The 'worst' driver to win a World Championship?
Posted 20 November 2000 - 08:11
Now that we have had some pools about the best driver not to win a WC (Moss) and race (Amon), i would like to ask which driver you think is the less talented driver ever to win a WC after the war. I know you must be a very good driver indeed to win, but who was not in the class af Fangio, Clark etc.
I've come up with these:
Denny Hulme: Not that talented, but his great reliability gave him his WC. After that he never challenged.
James Hunt: He didn't do much except his WC, which he hadn't won if Lauda hasn't crashed.
Alan Jones: I don't know how good he was before his WC but his drive with the Beatrice Lola was not in WC class.
Sorry but; Damon Hill!: Hate to say this, but he was clearly a good driver, but not a great at all. The clearly best car gave him his WC.
Sorry if something is wrong.
What do you think?
Posted 20 November 2000 - 08:30
Posted 20 November 2000 - 09:19
Posted 20 November 2000 - 09:26
Worst world champions?
Phil Hill - in the best car, should have been beaten by von Trips
That's it really
Posted 20 November 2000 - 12:13
Phil Hill I would agree on. How about Jacques Villeneuve - got his championship in clearly the best car, but has not been able to perform ever since (...same argument as with Jones...).
One could for arguments sake say that the name Hill does not imply supremely talented WC - Phil, Graham and Damon. None of them could be called as one of the greats...
Posted 20 November 2000 - 12:44
Keke Rosberg only won one race in 1982, but the win he had at Dijon was at the business end of the season under a lot of pressure. He had 9 other points finishes, including 3 2nd places and 2 3rds. In one of the tighest ever seasons he ran a very level headed campaign in what was not the most competitive car and thoroughly deserved his championship IMHO.
As for Graham Hill, Jim Clark he may not have been (even though he beat Clark fair and square in the battle for the 1962 championship), but it is a bit hard to argue with 2 F1 WDC, 14 F1 victories (including an amazing 5 wins at Monaco), a win in the Indy 500, and a win in the Le Mans 24 hour race. He is, incidently, the only driver to win an F1 WDC, the Indy 500 and Le Mans. I think Mario Andretti's chances of equalling that are just about passed (although with Mario, anything is possible) and we are yet to see whether Jacques Villeneuve takes any interest in Le Mans once his F1 career is finished. In any case it is a record that has stood since 1972 and will take some beating.
Not every world champion was as gifted as Fangio or Clark or Senna. But the fact they won world championships must speak volumes for their ability as a competitor in the year of their championship. To say otherwise, in my opinion, denigrades their efforts in a way that makes me a little uncomfortable.
Posted 20 November 2000 - 13:28
I have heard the argument against Rosberg's championship since he won it way back in '82 - but no-one who has argued against his WDC has ever mentioned that no-one won more than two races in the whole year!
GV got killed:cry:. If Pironi had gone on the win it it would have been a travesty of justice (IMHO). The Renault was woefully unreliable. Ditto McLaren.
Posted 20 November 2000 - 13:51
Originally posted by jk
Hi all Experts!
Alan Jones: I don't know how good he was before his WC but his drive with the Beatrice Lola was not in WC class.
He won 4 of the last 7 races in 1979.
Posted 20 November 2000 - 14:47
Posted 20 November 2000 - 14:52
As far as Phil Hill, he proved his talent in sports cars by winning the Le Mans 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours both three times as well as two wins in the Nurburgring 1000Kms. I don't think he got lucky as some try to make it out to be. In 1961, hee would have been heading to home to the USGP at Watkins Glen in the final race.
Hulme was better driver than given credit for but I agree that he wasn't upper echelon in terms of WDCs.
Graham Hill was another driver that I think didn't get enough credit but I agree that he was no Jim Clark.[p][Edited by Joe Fan on 11-20-2000]
Posted 20 November 2000 - 18:39
Therefore, I will close this thread in few hours unless there is some compelling argument not to do. And believe me, it better be good.
BTW: I have serious problems with threads such as this on this Forum. This sort thing is not why the Forum exists.
Posted 20 November 2000 - 18:47
Can I throw in one who seems to have slipped the net so far?
Mike Hawthorn. Just one win in a season where not only Stirling Moss was regularly quicker, but so too were Tony Brooks and Peter Collins. I know he ranks with Rosberg as winning a title with one victory, but somehow I've always felt that he stole it from Stirling.
Posted 20 November 2000 - 19:40
Dennis David: How did this thread get here? This is not a question for the Nostalgia Forum as it serves no useful purpose.
Don Capps: In my opinion, this is the sort of thing that belongs on the Readers' Comments Forum and not here.
Michael Ferner: Totally agree here!
Go on, Don! (even if it is a tad authoritarian, imho)
Posted 20 November 2000 - 19:47
Just for starters, if JMH was so slow, how is it that he picked up so many points for fastest laps?
Posted 20 November 2000 - 19:55
When I first saw the title, I nearly didn't read it at all. It certainly didn't sound like the sort of thing I enjoy so much from this forum.
However, I did read it, and I'm glad I did. The arguements have been well reasoned and nobody could class them as offensive to the drivers concerned.
We all know that some world champions were greater divers than others, and that some won in a year when they were ot the fastest driver around. If we can debate who we believe to be the greatest of world champions, why can we not consider who we believe to be fortunate to gain the title. If it become abusive and disrespectful to the drivers concerned, then close it down, but so far it is not.
This forum, in my opinion, should not only be about race results and chassis numbers, if it was it would soon become stale. It should also be an opportunity to express opinions. If the subject of debate, the opinions expressed or the manner of expressing them become unacceptable, then close it down. But excepting a slightly unfortunate choice of words in one or two postings, this has not been the case here.
Posted 20 November 2000 - 20:00
Posted 20 November 2000 - 20:12
I am not mistaken, Phil would have been leading the title chase after Monza anyway and then heads to his home GP! Where is this "Von Trips" domination?
Anyway, since the question was asked, Hulme never seemed incredible so I guess I would vote for him.
Posted 20 November 2000 - 20:27
Posted 20 November 2000 - 21:35
Another side to Hawthorn's championship year that I have never seen reported or commented on. I was at practice for the 1958 GP at Silverstone and had cruised over to the paddock. The pride of Italy, the 256 Ferraris, had arrived at the track, covered with canvas, on some pretty beaten up British lorries (trucks in American). They could not unload the cars without possible damage because the wooden ramps were too short. So Hawthorn instructed the mechanics to go down to the Vanwall pit and borrow some. "Their's will fit," says Hawthorn, and he was right, as the Ferrari mechanics brought back a set of gleaming metal ramps. Near the end of the session, Hawthorn had given instructions to the mechanics to prepare Von Trips car for him to try. This involved removing bits from inside the cockpit to accomodate Mike's long legs. When Hawthorn came in to try the car, the work had not been done, which was when I happened to be by. Well, to see those Ferrari mechanics, heads hung low, quietly muttering amongst themselves as they made the changes was quite something. When the work was finished, Hawthorn took the car out, but it was understeering way more than even he could handle, and he was using a lot of the grass on the exit of Woodcote. Not lifting off, of course...
These snapshots gave me the impression that Hawthorn was basically managing the team. I think he did more than drive fast (and to repeat myself, there was a lot of that) to win his championship.
As to his fitness, there are stories that he was suffering from a kidney disease, which, in those days did have a good prognosis. He was refused the then compulsory military service for health reasons, though the yellow press of the day made more of it than that.
Incidently, whilst I am on the JMH bandwagon, has anyone seen a picture that appeared in an old Autocourse Annual Review of Hawthorn drifting the Ferrari at the '58 British GP? If anyone wants to understand the phrase 'limits of adhesion', that picture would do the job. I don't have it, but wouldn't it be great if it could be posted...?
Posted 20 November 2000 - 22:10
Posted 20 November 2000 - 22:20
Originally posted by david_martin
As for Graham Hill, Jim Clark he may not have been (even though he beat Clark fair and square in the battle for the 1962 championship
Sorry this simply is not true the only thing that beat Clark in 62 was the incredible fragility of his Lotus. In the last race at East London all he had to do to win the championship was keep going after blowing off Hill as thoroughly as it possible his car let him down and he retired with no oil pressure.
Back on subject I do not believe that any World Champion is bad or worse, some are just more fortunate than others in having the perfect package at their disposal.
Posted 21 November 2000 - 04:35
Posted 24 November 2000 - 02:06
But is that fair?
I think that nobody who ever won the World Championship didn't in some way deserve it. Denny drove a solid series, picked up some wins and followed the boss home, while they both took the chase up to the newer and more powerful cars while they lasted. It was not an easy year to win, going down to the last race.
Graham Howard uses the term 'Cash Register Driver' in relation to Denny, saying that his neck went out further when there was a better chance of a result and more reward from that result. Does that sully his memory?
Hawthorn is another matter, but from a slightly more heroic era, as oldtimer points out.
What of Farina, though? By the time he won his title, his career was almost over...
Surtees was mentioned, but obviously by someone without knowledge of the man, his driving and his achievements.
Damon Hill... I wonder... perhaps he has a rightful claim to this dubious honour, but never does Jacques.
There might be more in this...
Thanks for not closing the thread, Don.
Posted 24 November 2000 - 13:02
My vote would be Piquet in 87. Consider his victories that year, Germany inherited when Prost retired approx a few laps from the end, same in Hungary with Mansell this time, and Italy when Senna lost it at the Parabolica.
Full marks as well for being totally ungracious. Generally beaten throughout the year by Mansell, Prost, Berger (when the Ferrari was on song towards the end of the year)and Senna
A travesty in short :-)
Posted 24 November 2000 - 14:34
Originally posted by jmcgavin
Germany inherited when Prost retired approx a few laps from the end, same in Hungary with Mansell this time, and Italy when Senna lost it at the Parabolica.
Isn't this how championships are won? Otherwise the only "acceptable" winner would have to win all the races.
Posted 24 November 2000 - 16:48
A good example of this would be Prost the year before, picking up points knowing he couldn't keep pace with the Williams pair. However there were also races that year which he won with a true champions performance. In Monaco that year he won the race, was on pole and had the fastest lap, and I can still remember reports of rivals dumbfounded as he pulled further and further away from the field with no exterior signs of trying to go faster at all. Shades of Jackie Stewart in 1971.
Piquet in contrast appeared IMHO to be content to race below the leaders pace pick up the points and take a win if it fell into his lap. I can't remember a single victory that year where he won by genuinely being a 'champion' driver.
In marked contrast to his performances in many previous years Piquet showed one element of what it takes to be world champion but precious few others.
OK rant over, I'll calm down now
Posted 24 November 2000 - 18:50
Posted 24 November 2000 - 23:04
Winning championships is a bit like making sausage, not a very pretty process. Like many of my cohort, the 1958 season rather changed my mind about championships. It wasn't that we didn't like Mike -- scarcely the case at all! We liked him quite a bit -- it was that it dawned on some of us that Championships are not everything.
Posted 24 November 2000 - 23:50
Posted 25 November 2000 - 04:27
As to the one or ones I personally feel perhaps not exactly "deserving" of wearing the crown? Probably none should be slighted since they did earn it, but after about the mid-80's it seems rather a blur to me and not very special. Now, I could make an exception for Nigel Mansell and mark my ballot with his name....
I was a bit tweaked for awhile when Surtees won despite N.G. Hill scoring more points, but as I said then and say again now, Surtees didn't create the scoring system.... And, I did like Fast John, regardless of what he drove.
So, Barry, not really. Mike wasn't who I would have chosen, but when he won it, we all closed ranks since we knew Stirling would get one and get it soon...
Posted 25 November 2000 - 14:33
Posted 25 November 2000 - 21:25
Posted 25 November 2000 - 22:30
10 May Monaco GP Cooper/climax Transmission
31 May Dutch GP Gearbox
2 August German GP Gearbox
12 Dec US GP Gearbox
The races in the BRM were successful, (1959)
The article relates to '59,
Posted 26 November 2000 - 00:00
Originally posted by Jaxs
I can remember Alf Francis writing into Autosport and explaining the cause of the gearbox failures, pinion sizes and loading on the crownwheel, if my memory is correct, but that didn't explain why it only happened and kept happening to Moss.
It was only the Walker team that used tthe Collotti gearbox
Posted 26 November 2000 - 20:26
A Formula One World Driver's Champion is always a Formula One World Driver's Champion! Why? Because a racing driver who wins the Formula One World Driver's Championship wins it by scoring the most points for a given year. He cannot lose having won the Formula One World Driver's Championship for last year unless we re-run last year and he doesn't win the same races or score less points than he did.
Also a Formula One World Driver's Champion is not an "ex," or "former," by virtue of the fact that he won the championship for a certain year. A Vanwall, BRM, Maserati 250F or Ferrari 246 is not a "former," Grand Prix car anymore than Buzz Aldrin is a "former astronaut." They are what they are!
Think about this... It is not so much how he does it or who it is that wins the Formula One World Championship, as it is what they do after they have won the championship!
Do they give anything back? And by that, I mean. Do they give anything back to the fans?
The Maestro, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Jack Brabham, James Hunt, John Surtees, Emerson, and Jackie Stewart are champions that come to mind when thinking about returning something.
Prost, Lauda, Jones, Piquet? Too busy to be bothered. Mario? Protected by his entourage...
BTW for those of you who think Hawthorn stole the championship from Sir Stirling, read Champion Year!
Posted 26 November 2000 - 22:44
However, bearing in mind that it is Mike's own book, he is hardly likely to say "Well, chaps, although I won the title, I have to admit that I rather lucked into it, and Stirling was actually more deserving than me." Is he ?
In fact, as everybody knows only too well, had Stirling's sense of fair play been anything close to that of a few modern drivers who I will not name, he wouldn't have spoken up after Portugal, and Mike would have remained disqualified. But he did, and it cost him the title.
Good for Stirling; but lucky for Mike.
Posted 27 November 2000 - 02:31
BUT, Hawthorn fought like stink for his championship, apart from the points-collecting drive at Casablanca. Five fastest laps and 5 poles out of 10 races seem to tell a story to me. Pedalling the 246 around Monaco for fastest lap must have really taken something special. Hawthorn finished with 49 points in total to be top points scorer, unlike some...
His championship had some style.
Getting off my soap-box, I have to agree about Piquet not being a shining example of a champion in '87
Posted 27 November 2000 - 02:47
Posted 27 November 2000 - 07:51
Apart from a dominant victory at Reims, a circuit that everyone accepted was a 'car' circuit, rather than a 'driver' circuit, how many races did Hawthorn lead during that season?
To show I'm not utterly biased, I will add that I am sure that Mike would have been much quicker towards the end of the season had Peter Collins not crashed right in front of him in Germany. Mike's heart wasn't in it any more, and the fact that he did eventually land the title was not entirely of his own doing.
So the old adage rings true yet again, to finish first......etc etc.
Posted 27 November 2000 - 14:18
His win at Imola in 1981 was true champion material, catching and hassling Villeneuve into outbraking himself after that awful start.
And what about Brazil 82 and 83.
The development which he personally put into the BMW turbo which gave him the reward of the 83 title.
After he lost his depth perception following the Imola crash in 87 he shouldn't really have been able to carry on and win that year, and no way would a merely average driver have won 2 GP in that Benetton in 1990, beating both Berger(McLaren) and Mansell(Ferrari) into 3rd place in the championship.
On his day I really don't think there was anyone faster.
Posted 27 November 2000 - 18:04
Even before his Imola crash he had days like Monaco 86, finishing 7th and a lap down in probably the fastest car on the circuit, basically because as he admitted himself he didn't really like the track and couldn't be bothered to make a race of it.
Posted 27 November 2000 - 19:22
Posted 27 November 2000 - 19:28
Originally posted by BT52
I have to defend Piquet. You just DON'T win 3 championships without being one of the very best.
Glad for once I don't have to be the one! I might add that the guys he beat, in cars at least as good as his, were Carlos Reutemann, Alan Jones, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell.
Hadn't heard about the loss of depth perception. I know that after the Tamburello crash he went from his usual ten hours of sleep (not counting naps on the starting grid, or time spent in bed engaging in his own version of physical training) to maybe four.
My personal favorite race of Nelson's was, in fact, post-Tamburello, and one he didn't win: Mexico 1987. I used to have a tape, but I think it got sacrificed to an episode of "Rugrats".
Back to what I agree with our Fearless Moderator is a very questionable topic, but what the hell: if you could line them all up in some sort of theoretical equal cars for a theoretical winner-take-all GP, well, Fangio would win after Clark got caught in the Senna/Prost shunt and the name of the driver who finished last would probably start with "H", but what does that prove about the World Driving Championship?
And a quick riposte to the Anglo-Antipodean Piquet bashers: if you want to argue about a really "gifted", dubiously earned Championship due to the hard work of others, against seriously depleted and underequipped opposition, well, there's Mansell in 1992...
But that most definitely would lower the standards of the NF, so let's not go there at all!
Posted 27 November 2000 - 19:31
Posted 27 November 2000 - 19:48
And Barry, let's not forget Hawthorn lost his stomach for battle at Spa when he thought Collins had had a bad accident. Later, he saw Collins in the pits, and then the hammer went down.
Posted 27 November 2000 - 20:12
Off topic, but one of my all time favorite anecdotes about Picquet came at that weekend at Imola in 1987. Nelson went to see Sid Watkins to get permission to run in the race. Arriving wearing only one shoe, Watkins says "Nelson I can't let you start, you obviously have a head injury. Don't you realise you are only wearing one shoe". Nelson replies "I don't have a head injury, I am only wearing one shoe because my foot is too swollen to put on the other one. Can I race?"
Posted 27 November 2000 - 22:35
This is all prejudice and blind favoritism, not mathematics or rocket science, you know.
Posted 27 November 2000 - 22:50