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Who *deserved* to be a World Champion?


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#1 Jimisgod

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 00:07

Since we have the spiteful little "Worst WDC" thread, why not have a thread where you can put down drivers who impressed you enough you feel they were worthy of a WDC crown at some point had history been different.

1. S. Moss: 16 wins.

Obviously. Easily the best driver of the late 50s after Fangio. A runner up on four occasions. 1958, in particular, ought to have been his as he had 4 wins to the 1 of Hawthorn. Was a winner right up until his Goodwood accident, which happened when he was about the age that Button is today.

2. T. Brooks: 6 wins.

Not quite on the level of Moss, but still a good driver in his own right. A runner up in 1959 to Brabham in a Ferrari that was looking mildly outdated next to the Coopers. Retired at a very young age of 28 at the end of 1961.

3. D. Gurney: 4 wins.

Supposedly the only driver Jim Clark feared on track, Dan kind of suffered from moving between teams at the wrong times. He drove for Brabham from 1963 - 65, a year before the went to Repco engines and became champions. Porsche was a capable enough car for Gurney in 1961 - 62 giving him 5 podiums and a win, but they quit suddenly (a manufacturer quitting like that, surely not!). His Eagle was beautiful but unreliable.

4. J. Ickx: 8 wins.

The 6 times winner of Le Mans was runner up for both 1969 and '70, and was unfortunate the Ferrari engine just wasn't as good as the DFV. He was burned at the 1970 Spanish GP after a crash, which took some momentum out at the start of that season. Ferrari allegedly had weak starts to the F1 season during Ickx racing tenure due to a focus on sports cars. In 1973, Ferrari even skipped some F1 races in favour of sportscars!

5. R. Peterson: 10 wins.

Runner up in both 1971 and '78, Ronnie was famous for his wild driving style that I consider to have been even superior to the legendary Gilles. His best shot was likely 1973, where he scored 9 poles, but reliability reduced that to only 4 wins. He was the faster Lotus driver that year, faster than champion Fittipaldi. Stewart of course won the WDC, but more often than not Peterson was the fastest car on race day.

Skip over to 1978 and Ronnie managed to out qualify Andretti at Brands Hatch, even though Ronnie was using hard compound tires instead of the qualifiers which were held for Andretti. And Ronnie had half a tank of fuel over Andretti! After his victory in Austria he trailed Andretti by only 9 points with 4 races remaining. However he was loyal, and followed Andretti's broken car over the line at the following race. At the race after that, Ronnie passed away.

These are just a start, feel free to add more.

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#2 bullystoke

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 00:10

of course villeneuve. the proper one ;)

#3 Rob G

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 00:34

Tazio Nuvolari
Achille Varzi
Rudi Caracciola
Bernd Rosemeyer
Hermann Lang
Wolfgang von Trips

#4 AJFIN

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 00:39

If they deserved to be world champions, they would be world champions.

#5 ali_M

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:10

If they deserved to be world champions, they would be world champions.


I tend to agree with this. Many very quick drivers have come and gone but it takes more than that for a championship to be put together and won.

We may as well add some others:

- Juan Pablo Montoya is one who could be quick on his day. 7 wins

- Jean Alesi - the one that turned out to have won only one race despite being championship winning material!!

- David Coulthard - 18 wins!!

- Didier Pironi - 3 wins

- Jacques Laffite - 6 wins

Edited by ali_M, 15 December 2012 - 01:11.


#6 Ragingjamaican

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:12

Kubica.

#7 midgrid

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:17

Of drivers who are yet to be mentioned, Carlos Reutemann.

#8 halifaxf1fan

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:18

Massa - 11 wins

#9 Jimisgod

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:56

If they deserved to be world champions, they would be world champions.


Really? I think fate plays a part. Especially in the early years when drivers could die or get maimed so easily. Hamilton could have died in that practice crash at Germany '07 in an older car. Mika certainly could have died in his Adelaide crash, before a single WDC, had it not been for Sid Watkins.

If you were to reset time but keep all the drivers at the same skill level and cars the same speed, I doubt Moss would have missed out on a title. In fact, I think the 62 (?) world championships would look a lot different.

#10 discover23

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:09

Montoya.

#11 goldenboy

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:28

For me it's mainly moss and villeneuve, but admit I don't know enough about the careers of the other drivers from older generations that have been named.

None from the new gen i.e. coulthard/montoya/kubica (unless he went a few more yrs) deserved one in my eyes unless they actually did it. If kimi didn't get his I would have definately said him though.

#12 jj2728

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:32

Chris Amon

#13 fisssssi

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:38

- David Coulthard - 18 wins!!


Wikipedia says 13 wins (18 fastest laps).

Funny how drivers like Coulthard and Barrichello notched up so many wins without ever getting close to a WDC.

Kind of like Webber today (9 wins!) although he did get _very_ close in '10.

#14 HP

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:46

Regazzoni

#15 gm914

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:48

Massa - 11 wins

Teammates in that timespan - 25 wins.

#16 Wander

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:51

Carlos Reutemann?

#17 Eff One 2002

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:53

Moss and Gilles Villeneuve certainly. Had GV lived, I'm of the opinion he would have been WDC eventually. Montoya is another who certainly had the ability and natural talent to be WDC if in the right place at the right time. He came closest to this in 2003. Shame it didn't work out as he would have been a very deserving WDC.

#18 DarthWillie

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 06:56

Didier Pironi, Bellof and Reutemann

#19 Andrew Hope

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:03

The guys who were World Champions deserved to be World Champions.

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#20 garoidb

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:22

- Jean Alesi - the one that turned out to have won only one race despite being championship winning material!!


Whereas if he had been cut off in his prime he would be considered one of the great lost talents.

#21 garoidb

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:28

Carlos Reutemann?


Yes. He outscored GV in 1978, had a great shot at the 1981 WDC, and would have had a shot at 1982 too IMO.

#22 garoidb

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:32

Didier Pironi, Bellof and Reutemann


Bellof could easily have been a disappointment. We did not get to see whether he would have matured into a champion. Brundle looked good at Tyrrell and in sportscars too (and was good actually, but never made it to a GP win let alone an F1 WDC). I'm not saying he couldn't have done it, but there is too little evidence because his career ended much too early.

Pironi and Reutemann agreed.

Edited by garoidb, 15 December 2012 - 09:32.


#23 Group B

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:33

Tony Brooks and Taffy Von Trips.

#24 ryan86

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:37

My problem with Reutemann and partly Pironi is that they had their chances to be champions and it feels as if they messed up themselves.

#25 eronrules

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:44

going off on a tangent here

in WRC ... Markko Märtin

in motogp ... Loris Capirossi

in F1 ... dunno cause in F1, one needs the team+car+consistency to win WDC, so if one doesn't win it, means they've ****ed up somewhere.

#26 Tsarwash

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:30

François Cevert may well have gone on to win a WDC. We shall never know, but he was beginning to match Jackie Stewart up until the time of his death.

Considering his ability it's almost incredible that Moss never won a WDC.

Montoya and Coulthard both had good chances and never managed to turn them into solid challenges. Coulthard was just not a quick as his two Finnish teammates, who admittedly were both very good indeed. Montoya lost the goodwill of his team, and ultimately did not get the results in the cars that he had. Both of them could easily have been WDC if circumstances had been different, but you can say that about a lot of drivers. Massa, Irvine for example.

#27 LiJu914

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:49

Really? I think fate plays a part. Especially in the early years when drivers could die or get maimed so easily.


On the other hand...when a promising driver got involved in a tragic accident many people tend to assume, that he would´ve had a oh so rosy and successful future, if that had not happened - but reality shows that there are also many drivers (whose careers didn´t prematurely end) who could not live up to the high expectations.

#28 Clatter

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:01

If they deserved to be world champions, they would be world champions.


In the early days cars were far less reliable, there were not as many races in the season and DNF could have a far greater effect than now.

#29 P123

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:07

Who deserved to be a WDC? Moss is the standout there- 4x WDC runner up, 16 victories in 60-odd starts. I suppose there are a few more 'what could have been' drivers, such as Cevert, G. Villeneuve and maybe even Alesi had he chosen Williams.

Montoya and Coulthard both had good chances and never managed to turn them into solid challenges. Coulthard was just not a quick as his two Finnish teammates, who admittedly were both very good indeed. Montoya lost the goodwill of his team, and ultimately did not get the results in the cars that he had. Both of them could easily have been WDC if circumstances had been different, but you can say that about a lot of drivers. Massa, Irvine for example.



DC wasn't quite championship winning material- a bit too inconsistant, but he did finish runner up once, and also finished ahead of his faster Finish teammates three times in the championship standings. But I don't think he is somebody who deserved to be a WDC either- as you say, he had plenty of good chances.

For JPM, it's worth noting that had his Williams held together as he waltzed away at the front in Japan '03 then he would have finished level on points with Schumacher, which would have been as close as possible without actually winning it. Did he deserve a WDC.. .well, no. But with his talent he should have delivered at least one. Instead he walked away, completely disinterested and unmotivated. A bit of a shell of what he was as a Williams driver.

Edited by P123, 15 December 2012 - 12:08.


#30 Group B

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:11

Who deserved to be a WDC? Moss is the standout there- 4x WDC runner up, 16 victories in 60-odd starts. I suppose there are a few more 'what could have been' drivers, such as Cevert, G. Villeneuve and maybe even Alesi had he chosen Williams.




DC wasn't quite championship winning material- a bit too inconsistant, but he did finish runner up once, and also finished ahead of his faster Finish teammates three times in the championship standings. But I don't think he is somebody who deserved to be a WDC either- as you say, he had plenty of good chances.

For JPM, it's worth noting that had his Williams held together as he waltzed away at the front in Japan '03 then he would have finished level on points with Schumacher, which would have been as close as possible without actually winning it. Did he deserve a WDC.. .well, no. But with his talent he should have delivered at least one. Instead he walked away, completely disinterested and unmotivated. A bit of a shell of what he was as a Williams driver.

Yep, Montoya was a clown, but his talent, entertainment and potential was the biggest early premature loss to F1 in the last 15 years.

#31 Jimisgod

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:22

For JPM, it's worth noting that had his Williams held together as he waltzed away at the front in Japan '03 then he would have finished level on points with Schumacher, which would have been as close as possible without actually winning it. Did he deserve a WDC.. .well, no. But with his talent he should have delivered at least one. Instead he walked away, completely disinterested and unmotivated. A bit of a shell of what he was as a Williams driver.


JPM was mentally outclassed by Kimi at every turn. First Kimi beat him on speed, then Kimi held his head together enough in 2009 to have the respect in the paddock necessary for a potential comeback. Hence 2012.

He didn't run off, quit mid-season and basically kill all his chances in the sport.

Also the whole hang-glider shoulder injury mess in 2005 did nothing to help his chances in getting equal treatment in the first place.

Now he does nothing in a NASCAR. What a waste.

That said, the Williams from 2001 - 2003 was probably better than journeyman Halfie and hothead JPM showed.

There was a brief absence of talent aside from M. Schumacher in those years though: Kimi was too young, Alonso was also young, Mika had quit, DC was never really a champion, Fisi couldn't hold his own against a good teammate, Rubens was a confirmed #2 who couldn't match Schumi or Button in later years, and Trulli was in bad cars before he blew his shot at Renault despite running Alonso close.

#32 PayasYouRace

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:31

Hard to disagree with the drivers in the OP.

I'll also put G. Villeneuve there and Von Trips. I'm reluctant to include drivers who didn't really get a chance to show what they could do before fate took them from us. I'll also say Montoya. Just a couple of car failures stopped him from being the 2003 champion.

It's just a fact that there are more deserving winners than there are championships. So many factors play into actually winning one. So while each one was deserved by the winner, there are plenty of others who also deserved to win one.

#33 LiJu914

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 13:12

Rubens was a confirmed #2 who couldn't match Schumi or Button in later years


To be fair, Rubens did match JB quite often. In 2007 and 2008 it was basically 50:50. (points aren´t a really a indicator as the team only managed to score under "unusual circumstances" and then it depended more on timing, which driver was better that day. E.g. in 2007 JB scored more points, but Rubens finished more often ahead of Button than the other way around. In 2008 the roles were reversed.) And even in 2009 it was much closer than the standings might indicate. If not for the larger amount of misfortunes on Rubens side, the difference would´ve been just a few points.
Imho Rubens´debut at BAR in 2006 was the only year Button convincingly outperformed him.

Edited by LiJu914, 15 December 2012 - 13:16.


#34 pacificquay

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 14:17

If Berger had got one, it would have been fair enough, although I wouldn't say he's a great lost champion

#35 halifaxf1fan

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 16:18

Teammates in that timespan - 25 wins.


Poor Massa had done more than enough though in 2008 to be wdc. Six wins (more than anyone else that year) and only lost the title due to a corrupted race in Singapore. If the proper thing was done and the Singapore results are thrown out Massa is champ. I suppose he was 'champ' for 15 seconds but that just rubs salt into the wound if it were me.

Edited by halifaxf1fan, 21 December 2012 - 23:45.


#36 Longtimefan

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 16:54

Definitely

Francois Cevert
Ricardo Rodriguez

Probably

Von Trips
Peterson
Bellof

Possibly

Villeneuve
Nilsson






#37 garoidb

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 16:59

My problem with Reutemann and partly Pironi is that they had their chances to be champions and it feels as if they messed up themselves.


That is true of many of the suggestions here. It could be argued that drivers who never got near a WDC are less worthy of consideration.

#38 Skinnyguy

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 17:01

Montoya? I don´t think so. He didn´t have the full package, too many off weekends and stupid mistakes, be it racing people or alone.



#39 nordschleife

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 17:23

Ickx's points total from the middle of 1970 to the middle of 1971 was greater than anyone else's. So that's somewhere past "deserved" and short of "did".
For what it's worth, that's also true of Moss from the middle of 1959 to the middle of 1960.

Edited by nordschleife, 17 December 2012 - 21:25.


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#40 manmower

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 17:43

Funny how the opening post calls out the Worst WDC thread as spiteful then implies Hawthorn was undeservedly champion in the next paragraph. It's a bit more subtle but boils down to the same thing, to say someone deserved a WDC is to say they deserved it over their contemporary WDCs who where thus undeservedly champ.

If you want the moral high ground I suggest renaming the thread to "best drivers never to win a championship".  ;)

I'm sure we have one of these threads somewhere already, by the way.

#41 Skinnyguy

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 17:50

Funny how the opening post calls out the Worst WDC thread as spiteful then implies Hawthorn was undeservedly champion in the next paragraph.


Relax. Then read: not a single bad word in the OP.

#42 PayasYouRace

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 17:58

Funny how the opening post calls out the Worst WDC thread as spiteful then implies Hawthorn was undeservedly champion in the next paragraph. It's a bit more subtle but boils down to the same thing, to say someone deserved a WDC is to say they deserved it over their contemporary WDCs who where thus undeservedly champ.

If you want the moral high ground I suggest renaming the thread to "best drivers never to win a championship". ;)

I'm sure we have one of these threads somewhere already, by the way.


More than one driver can be deserving of the championship in the same year. Only one can win it though.

#43 Risil

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 17:59

When did the World Drivers' Championship become the ne plus ultra of racing driver achievement? Stirling Moss may have been bemused to find someone telling a winner of 212 races including 20 Grands Prix (including non-championship but wholly official races in South Africa, Denmark and Modena) and the Mille Miglia, and the unanimously-accepted Best Driver in the World, that his record was in any way deficient. Bit like looking at Joyce, Proust or Tolstoy and saying "Didn't win a Nobel Prize, though".

#44 ensign14

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:37

Lafitte in 1981. Nearly took it despite being saddled with the Matra. His varying team-mates scored a grand total of zero points alongside him. It's one of the great forgotten seasons. And who could deny Jolly Jacques a moment of glory?

The obvious answer is Moss, who should have taken the crown from 1958 to 1960, but Gurney would have won in 1966 had he not shifted teams and Amon might have won in 1970 ditto.

#45 garoidb

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 14:35

Lafitte in 1981. Nearly took it despite being saddled with the Matra. His varying team-mates scored a grand total of zero points alongside him. It's one of the great forgotten seasons. And who could deny Jolly Jacques a moment of glory?


Yes, he was one of the three drivers with a mathematical chance at the last round, but was pipped to 4th in the standings by Jones.

#46 InfectedPumpkin

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 21:18

If they deserved to be world champions, they would be world champions.



Wrong.

#47 Kingshark

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 18:19

Regarding Montoya. 2003 was his best chance, when Williams was finally faster than Ferrari. Ralf didn't come close; Juan Pablo did better, but couldn't overtake Barrichello without punting him off. On the other hand, had his FW-25 held together when he was leading in Austria and Japan, that championship would've been his without a shadow of doubt.

#48 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 22:15

- Juan Pablo Montoya is one who could be quick on his day. 7 wins

- David Coulthard - 18 wins!!

No no no.

:lol: :p

#49 dave34m

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 22:33

Chris Amon

I would have loved for Amon to have won a race, which he most definitely deserved but I dont think he deserved a WDC. Great driver in a great era of colourful racing.

#50 DampMongoose

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 22:54

As for people winning when they deserve to win it's been said by people before, but the fact that Moss didn't win the drivers title is to the detriment of the championship, not the man! I'd also mention Collins who voluntarily gave up his car for Fangio after Musso ignored any instruction to hand his car over, when he could have won the championship himself as it turned out...