well I'll have to respectfully disagree! I can't see how it's possible. I totally agree that some produce more reliable results but ultimately you're going to have the same list of @20 drivers just with slight differences in order. But however clever the system, however many variables are factored in and weightings added, it's all just a bit of fun. What about careers that are cut short for example? Who know how good Bianchi was? What if Alonso had been in a better car most of his career? What if Schumacher had had stronger teammates? etc etc All these would have affected the outcomes of these system and yet the drivers would have been driving at the same level of ability either way. What about drivers who believe in "winning at the slowest speed possible" etc etc. There's a hundred reasons why the numbers will only tell us so much.
POBs system was (is?) incredibly meticulous but take this year as an example - Mercedes the "best" car is pretty much beyond doubt but what if their drivers had been Bottas and say Ocon and Hamilton had taken a sabbatical. What the the results stats suggest to us then?

Like I said, I love stats and lists, always have, I just think people need to be careful when citing them as "proof" of something.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:37 am 
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DOLOMITE wrote:

Well I'll have to respectfully disagree! I can't see how it's possible. I totally agree that some produce more reliable results but ultimately you're going to have the same list of @20 drivers just with slight differences in order. But however clever the system, however many variables are factored in and weightings added, it's all just a bit of fun. What about careers that are cut short for example? Who know how good Bianchi was? What if Alonso had been in a better car most of his career? What if Schumacher had had stronger teammates? etc etc All these would have affected the outcomes of these system and yet the drivers would have been driving at the same level of ability either way. What about drivers who believe in "winning at the slowest speed possible" etc etc. There's a hundred reasons why the numbers will only tell us so much.
POBs system was (is?) incredibly meticulous but take this year as an example - Mercedes the "best" car is pretty much beyond doubt but what if their drivers had been Bottas and say Ocon and Hamilton had taken a sabbatical. What the the results stats suggest to us then?

Like I said, I love stats and lists, always have, I just think people need to be careful when citing them as "proof" of something.


As I've said before in this thread: I agree with you in part, but I disagree too: Yes any system is going to have a human bias, and none can account for all the might-have-beens and fluke circumstances.

However my conclusion therefore is that the only way to rank drivers is via their results, which are not open to opinion. As in any other sport, it's trophies and titles that define greatness, not might-have-beens. Hopefully over the longer term luck tends to balance out but I'm not saying it always will. No this system is not perfect, but unless you just want to say there's no way to tell and all is opinion then I don't see any alternative. As I understand it the POB system only ranks drivers in each year, not across the years, so does not answer my original question.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:09 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
DOLOMITE wrote:

Well I'll have to respectfully disagree! I can't see how it's possible. I totally agree that some produce more reliable results but ultimately you're going to have the same list of @20 drivers just with slight differences in order. But however clever the system, however many variables are factored in and weightings added, it's all just a bit of fun. What about careers that are cut short for example? Who know how good Bianchi was? What if Alonso had been in a better car most of his career? What if Schumacher had had stronger teammates? etc etc All these would have affected the outcomes of these system and yet the drivers would have been driving at the same level of ability either way. What about drivers who believe in "winning at the slowest speed possible" etc etc. There's a hundred reasons why the numbers will only tell us so much.
POBs system was (is?) incredibly meticulous but take this year as an example - Mercedes the "best" car is pretty much beyond doubt but what if their drivers had been Bottas and say Ocon and Hamilton had taken a sabbatical. What the the results stats suggest to us then?

Like I said, I love stats and lists, always have, I just think people need to be careful when citing them as "proof" of something.


As I've said before in this thread: I agree with you in part, but I disagree too: Yes any system is going to have a human bias, and none can account for all the might-have-beens and fluke circumstances.

However my conclusion therefore is that the only way to rank drivers is via their results, which are not open to opinion. As in any other sport, it's trophies and titles that define greatness, not might-have-beens. Hopefully over the longer term luck tends to balance out but I'm not saying it always will. No this system is not perfect, but unless you just want to say there's no way to tell and all is opinion then I don't see any alternative. As I understand it the POB system only ranks drivers in each year, not across the years, so does not answer my original question.



The bit in bold is what I think everyone needs to realise. Every system I have seen has been flawed and open to bias. I'm fine with the fact that it is impossible to definitively rank drivers over generations.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:21 pm 
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Herb wrote:
tim3003 wrote:

No this system is not perfect, but unless you just want to say there's no way to tell and all is opinion then I don't see any alternative.



The bit in bold is what I think everyone needs to realise. Every system I have seen has been flawed and open to bias. I'm fine with the fact that it is impossible to definitively rank drivers over generations.


In what way is ordering drivers by the number of titles and wins they've achieved biassed? It just measures success. And surely any GP driver would agree that their goal is winning races and titles..


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:24 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
Herb wrote:
tim3003 wrote:

No this system is not perfect, but unless you just want to say there's no way to tell and all is opinion then I don't see any alternative.



The bit in bold is what I think everyone needs to realise. Every system I have seen has been flawed and open to bias. I'm fine with the fact that it is impossible to definitively rank drivers over generations.


In what way is ordering drivers by the number of titles and wins they've achieved biassed? It just measures success. And surely any GP driver would agree that their goal is winning races and titles..


Most successful does not equal best because other factors than driver quality (e.g. car quality, reliability, luck, etc. pp.) influence success in F1.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:28 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
Herb wrote:
tim3003 wrote:

No this system is not perfect, but unless you just want to say there's no way to tell and all is opinion then I don't see any alternative.



The bit in bold is what I think everyone needs to realise. Every system I have seen has been flawed and open to bias. I'm fine with the fact that it is impossible to definitively rank drivers over generations.


In what way is ordering drivers by the number of titles and wins they've achieved biassed? It just measures success. And surely any GP driver would agree that their goal is winning races and titles..


That data biased towards those that spend time in better equipment.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:37 pm 
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Number of wins when compared drivers from different eras is pointless due to the massive differences in number of races per year in the sport.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:17 pm 
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Paolo_Lasardi wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
Herb wrote:
tim3003 wrote:

No this system is not perfect, but unless you just want to say there's no way to tell and all is opinion then I don't see any alternative.



The bit in bold is what I think everyone needs to realise. Every system I have seen has been flawed and open to bias. I'm fine with the fact that it is impossible to definitively rank drivers over generations.


In what way is ordering drivers by the number of titles and wins they've achieved biassed? It just measures success. And surely any GP driver would agree that their goal is winning races and titles..


Most successful does not equal best because other factors than driver quality (e.g. car quality, reliability, luck, etc. pp.) influence success in F1.

+1, again.

Paolo, we have been agreeing way too much lately!

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:02 am 
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tim3003 wrote:
mcdo wrote:
I'm always late to these things. Anyway, Prost


That's an opinion. This thread is about how you prove it..

The record breaker of his time during what has often been considered the "Golden Age" of Formula 1. Genuine title contender across 9 different seasons with 4 different teams and 4 different engine marques. Won a title in a car that wasn't the fastest (1986). Bookended his career with points on debut, podium on retirement (as World Champion)

4 titles won. The drivers in the other car were:
- Niki Lauda
- Keke Rosberg
- Ayrton Senna
- Damon Hill

Other teammates beaten over a season:
- Nigel Mansell
- Jean Alesi
- Rene Arnoux
- Eddie Cheever
- Stefan Johansson

You won't find many lists better than that. I'm content that it justifies my opinion

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:15 am 
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mcdo wrote:
4 titles won. The drivers in the other car were:
- Niki Lauda
- Keke Rosberg
- Ayrton Senna
- Damon Hill

Prost is fairly unique in the quality of teammates he had when winning his titles. You won't find another driver who won four titles with world champions in the other car.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:40 am 
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DOLOMITE wrote:
Obviously, such a system is 'practically' impossible. It's like dividing by zero - but just as you get closer to zero, the output gets closer and closer to infinity - it would be possible to start getting closer and closer to an objective and accurate system with smaller and smaller error bars. But it would require a lot of research (vastly more than keyboard warrior is going to have to have put in with a couple of weekends browsing Wikipedia) and a great deal of statistical skill and analysis - it would probably take a PhD thesis to get close.

POB's system - as was the case with every other - was designed by a flawed flesh and blood system, but I am inclined to believe that it's closer to the accurate end of the scale rather than the nonsense one. Is it perfect? Far from it. But it's clear that a great deal of research was put in to it, and attempts to counteract a lot of the biases and rogue results that affect many of the mechanical mathematical models of the past.

POB's daughter Catherine here, using his log-in:

POB would agree – no system is perfect but some are less flawed than others. The rogue results regularly spewed out by mechanical mathematical models cast doubt on their methodology.

Some say that X driver was the best because he won more races. Some say it’s because of better percentages. Some because X driver brought passion to the sport. After decades of searching, POB realised that the only way to measure and separate Driver and Car from Package is through package-speed across a full season.

Using race-times as a primary measure, and comparing drivers in same-cars to infer relative speed, means that any subjective judgement is strictly constrained ('bounded'). Surely that is the most useful type of subjectivity – tethered tightly to objective measures? i.e., to reality.

IMHO, seeing the years of research and sheer volume of computation that went into POB’s Grand Prix Rating System, he earned a PhD many times over.

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Last edited by POBRatings on Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:47 am 
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Exediron wrote:
mcdo wrote:
4 titles won. The drivers in the other car were:
- Niki Lauda
- Keke Rosberg
- Ayrton Senna
- Damon Hill

Prost is fairly unique in the quality of teammates he had when winning his titles. You won't find another driver who won four titles with world champions in the other car.


Agree to a certain extent but to be fair, Lauda & Rosberg we're in their retirement year when Prost won those titles as their results in those years reflect.

Senna had atrocious reliability issues in 89 & of course there was Suzuka.

Hill was just in his 2nd year of F1, very much a #2 at Williams and a vastly inferior driver to Prost in 93.

None of the above though dampens my opinion of Prost. To me he's currently # 2 on my list of the best i've seen. He was sublime in 86, brilliant, and calmly drove quality races, clocking up points while Williams imploded to grab defeat from the jaws of victory.

He championed Senna joining McLaren & then didn't take a step back when it came time to fight fire with fire & he out drove Mansell at Ferrari in 1990

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:56 am 
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DOLOMITE wrote:
Well I'll have to respectfully disagree! I can't see how it's possible. I totally agree that some produce more reliable results but ultimately you're going to have the same list of @20 drivers just with slight differences in order. But however clever the system, however many variables are factored in and weightings added, it's all just a bit of fun. What about careers that are cut short for example? Who know how good Bianchi was? What if Alonso had been in a better car most of his career? What if Schumacher had had stronger teammates? etc etc All these would have affected the outcomes of these system and yet the drivers would have been driving at the same level of ability either way. What about drivers who believe in "winning at the slowest speed possible" etc etc. There's a hundred reasons why the numbers will only tell us so much.
POBs system was (is?) incredibly meticulous but take this year as an example - Mercedes the "best" car is pretty much beyond doubt but what if their drivers had been Bottas and say Ocon and Hamilton had taken a sabbatical. What the the results stats suggest to us then?

Like I said, I love stats and lists, always have, I just think people need to be careful when citing them as "proof" of something.

POB's daughter Catherine here, using his log-in:

POB would agree that linear ranking lists are problematic. Debate about “who is the best driver ever” is more likely to generate dissension than arrive at an answer. This is because, as POB’s 17-volume thesis proved, the question is not coherent. It is not coherent to compare drivers that never faced each other. POB contended that it is impossible to nominate any single driver, or even a top five or ten, as ‘the greatest’. The most he could conclude is that from 1894-2013 there are 87 drivers who top driver-rated at the ultimate 100.0 according to his System. It is impossible to differentiate between them and identify just one or even three as “the greatest driver”; instead he places them all equal in the ‘top tier’. Those rating 100.1, 100.2, 100.3 etc would form the second, third and fourth tiers, with 100.5 being the slowest cut-off rating POB identified for being a potential race-winner. As POB writes:

“According to my System, the fastest drivers of each era rate equal (at 100.0) in the first tier: from Fangio, Ascari and Moss through to Prost, Schumacher and Alonso. I certainly would not be able to rank them linearly due to the incomparable variables. In sum, it is not possible to rank any of the top drivers across eras as greater or as the greatest. They never faced each other and cannot be directly compared.”

Who would want to be in an Elite List of 87 Drivers out of some 2,000-plus drivers since 1894?! The question of “who is the greatest driver” will likely endure because it taps into to our winner-takes-all culture, whereby the winner is disproportionately rewarded in terms of money, attention, publicity, congratulations, title and trophy, while many worthy runner-ups might have equal speed, skill, passion etc but just missed out on one or more of POB’s 6 criteria (listed above) coming together.

POB's Rating System factors in all the variables or potential influencers that you raise.

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