the '99 season:
Irvine---- 33 points in 5 races as Ferrari No.1 after MS left.
Schumacher---- 32 points in 7 races (8 races if you include Silverstone)
You forgot to mention the little gift Irvine got from Mika Salo, BTW. Samurai, every driver has inconsistencies within a season. Let me give you some data from the 2000 season.
Schumacher?s first 6 races - 46 points
Schumacher?s next 6 races - 16 points
Schumacher?s last 5 races - 46 points
We all know that he went through a rough patch in the middle with some bad luck, but by your reasoning we can ignore that, so this data is admissible. You said that statistics are more important than the events that lead to the statistic. You in fact gave reasons to why Irvine got these points, and yet built your case on these statistics. So I can argue that Schumacher?s best was yet to come in 1999. Statistics do not tell the full story, especially when its from such a small time frame. If you don?t believe me on this, go look at the Gilles Villeneuve case. The case was won in his favour, even though all statistics worked against him.
I would like to make a similar response to Ross Stonefeld?s post. He too used statistics without touching on the variables.
Let me try to explain Eddie?s performance in 1999, no wait Samurai already did that.
Schumacher was way better than Eddie. Its not so hard to drive a competitive car and win. During Eddie?s stay as no. 1, he was driving the second best car. When the Macs didn?t finish he got the points deserving of the second best car. The Macs and the Ferrari?s were far better than the rest, so when the Macs had problems it wasn?t very hard for Eddie to score those points, simply because he had no other rivals. The three-wheel incident was a mistake and nothing more. Samurai?s argument about this being due to lack of commitment from team Scumacher has to be far from true. There are some inconsistencies in his argument.
Yes, sure Irvine got some points due to rivals retirements and good pitstop strategy,
What are you saying? Team Schumacher were committed enough to come up with a good pit stop strategy for Eddie but not enough to put four wheels on his car?? Who came up with those pit stop strategies? Eddie??
As I have said in my previous posts, Michael got Ferrari through the early days, and laid a foundation for building the Ferrari we see today. His performance was incredible, and this is the period we should pick to compare him to Eddie. Anyone can perform with a competitive car, but its not so easy with a mediocre car.
To make my point more clear, let me quote Mr. Modesty, Eddie Irvine himself. Lets see what he has to say about Schumacher:
"He never lets up either. If he's not testing, he's training, or driving a kart. He's a sad case. I don't know what's wrong with him. Maybe he was an ugly kid, nobody would talk to him and he's getting his own back. There's definitely something wrong!" - Eddie Irvine
Between Magny-Cours and Silverstone 1996
"How Michael does these things, I just don't know, because the car is just so wrong it's unreal." - Eddie Irvine
On going to Jaguar and some other comments. (in 1999)
?Mind you, I haven't worked out how I will beat Michael for as I have also said before, and people doubted my words and motives, he is the number one. He makes the rest of us look ordinary at times.?
?Now it is time to go and I cannot wait to join Jaguar. The timing is fantastic. I was really desperate to get out of Ferrari this season and I am a lucky, lucky guy. I could not have coped with another year because Michael is so damn good - he is a back-breaker. He saps you and the effort of working and competing with him drains you.
I feel for my replacement, Rubens Barrichello, because I don't believe he has any idea what he has let himself in for. I don't know if he will be crushed by Schumacher, but I do know he is in for a really hard time. Michael's rest during recuperation from a broken leg has done him a power of good. Until then, there were a few times when I knew I could get him, but since he has been back he has been on a different planet.?
?It will be tough but I am looking forward to it. Not working for Michael will be a big help for me. Ferrari know I am a good driver ... but they also know Michael is unbelievable.?
?We also lead the constructors' championship and as we head to Monaco, where Michael's ability can shine, there is no reason why we cannot increase that margin.
I have said it before and I say it again now, Michael is an unbelievable driver who makes the rest of us seem ordinary. What happened to David Coulthard on Sunday, what he felt after leading and then losing to Michael, is what I have to put up with at close quarters every week.
The guy is something else. Just when you think you are driving on the limit everywhere Michael comes along, goes out and proves in a couple of laps you had better think again for the limit is further away.
He has an ability that demands respect and admiration and I have sympathy for Coulthard, even though he had the best car and the better strategy. His complaints about back-markers holding him up are justified. It happens all the time, but it is the same for everyone.
I have a very professional relationship with Michael. We don't meet up socially because we tend to laugh at different things. But any doubts about how we get on, just look at the scoreboards. That's all teamwork. I need them, they need me.? - Eddie Irvine
There you have it, straight from the horse?s mouth. We learnt that Schumacher is very hard working, much faster than Eddie by his own admission. The break in 1999 did him a lot of good according to Eddie. As he said Michael was much faster when he came back, and this was the time when Irvine?s motivation should have been maximum. These quotes should have significance in this case because they came from Eddie?s lips. He very rarely has positive things to say about people.
So it is yet to be proven that other drivers could have achieved the same feat as Schumacher. I proved that Eddie could not have done it.
Coming to Samurai?s arguments about Brawn/Byrne and Co., it is true that these guys are of great value to the team. Ferrari could not have won had it not been for Schumacher and the same goes for Brawn/Byrne and Co. It was a team effort. But Samurai has totally ignored the hand Schumacher had to play in developing the car. He worked very closely with these guys to get the car 100% for him.
Samurai spoke about how great strategies won Schumacher races. Though this is true, Samurai gave all the credit to team Schumacher. Schumacher had a significant role in these strategies. Many of these strategies have been based on Schumacher?s exceptional and unique abilities as a driver, the most important of them being his ability to drive in the rain. Let me quote Ross Brawn on this.
"Michael seems to be able to extract time out of various set-ups. When you have a driver like that, it is sometimes a little more difficult to find the optimum. He can drive round a problem, but what we have to find is the set-up which is best for the race. Michael, because of his ability, will not have a problem if a car oversteers a lot - even in the fast corners." - Ross Brawn
I think this says a lot about his versatility as a driver, and this gives Brawn/Byrne and Co. a lot of options, options they would not have with other drivers.
Don?t get me wrong, these guys had a huge role to play in Ferrari?s success, but so did Schumacher. Samurai?s argument about Schumacher owing all
of his success to his team is a distortion of the truth. Schumacher bought Brawn/Byrne and Co. a lot of time with his brilliance in the early years. He gave them time to develop a great car. It would have all crumbled without Schumacher.
As far as contribution goes these guys should be paid a lot more, but that?s not the way it works. Drivers get paid a lot more, that?s tradition. As pointed out earlier, F1 is a marketing tool; hence these guys don?t get paid nearly as much. To the average F1 fan, the driver is who?s important. You cannot win WDCs without great guys working behind the scenes. Schumacher has a great team working for him, so what?? Which WDC winner didn?t? This should not take away from his worth as a driver.
As for BRG?s argument that Ferrari would have been better off, if they had gotten 2 decent drivers and given them equal status does not sound convincing. I believe Ferrari already tried that through the 80s and some part of the early 90s and it didn?t work. Why would it work now? For a team to benefit from this sort of approach, you need to have a strong car. That is exactly what Ferrari did not have in 1996 and for a good period before that. It took Schumacher and his team to get the car into competitive shape. There is no evidence that suggests that this could have been done through this sort of approach.
Even the slight talent of Eddie Irvine proved nearly capable of winning the WDC in 1999 - if the driver line-up have been that had been Villeneuve and/or Fisichela and/or Frentzen and/or other decent drivers, they would surely have achieved the WDC a year earlier.
BRG has ignored the role Schumacher and his amazing team had to play in developing the car in the period between 1996 and 1998/1999. That car Eddie drove in 1999 would not have existed if not for Schumacher, Byrne, Brawn and Co. The foundation had already been laid in 1999. Again I have to say that its much easier to get good results in competitive cars than in mediocre ones.
Here?s my analysis of the drivers you suggested.
Villeneuve: Nearly lost WDC in a superior car in 1997. King of DNFs. What would he have been able to do in the 1998 Ferrari?
Fisichella: We don?t know much about his performance in the top-level cars. Before Rubens joined Ferrari, I held him in similar regard.
Frentzen: Sucked in 1997 Williams though it was a great car, great performance in 1999 Jordan. Very inconsistent.
Schumacher: Great performance in all seasons at Ferrari, and has become a benchmark for all drivers of his era.
BRG, though your theory sounds good, there is no proof that this would have worked better. These drivers you mentioned don?t seem to have what it takes. As I said earlier, they tried that approach in the 80s and it did not work.