If Schumacher died or was forced to retire after his crash at Silverstone 1999, he'd have been placed number 1 on this excuse of a list.
Gee.... I so, so doubt that.
The enigma that was Senna played on the minds and hearts of so many fans and team members etc. He managed to do so despite his clear flaws and this IMO, has added a lot to his greatness. We can have little spats about his race craft etc., but this doesn't take away from the overall figure he was and just how much he impacted the sport. For this reason, it's no surprise that he's been chosen. I have my personal favourite, but I fully understand Senna being chosen since there's really not much separating the top 5-6 that have been chosen. But one has to be first... each will have their own. It would appear that the BBC voting favoured Senna.
One has to admit, putting aside the claims of media sensationalism to invoke controversy etc, that Senna would likely be voted number one in other surveys carried out without such a potential agenda.
Character seems to have played a lot in the order of the choices made especially when the technical abilities seem quite similarly great. It's only right and fair that these other facets of the driver are also considered when making that final decision. Senna was already considered a great in F1 before he died and this is why his death was such a monumental moment in the sport.
Senna was very open about his passion for the sport. He was open about how serious he was about it and how principled he was. Of course, there may be disagreement about his personal principles and we see how things worked out or didn't for him in this regard. It's his openness in this regard that has been a huge asset to how he was perceived. The natural tendency of one looking on is that if it's not seen, then it means that it isn't there. Senna showed to the world this side of him. Add to that his genuine speed on the track and the effect is what we see here now. His being voted number 1.
My personal favourite is Schumi though.
He definitely didn't demonstrate that same sort of open passion that Senna had. He was more seen as one who was there with a single-pointed will to win at all costs. He was definitely not openly confrontational, nor did he publicly expound on his principles etc. He definitely didn't open up his spiritual side to the public. His closed nature had him seen as arrogant among other things. There was no openness present to offset his ontrack behaviour by creating a better balance with regard to his public image as occurred with Senna with stunning effect. It's amazing how your transgressions will be overlooked if you're loved and show your fans a piece of your soul as it were in a direct way. To see a more complete picture of Schumacher one has to make the effort. No doubt about that one.
But I am OK with the order though I took serious exception to Benson's profile article on Schumacher. I think he overdid it in his efforts to justify why Schumacher, despite all his record breaking and unprecedented success, was voted in at number 4. Many so often say that the stats speak for themselves. However, there's one notable, though not the only exception here.... Schumacher. I often seen apologies being made or that despite a mans stats, he shouldn't be underestimated as with Moss and Villeneuve. However, I must say that playing down Schumi's stats has been as unprecendented in scope, IMO anyway, as the stats themselves.
It's been an interesting list for what it's worth.
Edited by ali_M, 14 November 2012 - 09:44.