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This month's F1 Racing Magazine ''The top 100 drivers as voted by you''


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#101 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 14:29

There is one idea that I do like. It is based upon a concept that the movie critic Roger Ebert began some years ago. In the Great Movies, now two volumes as well as part of his Web site, he points out what he considers the "great" movies. Not necessarily the "greatest" or the "best" or the "essentials" or any of the other superlatives commonly use, but simply movies he considers worthy of note or further consideration for any number of reasons. In the books, the movies are listed alphabetically and not ranked. The listing is not limited to a finite number and covers a wide range of styles, periods, and reasons as to why they are included. Although I thought I was fairly knowledgable about film, there are films in this series that I had never seen or even had much of an idea about. Needless to say, I have found the concept to be one which allows both confirmation and discovery -- something that generates thought and discussion of a different sort rather than the endless blather inherent in repeated rants of "Why is 'X' ranked third rather than 'Y'?"

While I recognize that formula 1 is the racing equivalent to kudzu in that it seems to smother anything that gets in its way, that drivers -- and so forth -- are often rated/ranked solely because of their formula 1 experience is a bad tendency which only gotten worse over the years throughout the racing world. Perhaps I digress because of the time I have been on the scene, but the racing world is so splintered and isolated among both the sanctioning bodies and the fans that it is easy to understand how bizarre it must seem to so many today to even begin comtemplate the level of interchange and interest that once existed in racing. One of the things that I do not miss, even though it is mentioned on a constant basis, is the true danger that once accompanied racing -- while it was not the slaughter some seem to depict it as being, there was an element of risk that we once simply accepted as being part and parcel of the game. Reducing that risk to a minimal and acceptable level resulted in several unintended consequences in racing, but that is how life is.

At any rate, as I mentioned, the basics of racing have not really changed, just the conditions under which it is conducted. Those racing today are little different from those from a cetury or half-century, the crucial difference the conditions under which they perform. This is absolutely no different from virtually any professional or amateur sport today -- outwardly, football/soccer might look the same as it did in the 1950s, but it is played under quite different circumstances that while often subtle, have an impact over time.

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#102 Risil

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 15:27

Originally posted by WOOT

Well, one reason people have accident is because they don't fare well under pressure. As for "widely believed", are you saying they would never ever make mistakes?


Bearing in mind that Senna and Clark both crashed on flat-out parts of the circuits that in essence were barely even corners, certainly not of any particular challenge, surely there's no way anyone can possibly regard it as likely that they were the result of driver error.

Perhaps at Indy, or Spa, or Monaco one could have a life-threatening accident simply by 'getting it wrong'. But in the forest at Hockenheim, or through the Tamburello? How?

#103 Arion

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 16:14

Originally posted by pasadena
It may seem like a contradiction but my principle was simple: Senna set the precedent, FIA never reacted, therefore we can't blame the later drivers for applying the same tactics.


Not every driver since Senna used the same dirty tactics, cos they respect sportsmanship. Schumacher cheated cos he's a cheat, don't blame it on Senna.

#104 Crashand

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 16:35

Originally posted by Arion


Not every driver since Senna used the same dirty tactics, cos they respect sportsmanship. Schumacher cheated cos he's a cheat, don't blame it on Senna.


If you ain't cheating you ain't trying.

#105 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 17:00

Originally posted by Crashand


If you ain't cheating you ain't trying.


I absolutely detest that saying. It´s vile and represents everything that is bad in any sport. Schumacher wasn´t a cheat. He didn´t need to be. He was the best of his generation, by a country mile.
With regards the allegations that Michael cheated, it´s a bit like the Mosely thing, or spygate. Your view will always be determined by the position you occupy.

BTW. Great post Don :up:

#106 BMW_F1

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 17:03

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer


Schumacher wasn´t a cheat. He didn´t need to be.


this is funny..

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer

He was the best of his generation, by a country mile.


He was until Alonso got into a winning car. I do think however that he was better than JV, MH, DH.. and everyone else from Senna's death till 2001 or 2002.

#107 bradleyl

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 17:13

Great points all Don, thanks for your input. Alas, I'm not sure the cover line would be quite so good if we didn't rank them... We are, after all, inhabiting the age of the superlative.

I take your point about interchange existing beyond F1; even though F1 is our remit on the magazine, it certainly adds a feather to Schuey's cap, for example, when you know what he was capable of in a sportscar, too. But interestingly, too much activity outside F1 now diminishes somebody's standing: I'd call Brundle an outstanding sportscar driver, and a good F1 driver but far from great. Perhaps it also reflects how F1 has become increasingly specialised, and cut off from the driving needed in other forms of racing? There have been very, very few successful converts in recent years; even in the US, guys from open wheel series struggle in stock cars, where Mario Andretti made the jump with relative ease forty years ago...

#108 Jacquesback

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 17:24

Originally posted by pasadena
It may seem like a contradiction but my principle was simple: Senna set the precedent, FIA never reacted, therefore we can't blame the later drivers for applying the same tactics.

Considering his speed and pure driving skills, Senna belongs to the "first" league (although not to the very top of it) but I demoted him because of his attitude ;-)

In any case, I have concentrated only on post-1949 Formula 1 drivers.


Senna did not set the precedent by a long way. Remember Prost ran into Senna to win the championship first and the FIA did nothing about that.
Ever heard of Black Jack Brabham.

#109 Go_Scotty_Go!

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 17:42

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
There is one idea that I do like. It is based upon a concept that the movie critic Roger Ebert began some years ago. In the Great Movies, now two volumes as well as part of his Web site, he points out what he considers the "great" movies. Not necessarily the "greatest" or the "best" or the "essentials" or any of the other superlatives commonly use, but simply movies he considers worthy of note or further consideration for any number of reasons. In the books, the movies are listed alphabetically and not ranked. The listing is not limited to a finite number and covers a wide range of styles, periods, and reasons as to why they are included. Although I thought I was fairly knowledgable about film, there are films in this series that I had never seen or even had much of an idea about. Needless to say, I have found the concept to be one which allows both confirmation and discovery -- something that generates thought and discussion of a different sort rather than the endless blather inherent in repeated rants of "Why is 'X' ranked third rather than 'Y'?"

While I recognize that formula 1 is the racing equivalent to kudzu in that it seems to smother anything that gets in its way, that drivers -- and so forth -- are often rated/ranked solely because of their formula 1 experience is a bad tendency which only gotten worse over the years throughout the racing world. Perhaps I digress because of the time I have been on the scene, but the racing world is so splintered and isolated among both the sanctioning bodies and the fans that it is easy to understand how bizarre it must seem to so many today to even begin comtemplate the level of interchange and interest that once existed in racing. One of the things that I do not miss, even though it is mentioned on a constant basis, is the true danger that once accompanied racing -- while it was not the slaughter some seem to depict it as being, there was an element of risk that we once simply accepted as being part and parcel of the game. Reducing that risk to a minimal and acceptable level resulted in several unintended consequences in racing, but that is how life is.

At any rate, as I mentioned, the basics of racing have not really changed, just the conditions under which it is conducted. Those racing today are little different from those from a cetury or half-century, the crucial difference the conditions under which they perform. This is absolutely no different from virtually any professional or amateur sport today -- outwardly, football/soccer might look the same as it did in the 1950s, but it is played under quite different circumstances that while often subtle, have an impact over time.


The safety aspect is simple a by product of a more responsible human race, even then, there are fairly recent deaths in Greg Moore and Dale Sr, and Senna, and recent badly injured drivers like Zanardi and Damatta - it is still very very dangerous.

The fans and series are "splintered" as you say because it is far more specialized - and the level of actual driving expertise is raised considerably, due to modern fitness programs and modern telemetry that can help the athlete improve to the nth degree - and the cars are much higher performing, so they do require faster reflexes and do not forgive mistakes, running wide means several positions lost...

I can't agree that it's "basically the same" as it used to be - it is indeed very different.

If you use Golf as an example - if you stick players from the 1920s with hickory shafts and 1 irons made from crude materials onto a 7500 yard modern layout with lightening fast greens they would not stand a chance against modern day players with thier titanium clubs and forged high grade stainless steel irons - they would be a lot longer off the tee and hitting much less (and therefore more accurate) clubs into the greens, and be able to deal with very fast greens which the players in the 20s would have never seen...it would be no contest...

It would be the same in modern F1 versus F1 from the 50s, the drivers would simply be outclassed in every way, fitness, lap times, everything...it's just the reality of an advancing civilization.

It really is a sad thing in my opinion to delude yourself into thinking that what we have today is easy or diminished from the past - it is the ultimate rose color glasses grand delusion...

What is more important is to distiquish the greats by comparing them to thier contemporaries - and when you do that you get Fangio and Clark and Moss and Andretti and Senna and Schumacher - if you can't see the greatness in all of these men during thier time on the track (including Schumacher) then whomever you are - you miss the point...

#110 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 18:11

Specialization, which has always existed in motor racing, has simply become the norm in modern times. It is interesting to realize that well after a century has passed, the Atlantic is as great a dividing force as ever in the world of motor racing. Here in America, formula 1 simply does not resonate above a certain level. Indeed, its day may have long come and gone as far as America is concerned. As unpolitic as it is to state this openly, formula 1 is simply too foreign, literally and figuratively, for it to be much more than just another one of a legion of niche sports. However, since America is a very large country, even a niche sport can have a sizable following here.

In some ways, the scope of "formula 1" is so truncated -- only the period since 1950 and only those events for the two world championships, that of the CSI/FISA/FIA 1950-1980 and the FISA/WMSC/FIA one since 1981 -- and so European-centric (British-centric, to be more precise, since the end of the Fifties) that it has tended to skew the vision we now have of motor racing. The huge changes of the past three decades at the FIA have completely altered the way the international motor racing is run and marketed, much to the immense benefit of formula 1.

I am old enough to have followed grand prix racing for about three decades and then placed it on the back-burner about a quarter century ago. I have little personal interest in the current f1 scene -- certainly no "passion" for it, but it is what it is. Something completely overlooked and under-appreciated today is the immense effort it took to actually attend events in person in years long past. At the time I really did not appreciate that effort, but now I realize just how fortunate I was to be able to attend so many events. As much as it might grate on purist nerves, there is much to be said for televised racing. If for no other reason, that is certainly a something that is a plus for the current scheme of things.

#111 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 18:21

Originally posted by Jacquesback
Ever heard of Black Jack Brabham.


Comparing Brabham to Senna sporting-wise is beyond ridiculous....

#112 Jacquesback

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 18:31

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps


Comparing Brabham to Senna sporting-wise is beyond ridiculous....


No it isn't. Jack was damned tough on the track and knew a lot of nasty tricks. Kicking up stones and dirt when the driver behind had an open face helmet as one example is pretty much as bad or worse than anything Senna did. If any of you have ever turned a wheel in anger you'd know that it's not a bunch of pansies wanting their bottoms smacked out on the track, it's racing and who has the biggest onions!

#113 ensign14

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 18:55

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
Specialization, which has always existed in motor racing, has simply become the norm in modern times. It is interesting to realize that well after a century has passed, the Atlantic is as great a dividing force as ever in the world of motor racing.

Indeed it's greater than ever...a touring car series is the acme Stateside, grotesque parodies of transport the top formula in the rest of the world. To think in the post-WW1 period you had French cars dominating Indy and American cars dominating the Grand Prix...

#114 Go_Scotty_Go!

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 19:31

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
As unpolitic as it is to state this openly, formula 1 is simply too foreign, literally and figuratively, for it to be much more than just another one of a legion of niche sports. However, since America is a very large country, even a niche sport can have a sizable following here.


Looking at the world wide stage - with the Middle East, China, Russia, India - all embracing F1 - it is, and always will be America's loss not to take modern F1 seriously. If you step outside of America for any length of time, you see the reality of the situation.

For me - the ultimate irony has always been the utter bullshit claim that American bred racing series have more competition then F1. F1 continues to lead the way when it comes to a business model that gets motorsport giants behind it and discovers kids like M. Schumacher, Kubica...Raikkonnen - I count my blessings every day that I am able to see past the white washed corporate NASCAR bull and see the reality - see where the epicenter of racing truly is...

It is very unfortunate that corporate American racing seems hellbent on dismissing and diminishing F1, rather then taking a real stab at it - the problem is, if we ever did, that would legitimize F1 as the top league in the world (even though it already is) - and America can't have that....it really is quite sad...and nothing to be proud about, while Talledega Nights was meant to poke fun - I am afraid its a lot more of a case of art imitating life...very sad...

Robert Kubica is really a story that Americans would get behind - but only if he was American.  ;)

#115 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 20:48

Originally posted by Go_Scotty_Go!


The safety aspect is simple a by product of a more responsible human race, even then, there are fairly recent deaths in Greg Moore and Dale Sr, and Senna, and recent badly injured drivers like Zanardi and Damatta - it is still very very dangerous.

The fans and series are "splintered" as you say because it is far more specialized - and the level of actual driving expertise is raised considerably, due to modern fitness programs and modern telemetry that can help the athlete improve to the nth degree - and the cars are much higher performing, so they do require faster reflexes and do not forgive mistakes, running wide means several positions lost...

I can't agree that it's "basically the same" as it used to be - it is indeed very different.

If you use Golf as an example - if you stick players from the 1920s with hickory shafts and 1 irons made from crude materials onto a 7500 yard modern layout with lightening fast greens they would not stand a chance against modern day players with thier titanium clubs and forged high grade stainless steel irons - they would be a lot longer off the tee and hitting much less (and therefore more accurate) clubs into the greens, and be able to deal with very fast greens which the players in the 20s would have never seen...it would be no contest...

It would be the same in modern F1 versus F1 from the 50s, the drivers would simply be outclassed in every way, fitness, lap times, everything...it's just the reality of an advancing civilization.

It really is a sad thing in my opinion to delude yourself into thinking that what we have today is easy or diminished from the past - it is the ultimate rose color glasses grand delusion...

What is more important is to distiquish the greats by comparing them to thier contemporaries - and when you do
that you get Fangio and Clark and Moss and Andretti and Senna and Schumacher - if you can't see the greatness in all of these men during thier time on the track (including Schumacher) then whomever you are - you miss the point...


For a start, I don´t agree with your golfing analogy. It has too many flaws.
Secondly, no one with any sense would compare Clark´s period to that of Schumacher´s, or Nuvolari´s period and that of Senna´s. Each has to be seen in it´s own context. What a person is trying to do when they put together a list of this nature is to say, ok, if Fangio and Clark had been competing against each other in the same generation, irrespective of which generation, who would have come out tops? That´s the question in my opinion.
We are looking at who had the most potential. Who had the greater natural talent. Who had more of the other qualities that were required to be a champion.
The answer to that question will always remain speculation, but amusing speculation nevertheless.

#116 pasadena

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 22:23

Originally posted by former champ


what question mark? IMO they should be firmly in your 3rd group......gotta love short memories.

I didn't know where to put them, that's why the question mark. But, maybe I should have adopted a different oversight: Rindt was ready to retire at the end of 1970 so his career was not in fact cut short (not in the terms of tragic events, of course). JV made his own choice when he decided to join BAR (just as Emerson Fittipaldi did 23 years earlier) so he may be judged by his decisions. I agree, group 3.

#117 pasadena

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 22:28

Originally posted by Jacquesback


Senna did not set the precedent by a long way. Remember Prost ran into Senna to win the championship first and the FIA did nothing about that.
Ever heard of Black Jack Brabham.

No, Prost did nothing wrong at Suzuka 1989. Or at least nothing that Senna hasn't done many times before. It was simply bad timing that made us remeber that accident - it was the decisive race of the championship. Had it happened 10 races earlier, noone would mention it ever again.

Senna was the first one who made closing the doors, pushing and shoving a consistent racing policy, irrespective of the situation. He was the first driver (at least whom I'm aware of) who could have been called really dirty. It's a pity because his talent and speed didn't require that. But his ego did.

#118 Jacquesback

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 22:32

Originally posted by pasadena
No, Prost did nothing wrong at Suzuka 1989. Or at least nothing that Senna hasn't done many times before. It was simply bad timing that made us remeber that accident - it was the decisive race of the championship. Had it happened 10 races earlier, noone would mention it ever again.

Senna was the first one who made closing the doors, pushing and shoving a consistent racing policy, irrespective of the situation. He was the first driver (at least whom I'm aware of) who could have been called really dirty. It's a pity because his talent and speed didn't require that. But his ego did.


:rotfl:
Yeah, ok.

#119 as65p

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 23:01

Originally posted by pasadena
No, Prost did nothing wrong at Suzuka 1989. Or at least nothing that Senna hasn't done many times before. It was simply bad timing that made us remeber that accident - it was the decisive race of the championship. Had it happened 10 races earlier, noone would mention it ever again.


You clearly underestimate both of them. Have you ever asked yourself why Suzuka '89 and '90 were the only two ocassions these two archrivals had contact on track?

Contrary to many other rivaleries, they were both perfectly capable of racing hard but not crashing into eachother. So when they did, it was by shrewd calculation and it served the purpose (WDC victory) both times, once for each of the two.

Senna was the first one who made closing the doors, pushing and shoving a consistent racing policy, irrespective of the situation. He was the first driver (at least whom I'm aware of) who could have been called really dirty. It's a pity because his talent and speed didn't require that. But his ego did.


Bollocks.

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#120 RSNS

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 00:59

Dear Juandiego

On financing I am not so sure, but I agree that nowadays there is more competition and therefore it is more difficult to make it to F1.

ON RANKING DRIVERS

I also agree that would it be possible to take the same car - say a Porsche 917 and put Fangio, Stewart, Clark, Schumacher and Alonso at the wheel Fangio would find it very hard indeed to beat Schumacher because their careers, training, even food habits are so different. BuT then, perhaps Schumacher and Alonso would say it was too dangerous.

That is why I think one cannot compare drivers' skill, only drivers' careers: how many times was X the best of all the competitors? The idea that one cannot really compare drivers' skills ought to be obvious, because different epochs require different skills. F1 has changed, so it is only natural that different skills are rewarded at different times. But one can compare careers.

RISK

Some posters seem to have implied that I crave for danger. I have posted very often saying I don't. Indeed, every time a driver is killed I stop watching F1. When some years ago a marshall was killed (Monza, Schumacher won, beat Senna's GP record and wept - I was rather touched because I thought it was about the Marshall :rolleyes: ) I did not watch F1 for a period. Having raced myself (it was almost nothing, karts, and a few GTs in private racing) I am very aware of the danger: at a circuit I used to race, a fellow got himself killed in a particular corner (I wasn't there: I was told it had happened). Now this corner had to be taken flat and there was only one trajectory (for those interested, it was a broad 90º right hander preceded by an S). I was not really frightened, but I can guarantee that I loved the idea of putting a chicane before it. I used to race there with my brother, and every single lap I would fear for him (he is a hot head, and he used to find his limits the hard way). So, NO, I welcome the safety of modern days.

But one can only wonder at the sheer courage (or outright stupidity) of racing cars such as the hugely powerful and virtually gripless Mercedes (Caracciolla, and so on) at the Ring or Spa. In a cold head, I just think it is stupid; but I cannot hepl myself feeling in awe of those who did it.

F1 AND THE OTHER CATEGORIES

Well, of course F1 is THE master category - no one has ever claimed otherwise. Of course there were very interesting categories, such as the 5 liter formula for Sportscars (Porsche 917, Ferrari 512 and also the Lola T70 and the FGT40).

But F1 was always the pinnacle of driving. So I think it is quite right to consider that Fangio was a better driver than Moss: Moss was arguably faster than Fangio in Sports cars; he could never beat Fangio convincingly (if at all) in F1. So of course Fangio must rank higher than him. Moss himself acknowledges that.

#121 RSNS

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 01:07

Originally posted by pasadena
No, Prost did nothing wrong at Suzuka 1989. Or at least nothing that Senna hasn't done many times before. It was simply bad timing that made us remeber that accident - it was the decisive race of the championship. Had it happened 10 races earlier, noone would mention it ever again.

Senna was the first one who made closing the doors, pushing and shoving a consistent racing policy, irrespective of the situation. He was the first driver (at least whom I'm aware of) who could have been called really dirty. It's a pity because his talent and speed didn't require that. But his ego did.


It's really an empirical issue: See this from about minute 6. I do not hold the same opinion as you do. EDITED TO ADD: particularly watch from 7.30. It has convinced me that Prost ran into Senna.

Many drivers defended Senna; Fangio, for one, said something like 'I saw the gap and I would have gone for it'. Thrashing Senna is a curious folk way* from the UK.

----------------
* 'Folk way' is an old ethnographic term: it means an odd custom that characterizes a given culture and that seems very odd from the outside.

#122 pasadena

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 06:43

Originally posted by RSNS


It's really an empirical issue: See this from about minute 6. I do not hold the same opinion as you do. EDITED TO ADD: particularly watch from 7.30. It has convinced me that Prost ran into Senna.

Many drivers defended Senna; Fangio, for one, said something like 'I saw the gap and I would have gone for it'. Thrashing Senna is a curious folk way* from the UK.

----------------
* 'Folk way' is an old ethnographic term: it means an odd custom that characterizes a given culture and that seems very odd from the outside.

Oh, there's no doubt that Prost turned in earlier than usual. But what was wrong with that? Would Senna have done anything different? In every part of the accident, up until the very end, Prost's car remained in front.

For me it's a racing accident. What *was* shameful, though, was Senna's disqualification.

#123 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 11:32

Originally posted by pasadena
Oh, there's no doubt that Prost turned in earlier than usual. But what was wrong with that? Would Senna have done anything different? In every part of the accident, up until the very end, Prost's car remained in front.

For me it's a racing accident. What *was* shameful, though, was Senna's disqualification.


It was one of those racing incidents that happens when two hyper-competitive people are not giving to give a nanometer to the other. I don't blame Senna or Prost for it. The two knuckleheads had the Red Mist and that was the inevitable result.

However, the disqualification of Senna was absolutely shameful. I am nowhere close to being a supporter of Senna, but still think that the disqualification was completely unjustified. It was one of those things that I thought justified my telling the formula 1 clowns to take a hike after the 1984 season.

Going back to an earlier point I made about the Ebert system, I would not bat an eye if Senna and Schumacher were were listed among those in a similar scheme for drivers -- love them or loathe them, they belong in that category. However, I still don't get the ordinal mania....

#124 pasadena

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 16:24

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps


It was one of those racing incidents that happens when two hyper-competitive people are not giving to give a nanometer to the other. I don't blame Senna or Prost for it. The two knuckleheads had the Red Mist and that was the inevitable result.

However, the disqualification of Senna was absolutely shameful. I am nowhere close to being a supporter of Senna, but still think that the disqualification was completely unjustified. It was one of those things that I thought justified my telling the formula 1 clowns to take a hike after the 1984 season.

Going back to an earlier point I made about the Ebert system, I would not bat an eye if Senna and Schumacher were were listed among those in a similar scheme for drivers -- love them or loathe them, they belong in that category. However, I still don't get the ordinal mania....

So, we agree, I'm glad to see that.

#125 Galko877

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 16:28

Originally posted by WOOT


When was the last time MS won with an inferior car? The last time remember is 2005 in Indy. Although only because all the Michelin teams pulled out.


Imola 2006. Maybe China 2006 too, although circumstances and Alonso's mistake in tyre choice helped him.