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#1 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 10:57

What's the logic behind the naming convention for world champions?

Seeing Prost listed as a 'former world champion' seems odd because as far as I know he has four and hasn't lost any of them. If this was boxing or another sport where champion status is indefinite until someone beats you, I can see the former/ex tag. But he is and will always be the champion of his years.

To call him 'former number one'(though that's a bit sticky because the champ didn't always change to car #1) would be accurate, but imo former world champion is not?



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#2 jcbc3

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 11:25

lol - reminds me of a letter in R&T from many years ago. R&T had called Phill Hill 'a former world champion driver'.
The letter to the editor said something like: "Phill Hill is no such thing. He is the 1964 Formula 1 world drivers champion".

#3 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:42

What's the logic behind the naming convention for world champions?

Seeing Prost listed as a 'former world champion' seems odd because as far as I know he has four and hasn't lost any of them. If this was boxing or another sport where champion status is indefinite until someone beats you, I can see the former/ex tag. But he is and will always be the champion of his years.

To call him 'former number one'(though that's a bit sticky because the champ didn't always change to car #1) would be accurate, but imo former world champion is not?

A common misuse of English, unfortunately. Prost should be described as either:

1 A previous World Champion
2 A four-time World Champion
3 A quadruple World Champion

But never as a former World Champion.

lol - reminds me of a letter in R&T from many years ago. R&T had called Phill Hill 'a former world champion driver'.
The letter to the editor said something like: "Phill Hill is no such thing. He is the 1964 Formula 1 world drivers champion".

I would hope the letter actually said something like: "Phill Hill is no such thing. He is the 1961 Formula 1 world drivers champion". :wave:

#4 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:44

Why would previous work when former doesn't?

#5 pRy

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:58

You can't call him World Champion surely because that title is reserved for the current one.

#6 jcbc3

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 13:03

...

I would hope the letter actually said something like: "Phill Hill is no such thing. He is the 1961 Formula 1 world drivers champion". :wave:


:blush: It prolly did.

#7 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 13:09

You can't call him World Champion surely because that title is reserved for the current one.


In boxing yes, other sports no. Otherwise someone can't be the 'winningest' driver because they're all former winners.

#8 Buttoneer

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 13:20

Doesn't it depend on the definite or indefinite article? All of these seem correct to me;

Phil Hill is the 1961 World Champion.
Sebastian Vettel is the 2011 World Champion.
Sebastian Vettel is the World Champion
Phil Hill is a Former World Champion
Sebastain Vettel is a World Champion

#9 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 15:06

Former implies, to me at least, that it expires? Saying 'past winner' makes sense because it says when it happened.

#10 Zmeej

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 20:29

In this context, "former" WC suggests to me "title holder previous to current/defending" WC.

Furthermore, given that every year there's an opportunity for someone to claim the title, in the case of, say, Sebastian Vettel, he's simultaneously the "current/defending WC" and a "the three-time" WC, but not yet a "former" because of his "current" status.

As such, everyone else who has held the title previously, including Alonso, Raikonnen, Hamilton, Button, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Villeneuve, Hill, Prost, Mansell, Lauda, Andretti, Stewart, Fittipaldi, Brabham, etc. etc. are "former" WCs.

This would suggest, in turn, that all of the individuals named are still alive.

Thus Senna, Hunt, Rindt, Clark, Fangio, Nuvolari "were" WCs, rather than are "former" WCs.

And yet, Michael would be referred to as "the seven-time WC" since he's the only one, just as would Juan Manuel Fangio be referred to as "the five-time WC" for the same reason, even though he's shuffled off this mortal coil.

Equally, as an epithet without a verb in either past or present tense, Senna, Brabham, and Stewart can be referred to as "the three-time WC" notwithstanding the fact that Ayrton is no longer with us, and Jack & Jackie are alive and kicking.

However, when a verb comes into play, then Brabham and Stewart "are a" three-time WC, while Senna "was a" ditto.

Specificity as to the year of claiming the championship is the leveller, as per "1961 WC" Phil Hill & "1962 WC" Graham Hill (both defunct), and "1979 WC" Jody Sheckter, who is still alive.

IMHO, it doesn't matter whether they're referred to via "is" or "was" because the date stands immovable and yet the date is in the past.

TFTP :up: :)

Edited by Zmeej, 24 May 2013 - 20:30.


#11 Risil

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 20:49

Nuvolari wasn't a world champion :p

#12 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 20:52

In this context, "former" WC suggests to me "title holder previous to current/defending" WC.

Furthermore, given that every year there's an opportunity for someone to claim the title, in the case of, say, Sebastian Vettel, he's simultaneously the "current/defending WC" and a "the three-time" WC, but not yet a "former" because of his "current" status.


Change that to 'number one' and I'd agree with you. There is no championship to defend per se, everyone starts at zero. It's not a rolling title like boxing or a loaned out trophy like the Stanley Cup.

#13 Zmeej

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 19:19

Risil :up:

Nuvolari wasn't a world champion. :p


Ooops. Major dyslexic shift from "Farina." :o :p


Ross :wave:

Change that to 'number one' and I'd agree with you.


Good point. :up:

There is no championship to defend per se, everyone starts at zero. It's not a rolling title like boxing or a loaned out trophy like the Stanley Cup.


Hmmm. Seems to me that this is a question of divergence between "the rules" and usage.

The rules favour your interpretation, but usage, by way of which F1 practice is homogenized in the mediasphere and in the popular imagination with those of other sports, suggests that F1 champions are viewed similarly as, say, tennis (individual) and hockey (team) champions.

That said, remain open to further precisianism. :up:

Edited by Zmeej, 06 June 2013 - 14:20.


#14 bira

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 20:54

Why would previous work when former doesn't?


Former suggests a person has been replaced, ousted, no longer holding the title - which, as you well stated, is not true in Formula One. However, previous is just a matter of chronology. At any given point in time, there is only one reigning world champion. So anyone who won the championship before, is the previous world champion (the one before the current) or a previous world champion (anyone who won the championship in the past).

Think of it this way:

Nico Rosberg is the Monaco GP winner. ('is the' because he's the current/latest winner)
Fernando Alonso is the previous Monaco GP winner. ('the previous' because he's the only one before the recent)
Sebastien Vettel is a previous Monaco GP winner. ('a previous' because he won the GP at some point previously)
Mark Webber is a Monaco GP winner ('is a' - he won it at some point, that fact has not changed. He's just not necessarily the last or one before last to win it)

Same applies to the F1 WDC.



#15 Zmeej

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 23:28

Great to hear from you, bira. :wave:

And not merely because we agree. ;)

Edited by Zmeej, 26 May 2013 - 23:29.


#16 MattBeer

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:43

As a general rule, news editor Glenn and I are working to eradicate 'former world champion' cropping up in that context where 'three-time' or '1992' etc would be better. If a few slip through the net, feel free to alert us as it's a standards/style thing that needed some tidying.