|Damon Still in Dad's Shadow?|
|by Richard Swales, England|
Which former drivers had the best records? How does Schumacher's dominace of F1 compare with drivers from the past? Some would say the number of wins is the best thing to look at, giving Prost the best record with 51 wins. Others say you should take the number of races a driver entered into account and find the wins to races ratio. The problem with the second method is that it punishes drivers who entered the top level of the sport while they were still learning, or those who stayed on after their time was gone for the love of the sport (such as Moss, Fittipaldi or Graham Hill). The problem with the first method is that it gives too much of an advantage to drivers from the 16 races per season era, picking up a few races per season is easier when there are 16 races than when there are 7.
I however have found a novel third way of looking at the problem. Basically, it works by weighing all the races a driver won according to the number of races in the season they won them. So Senna's 41 wins, all scored in 16 races season would count for 41/16 and Baghetti's single win in the 8-race 1961 season would count for one eighth. Simply put, you end up counting the number of seasons-worth of wins a driver won (try saying that after midnight!).
Fangio is top of course - he always was, and his record of almost 3 and a half seasons-worth of races won looks unsurpassable. Schumacher is up to 9th in the chart, but he would have to win about another 30 Grands Prix to have a better record than Fangio -- although on the absolute wins chart he is past him already.
There are a few suprises lower down. On this system of comparison, Damon Hill is yet to beat the record of his Father Graham. Stirling Moss who is considered by many to be the greatest driver never to win the World Championship, despite not being particulary high on the wins or the wins/races charts, is at 6th on this chart.
Out of the two great Scots, Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart, the fact that Jim Clarks 25 wins were mainly scored when there were fewer races than Jackie Stewart's 27 wins just gives him the edge.
The lowest position for a World Champion is 41st for Keke Rosberg (but he always deserved to win more than 5 races) and the highest for a non World Champion is Moss in 6th as mentioned before -- although the next highest is Reutemann in 17th.
The chart runs from 1950-1997 -- this years results are not included because we don't know how many races there will be this season. Note also that while the Indianapolis 500 counted towards the championship in the fifties, it is not included here as very few World Championship drivers entered it.
Anyway here it is, to no doubt provoke more arguments than it settles.
|No||Name||Weighted Wins||Actual Wins|
Now 20 years old, Richard has only seen the 1984 and 1986 Belgian GPs at Zolder and Spa circuits, but got hooked after watching Senna's drives in the Toleman-Hart in the 1984 South African and Monaco Grands Prix on TV. Richard is currently a Natural Sciences Student at the College of St. Hild & St. Bede in Durham University.
Send comments to: R.J.Swales@durham.ac.uk