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Who is the greatest F1 driver of all time?

  • Lewis Hamilton

    Votes: 11 37.9%
  • Michael Schumacher

    Votes: 4 13.8%
  • Alain Prost

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Ayrton Senna

    Votes: 10 34.5%
  • Fernando Alonso

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Jackie Stewart

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Nelson Piquet

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Niki Lauda

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Jim Clark

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • Fangio

    Votes: 3 10.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    29
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BS. I bet you if you ask Timo Bernhard to drive Fangio's Maserati 250F in period tyres at the pace of the famous 57 race at the ring today, he'd take driving the 919 every single time....
i think the limit of grip in any era would be a pretty violent place to be i'll be honest.. , modern cars are for sure safer even relative to their increased speed i'd have thought though..
 

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i think the limit of grip in any era would be a pretty violent place to be i'll be honest.. , modern cars are for sure safer even relative to their increased speed i'd have thought though..
Agreed - the level of safety is not even close.
From 1953-1978, 22 drivers were killed in Formula One on race weekends (not even including Indianapolis, which would add another 5). In the last 25 years, only one F1 driver has suffered fatal injuries, despite the fact that there have been roughly twice as many races as there were in the previous period.
 

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BS. I bet you if you ask Timo Bernhard to drive Fangio's Maserati 250F in period tyres at the pace of the famous 57 race at the ring today, he'd take driving the 919 every single time....
Despite going 30 times faster, I think I'd feel safer in an F-16 than in the Wright brothers' plane!
 

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Honestly, I think Hamilton would be a fucking animal in a 60s F1 car. The level of concentration and consistency to be fast lap by lap with degrading tires, fuel loads, brake wear, etc is insane, the car control to catch "slides" even before they have initiated. There's a reason why he is a beast in the wet. Not to mention his racecraft would be something 60s drivers couldn't comprehend. A 60s car would be like driving in slow motion in comparison to today's cars. Hamilton was very very handy in a NASCAR when he tried it for the first time at Watkins Glen.
Hamilton's "racecraft would be something '60s drivers couldn't even comprehend"? That is quite a claim.
How do you define "racecraft"?
 

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No doubt the cars of today are much safer than the past.

However how much are safety concerns a factor in drivers decisions to participate in going fast sports ... or traveling to Mars, Military service for example.... I suspect (no information) that many of today’s F1 drivers are also risk takers by nature.

The selection process for today’s drivers is much more stringent and technically sophisticated than in the past and the pool of drivers much larger (leave out pay to play). That makes it statistically most probable that we are seeing better drivers today than past. And as Verstappen and Leclerc are 2nd generation (rigorously vetted) to Hamilton they may prove to be the better drivers on today’s grid. But Hamilton at this time has 6 WDC to their zero. And the possibility of winning more ... so for now he is second only to Schumacher in the race records for the WDC’s. And podiums and WDCs are what the drivers compete for ...
 

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No doubt the cars of today are much safer than the past.

However how much are safety concerns a factor in drivers decisions to participate in going fast sports ... or traveling to Mars, Military service for example.... I suspect (no information) that many of today’s F1 drivers are also risk takers by nature.

The selection process for today’s drivers is much more stringent and technically sophisticated than in the past and the pool of drivers much larger (leave out pay to play). That makes it statistically most probable that we are seeing better drivers today than past. And as Verstappen and Leclerc are 2nd generation (rigorously vetted) to Hamilton they may prove to be the better drivers on today’s grid. But Hamilton at this time has 6 WDC to their zero. And the possibility of winning more ... so for now he is second only to Schumacher in the race records for the WDC’s. And podiums and WDCs are what the drivers compete for ...
not sure that's completely true eMcl... all drivers are self funded through to F2... so even to be able to compete in the shop window you have to have vast budgets in the first instance.. there's often a complaint of pay drivers in F1, but in reality they all were until F2 (or whatever the corresponding series of their era was... ) ..

so i think you have to look well down the seniority tree of motorsport to find where the fastest drivers are.. then they are divided into the ones who have the budget to go to the next level and those that don't..

George Russell used to race with the team that I race with.. whilst he is a mercedes driver they didn't pay for his junior formulae...

on a separate point, i watched first man the other week.. and have since watched it again.... now those boys really looked death in the eye every day... am sure top level race drivers are cut from something similar, even if the sport is utterly benign compared to the pioneers of space travel...
 

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No doubt the cars of today are much safer than the past.

However how much are safety concerns a factor in drivers decisions to participate in going fast sports ... or traveling to Mars, Military service for example.... I suspect (no information) that many of today’s F1 drivers are also risk takers by nature.

The selection process for today’s drivers is much more stringent and technically sophisticated than in the past and the pool of drivers much larger (leave out pay to play). That makes it statistically most probable that we are seeing better drivers today than past. And as Verstappen and Leclerc are 2nd generation (rigorously vetted) to Hamilton they may prove to be the better drivers on today’s grid. But Hamilton at this time has 6 WDC to their zero. And the possibility of winning more ... so for now he is second only to Schumacher in the race records for the WDC’s. And podiums and WDCs are what the drivers compete for ...
How do you - indeed, how does anyone participating in this thread - define "greatest"?
 

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How do you - indeed, how does anyone participating in this thread - define "greatest"?
i stayed out of it, as i don't believe it's possible to make a definitive choice.. was schumacher better than senna... even that's difficult to say... senna was towards the end of his career, schumacher at the early part of his... relative age would eventually make a difference.. we can see that evidenced when schumacher returned he was not the driver he was before he retired...

i think it's possible that Leclerc, Norris, Russell, Ocon, Albon, Verstappen, may exceed the achievements of Hamilton, Schumacher and Fangio... currently Hamilton beats all the current crop, but am sure any of them towards the end of their career may well be legitimately put in the pot of 'GOAT'...
 

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not sure that's completely true eMcl... all drivers are self funded through to F2... so even to be able to compete in the shop window you have to have vast budgets in the first instance.. there's often a complaint of pay drivers in F1, but in reality they all were until F2 (or whatever the corresponding series of their era was... ) ..

so i think you have to look well down the seniority tree of motorsport to find where the fastest drivers are.. then they are divided into the ones who have the budget to go to the next level and those that don't..

George Russell used to race with the team that I race with.. whilst he is a mercedes driver they didn't pay for his junior formulae...

on a separate point, i watched first man the other week.. and have since watched it again.... now those boys really looked death in the eye every day... am sure top level race drivers are cut from something similar, even if the sport is utterly benign compared to the pioneers of space travel...
In Hamilton’s case I think that he started out with very limited funding... yes sponsors funding was earned for his F2 year. Think it would’ve been difficult in early years.
 

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In Hamilton’s case I think that he started out with very limited funding... yes sponsors funding was earned for his F2 year. Think it would’ve been difficult in early years.
indeed.. and F2 budget is approx 2 million gbp... F3 won't be far short, certainly well over a million gbp...

there aren't that many youngsters who will have access to that amount of disposible income... and for sure the likelihood of sponsorship in F3 is pretty much zero..
 

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How do you - indeed, how does anyone participating in this thread - define "greatest"?
Indeed that question is what has formed the basis for the discussion. If one defines the F1 drivers competition goal as most WDCs then that is an objective measurement that includes/sums the many variables to success. Once we depart from the measurable then it becomes less objective and more a personal expression of what we value and experienced in the past. The ‘greats’ were ‘greatest’ in their time ....
GOAT is up for debate.
 

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indeed.. and F2 budget is approx 2 million gbp... F3 won't be far short, certainly well over a million gbp...

there aren't that many youngsters who will have access to that amount of disposible income... and for sure the likelihood of sponsorship in F3 is pretty much zero..
I recall a TV show in which Penske was searching for talent ... keen youngsters participating in amateur racing, cars, trucks etc had been brought to his attention and invited to trial for NASCAR training. The show went through the selection and training of candidates. Started out with some 12 candidates and ended with a chosen one.
 

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I recall a TV show in which Penske was searching for talent ... keen youngsters participating in amateur racing, cars, trucks etc had been brought to his attention and invited to trial for NASCAR training. The show went through the selection and training of candidates. Started out with some 12 candidates and ended with a chosen one.
they do that very occasionally on this side of the pond also. Once every Couple of decades perhaps. But it’s not common. Most just have to find the budget to go racing.
 

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BS. I bet you if you ask Timo Bernhard to drive Fangio's Maserati 250F in period tyres at the pace of the famous 57 race at the ring today, he'd take driving the 919 every single time....
Blink at the wrong time and you're going into the hill at 300+ kph. Have you ever watched sim racing with VR? Go watch some of the top sim racers do both old F1 and 919 on the Ring. No, it's not 100% the same as real life, but it's not totally off either. It's lunacy doing the Ring at 919 Evo speeds
 

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Blink at the wrong time and you're going into the hill at 300+ kph. Have you ever watched sim racing with VR? Go watch some of the top sim racers do both old F1 and 919 on the Ring. No, it's not 100% the same as real life, but it's not totally off either. It's lunacy doing the Ring at 919 Evo speeds
You can get killed as easily at 80 mph as you can at 180 mph. If in both cases you are going at the cars' limits, the real issues are the risk that something on the car will break and the risk that, if you crash, you will suffer a serious injury.

It was far more likely that something would break on the older cars than is the case today. Many of the greats who died at the wheel were killed because of a mechanical failure, not because of a driving error.

The ubiquity of today's car-to-pit telemetry makes it easier than ever for the engineers to spot a developing problem (brakes, tyre pressure, engine, damaged suspension component) before it becomes catastrophic as it would have done in the old days.

If you do crash, today's drivers have side, front and rear impact structures, roll hoops, halos, cockpit sides nearly as high as the drivers' eyes, fuel and electrical cut-offs, fuel cells, fire extinguisher systems, and wheel tethers, among other things. They have HANS devices and greatly superior clothing and helmets. The circuits have vast run-off areas with energy-absorbing materials at the extended boundaries. Expert medical assistance is available almost immediately, including on-site trauma centres and helicopters for transport to the nearest hospital.

Do you really want to compare that with the situation 50 years ago? There is a reason why the Nordschleife was permanently closed to Formula One racing after Lauda's crash in 1976.

As I wrote above, in 1953-1978 period, 22 drivers were killed in Formula One events. In the equivalent last 25 years, the number of fatalities is one.

The numbers do not lie. Although some of the drivers are not the smartest people in the world, they have all figured out that it is a hell of a lot safer to be a racing driver today than it has ever been.
 

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You can get killed as easily at 80 mph as you can at 180 mph. If in both cases you are going at the cars' limits, the real issues are the risk that something on the car will break and the risk that, if you crash, you will suffer a serious injury.

It was far more likely that something would break on the older cars than is the case today. Many of the greats who died at the wheel were killed because of a mechanical failure, not because of a driving error.

The ubiquity of today's car-to-pit telemetry makes it easier than ever for the engineers to spot a developing problem (brakes, tyre pressure, engine, damaged suspension component) before it becomes catastrophic as it would have done in the old days.

If you do crash, today's drivers have side, front and rear impact structures, roll hoops, halos, cockpit sides nearly as high as the drivers' eyes, fuel and electrical cut-offs, fuel cells, fire extinguisher systems, and wheel tethers, among other things. They have HANS devices and greatly superior clothing and helmets. The circuits have vast run-off areas with energy-absorbing materials at the extended boundaries. Expert medical assistance is available almost immediately, including on-site trauma centres and helicopters for transport to the nearest hospital.

Do you really want to compare that with the situation 50 years ago? There is a reason why the Nordschleife was permanently closed to Formula One racing after Lauda's crash in 1976.

As I wrote above, in 1953-1978 period, 22 drivers were killed in Formula One events. In the equivalent last 25 years, the number of fatalities is one.

The numbers do not lie. Although some of the drivers are not the smartest people in the world, they have all figured out that it is a hell of a lot safer to be a racing driver today than it has ever been.
these old F1 cars are driving bombs ... you are literally surrounded by the gas tank and also many parts made of flammable alloyed (especially magnesium which once ignited even keeps on burning under water) ... a friend of mine collects and raced these (especially Lotus and Brabham from the 1960is ... I would rather crash with a modern F1 car at 180 as with one of those at 35mph ... chances you survive with the modern car are dozens of times higher ... there is a reason why that period of F1 racing is called the killing years ... ended with Niki Lauders spectacular near fatal crash when they finally started to think about safety and Sennas fatal crash when finally it also became the top priority ...
 
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Blink at the wrong time and you're going into the hill at 300+ kph. Have you ever watched sim racing with VR? Go watch some of the top sim racers do both old F1 and 919 on the Ring. No, it's not 100% the same as real life, but it's not totally off either. It's lunacy doing the Ring at 919 Evo speeds
but you are conveniently forgetting it is also most certainly lunacy doing the ring in a 250F at the speeds that Fangio was driving it at. Possibly greater lunacy given the safety aspect of things.

You have a point about modern cars having much higher speeds and therefore stuff happens much faster but ultimately driving at the limit as mikeyb said earlier is driving at the limit. It's possibly a slightly different skillset required especially on downforce cars comparing earlier eras but a modern race car could well be much more stable and forgiving doing however many g's cornering than a 60s/70s spec F1 car at half that number of g's.

You said earlier you thought Hamilton would be very good in a 60s era F1 car. I don't doubt that but equally with the same type of prep/experience as a modern F1 driver, I think Jim Clark for example would probably run rings around everyone today as he did back in his time.
 
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