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How would this decade?s lot have fared in F1 of the fifties?


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#1 BenchRacer67

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 15:53

Which of today’s drivers might have done well against the likes of Ascari, Brabham, Brooks, Fangio, Hawthorn, and Moss in their day, in their cars, and on those earlier circuits?

Conversely, which fifties drivers had what it takes to drive in today’s contests?

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#2 holiday

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 15:57

Absolutely impossible to compare. Most, if not all, modern drivers would have wetted their trousers in the shitboxes then, while today Fangio would have most probably not even got a seat in F1 simply because of his advanced age.

#3 Buttoneer

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 16:08

Even just thinking about the sorts of accidents our current lot have had, Trulli, Kubica, Alonso, Kovalainen and Button would all be dead, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Webber and Vettel at least would have had a few races out with injury. The drivers of the fifties were just different people that I think it is difficult to comprehend what might happen had yesterdays stars been in today's cars or today's stars in theirs. I'd rather just appreciate the two era's for what they are and were.

#4 Clatter

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 16:13

Different timesdifferent cars, but I think it would be much easier for a driver of today to adapt to the older cars than the other way round.

#5 tifosi

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 16:16

A lot of yesterday's stars wouldn't even come close to fitting in a modern F1 car.

In theory the skills that make up a good racer should apply, and those that raced well in the 50s would do so today, as would those that do so today in the 50s.

OTOH the skills needed to wrestle a 50s era F1 car around track would be inherently different from those required today, so that different drivers may well have been weeded out before reaching F1.

#6 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 10:30

As in any sport, todays stars are more evolved than yesterdays. The reasons are many and varied, but the result is the same, they have attained a higher standard.
However, had they been active in the fifties, they would have been in line with the evolutionary levels of that time, and therefore, not as advanced as they are today. Conversely, yesterdays drivers would be where todays drivers are, were they competing today.
It´s apples and pears. Any comparison is irrelevant.

#7 Tony Mandara

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 10:49

Agree with everyone that it is absolutely impossible to compare. David Coulthard once drove what I believe was a Mercedes Benz *W196, not even at racing speed. He declared it as the most singularly terrifying experience of his life. :eek:


* Feel free to **correct me if I'm wrong.

** If I am, I know some bugger will!!;)

Tony. :wave:

#8 wewantourdarbyback

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 10:52

The thing is racers will always be racers, put someone who wants to race back in the 50s and they'd race, because they'd have been brought up without the same safety concerned that are ingrained today.

#9 Clatter

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:04

Originally posted by wewantourdarbyback
The thing is racers will always be racers, put someone who wants to race back in the 50s and they'd race, because they'd have been brought up without the same safety concerned that are ingrained today.


I agree.

Really if you look back though their careers the most dangerous time was when they were in karts. Those things are damned quick, completely open, no belts etc. etc. and this was when they were kids with no real experience. They would race anything you care to put them in.

#10 MichaelPM

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:08

Not exactly up on the black history but Hamilton might not have been allowed to race?

Button and Heidfeld would proberly be superstars.

#11 Mika Mika

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:09

Nick Heidfeld would be good... the rest would have killed themselfs

#12 Clatter

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:10

Originally posted by MichaelPM
Not exactly up on the black history but Hamilton might not have been allowed to race?

Button and Heidfeld would proberly be superstars.


Maybe not in the states, but don't think he would have been stopped in Europe.

#13 wewantourdarbyback

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:17

Originally posted by Clatter


Maybe not in the states, but don't think he would have been stopped in Europe.

It would have been slightly harder for him to make it, but he wouldn't have had the opposition he would have received across the pond. Black footballer s didn't really get into the top division of British Football till the 60s http://en.wikipedia....bert_Johanneson but they could still play etc.

#14 SeanValen

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:18

Too difficult to get a answer for this, but I will say, I'm just glad f1 existed this long for us to even dream about it and keep memories alive of the great eras gone by. As long as humans exisit, we will document f1 on earth and the next planet hopefully, and comparisions will always remain difficult as usual. Maybe f1 will be set on Mars, and lots of sand gets into the tyres, effecting the grip on the Spa rebirth Mars track, as the great great great great granson of Mansell, Mika, Prost, Schumacher and Hakkinen follow the safety car. :smoking:

I believe when f1 is recreated on mars, we can scrap everything we've learned from cars on earth on purpose, from 60s onwards, so we can get the 50s cars plans out, Bernie will be dead, the control will be with f1 unity of autosport community voting on decisions of the sport finally, and have drivers actually answer this thread in the future driving the 50s cars, then we'll get our answers, but we have to believe in it, we can't go back in time, but there is a future, anything is possible. :smoking: A leap of faith I ask for.


Cheers
:D

:up:

#15 Tony Mandara

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:31

Originally posted by SeanValen
believe when f1 is recreated on mars.......


Have you been on the Marihuana Gin Sean?;) ;) :lol:

Tony. :wave:

#16 SeanValen

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:39

Originally posted by Tony Mandara


Have you been on the Marihuana Gin Sean?;) ;) :lol:

Tony. :wave:


:smoking: :smoking:
But I have a point lol, as hard is it is to believe, you can possibly re-create the conditions of the 50s cars at some future point, if you had alot of money, or one of us or some f1 fan was a billionare, he could set up the old nurburgring track, get the old cars out, do the old rules, pay the f1 drivers, and we'll get very close to seeing who's the best of the current lot in 50s eras cars and conditions, the only thing we can't do is resurrect Moss/Fangio and the old drivers, unless of cource DNA can be found of these drivers, and a cloning facility set up to create clones, re-create their memories and experiences from some secret DNA chamber for f1 legends, and suddenly we maybe getting close to answering the thread. It's crazy and fictional I know, but it's what we need to answer the thread, essentially it becomes a multi billion pound future ongoing project to answer this thread.

If I get the money, I'll go forward with the project as discussed, and any profits I'll share out with forumers in this thread. Cheers. :smoking:

:up:

#17 undersquare

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:41

One thing it seems to me that current drivers have emerged from a larger pool of drivers, so they represent say 1 in 1,000,000 talent or something instead of 1 in 50,000 or whatever it used to be. On that basis if they could all miraculously sit in the same 'neutral' car at the same age the modern drivers would win.

#18 SeanValen

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:46

Originally posted by undersquare
One thing it seems to me that current drivers have emerged from a larger pool of drivers, so they represent say 1 in 1,000,000 talent or something instead of 1 in 50,000 or whatever it used to be. On that basis if they could all miraculously sit in the same 'neutral' car at the same age the modern drivers would win.



:up:
But even a tiny element of those talents are out of alignment, and it could represent a 0.001 different per lap through their cornering technique on certain tracks, hense definately need a best out of 17 tracks, with different varying driver track challenges/weather conditions. We must allow for bad tyres/team errors effecting driver races also, so many variables to consider to be fair to the legends, it reaches such a point, you would rather just order them pizza, and rewatch the old races with them, just to be honourable. :smoking:
:up:

#19 VAR1016

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:47

Not much to add to that which has already been said. People have commented about the days when "the drivers were fat and the tyres were skinny" but I have no reason to doubt either the car control skills of the leading drivers of the 'fifities, nor their sporting instincts.

One thing bothers me: why in every bloody interview do today's drivers always say "It's a long race tomorrow"? "It" is no longer than any other F1 race, being limited to 300km or two hours, whichever comes first. What do they mean?

They should try racing in a 250F Maser for 500km in 38° like Fangio did - at 45 years of age and without the help of a personal trainer/fitness consultant/ psychologist etc. - and most likely without grip and brakes too.

Paul

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#20 potmotr

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:53

Originally posted by Buttoneer
The drivers of the fifties were just different people that I think it is difficult to comprehend what might happen had yesterdays stars been in today's cars or today's stars in theirs. I'd rather just appreciate the two era's for what they are and were.


You're correct.

It is easy to forget that most of the drivers from the 50s had also lived (and many served) through the Second World War. Many were used to the very real prospect of an untimely and violent death.

Given those experiences, racing was viewed as a game.

#21 jondoe955

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 14:47

Even in the 70's, death was part of the game. I went to 3 GPs in the early 70's, and saw 2 fatal crashes at the Glen. Rough times, tough men. Can't imagine what it was like in the 50's, in those iron bombs!
Today, we have crashes that you wouldn't believe in a Stallone movie, and the drivers walk away.

(now, if we can just super glue Man N' Bernie into one of those ancient 2 seat racers -and make them race-, we might see the sport improve!!!)

#22 VAR1016

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 15:07

Originally posted by potmotr


You're correct.

It is easy to forget that most of the drivers from the 50s had also lived (and many served) through the Second World War. Many were used to the very real prospect of an untimely and violent death.

Given those experiences, racing was viewed as a game.


Good point - at least for the early 'fifties; the likes of Moss and Hawthorn were too young to have served in the Second World War. Fangio was busy in mad road races in South America which must have been very tough.

And then there was the Marquis de Portago who lived his short life apparently challenging death:
Marquis de Portago

Paul

#23 potmotr

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 15:25

Although impossible to compare, there's nothing at all to suggest today's drivers wouldn't be just as brave in the 1950s.

Mind you, Michael Schumacher tested a 1983 Ferrari some years ago and admitted being totally scared as the front axle line was where his hipbones were and his feet were sticking straight out in front!

#24 HoldenRT

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 15:28

Impossible question.

#25 ensign14

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 15:31

The drivers who were quick in front-engined cars (Moss, Hill P, Gurney) and went on to rear-engined cars turned out to be similarly quick. Even Trintignant, who was a sort of a Trulli figure in front engines, was a Trulli figure in rear engines.

And, those who were quick without wings who went on to wings (Stewart, Hill G, Brabham, Hulme, Rindt) turned out to be similarly quick.

And, those who were quick without electrickery who went on to electrickery (Schumacher M, Hakkinen, Coulthard) turned out to be similarly quick.

No reason why a quick driver now wouldn't have been quick in the 50s and vice versa. Even the more rotund drivers like Gonzalez would have been better trained given today's nutritional and fitness knowledge.

#26 Rosemayer

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 15:37

Fangio just warming up.




#27 VAR1016

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 15:47

Originally posted by Rosemayer
Fangio just warming up.



Thank you so much - what a gem - and really technically excellent quality for the period - great sound from the 250F

And here he is at Monaco in the Lancia-Ferrari more great noise. Monaco

Paul

#28 Racing Dutchman

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 15:50

Originally posted by potmotr
Although impossible to compare, there's nothing at all to suggest today's drivers wouldn't be just as brave in the 1950s.

Mind you, Michael Schumacher tested a 1983 Ferrari some years ago and admitted being totally scared as the front axle line was where his hipbones were and his feet were sticking straight out in front!

MSC also drove a car from the 1950's in 2002 around Silverstone at decent speed hours before the GP start.

Can't find the picture though.

#29 Racing Dutchman

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 15:54

Originally posted by VAR1016


Thank you so much - what a gem - and really technically excellent quality for the period - great sound from the 250F

And here he is at Monaco in the Lancia-Ferrari more great noise. Monaco

Paul

Check the video from 1:53 onwards.
Now think of that when any of the current F1 drivers complains about high kerbs again.

#30 Madras

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 16:05

Originally posted by Clatter


I agree.

Really if you look back though their careers the most dangerous time was when they were in karts. Those things are damned quick, completely open, no belts etc. etc. and this was when they were kids with no real experience. They would race anything you care to put them in.


How many kids die in karts every year? They're safer than you think.

#31 wewantourdarbyback

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 16:09

Originally posted by VAR1016


Thank you so much - what a gem - and really technically excellent quality for the period - great sound from the 250F

And here he is at Monaco in the Lancia-Ferrari more great noise. Monaco

Paul

Those vids are great, loving the run from Ste Devote to Casino Square... with road cars parked at the side of the road.

#32 Clatter

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 16:13

Originally posted by Madras


How many kids die in karts every year? They're safer than you think.


I doubt many die, but they can be dangerous. I've certainly seen several crashes where people have been thrown out of the kart, and even had the kart land on top of them.

#33 Madras

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 16:14

Originally posted by Clatter


I doubt many die, but they can be dangerous. I've certainly seen several crashes where people have been thrown out of the kart, and even had the kart land on top of them.


Doesnt compare with 50s F1

#34 MichaelPM

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 16:48

Richard Branson would probably be a driver instead of flying over to slap some stickers on the side of a car.

#35 VAR1016

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 17:23

Originally posted by Racing Dutchman

Check the video from 1:53 onwards.
Now think of that when any of the current F1 drivers complains about high kerbs again.


Yes I thought of that -and wasn't it at Modena that Castellotti died?

Enzo Ferrari's reaction: "Castellotti morto? Pauverino... et la machina?"

Tough times those.

Paul

#36 john ruston

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 17:25

If anyone is flying inbound on BA this month they are showing a film of 1970 GP season.

See how may died in the season and how many regular drivers were killed motor racing .

It's a different sport in a different time but the top drivers would be quick in both directions.The example of this is Jim Clark at Rouen when he lapped 4 sec quicker than Linsey in Linsey's ERA ,

#37 Bluesmoke

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 17:31

Originally posted by Rosemayer
Fangio just warming up.



Look at that ridiculous car control. Coming within centermeters of hitting the curb everytime.

The fact that he drove in those eras and lived (whereas so many greats died) tells how good Fangio was.

People have to realize, that in the 40s, 50s 60s, war (including the cold war) and bravery were in the hearts and minds of everyone. No matter where you lived, you had to "toughen" up just in case. What is racing compared to being shot at or being anhililated entirely? That's the mentality of the era. Every driver wanted to be the Hemingway hero.

People seem to think that guys like Alonso and Hamilton are pretty brave. They are ABSOLUTELY NOTHING compares to the mental strength needed back then. It's not to say they wouldn't have been able to adapt.

Then we try to define "driving skill". Exactly what is that? It's a combination of car control and mental strength. There's a lot of F1 drivers right now who have great speed and car control but that inner strength to drive is something you either have or you don't. Guys like Trulli, Fisichella, come to mind. In the early days, that was more important. Those who could combine both lived, those who couldn't died before we knew them.

#38 john ruston

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 17:40

Richard Branson is a superb entrepreneur and businessman who sells his product being seen as a cool dude.
I doubt if he has any interest in Motor Sport at all other than for it to help his business .The saviour of the lottery ,trains,F1 etc ,etc.
Not knocking him but if he was that interested where has he been in the past 30 years when he could have been involved.His mate Simon Draper was the Motor Racing man.

Racing drivers of any era do not drive V8 Bristols so no he would not have challenged Stewart,Hill and the others.

#39 jeze

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 17:59

The competitiveness of the cars played its part back then as well, so I think Button would have done a good job in the 55 Merc as any Stirling ;) . Seriously though, the gaps between the exceptional and good drivers would be increased, even if they were sitting in identical cars.

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#40 Atreiu

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 18:06

I'd rather see how they would have fared in the mid 80s when there were plenty of horsepower and downforce but little or no eletronic aids. :love:

#41 as65p

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 18:53

Originally posted by Atreiu
I'd rather see how they would have fared in the mid 80s when there were plenty of horsepower and downforce but little of not eletronic aids. :love:


:up:

Obviously I'm biased because that's the time I grow up with, and from when I first started to watch in 1977 up to the mid eighties the cars grew faster and more powerful every year, just like it should be in a teenagers fantasyland...;)

I just regret that I only came to watch live races when the turbos were already on the decline.

#42 Bayou Bengal

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 19:36

Originally posted by ensign14
The drivers who were quick in front-engined cars (Moss, Hill P, Gurney) and went on to rear-engined cars turned out to be similarly quick.


Actually Phil Hill drove front engines in his first years in F1 as well as sports cars winning LeMans three times for Ferrari and then the first rear engine Ferrari "sharknose" to his WDC in 1961 and ended his career in sports cars in a high-winged Chaparral 2F winning the BOAC 5000 at Brands Hatch, his last race and victory.

And Dan Gurney barely started racing front engine cars (Ferrari in 1959) when the change to mid-engines started. He won four Grands Prix in rear engined cars and ended his career in the winged era of Can Am for McLaren. And Gurney's career didn't end when he stopped driving in 1970. He continued as a car builder and team owner in CART (IndyCar) which he helped found and IMSA sports cars, winning championships in both series.

Hill test driving the Ferrari Testa Rossa that took him to victory at LeMans 1958
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Hill in the Ferrari "Shark-nose" which he drove to the WDC in 1961
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Hill at the wheel of the Chaparral 2F at the BOAC 5000 in 1967 which was his last race and victory.
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and Dan Gurney drove a front-engine Ferrari F1 car in 1959
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Gurney's F1 wins in the 1960's were for Porsche (France 1962), Brabham (France and Mexico 1964), and AAR (Belgium 1967).
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but he had most of his success in the 1960's in sports cars like this Cobra Daytona coupe
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and at Le Mans, winning in 1967 with this Ford GT Mk IV
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and ended his career driving and winning for McLaren in Can Am
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#43 VAR1016

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 19:50

Originally posted by jeze
The competitiveness of the cars played its part back then as well, (snip)


And this is just as it should be; it is motor racing not driver racing - I get quite angry when I hear the comment "well he had a better car" That's what it's all about - or should be - but then I suppose I'm an old fart!

Paul

#44 ezequiel

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 22:04

Originally posted by holiday
Absolutely impossible to compare. Most, if not all, modern drivers would have wetted their trousers in the shitboxes then, while today Fangio would have most probably not even got a seat in F1 simply because of his advanced age...


...and the size of his butt.

#45 Paolo

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 23:35

If we imagine that they are given enough time to adapt to completely different machinery, modern drivers would destroy the golden age boys, I am afraid.

Just too much difference in physical fitness and technical background.

#46 ensign14

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 06:15

Originally posted by Paolo
If we imagine that they are given enough time to adapt to completely different machinery, modern drivers would destroy the golden age boys, I am afraid.

Just too much difference in physical fitness and technical background.

Except of course those golden age boys would race for a MINIMUM of 3 hours in far unfriendlier driving conditions and there would only be 2 of them for the 24 hours of Le Mans. Not unlikely that they would easily be able to match modern fitness with modern techniques.

#47 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 06:35

The easiest comparison to look at guys who raced from 70s through to 90s. They were still driving just as hard and competitive in the 90s, but the cars were safer, tracks had more barriers etc. A fast driver is always a fast driver.

But 50s to 2000s is too far to compare. Very different sport. Not a niche style of auto racing with it's own politics but a multi-billion show now, still with the politics.

#48 airwise

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 07:09

Well in the fifties Hamilton wouldn't have been allowed to spectate let alone drive.

#49 Paolo

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 08:48

Originally posted by ensign14

Except of course those golden age boys would race for a MINIMUM of 3 hours in far unfriendlier driving conditions and there would only be 2 of them for the 24 hours of Le Mans. Not unlikely that they would easily be able to match modern fitness with modern techniques.


I am of the opinion they couldn't.
Fangio was old even by the times' standards.
Hawthorn had a terminal kidney disease.
Both were world champions.
The competition must not have been incredibly fit, one guesses.


Those people were brave and able, but unfit and untrained if compared to today's drivers.

#50 Victor_RO

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 08:54

It's very very hard to tell, simply because of the huge difference between the guys driving now and the guys driving back then, and the gigantic difference between the cars.

As a sidenote, I just got one of Jim Bamber's "The Pits" annuals, and there's a cartoon there which is very relevant to this subject: Schuey in a '50s racing car and Fangio in the F2002, and JMF is asking "Where's the gearshift?"