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 Post subject: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:17 pm 
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Some time back I thought I'd have a go at developing a criterion to judge who's the best F1 driver ever. I decided on the number of championships won, and runner-up posns - else where's Moss? Plus the GP win percentage.

I came up with one order based on the championship stats alone, and a 2nd based on that multiplied by the GP win %.
I tend to think the 2nd is more representative, but I've included the positions according to the 1st too.

Image

The table looks pretty much like I would expect. It's the win % that lifts Fangio above Schumacher. I'd be interested to know if people think it's correct or if it's way off!


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:49 pm 
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I think the biggest objection would be that you can't judge the best driver purely from the results. Surely the best driver brings the results and surely the cream de la creme is always at the top, but without the car, there's not much that one can do. Take Alonso for example, one of the best drivers around, being stuck in a dismal car the last few years.

Or Fangio who was lucky in the sense that he was jumping every year to the fastest car available. This would pretty much guarantee that his stats would be at the top. Also, he got wins when his car failed and he borrowed his team mate's car to finish. Something that the drivers of today can't really do.

These things, small examples really, can skew the results tables. Point being that it is a very simplistic way to look at it.


There is no way to decide who is the best driver unless there is a spec series in my opinion. This is why I liked the E-190 test back in the 80's, pitting all the best drivers against each other. Even as a fun race, it was quite telling that Senna won against the top guys back then.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:12 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
Some time back I thought I'd have a go at developing a criterion to judge who's the best F1 driver ever. I decided on the number of championships won, and runner-up posns - else where's Moss? Plus the GP win percentage.

I came up with one order based on the championship stats alone, and a 2nd based on that multiplied by the GP win %.
I tend to think the 2nd is more representative, but I've included the positions according to the 1st too.

Image

The table looks pretty much like I would expect. It's the win % that lifts Fangio above Schumacher. I'd be interested to know if people think it's correct or if it's way off!


I think you've done a very good job of creating a metric for the most successful drivers ever. Best though is a different story. I admire your effort.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:28 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
Some time back I thought I'd have a go at developing a criterion to judge who's the best F1 driver ever. I decided on the number of championships won, and runner-up posns - else where's Moss? Plus the GP win percentage.

I came up with one order based on the championship stats alone, and a 2nd based on that multiplied by the GP win %.
I tend to think the 2nd is more representative, but I've included the positions according to the 1st too.

Image

The table looks pretty much like I would expect. It's the win % that lifts Fangio above Schumacher. I'd be interested to know if people think it's correct or if it's way off!


I think you've done a very good job of creating a metric for the most successful drivers ever. Best though is a different story. I admire your effort.

yeah I'll second this. Pretty decent effort and applaud the work you've put into it but it's more a metric of success than of the best driver. Just look at how low Alonso is compared to Vettel, for example.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:44 pm 
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Clark and Alonso are way too far down in my opinion. They form my personal top 3 along with Schumacher.

I'll echo the thoughts above that it's a decent effort but attempts to rank the drivers need to find a way of taking their equipment a little more out of the equation. Ultimately, I don't believe there's a truly objective way to do it and Alonso in particular is usually going to be unfairly represented by any stats-based approach.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:32 pm 
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Thanks for the plaudits!

So how do you define 'best' if it's not the most successful? I didn't say 'quickest'. The phrase GOAT is used these days. (Greatest of all time). Who's the F1 GOAT if not Schumacher or Fangio?

I did expect Alonso's low position to be challenged. However, as was noted re Fangio, one of the skills of an F1 champion is getting into the right car at the right time. Alonso's disasterous gamble with Mclaren surely proved he lacks that skill - why didn't he sign for a year with an option for more? Maybe money played a part? I remember Senna offering to drive for Frank Williams for free to get the 1994 drive..


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:07 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
Thanks for the plaudits!

So how do you define 'best' if it's not the most successful? I didn't say 'quickest'. The phrase GOAT is used these days. (Greatest of all time). Who's the F1 GOAT if not Schumacher or Fangio?

I did expect Alonso's low position to be challenged. However, as was noted re Fangio, one of the skills of an F1 champion is getting into the right car at the right time. Alonso's disasterous gamble with Mclaren surely proved he lacks that skill - why didn't he sign for a year with an option for more? Maybe money played a part? I remember Senna offering to drive for Frank Williams for free to get the 1994 drive..


When you say best, how do you define that? Best at what?

Also you mention GOAT which refers to greatest. Greatest and best are two very different things IMO.


Last edited by mikeyg123 on Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:28 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
Thanks for the plaudits!

So how do you define 'best' if it's not the most successful? I didn't say 'quickest'. The phrase GOAT is used these days. (Greatest of all time). Who's the F1 GOAT if not Schumacher or Fangio?

I did expect Alonso's low position to be challenged. However, as was noted re Fangio, one of the skills of an F1 champion is getting into the right car at the right time. Alonso's disasterous gamble with Mclaren surely proved he lacks that skill - why didn't he sign for a year with an option for more? Maybe money played a part? I remember Senna offering to drive for Frank Williams for free to get the 1994 drive..

I think it's a combination of achievement and personal opinion so ultimately it's very subjective and not as simplistic as crushing numbers in particularly when comparing drivers from different eras.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:55 am 
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I'd say you've created a meter for success which isn't always the same thing as being best.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:20 am 
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I like the effort, and I'm always interested by mixing statistics with sporting performance - but I can't accept any chart that ranks Damon Hill above Alonso.

Any mathematical model to determine the best driver has to have a way to remove the car from the equation. Yours seems like a good way of calculating how much a driver achieved according to the length of their career, but without a way to separate car from driver that's all it does.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:28 am 
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tim3003 wrote:
Thanks for the plaudits!

So how do you define 'best' if it's not the most successful? I didn't say 'quickest'. The phrase GOAT is used these days. (Greatest of all time). Who's the F1 GOAT if not Schumacher or Fangio?

I did expect Alonso's low position to be challenged. However, as was noted re Fangio, one of the skills of an F1 champion is getting into the right car at the right time. Alonso's disasterous gamble with Mclaren surely proved he lacks that skill - why didn't he sign for a year with an option for more? Maybe money played a part? I remember Senna offering to drive for Frank Williams for free to get the 1994 drive..

I re-read my post and it looks like I am criticising you, which I can assure you it was not my intention. Just trying to point out that it can be tricky to do a comparison like that. It is the holy grail of F1 and the eternal debate, who is the best driver!

I did enjoy the list, well done for the effort, myself wouldn't know where to start to be honest. It is difficult, however, to judge purely by the results. As I said above, the cream will rise to the top (if I'm using this correctly!), so it is a very valid indication about the drivers. But equally some bad decisions can skew the results, without having anything to do with talent.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:47 am 
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tim3003 wrote:
Thanks for the plaudits!

So how do you define 'best' if it's not the most successful? I didn't say 'quickest'. The phrase GOAT is used these days. (Greatest of all time). Who's the F1 GOAT if not Schumacher or Fangio?

I did expect Alonso's low position to be challenged. However, as was noted re Fangio, one of the skills of an F1 champion is getting into the right car at the right time. Alonso's disasterous gamble with Mclaren surely proved he lacks that skill - why didn't he sign for a year with an option for more? Maybe money played a part? I remember Senna offering to drive for Frank Williams for free to get the 1994 drive..

It's a difficult question to answer as it means something slightly different to everyone.

For me, for instance, it's about being the most capable driver, the most likely to win if put in a competitive car, and the one who will get the best out of any given machinery. Political skills don't register on my criteria at all, although I recognize that they are necessary in order to increase the chance of success. Taking Alonso as an example, I don't see any difference at all between his decision to join (McLaren) Honda and Hamilton's to join Mercedes. Honda sold a pup, whereas Mercedes didn't, but that's not down to the drivers IMO. OTOH, the fact that Alonso seems to leave a trail of destruction in his wake, whether by accident or design, doesn't appear to do him any favours!

But for me best is about driving skill, essentially, and there I would rate Senna and Schumacher as the best I've ever seen. I can't accurately rate either Fangio or Clark, as I've never seen them outside short clips, but I've little doubt both were extremely talented. My GOAT would probably be Senna, although I see the case for Schumacher. One problem I have with this list is it puts drivers like Prost (who Senna beat fairly comprehensively on track IMO), Hamilton and Vettel above Senna and I struggle with that. To have Alonso so far below both Vettel and Hamilton (and Hill!) is a red flag for me, too. They were more successful statistically, perhaps, but that's a different story for me


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:10 am 
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Zoue wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
Thanks for the plaudits!

So how do you define 'best' if it's not the most successful? I didn't say 'quickest'. The phrase GOAT is used these days. (Greatest of all time). Who's the F1 GOAT if not Schumacher or Fangio?

I did expect Alonso's low position to be challenged. However, as was noted re Fangio, one of the skills of an F1 champion is getting into the right car at the right time. Alonso's disasterous gamble with Mclaren surely proved he lacks that skill - why didn't he sign for a year with an option for more? Maybe money played a part? I remember Senna offering to drive for Frank Williams for free to get the 1994 drive..

It's a difficult question to answer as it means something slightly different to everyone.

For me, for instance, it's about being the most capable driver, the most likely to win if put in a competitive car, and the one who will get the best out of any given machinery. Political skills don't register on my criteria at all, although I recognize that they are necessary in order to increase the chance of success. Taking Alonso as an example, I don't see any difference at all between his decision to join (McLaren) Honda and Hamilton's to join Mercedes. Honda sold a pup, whereas Mercedes didn't, but that's not down to the drivers IMO. OTOH, the fact that Alonso seems to leave a trail of destruction in his wake, whether by accident or design, doesn't appear to do him any favours!

But for me best is about driving skill, essentially, and there I would rate Senna and Schumacher as the best I've ever seen. I can't accurately rate either Fangio or Clark, as I've never seen them outside short clips, but I've little doubt both were extremely talented. My GOAT would probably be Senna, although I see the case for Schumacher. One problem I have with this list is it puts drivers like Prost (who Senna beat fairly comprehensively on track IMO), Hamilton and Vettel above Senna and I struggle with that. To have Alonso so far below both Vettel and Hamilton (and Hill!) is a red flag for me, too. They were more successful statistically, perhaps, but that's a different story for me


Yes, fully agreed.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:20 am 
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A decent effort as it has all the right drivers in there, but there is nothing in place to allow for career length. Clark and Senna suffer because they died young.

Clark did 7 full seasons, Schumacher did 18. The more seasons you do the more opportunities for titles and runner up spots and points of course. If you normalised allowing for career length I think it would be more accurate.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:24 am 
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Johnson wrote:
A decent effort as it has all the right drivers in there, but there is nothing in place to allow for career length. Clark and Senna suffer because they died young.

Clark did 7 full seasons, Schumacher did 18. The more seasons you do the more opportunities for titles and runner up spots and points of course. If you normalised allowing for career length I think it would be more accurate.


Or more opportunities for low scoring and making your statistics look worse


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:37 am 
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Covalent wrote:
I'd say you've created a meter for success which isn't always the same thing as being best.


So again, I'll ask: what is the 'best' if it's not the most successful? We all have our favourites, that's a personal opinion. But is there some objective criteria by which we can judge the 'best'? Of course I agree it's not possible to compare drivers from different eras with complete accuracy, but can we at least get a fair idea?

In other sports it is usually agreed to be the number of titles - majors in golf, grand slams in tennis, gold medals/world records in athletics.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:46 am 
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Siao7 wrote:
Johnson wrote:
A decent effort as it has all the right drivers in there, but there is nothing in place to allow for career length. Clark and Senna suffer because they died young.

Clark did 7 full seasons, Schumacher did 18. The more seasons you do the more opportunities for titles and runner up spots and points of course. If you normalised allowing for career length I think it would be more accurate.


Or more opportunities for low scoring and making your statistics look worse


I agree premature death slews the stats, but haven't figured out a way to allow for this.

Also, if Schumacher had not un-retired and done 3 fruitless years with Mercedes he'd have 250 GPs and a win % of .364, for a score of 5.82, putting him above Fangio..


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:48 am 
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tim3003 wrote:
Covalent wrote:
I'd say you've created a meter for success which isn't always the same thing as being best.


So again, I'll ask: what is the 'best' if it's not the most successful? We all have our favourites, that's a personal opinion. But is there some objective criteria by which we can judge the 'best'? Of course I agree it's not possible to compare drivers from different eras with complete accuracy, but can we at least get a fair idea?

In other sports it is usually agreed to be the number of titles - majors in golf, grand slams in tennis, gold medals/world records in athletics.


But you're comparing individual sports to F1 which is a team sport.

I'll give you a few examples as to why most successful doesn't = best.

If the rain had held off in Interlagos in 2008 then Hamilton would be less successful and Massa would be more successful. Why would that quirk of luck make either a better or worse driver?

Alonso was less successful than Massa in 2014. Would that truly make Massa better than him in 2014 despite the fact Alonso thumped Massa with equal equipment for years?

Dani Kvyat has finished 7th in the WDC higher than Nico Hulkenberg has ever managed so is the more successful driver. Do you really consider him to be better?


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:55 am 
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tim3003 wrote:
Covalent wrote:
I'd say you've created a meter for success which isn't always the same thing as being best.


So again, I'll ask: what is the 'best' if it's not the most successful? We all have our favourites, that's a personal opinion. But is there some objective criteria by which we can judge the 'best'? Of course I agree it's not possible to compare drivers from different eras with complete accuracy, but can we at least get a fair idea?

In other sports it is usually agreed to be the number of titles - majors in golf, grand slams in tennis, gold medals/world records in athletics.


It is difficult and I always struggled myself with the best/most successful dilemma. I have no answer to that.

As for the bold part, as true as this is, I do not think that athletics, tennis or golf are down to the equipment; they are purely based on the athlete's abilities and skills. Not the same with team sports and racing, where you are completely reliant to the equipment you receive or your team mates. Some athletes are good enough to carry the team and bring the results; these are the stars!

As for successful, again that is relevant. Let me demonstrate; do you know a basketball player called Dickey Simpkins?

No? Not many people will know or remember him. This guy has 3 NBA championship rings. He did play in a team that featured a player called Michael Jordan though, so he got 3 rings by not doing much, in fact I think he was at the bench for the first two. So would one consider him best or most successful?

For comparison, he has the same amount of NBA champions rings as one Lebron James.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:04 am 
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tim3003 wrote:
Covalent wrote:
I'd say you've created a meter for success which isn't always the same thing as being best.


So again, I'll ask: what is the 'best' if it's not the most successful? We all have our favourites, that's a personal opinion. But is there some objective criteria by which we can judge the 'best'? Of course I agree it's not possible to compare drivers from different eras with complete accuracy, but can we at least get a fair idea?

In other sports it is usually agreed to be the number of titles - majors in golf, grand slams in tennis, gold medals/world records in athletics.


Sadly, no, there isn't. 'Best' is, and always will be, subjective in Motorsports.

And the difference between F1 and those other sports I'd argue is that in F1, the equipment they use has a much bigger influence on their results.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:42 pm 
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Cool idea but, as others have pointed out, you can't determine the best F1 driver using only stats.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:00 pm 
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I'll echo what others have said and say I admire the effort, and think it's a good table to rank success, but doesn't determine who the best F1 driver was. Why? Because what defines which driver any one person considers to be the best in F1's history is going to differ from person to person. And for some people such as myself, we refuse to even define who the best in F1's history is because of the vast difference between the different eras.

I honestly don't think you can say any driver is the best in F1's history. You can look at different eras or periods, although even then it's a little loose as to where the cutoff point for any given 'era' is, and that in itself can change which driver might be considered the best of that period.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:02 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
Covalent wrote:
I'd say you've created a meter for success which isn't always the same thing as being best.


So again, I'll ask: what is the 'best' if it's not the most successful? We all have our favourites, that's a personal opinion. But is there some objective criteria by which we can judge the 'best'? Of course I agree it's not possible to compare drivers from different eras with complete accuracy, but can we at least get a fair idea?

In other sports it is usually agreed to be the number of titles - majors in golf, grand slams in tennis, gold medals/world records in athletics.

You can do that in other sports because if you like they are spec sports whereas F1 is clearly not.

There are other factors that are unusual to F1 like who is the fastest and who is the best which aren't necessarily the same thing. Senna and Prost would be a good example, I can't imagine many wanting to argue that Senna wasn't faster than Prost, but when you ask who was the best then that becomes more of a debate.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:07 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
Covalent wrote:
I'd say you've created a meter for success which isn't always the same thing as being best.


So again, I'll ask: what is the 'best' if it's not the most successful? We all have our favourites, that's a personal opinion. But is there some objective criteria by which we can judge the 'best'? Of course I agree it's not possible to compare drivers from different eras with complete accuracy, but can we at least get a fair idea?

In other sports it is usually agreed to be the number of titles - majors in golf, grand slams in tennis, gold medals/world records in athletics.


But you're comparing individual sports to F1 which is a team sport.

I'll give you a few examples as to why most successful doesn't = best.

If the rain had held off in Interlagos in 2008 then Hamilton would be less successful and Massa would be more successful. Why would that quirk of luck make either a better or worse driver?

Alonso was less successful than Massa in 2014. Would that truly make Massa better than him in 2014 despite the fact Alonso thumped Massa with equal equipment for years?

Dani Kvyat has finished 7th in the WDC higher than Nico Hulkenberg has ever managed so is the more successful driver. Do you really consider him to be better?

Some corrections there, in 2008 Hamilton was sitting comfortably in title position before the rain came, it was the rain that nearly gave the the title to Massa.

The Hulk finished 7th in the WDC last year.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:33 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
Thanks for the plaudits!

So how do you define 'best' if it's not the most successful? I didn't say 'quickest'. The phrase GOAT is used these days. (Greatest of all time). Who's the F1 GOAT if not Schumacher or Fangio?

I did expect Alonso's low position to be challenged. However, as was noted re Fangio, one of the skills of an F1 champion is getting into the right car at the right time. Alonso's disasterous gamble with Mclaren surely proved he lacks that skill - why didn't he sign for a year with an option for more? Maybe money played a part? I remember Senna offering to drive for Frank Williams for free to get the 1994 drive..
Best is difficult to define, greatest is near-impossible.

Senna is the fastest I have ever seen myself, but I have this feeling he was just starting to mature into being the best when he was killed. Schumacher was nearly as fast, and must have been one of the best drivers in the history of the sport, but is far more difficult to judge since he never had any team-mates after 1992. But in the 'best' category he must surely be near the top, even allowing for all the testing nobody else in F1 enjoyed.

Prost is the best driver I have seen in the pre-Schumacher era, and I think he is massively underrated. Which must surely be an achievement in itself. 8O In my book, he remains the best.

I wish I had seen Fangio in action, but he left F1 a few months before I was born. I don't think it is fair to compare his team-hopping to the best car available with the multi-year contracts seen as normal these days, and therefore can't agree that Alonso lacks/lacked that skill. I see no difference in skill between Hamilton getting lucky and Alonso being unlucky. Luck isn't a skill.

Greatness to me involves more than 'simply' being the best at one point in the history of F1. Lauda may not have been as good a driver as Schumacher was, but he is greater in my book. Among my reasons for thinking so is the fact he competed with a world champion-to-be who was faster and became the best, and won. The effort required is something many overlook. Some drivers never get the credit they deserve, and that goes far beyond the drivers who get the chance to win the WDC.
One factor that is required in my estimation for inclusion in the greatness category is sportsmanship. And that is where Schumacher drops out. The most difficult driver for me to judge for 'best' and 'great' is Hamilton. Even before Nico left, I had the feeling the team was geared too much in his favour.

- I thought Senna's offer to drive for nothing came earlier than 1994, am I mistaken?
- I may also be mistaken about Fangio's shared victories (when he took over another driver's car), but I believe they also shared the points in such a case.

Best F1 driver ever? I think your exercise probably got the correct person on top, while my best is slightly too far down. But well done anyway!

PS: "Greatest"? Kimi, who else? :-D

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:40 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
Covalent wrote:
I'd say you've created a meter for success which isn't always the same thing as being best.


So again, I'll ask: what is the 'best' if it's not the most successful? We all have our favourites, that's a personal opinion. But is there some objective criteria by which we can judge the 'best'? Of course I agree it's not possible to compare drivers from different eras with complete accuracy, but can we at least get a fair idea?

In other sports it is usually agreed to be the number of titles - majors in golf, grand slams in tennis, gold medals/world records in athletics.

That's a very crucial question, I agree. In the sports you mentioned there's a far greater correlation between skills and success because unlike F1 you're not completely at the mercy of the equipment you're handed. Chances are that a top tennis player isn't handed a racket which decreases his chances of a victory by 90%.

I guess the question of who is the best needs first to be started by asking what makes a driver good; is it talent, skills or success? I'd say a fair mix of all. But good luck measuring talent!

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:01 pm 
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Fiki wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
Thanks for the plaudits!

So how do you define 'best' if it's not the most successful? I didn't say 'quickest'. The phrase GOAT is used these days. (Greatest of all time). Who's the F1 GOAT if not Schumacher or Fangio?

I did expect Alonso's low position to be challenged. However, as was noted re Fangio, one of the skills of an F1 champion is getting into the right car at the right time. Alonso's disasterous gamble with Mclaren surely proved he lacks that skill - why didn't he sign for a year with an option for more? Maybe money played a part? I remember Senna offering to drive for Frank Williams for free to get the 1994 drive..
Best is difficult to define, greatest is near-impossible.

Senna is the fastest I have ever seen myself, but I have this feeling he was just starting to mature into being the best when he was killed. Schumacher was nearly as fast, and must have been one of the best drivers in the history of the sport, but is far more difficult to judge since he never had any team-mates after 1992. But in the 'best' category he must surely be near the top, even allowing for all the testing nobody else in F1 enjoyed.

Prost is the best driver I have seen in the pre-Schumacher era, and I think he is massively underrated. Which must surely be an achievement in itself. 8O In my book, he remains the best.

I wish I had seen Fangio in action, but he left F1 a few months before I was born. I don't think it is fair to compare his team-hopping to the best car available with the multi-year contracts seen as normal these days, and therefore can't agree that Alonso lacks/lacked that skill. I see no difference in skill between Hamilton getting lucky and Alonso being unlucky. Luck isn't a skill.

Greatness to me involves more than 'simply' being the best at one point in the history of F1. Lauda may not have been as good a driver as Schumacher was, but he is greater in my book. Among my reasons for thinking so is the fact he competed with a world champion-to-be who was faster and became the best, and won. The effort required is something many overlook. Some drivers never get the credit they deserve, and that goes far beyond the drivers who get the chance to win the WDC.
One factor that is required in my estimation for inclusion in the greatness category is sportsmanship. And that is where Schumacher drops out. The most difficult driver for me to judge for 'best' and 'great' is Hamilton. Even before Nico left, I had the feeling the team was geared too much in his favour.

- I thought Senna's offer to drive for nothing came earlier than 1994, am I mistaken?
- I may also be mistaken about Fangio's shared victories (when he took over another driver's car), but I believe they also shared the points in such a case.

Best F1 driver ever? I think your exercise probably got the correct person on top, while my best is slightly too far down. But well done anyway!

PS: "Greatest"? Kimi, who else? :-D

Did the 2016 season finale look to be geared in Hamilton's favour over Rosberg?

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:09 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
Covalent wrote:
I'd say you've created a meter for success which isn't always the same thing as being best.


So again, I'll ask: what is the 'best' if it's not the most successful? We all have our favourites, that's a personal opinion. But is there some objective criteria by which we can judge the 'best'? Of course I agree it's not possible to compare drivers from different eras with complete accuracy, but can we at least get a fair idea?

In other sports it is usually agreed to be the number of titles - majors in golf, grand slams in tennis, gold medals/world records in athletics.


But you're comparing individual sports to F1 which is a team sport.

I'll give you a few examples as to why most successful doesn't = best.

If the rain had held off in Interlagos in 2008 then Hamilton would be less successful and Massa would be more successful. Why would that quirk of luck make either a better or worse driver?

Alonso was less successful than Massa in 2014. Would that truly make Massa better than him in 2014 despite the fact Alonso thumped Massa with equal equipment for years?

Dani Kvyat has finished 7th in the WDC higher than Nico Hulkenberg has ever managed so is the more successful driver. Do you really consider him to be better?

Some corrections there, in 2008 Hamilton was sitting comfortably in title position before the rain came, it was the rain that nearly gave the the title to Massa.

The Hulk finished 7th in the WDC last year.


Your first comment - That's not even close to being relevant to the point I'm making. I didn't even say Hamilton was lucky. Can we please not take every conversation down an irrelevant Hamilton rabbit hole? Honestly, You're starting to make it almost impossible for anyone to mention him.

Second comment - Fair enough. Until the end of 2018 was Kvyat a better driver than Hulk.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:16 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
Covalent wrote:
I'd say you've created a meter for success which isn't always the same thing as being best.


So again, I'll ask: what is the 'best' if it's not the most successful? We all have our favourites, that's a personal opinion. But is there some objective criteria by which we can judge the 'best'? Of course I agree it's not possible to compare drivers from different eras with complete accuracy, but can we at least get a fair idea?

In other sports it is usually agreed to be the number of titles - majors in golf, grand slams in tennis, gold medals/world records in athletics.


But you're comparing individual sports to F1 which is a team sport.

I'll give you a few examples as to why most successful doesn't = best.

If the rain had held off in Interlagos in 2008 then Hamilton would be less successful and Massa would be more successful. Why would that quirk of luck make either a better or worse driver?

Alonso was less successful than Massa in 2014. Would that truly make Massa better than him in 2014 despite the fact Alonso thumped Massa with equal equipment for years?

Dani Kvyat has finished 7th in the WDC higher than Nico Hulkenberg has ever managed so is the more successful driver. Do you really consider him to be better?

Some corrections there, in 2008 Hamilton was sitting comfortably in title position before the rain came, it was the rain that nearly gave the the title to Massa.

The Hulk finished 7th in the WDC last year.


Your first comment - That's not even close to being relevant to the point I'm making. I didn't even say Hamilton was lucky. Can we please not take every conversation down an irrelevant Hamilton rabbit hole? Honestly, You're starting to make it almost impossible for anyone to mention him.

Second comment - Fair enough. Until the end of 2018 was Kvyat a better driver than Hulk.

I misread the post thinking if it had not rained at all when you said if the rain had held off.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:41 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
Fiki wrote:
The most difficult driver for me to judge for 'best' and 'great' is Hamilton. Even before Nico left, I had the feeling the team was geared too much in his favour.

Did the 2016 season finale look to be geared in Hamilton's favour over Rosberg?
That is a very good question indeed! No, but then looks are just that; looks.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:15 pm 
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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..


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:50 pm 
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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..


The best drivers don't always end up in the best cars and certainly not for the same amount of time. Hamilton was not suddenly a better driver when Merc built a dominant car 2014-16 but according to your metric he became much better.

There is no factual system you can use that will give you an accurate measurement and even if there was we'd never be able to test it to check it's accuracy as their are no fixed data points to check against.

To even begin to try you have to factor in the car and to do that requires you to make a guess somewhere down the line


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:20 pm 
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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..


But "best" is a subjective word, so you're putting yourself in an impossible position if you're trying to work it out statistically. You might as well be trying to objectively put stats on who was happiest.

You stand more chance with "Most Successful", but even then you're open to interpretation - do you use wins as a measure of "success"? Or wins to starts ratio? Or points?

At the end of the day, "best" is just an opinion - I have mine, you have yours. You may well be able to persuade me to your idea of best, even using stats. But, even then, all you will have done is change my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:46 pm 
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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..


Thats why you take from numerous sources;

1) Raw statistics like you have
2) Team mate head to heads, the true measure of a driver as his team mate has the same car and it removes the biggest variable.
3) Subjective opinion

You add these layers and more and you get a better result. But ultimately, its impossible to tell.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:32 am 
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tim3003 wrote:
Some time back I thought I'd have a go at developing a criterion to judge who's the best F1 driver ever. I decided on the number of championships won, and runner-up posns - else where's Moss? Plus the GP win percentage.

I came up with one order based on the championship stats alone, and a 2nd based on that multiplied by the GP win %.
I tend to think the 2nd is more representative, but I've included the positions according to the 1st too.

Image

The table looks pretty much like I would expect. It's the win % that lifts Fangio above Schumacher. I'd be interested to know if people think it's correct or if it's way off!

The Fangio % rating is way off for several reasons… Firstly, there were far less races in his era and far fewer top drivers to compete with as well.
There's a driver far better than Fangio IMPO, but he predates official F1 competition and he'd likely have bested Fangio with relative ease.

His name?... Tazio Nuvolari

Just a god among mere mortals in his day, and he was such for over 2 decades.

As well, several others in this list are rated lower and higher than they should be. Raikkonen rated below Rosberg is wrong. Rosberg is a excellent driver, but Kimi yielded excellent results in different cars with varying capabilities whereas Rosberg did respectably well until he found himself in a championship caliber car. Senna was better than Stewart and Clark better than Stewart. Alonso is far better than his ranking but this list is based off winning percentage, so it doesn't speak to ultimate ability.

For me, right now, anyone above Schumacher is wrong. One day I can see an argument for Hamilton, but that day is not yet upon us, though the boy is bloody brilliant!

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:49 am 
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Fiki wrote:
pokerman wrote:
Fiki wrote:
The most difficult driver for me to judge for 'best' and 'great' is Hamilton. Even before Nico left, I had the feeling the team was geared too much in his favour.

Did the 2016 season finale look to be geared in Hamilton's favour over Rosberg?
That is a very good question indeed! No, but then looks are just that; looks.

So that would be a case of putting the tin foil hat on? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:54 am 
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F1 MERCENARY wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
Some time back I thought I'd have a go at developing a criterion to judge who's the best F1 driver ever. I decided on the number of championships won, and runner-up posns - else where's Moss? Plus the GP win percentage.

I came up with one order based on the championship stats alone, and a 2nd based on that multiplied by the GP win %.
I tend to think the 2nd is more representative, but I've included the positions according to the 1st too.

Image

The table looks pretty much like I would expect. It's the win % that lifts Fangio above Schumacher. I'd be interested to know if people think it's correct or if it's way off!

The Fangio % rating is way off for several reasons… Firstly, there were far less races in his era and far fewer top drivers to compete with as well.
There's a driver far better than Fangio IMPO, but he predates official F1 competition and he'd likely have bested Fangio with relative ease.

His name?... Tazio Nuvolari

Just a god among mere mortals in his day, and he was such for over 2 decades.

As well, several others in this list are rated lower and higher than they should be. Raikkonen rated below Rosberg is wrong. Rosberg is a excellent driver, but Kimi yielded excellent results in different cars with varying capabilities whereas Rosberg did respectably well until he found himself in a championship caliber car. Senna was better than Stewart and Clark better than Stewart. Alonso is far better than his ranking but this list is based off winning percentage, so it doesn't speak to ultimate ability.

For me, right now, anyone above Schumacher is wrong. One day I can see an argument for Hamilton, but that day is not yet upon us, though the boy is bloody brilliant!

I agree with much of your post, but there a couple of points where I cannot:

I'd argue the thought that there car fewer top drivers in his era. He had to deal with Ascari, Moss, Musso, Gonzalez, Hawthorn, Collins, Villoresi, Behra, von Tripps, Brabham, and several capable others. I think it can be argued that the F1 field of the 60s may well have been the toughest era for drivers.

I would be the last to not give Tazio his due, however, as the question was about F1 drivers, in this case anyway, Nuvo is irrelevant.

Last point of disagreement... in my opinion, Jimmy Clark was greater than Senna, possibly greater than all F1 drivers over time. I really believe the case can be made.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:26 am 
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Johnson 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..


Thats why you take from numerous sources;

1) Raw statistics like you have
2) Team mate head to heads, the true measure of a driver as his team mate has the same car and it removes the biggest variable.
3) Subjective opinion

You add these layers and more and you get a better result. But ultimately, its impossible to tell.

You saved me a lot of typing with that straight to the point post. :thumbup:

Then you have the problem of drivers from different eras, I believe POB ratings attempted to work all this out and wrote a book, sadly he died a few years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:58 am 
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Johnson 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..


Thats why you take from numerous sources;

1) Raw statistics like you have
2) Team mate head to heads, the true measure of a driver as his team mate has the same car and it removes the biggest variable.
3) Subjective opinion

You add these layers and more and you get a better result. But ultimately, its impossible to tell.


This is certainly the biggest fallacy of this sport called F1.

Look at a driver like Raikkonen who trailed Alonso by 5 - 7 tenths when they were teammates. If your "true" measure is to be used it is fair to say that Alonso would have scored the most poles in 2018 with an average gap of ++5 tenths on Mercedes.

To me best driver means the one who will achieve the best result given the "best" (or a perfectly functioning) equipment. I don't think watching a guy doing better than his teammate in a "difficult" or "struggling" car is enough to pass this kind of judgement.

As I have said many times before, I believe the skills necessary to excel at the sharp end are different to those used to fight for the scraps.
Vettel had a poor 2014 for this reason, but when in front(possibly after a few corners and alone) there is only one guy who can keep up with him.

I watch F1 to see cars at the limit of their performance(Qualifying, rain, hot laps) not to watch a tactician more suited to endurance racing.


So watching Alonso trouncing his teammates in not the best cars is not enough to think that he would do a better job than Hamilton or Vettel with the best cars just like watching Lewis and Sebastian in the best cars winning week after week doesn't mean they would do better than Alonso in a struggling or average car. Different skills. Oh and the "faster" you go, the easier is to make mistakes.

And last but not least, you can luck into the best car for 1 year or 2 but staying in the best car or team is another story and something many if not most fans underestimate.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:09 am 
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I know this is stating the obvious, but numerical based systems are never going to produce anything conclusive - particularly in F1 where equipment is such a differentiator. Even determining which is the best manufacturer of all time is a difficult task - based by numbers - statistically it's either Ferrari or Mercedes (Ferrari for quantity, Mercedes for percentage) - but many would argue a case for McLaren, or even Red Bull, Lotus or Williams.

Every sport has evolved over time. If Roger Federer in his prime was to play Bjorn Borg from his prime, I would expect Federer to thrash him. Not because Bjorn Borg isn't great, but because the understanding of tennis has evolved, the fitness and training and development from a young age has improved so much. And tennis is game that hasn't really changed much. Racquets have evolved slightly, balls have changed - but clearly it's not changed as substantially as F1.

Hamilton, Vettel, Ocon, Verstappen have gone through far more intensive training programs from the moment they were adopted by McLaren/Red Bull/Mercedes and then have teams of sports scientists guiding their diet and fitness that they entered the sport at a far higher level than previous generations. Of course, so has their competition, there could be a case to be made that if a driver like Kyvat would probably be able to hold his own against the top drivers of 30 years ago - but I don't think many of us are going to be suggesting that he is actually better or equal them.

While I do get personally annoyed by the phrase that pundits user time and time again, there is a lot of truth to the saying that you can't compare drivers of different eras. The most true thing to say is that each era has drivers who defined their era.

Schumacher and Fangio are clearly the drivers who defined their eras. Clark, Senna and Hamilton define their eras.

Of course, there is one significant driver and era I have missed - and that is Nikki Lauda. With three titles, getting whooped by Prost on pace (albeit as a returnee who performed much better than Schumacher did) and - if you care to judge him for it - withdrawing from Fuji and allowing Hunt to take his title, Lauda did something no other driver has done on the list. He changed what it meant to be a Formula 1 driver. While it's overly simplistic to suggest that all the successful F1 drivers were playboys before Lauda and since Lauda they have become athletes who study their sport... Prost, Senna, Schumacher etc... are all evolutions of the Lauda mold. He's certainly not the most successful driver in F1 history, and he wasn't the quickest, but I would say there is a big case to suggest he was the most influential.

As for coming up with a numerical system. Despite what I've said, they are a lot of fun to make up - and ultimately we come up with a system and see if it matches what we expect, and if it's close we refine it, if it's no where near we throw it out. It's essentially a very very slow neural network algorithm - weighting the different inputs until it produces a correct looking response.


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