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Motorsports ‘What If and almost’s’


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#1 FirstnameLastname

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 13:56

Reading up on some old F1 articles, and I was reminded of back in 1997 when Ron Dennis offered Damon Hill £1million per race win (but no basic salary) to join the team for 1998 - I think in place of David Coulthard.

Hill said no, and opted for Jordan instead after cosying up to Benson & Hedges. I think he was chasing the money as he was in the twilight of his career.

In hindsight, although he got that famous win at Spa, he would have (in sporting terms) been better off at McLaren - not sure how many wins - or £millions - that would have landed him, but would have been a great story.

Also - Jaguar snared Adrian Newey, who then got blocked by McLaren and the deal was cancelled. I think that soured relations with Ron and perhaps led to the eventual switch to Redbull anyway in later years. Would have been interesting to see what could have become.

And if Button had returned to Williams instead of reneging on contract, could he have enjoyed some of the BMW good times? Although if he was never at BAR he might have missed out on the Brawn championship year I guess

What other ‘what ifs’ and ‘almost’ have you got from your time watching motorsports - I think we should stick to things that almost came into being, rather than pie-in-the-Sky stuff like ‘what if rosset signed for Ferrari’ 🤪

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#2 ARTGP

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 14:03

Kubica never went rallying....
James Allison never left Enstone
Brazilian GP 2008

Edited by ARTGP, 24 April 2020 - 14:04.


#3 Izzyeviel

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 14:03

What if Rosset signed for Mclaren?  :p

 

What if the FIA banned Turbos instead of Ground Effect in the early 80's?



#4 KevR

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 14:30

What if the relationship between Alonso and Dennis didn't deteriorate in '07 and he stayed at McLaren for a few more years winning 1 or 2 titles, and then went to Mercedes instead of Hamilton?

#5 Beri

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 14:39

What if Schumacher didn't injured his neck racing on two wheels and thus not had to pass on replacing Massa at Ferrari?
What if he would have remained at Ferrari in that case. Subsequently driving next to Alonso in 2010? Winning his 8th World Championship? Winning the constructors title for Ferrari?

#6 PayasYouRace

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 15:34

First I'll addess the OP's scenarios.

 

Reading up on some old F1 articles, and I was reminded of back in 1997 when Ron Dennis offered Damon Hill £1million per race win (but no basic salary) to join the team for 1998 - I think in place of David Coulthard.

Hill said no, and opted for Jordan instead after cosying up to Benson & Hedges. I think he was chasing the money as he was in the twilight of his career.

In hindsight, although he got that famous win at Spa, he would have (in sporting terms) been better off at McLaren - not sure how many wins - or £millions - that would have landed him, but would have been a great story.

 

There are plenty of ways a post Williams career could have gone for Damon, but I do wonder if he'd have been that much better off at McLaren. DC only won 3 races for them in 1998/9 and with Damon's struggles with the grooved tyres and personal issues beginning to come into play, I doubt he would have been doing that much better overall. Still, his helmet in a West McLaren has a certain appeal to it, and maybe he'd have had a chance to win at Monaco.

 

Personally I think the scenario of Damon staying at Williams for 1997 to be a much more interesting idea, as I envision a competitive three way fight between himself, Villeneuve and Schumacher.

 

Also - Jaguar snared Adrian Newey, who then got blocked by McLaren and the deal was cancelled. I think that soured relations with Ron and perhaps led to the eventual switch to Redbull anyway in later years. Would have been interesting to see what could have become.
 

 

I think with Ford's mismanagement of the entire thing it might have turned out exactly the same. Newey is a brilliant designer but Jaguar simply didn't have the management structure in place that would have allowed him to do what he does best.

 

And if Button had returned to Williams instead of reneging on contract, could he have enjoyed some of the BMW good times? Although if he was never at BAR he might have missed out on the Brawn championship year I guess
 

 

The reason Button went back on the Williams contract was precisely because the BMW good times were over and BAR was improving with more Honda investment. I expect he might have thrown his career away and he'd be remembered as a promising talent but a bit of a playboy that didn't achieve much in F1. But, if instead he hadn't been loaned to Benetton in 2001 because, say, Montoya didn't want to move to F1 then he'd have been in prime position to win a few races for Williams in the 2001-2004 timeframe.

 

 

Anyway, my own what if scenarios that I like to imagine.

 

1. What if Honda hadn't insisted on placing Satoru Nakajima in one of their cars for 1988? Williams could have ended up retaining Honda and Piquet. So rather than a McLaren-Honda whitewash that year we could have had another epic title battle between Mansell, Piquet, Prost and Senna as I'm sure a Williams-Honda FW12 (whatever form that would have taken) would have been competitive with the MP4/4.

 

2. What if Prost had decided to race for McLaren in 1994, as Ron Dennis was so keen to happen? This one probably wouldn't have been that amazing other than having a No.1 on the McLaren-Peugeot MP4/9 (and potentially some non-consecutive numbers from what I've read). But this could have had major changes off track. After Senna's death, with Prost still racing Bernie wouldn't have had the extra pressure to bring Nigel Mansell back so F1 could at least have one champion on the grid. Would Williams have still brought him back to help sort the FW16 between Indycar commitments? Would Nigel had stayed in Indycar for 1995? Which team would he have driven for? 1995 was very competitive so he'd surely have got some good results. Plenty of possible outcomes from that one I think.

 

3. What if Ferrari and Lotus had gone ahead with their Indycars in the mid-late 80s? The Lotus 96T and the Ferrari 637 were both built. Would either have been more successful than Porsche and Alfa Romeo's disastrous programmes? Would building successful Indycars kept Lotus in better business by the mid-90s? How would this influence Tony George and the way the Indy Racing League formed? Where does this leave March, Lola and eventually Reynard?

 

199cf7c9a89b9db5e575e513ee013f59.jpg

 

02d59b41e6ce1be23b9ff3c4266f51a2.jpg



#7 noikeee

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 15:50

Alesi to Williams is the classic one.

#8 F1matt

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 18:10

I heard an interview with Damon Hill when he talked of the McLaren move, he didn't think Ron Dennis took him seriously and only made the offer to satisfy sponsors so it was never likely to happen, he probably would have received the same treatment that David Coulthard got? 

 

Two obvious ones for me; what if Senna had survived the Imola crash relatively unscathed? Would 1994 have gone down as a classic battle between Schumacher and Senna? I know it has been done a million times. If Senna missed out in 94 he could have won the title in 95, 96, and 97 if he had wanted to stick around. 

 

If the 1986 accidents in group B hadn't as been so tragic, no fatalities in Corsica or Portugal how far could they have taken group B? I would have loved to have seen the battle between the manufacturers and where the cars ended up. 



#9 F1matt

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 18:12

First I'll addess the OP's scenarios.

 

 

There are plenty of ways a post Williams career could have gone for Damon, but I do wonder if he'd have been that much better off at McLaren. DC only won 3 races for them in 1998/9 and with Damon's struggles with the grooved tyres and personal issues beginning to come into play, I doubt he would have been doing that much better overall. Still, his helmet in a West McLaren has a certain appeal to it, and maybe he'd have had a chance to win at Monaco.

 

Personally I think the scenario of Damon staying at Williams for 1997 to be a much more interesting idea, as I envision a competitive three way fight between himself, Villeneuve and Schumacher.

 

 

I think with Ford's mismanagement of the entire thing it might have turned out exactly the same. Newey is a brilliant designer but Jaguar simply didn't have the management structure in place that would have allowed him to do what he does best.

 

 

The reason Button went back on the Williams contract was precisely because the BMW good times were over and BAR was improving with more Honda investment. I expect he might have thrown his career away and he'd be remembered as a promising talent but a bit of a playboy that didn't achieve much in F1. But, if instead he hadn't been loaned to Benetton in 2001 because, say, Montoya didn't want to move to F1 then he'd have been in prime position to win a few races for Williams in the 2001-2004 timeframe.

 

 

Anyway, my own what if scenarios that I like to imagine.

 

1. What if Honda hadn't insisted on placing Satoru Nakajima in one of their cars for 1988? Williams could have ended up retaining Honda and Piquet. So rather than a McLaren-Honda whitewash that year we could have had another epic title battle between Mansell, Piquet, Prost and Senna as I'm sure a Williams-Honda FW12 (whatever form that would have taken) would have been competitive with the MP4/4.

 

2. What if Prost had decided to race for McLaren in 1994, as Ron Dennis was so keen to happen? This one probably wouldn't have been that amazing other than having a No.1 on the McLaren-Peugeot MP4/9 (and potentially some non-consecutive numbers from what I've read). But this could have had major changes off track. After Senna's death, with Prost still racing Bernie wouldn't have had the extra pressure to bring Nigel Mansell back so F1 could at least have one champion on the grid. Would Williams have still brought him back to help sort the FW16 between Indycar commitments? Would Nigel had stayed in Indycar for 1995? Which team would he have driven for? 1995 was very competitive so he'd surely have got some good results. Plenty of possible outcomes from that one I think.

 

3. What if Ferrari and Lotus had gone ahead with their Indycars in the mid-late 80s? The Lotus 96T and the Ferrari 637 were both built. Would either have been more successful than Porsche and Alfa Romeo's disastrous programmes? Would building successful Indycars kept Lotus in better business by the mid-90s? How would this influence Tony George and the way the Indy Racing League formed? Where does this leave March, Lola and eventually Reynard?

 

199cf7c9a89b9db5e575e513ee013f59.jpg

 

02d59b41e6ce1be23b9ff3c4266f51a2.jpg

 

Both the Lotus and Ferrari are stunning looking cars!



#10 Baddoer

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 18:38

What if Gachot didn't spray that cab driver... We will never know



#11 PayasYouRace

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 18:40

 

If the 1986 accidents in group B hadn't as been so tragic, no fatalities in Corsica or Portugal how far could they have taken group B? I would have loved to have seen the battle between the manufacturers and where the cars ended up. 

 

The answer was already waiting in the wings: Group S.

 

 

And yes, there was even a twin engine car in that list. It would have been madness on wheels.



#12 Beri

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 18:47

The answer was already waiting in the wings: Group S.

https://www.youtube....h?v=Qgxag4W0lsU

And yes, there was even a twin engine car in that list. It would have been madness on wheels.


Stunning. How fantastic that would have been!

#13 TomNokoe

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 19:01

Hamilton signing for Williams during his brief split from McLaren

https://www.theguard...s.lewishamilton

#14 Beri

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 19:10

Hamilton signing for Williams during his brief split from McLaren

https://www.theguard...s.lewishamilton


Williams were on their way back down at that time. Hamilton would have never been in the right place to fight for the championship. Imagine Nico Rosberg and Hamilton at Williams at the same time. I wonder who would have ended up at Mercedes in that case?

#15 FortiFord

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 19:25

F1 recently did an article on "What if Hamilton hadn't joined Mercedes":

https://www.formula1...oq0DwNzeWD.html

 

In summary they say:

- Alonso joins Mercedes instead and becomes the most successful driver in history.

- Hamilton joins Ferrari instead and possibly wins the 2018 title.

- Vettel stays at Red Bull

 

Personally, i don't agree with it. Alonso was happy at Ferrari in 2012 and only started to show his discontent midway through 2013. As Nick Fry said, it's likely they would have gone for Heidfeld instead.



#16 PlatenGlass

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 19:27

Some Williams ones:

 

Hakkinen at Williams in 1993. Apparently this nearly happened. We all know how good he became as a driver, but how would he have done against Prost? It wasn't Prost's best season anyway, and could Hakkinen even have blown away Prost for speed? Would he have had the consistency to put together a title challenge? Prost's results were inconsistent anyway, so maybe a bit of inconsistency wouldn't have cost him.

 

Frentzen at Williams in 1994. Apparently he was asked to take Senna's place, but after Wendlinger's accident he decided to stay loyal to Sauber. We all know how his stint at Williams went in 1997, but would 1994 have been different in the different circumstances and with Hill alongside him rather than Villeneuve?

 

Mansell at Williams in 1995. Being properly established at the team rather than racing part time, would he have been able to beat Hill and put together a stronger challenge for Schumacher?

 

Coulthard at Williams in 1996 (alongside Hill). Coulthard seemed generally the faster driver in the second half of 1995, so could he have carried that through to 1996 and beaten Hill to the title?



#17 PayasYouRace

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 19:37

Some Williams ones:

 

Hakkinen at Williams in 1993. Apparently this nearly happened. We all know how good he became as a driver, but how would he have done against Prost? It wasn't Prost's best season anyway, and could Hakkinen even have blown away Prost for speed? Would he have had the consistency to put together a title challenge? Prost's results were inconsistent anyway, so maybe a bit of inconsistency wouldn't have cost him.

 

 

 

 

I think Martin Brundle was also in the frame for what eventually became Hill's seat. How either Mika or Martin would have coped over the next few years in those cars would have been very interesting, and I think on balance either would have done similarly to Damon overall, albeit with different strengths and weaknesses.



#18 R Soul

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 19:52

What if Hill had won the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix? It would have been the first and only win for Arrows and Yamaha (Yamaha FFS), and the first for Bridgestone and their first on slicks before 2009 when they were the sole supplier. It would have been one of the best victories of all time ever in the world.



#19 PayasYouRace

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 20:01

What if Hill had won the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix? It would have been the first and only win for Arrows and Yamaha (Yamaha FFS), and the first for Bridgestone and their first on slicks before 2009 when they were the sole supplier. It would have been one of the best victories of all time ever in the world.

 

It would probably have robbed Jacques Villeneuve of the championship too, as being an extra 4 points down would have allowed Michael to let Jacques pass him at Jerez and still win the championship.



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#20 R Soul

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 20:12

Something just occurred to me, I might have posted about this before:

 

https://forums.autos...t/#entry7591434

 

https://forums.autos...-2#entry7270894 (I made your own reply to me in that one!)

 

https://forums.autos...-2#entry7051917

 

https://forums.autos...-4#entry6443471



#21 PlayboyRacer

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 20:44

Jacques Villeneuve turning down the chance to take part ownership in BAR and join Adrian Newey at McLaren Mercedes for 1999 and beyond.

Couple of 80s ones. What if Gilles had survived '82 and made the McLaren move? Alongside Lauda, particularly in 1984 with the magnificent McLaren TAG turbo? Who would have come out on top and where does that leave Prost?

Another is Keke Rosberg and what if he'd stayed at Williams for 1986? I can't remember if that was a genuine option with Piquet arriving, as opposed to the McLaren switch... but he was still very fast in the '85 Williams.

Edited by PlayboyRacer, 24 April 2020 - 21:12.


#22 PlayboyRacer

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 20:51

I think Martin Brundle was also in the frame for what eventually became Hill's seat. How either Mika or Martin would have coped over the next few years in those cars would have been very interesting, and I think on balance either would have done similarly to Damon overall, albeit with different strengths and weaknesses.

Hakkinen was still pretty raw in 1993 and certainly far from the finished product. I'd imagine it would have gone down pretty similar to Hill.

Then again there is another question - how would have Hakkinen fared in the Williams environment rather than McLaren, where he had loads of support and an emotional bond with Ron Dennis?

That question is relevant imo for the 'Alesi to Williams' classic scenario also.

Edited by PlayboyRacer, 24 April 2020 - 21:37.


#23 Yamamoto

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 21:12

I recall reading that Eddie Jordan tried to sign Ayrton Senna for 1993, the idea being that Senna would essentially be part-manager of his own team; bringing in title sponsors and earning a salary from that etc. Could have been interesting, could have been a damp squib.

 

On a related note, an old F1 Racing magazine that I may still have somewhere has an article on a Mclaren-Lamborghini prospective engine partnership for 1994. Apparently Senna was amazed by the engine but it fell apart soon after the initial test.

 

I'm not sure how much accuracy there is in either of these. With a heavy heart I suspect that neither would have been especially successful, but who can say.



#24 messy

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 21:29

The ‘almost’ results that I’ll always cringe thinking about -

Damon Hill almost pulling off the win of the decade at the Hungaroring in 1997 - but that’s been covered to death in recent weeks.

MotoGP - Kenny Roberts Jr ALMOST winning at Estoril in 2006. I’d followed KR Jr through his career, always had a major soft spot for the guy and found his post-title Suzuki career disappointing, so seeing him on that family designed and built bike, dicing with Rossi and leading into the final lap, I was willing him to pull it off and he just faded that tiny bit in the final lap. Honorable mention - Colin Edwards coming within like a corner of winning at Assen before making a mistake. Would have been his only win. ****.

The big one though, is Olivier Jacque. I followed him through 250s and up into MotoGP but in his rookie year (2001) he was terrible. He was paired at Yamaha with Nakano, who he’d beaten in 250s - but in MotoGP Nakano was way ahead and he spent that whole year looking thoroughly depressed and I felt really sad for him. 2002 was better, and at the German GP he was leading beautifully (from pole I think?) and was about to pull off a brilliant, redemptive, restorative GP win in a season of dull Honda domination. Then he crashed. :(

#25 Atreiu

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 21:38

What if bullet proof reliability had been achieved very early into F1’s existence...

Without assuming different career arcs in terms of who races where, Clark and Senna would have destroyed all records.

Edited by Atreiu, 24 April 2020 - 21:52.


#26 Kalmake

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 21:46

What if Hill had won the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix? It would have been the first and only win for Arrows and Yamaha (Yamaha FFS), and the first for Bridgestone and their first on slicks before 2009 when they were the sole supplier. It would have been one of the best victories of all time ever in the world.

Same effect as Maldonado win.



#27 Beri

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 21:47

I recall reading that Eddie Jordan tried to sign Ayrton Senna for 1993, the idea being that Senna would essentially be part-manager of his own team; bringing in title sponsors and earning a salary from that etc. Could have been interesting, could have been a damp squib.

On a related note, an old F1 Racing magazine that I may still have somewhere has an article on a Mclaren-Lamborghini prospective engine partnership for 1994. Apparently Senna was amazed by the engine but it fell apart soon after the initial test.

I'm not sure how much accuracy there is in either of these. With a heavy heart I suspect that neither would have been especially successful, but who can say.

I can't really find the article right now, bit I'm sure that I have a 3 page article in a Dutch magazine somewhere on the attic concerning McLaren and Lamborghini. I don't know the exact depth of the story from the top of my hat. But in essence it was very promising. Senna as well as Hakkinen were enthusiastic to say the least. And Chrysler (back then owner of Lamborghini) also was willing to aid in development and money (like the most recent Honda deal was too). There were concerns over the reliability tho.
Sadly Peugeot came into play with their massive recent successes in rally and at Le Mans, the reliability of the Peugeot engine in said Le Mans and the Sportscar Championship, made it a no brainer to Ron Dennis to opt for them for 1994. Certainly considering the V10 for McLaren would be a clone of the successful engine that powered Peugeot to a 1-2-3 finish at Le Mans in 1993.
This all despite there were serious negotiations between Chrysler and McLaren to have a one time go at a McLaren Lamborghini effort at the Japanese Grand Prix of 1993. In the end, the reliability of the Peugeot engine was not that good. A bitter pill to swallow. Because indeed, what could have been if McLaren went for Lamborghini? Even if it were for that one race in Japan 1993.

Edited by Beri, 24 April 2020 - 21:49.


#28 Brawn BGP 001

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 21:50

I wonder what would have happend to Hulkenberg's career if he actually pulled the pass on Hamilton and took the win at Interlagos 2012.


Edited by Brawn BGP 001, 24 April 2020 - 21:51.


#29 Beri

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 21:52

I wonder what would have happend to Hulkenberg's career if he acutually pulled the pass on Hamilton and took the win at Interlagos 2012.


Well, likely he would have gotten that Ferrari seat that he allegedly signed a pre contract for.

#30 Viryfan

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 21:56

What if Williams had taken over Ligier with Philippe Streiff as team principal in 1994 instead of Briatore?

 

The main consequences would've been no link up between Viry and Enstone.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=J7EsO1yVjVU

 

The project is not denied either by Frank or Philippe at 07:00.

 

Seems like Senna's death put a stop to the project.

 

Flavio's bid was favoured by french government anyway...


Edited by Viryfan, 24 April 2020 - 21:58.


#31 Yamamoto

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 21:57

I can't really find the article right now, bit I'm sure that I have a 3 page article in a Dutch magazine somewhere on the attic concerning McLaren and Lamborghini. I don't know the exact depth of the story from the top of my hat. But in essence it was very promising. Senna as well as Hakkinen were enthusiastic to say the least. And Chrysler (back then owner of Lamborghini) also was willing to aid in development and money (like the most recent Honda deal was too). There were concerns over the reliability tho.
Sadly Peugeot came into play with their massive recent successes in rally and at Le Mans, the reliability of the Peugeot engine in said Le Mans and the Sportscar Championship, made it a no brainer to Ron Dennis to opt for them for 1994. Certainly considering the V10 for McLaren would be a clone of the successful engine that powered Peugeot to a 1-2-3 finish at Le Mans in 1993.
This all despite there were serious negotiations between Chrysler and McLaren to have a one time go at a McLaren Lamborghini effort at the Japanese Grand Prix of 1993. In the end, the reliability of the Peugeot engine was not that good. A bitter pill to swallow. Because indeed, what could have been if McLaren went for Lamborghini? Even if it were for that one race in Japan 1993.

 

I'll have to try and dig out the article and report back. I think the test was at Estoril and there was a spectacular blow-up involved, but I may have invented the details. I've had the impression that if Senna ever had an emotional desire to drive for any particular constructor it was Ferrari. The desire to move to Williams was obviously, and understandably, about winning first and foremost (he had the chance to sign for them pre-1991 too I think). 

 

So instead Mclaren had their worst year since 1980, and spent two more in the doldrums. Looks like a picnic compared to the last few years.



#32 Spillage

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 23:24

What if Dan Gurney hadn't left Brabham at the end of 1965? He'd been their fastest driver that season, and of course the team went on to win the title in 1966 and 1967. Gurney could easily have the driver to win them.

Edited by Spillage, 25 April 2020 - 01:55.


#33 HeadFirst

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 00:34

What if Perez had stuck with the Ferrari program, instead of jumping to McLaren?



#34 Atreiu

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 01:54

What if Stoner had never been plagued by health issues?

#35 CoolBreeze

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 04:17

1. What if the Ferrari didn't blow up in Suzuka 2006?

 

2. What if Michael continued in 2007 & 2008? Would he be a 10x WDC?

 

3. What if, Rubens never left, and Michael retired in 2006? Rubens would have gotten to be a 2xWDC in 2007 & 2008.

 

4. What if Alonso kept his head down, and won the WDC with Mclaren? He might have established himself well and gotten the Mercedes drive at the end I think.

 

5. What if Michael never left his consultant role at Ferrari, and spoke to Jos, and brought Max into Ferrari instead?



#36 Bleu

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 06:12

1. What if the Ferrari didn't blow up in Suzuka 2006?

 

2. What if Michael continued in 2007 & 2008? Would he be a 10x WDC?

 

3. What if, Rubens never left, and Michael retired in 2006? Rubens would have gotten to be a 2xWDC in 2007 & 2008.

 

4. What if Alonso kept his head down, and won the WDC with Mclaren? He might have established himself well and gotten the Mercedes drive at the end I think.

 

5. What if Michael never left his consultant role at Ferrari, and spoke to Jos, and brought Max into Ferrari instead?

 

1. Brazil happens as it happened and Alonso wins by a point

 

3. I assume it's still Kimi who comes in to replace Michael and beats Rubens.

 

4. Alonso wins 2007 and then 2008, but is disappointed in 2009 due to lack of pace and goes elsewhere at that point.

 

5. Max goes to GP2 in 2015 and instantly fights for the title with Vandoorne. Goes to Sauber in 2016 and shows much promise, culminating with 6th place in Brazil. Stays on for one more year and moves to Ferrari in 2018, beats Vettel who leaves elsewhere.



#37 Baddoer

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 09:46

What if Williams had taken over Ligier with Philippe Streiff as team principal in 1994 instead of Briatore?

 

The main consequences would've been no link up between Viry and Enstone.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=J7EsO1yVjVU

 

The project is not denied either by Frank or Philippe at 07:00.

 

Two team bosses in wheelchair? That would have been quite awkward.



#38 Baddoer

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 09:51

What if Hill had won the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix? It would have been the first and only win for Arrows and Yamaha (Yamaha FFS), and the first for Bridgestone and their first on slicks before 2009 when they were the sole supplier. It would have been one of the best victories of all time ever in the world.

I recall Panis being favorite of winning Argentinian GP, but his car broke. Trulli in Austria was robbed at least a podium by Mugen-Honda.



#39 ensign14

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 10:10


Two obvious ones for me; what if Senna had survived the Imola crash relatively unscathed? Would 1994 have gone down as a classic battle between Schumacher and Senna? I know it has been done a million times. If Senna missed out in 94 he could have won the title in 95, 96, and 97 if he had wanted to stick around. 

 

I answered that a while back.

 

The television cameras cut away from the aftermath so that the worldwide viewers could not see the efforts being made to get him out of the car.  There were fears for his life.  That evening the doctors confirmed he was unconscious, but stable, and the external injuries were limited to a couple of broken bones.  

He was obviously going to be out for a while and Williams put their test driver Coulthard in to take his place pro tem.  But by the Canadian Grand Prix, Ayrton Senna was ready, willing, able and available for the number 2.  He was staring at a near-impossible task; Schumacher was 36 points to the good, with three wins out of three to start the season, and a Monaco surefire win lost when he came to lap Coulthard.  The Scot, on his Grand Prix debut, lifted off in the tunnel to let the German past, just as Schumacher prepared to dive down inside coming out of the tunnel.  Schumacher was not impressed.  

Nevertheless, with a guaranteed gain of 4 points per race on Schumacher for every win, eight wins would take Senna into the championship lead.  Canada was to be the first.  But it was a little too soon.  Sid Watkins persuaded Senna to sit out the race after a dizzy spell in practice.  He could only watch as Schumacher won - again - to take him up to 46 points.  At least Damon Hill kept the Williams flag flying with a second, but he had half the score of the Benetton.

But “only watch” was not Ayrton’s style.  In 1992 he had cadged a lift with Mansell at Silverstone, and taken the opportunity to clock the Williams’ fuel consumption for the race.  Debriefed straight away to Dennis.  He therefore sweet-talked Bernie into giving him a triple-A and hung around with some of the medics in an otherwise-forbidden zone.  There was something just odd about the Benetton.  He couldn’t catch it on Lehto’s car - it could have been the Finn not exploiting it - but the engine note was choppy on Schumacher’s.  Senna had already had his suspicions at the Pacific Grand Prix.  This time he would act on it.  Giving a few autographs and Nacional hats to the course clerks on post helped.  They passed the word up the chain, the scrutes gave the Benetton a rubber-glove inspection post-race, and, hey presto, something odd was found in the software.  It was not particularly obvious; you had to ctrl/alt/delete and scroll down, but there it was.  Launch control.  A most palpable launch control.

Mosley was thrown into panic.  Benetton had been good for the sport.  They had injected a sense of fun, of adventure; they were not the dyed-in-the-oil racing roughies, who were dirtying his nice clean pit-lane.  They had knitwear.  They had designer sunglasses.  They had aristocracy.  They had style.  They had chutzpah.  They had Flavio.  Flavio had presence.  And presents.  This was the upmarket jollification that the sport required, not the proletariat made good who kept revving their engines on the grid when the Portuguese President was trying to make a speech about Lisbon motorways.  And they had a lawyer’s eye for the regulations.  They exploited loopholes.  Max liked loopholes.  Why should the race go to the swift, when it could go to the smart?

And there was a perfect loophole to be exploited.  Had Benetton actually used the software?  Ayrton said they did, he could hear it.  Ah, but that’s one person’s word against another.  Indeed, an expert witness with a vested interest.  Senna’s voice would remain unheard.  Frank Williams admitted he could not say one way or another whether it had been used.  Benetton said it was just there for testing.  Why waste a clutch on a duff start and ruin a day at Pembrey even more than normal?  

However, there was a compromise.  Benetton would take off the option.  Eliminate it completely.  And they did.  In time for the French Grand Prix.  By some happenstance Schumacher was nowhere there.  Ayrton was back.  A dominant win and his first points of the season.

Schumacher knew he was in a battle now.  This was not about the world championship.  Schumacher was on 50 points, Senna on 10.  Schumacher did not overly care for the points difference; there were 9 races left, so even finishing behind a perennially winning Senna would give him the title.   But this was not about being world champion.  Schumacher did not want to win a title in which Senna won 9 races and he only won 4.  Two of which were with Senna absent.  No, Schumacher had to beat Senna squarely.

It was time for the mind games.  Senna had tried his post-France, stating that Schumacher was only the technical championship leader.  “I would never countenance such cheating,” said Ayrton to Jackie Stewart on NBC, “it goes against all sporting integrity.”  Schumacher was riled.  He had not been disqualified once in his Grand Prix career.  Unlike some.  He was not cowed.  Indeed it was time for the young lion to do some scratching.  He would intimidate Ayrton back.  

At the British Grand Prix, Schumacher qualified third, behind Senna and the homeboy Hill.  On the warm-up lap Schumacher sprinted between them and ostentatiously warmed his tyres up in front of Senna.  This is all you will see of me, said Schumacher.  And he was right.  Schumacher’s start was lightning.  With no room for any doubt over software.  He had the lead by the first corner.  Senna tried everything to get past but could not.  But that warm-up lap left a legacy of disqualifcation, it just needed to be executed.  And it was just as Williams was radioing Ayrton to tell him that the black flags were out for Michael that Senna tried one banzai too much and beached himself in the gravel.  Schumacher openly raged about the technicality that saw him out; privately he was delighted.  He had Senna’s number.

The incident sobered Ayrton up significantly.  He was more circumspect in Germany.  Good thing too - everyone seemed to fall off around him, and he cruised to a win.  Not one he valued for the quality of the drive, but crucial for the championship situation.  He was up to 20 points.  Schumacher was marooned on 50.  

But just as he thought he had momentum, Ayrton had a problem.  The short switchback at the Hungaroring made him vertiginous and nauseous.  He kept it from Sid, just mentioned a few problems a “friend” was having.  Sid suggested it was some sort of problem with the equilibrium, perhaps disturbed by a blow on the head.  The fast circuits had not overly bothered him.  This little wiggy one did.  Hill led the Williams charge, but was well behind Schumacher.  It was now 60-24.  And Ayrton was running out of races.  Only six to go.  He could get no more than 84 points.  Schumacher could finish third every time and be level.  Ayrton did not want it to go to a tie-break.  It had to be decisive.  He needed Hill’s support. 

He got it at Belgium.  Ayrton led from start to finish.  Schumacher was a little ragged, discomfited that he was not dominating at this most driver of tracks.  And even worse Hill was buzzing around his aris.  So much so that a shower persuaded Schumacher into a different strategy.  It did not work.  The shower was not an Ardennes downpour and Schumacher lost a needless minute.  Down in 13th.  Up ahead though it was a Williams 1-2.  And better news for Ayrton.  This ostensible upturn in Williams speed caused Benetton to cut some serious corners.  At Monza they ran their cars right against the minimum height limit.  Too close to it.  Schumacher thought he had at least four points in the bag - but a post-race inspection found the wooden plank under the car had been turned into splinters.  It was another Williams 1-2.  Senna was now on 44 points.  Sixteen behind.  Four to go.  Four wins would guarantee he would beat Schumacher.

And Schumacher was feeling the pressure.  Although he poled at Portugal he was spooked by a fast-starting Senna on his left - and boshed into a slightly-less-fast starting Hill to his right.  The Williams was out, the Benetton wounded; a replacement of the front wing saw him adrift down the field.  It was an almighty fightback.  One of the best anyone had ever seen.  Every pass as clean and clear as a bell.  And it brought him from a lap down to seventh with one lap to go.  Behind Martin Brundle.  His former team-mate.  Who owed him no favours.  In the last corner Schumacher flew in from miles behind.  They said that Schumacher was the new Senna.  He finished this race on top of Brundle.  Keith Sutton got the perfect picture.  Side-by-side in Autosport with an earlier one.  The only difference was the clothing manufacturer on the sidepod.

The gap was now six points.  With three to go.  This was the buttock-clenching time.  And at Jerez Schumacher was supreme.  A champion’s drive if ever anyone saw one.  The gap was back out to ten points now.  Schumacher 70, Senna 60.  With two to go, all Schumacher needed was one win to take the title.  But Japan threw an almighty curveball.  The race was held in a monsoon.  The main straight was impossible to control.  It was sheer luck whether anyone could make it through.  The television murk showed the occasional shadow of a spin.  A purple smudge showed that Inoue was off.   A blue-and-white one was Katayama.  A green-and-yellow one was Herbert.  The race was halted.  It would be a two-part race.  Herbert’s car was towed back to the pits.  Only it was not Herbert’s.  The number was most definitely 5.  Schumacher was out.  Senna, the modern-day Rosemeyer, danced over the waters and won again.  

It was now Schumacher 70, Senna 70.

And there was one race to go.

It was clearly winner take all.  Six wins each.  One second each.  One third each.  The media were in a frenzy about what would happen if they were still level in the title race.  Would it go to poles?  Fastest laps?  Race distance covered?  Even a mad one-lap shootout in Austin Westminsters?  Bernie stoked the fires for a week before Max applied the extinguishers.  He simply pointed out the rules.  If level on points, you looked at the individual results.  They were identical for the first six placings.  But note that  incident at Portugal.  Schumacher had had to wait for the Benetton to be winched away, given that he himself was stuck six feet in the air.  But he had completed 70 out of the 71 race laps.  That was enough to classify him in seventh place.  Schumacher had more sevenths.  He was in the championship lead.

Melbourne had not seen anything like it since Jack Knave and the Dandy Highwayman fought out a duel in 1858.  This was the absolute ultimate.  Senna put the Williams on pole - again - but Schumacher finagled past him at the start.  He tried to sprint away.  But he could not eke out more than a couple of seconds’ gap.  Pit stop time.  Senna came in and went out.  Perfect.  The pressure was on the Benetton boys.  Schumacher came in, and went out.  Almost perfect.  Half-a-second slower.  It was just enough to keep him in the lead - but Senna was right on his axle.

Lap 36 and Senna took it uncharacteristically cautiously when lapping a back marker.  Schumacher breathed the slightest sigh of relief as he gained about a second.  Perhaps he was still breathing that sigh as he went into East Terrace for the thirty-seventh time.  He went ever so slightly wide.  The momentum and lack of grip took him wider.  All the way into the wall.  It was a definite clout.  Suspension bent.  It was over.

Senna did not see this.  All he saw was a Benetton coming back on track after being unusually wide.  This was the moment he took the lead in the Formula 1 World Championship.  His thought processes were instant.  If I were Schumacher, he thought, I would take out my opponent.  That way I guarantee that I beat him.  The ends justify the means.  I am the better man; the world merely needs to see the proof.  But I, thought Senna, am Senna.  He would not even dare to try.

The only problem, thought Senna, would be if he were out of control of his car.  He is too good for that.  Surely.

Senna therefore took advantage and the apex.  He was so astonished that the Benetton also took the apex that he did not register it bouncing off the Williams and nearly flipping until he was stopped in the pits for a damage inspection.  Those big brown eyes stared at the kink on the wishbone, and the yellow helmet slowly shook as he knew the truth.  HIs race was over.  Schumacher had done it.  He had beaten Ayrton.

The media frenzy after the race was torrential.  Was it deliberate?  Was it a freak?  Was Ayrton hoist by his own petard?  Brazilians burnt effigies of Schumacher in the streets.  The seleccao had insults to Benetton under their yellow shirts as they paraded the World Cup a couple of months later.  Renault sales in Germany dropped to a post-war low.   And there is thread in The Nostalgia Forum debating the incident that has now reached 43 pages.  Even after the RC banter has been taken out.

Such a debate because after the race Senna and Schumacher sat down together in an atmosphere of nuclear tension.  Senna told Schumacher that Schumacher was in the wrong.  Schumacher told Senna that Senna was in the wrong.  So they talked and talked and talked.  In the end it was obvious.  They looked each other in the eye as if they were looking in a mirror.  They were of the same stamp.  Neither was worthy unless the other were there.  They shook hands at the end and agreed they would never take each other out again.  They were each too good for that.  They would never speak of the incident.  And they would never hit each other again.  Over the next six years they shared the titles.  Senna finally finished his career at Ferrari with his last title in 2000; his seat was filled by Schumacher in 2001.

Incidentally, even to this day people still forget that the race, and the title, went to Damon Hill.

 



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#40 PayasYouRace

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 10:21

Not even I can stomach giving Damon the 1994 championship with Ayrton still alive, and I don't think my stance on Damon is a secret around here. I actually worked through a 1994 scenario a while back and while I've lost the narrative (might be posted here somewhere) I have the season's results. The main point is that I used a set of rules to determine the results.

 

1994.png

 

I've got the 1997 with Hill at Williams too.

 

1997.png

 

I think the main weakness with both of these is when it comes to the events of the last race. The Schumacher collisions are the least likely things to play out as in real life, so I obviously had to make up some sort of sensible scenario.

 

I think my solution for 1994 was that Ayrton, with a bit more experience than Damon, would not have been quite so vulnerable in the Adelaide collision, so the damage to his car could be repaired and he recovered from a pit stop to finish second. While for 1997 the way the points would look going into Jerez would mean Michael would have no advantage in taking Jacques out so the pass was completed and the finished 1-2. What I do remember is that I didn't plan on close, down to the wire fights for either of them as I worked out the rules first.



#41 NewMrMe

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 11:06

What if Harvey Postlethwaite had not had a fatal heart attack in 1999?

 

Honda were looking to enter F1 as a constructor in 2000 and spent 1999 as a test year. The car, with Jos Verstappen working as a test and development driver had set some very impressive test times. However, in May 1999, the teams technical director Harvey Postlethwaite suffered a fatal heart attack. As a result Honda decided to enter F1 as an engine supplier only as opposed to a constructor.

 

The what ifs are two fold. Was the car really as good as the test times suggested and could Honda have been a major player as a constructor? How different would the future of the then BAR team had been (and to a lesser extend Jordan)?



#42 steferrari

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 13:08

What if Ferrari kept Alesi alongside Michael instead of signing Irvine?

Michael always scored a lot more points than Eddie (I'm obviously excluding '99).

Jean had more experience, with his help maybe Michael would have won a title in red earlier than 2000 and Jean could have won more than just one race considering that Ferrari got better and better.

 

If I remember right him and Michael were also good friends.



#43 Atreiu

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 13:36

Bare with me... Senna alive and relatively healthy after Imola:

Schumacher still wins 94 (Senna would have missed some races recovering from concussion symptoms), but Senna gets 95. In 96 Schumacher goes to McLaren, Senna to Ferrari. Villeneuve keeps his career path but never wins a title.

Hill wins 96, Senna 97 and Senna sets up Barrichello to get his seat in 98.

Schumacher wins 98 and 99. Hakkinen goes to Ferrari and wins 2000, 2001 and 2002 before he retires. Schumacher still wins 2003.

2004 and beyond is pure guesswork.

Edited after Beris comments.

Edited by Atreiu, 25 April 2020 - 14:26.


#44 Beri

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 13:41

Bare with me... Senna alive and relatively healthy after Imola:

Schumacher still wins 94, but Senna gets 95. In 96 Schumacher goes to McLaren, Senna to Ferrari. Senna helps RB get his Williams seat. Villeneuve goes straight to Ferrari.

Hill wins 96, Senna 97 and retires a champ after one-upping Prost and having all the records. Schumacher and Hakkinen split 98 and 99 and Hakkinen goes to Ferrari in 2000 (the Mercedes connection is too strong and MS never drives for Ferrari).

Schumacher wins 2000, Hakkinen wins 2001 and retires. Villeneuve wins 2002 and starts BAR. Schumacher wins 2003. Alonso gets 2004 at Ferrari, Kimi 2005 at McLaren, Alonso doubles in 2006. Hamilton replaces Schumacher in 2007 and wins 2007 and 2008.

This time Schumacher returns earlier and wins 2009 at Brawn/Mercedes...


Interesting. But Villeneuve would never have went to Ferrari straight out of Murica. Plus BAR would never started off any later than 1999.

#45 Atreiu

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 13:48

Hum, then I have to review it. Some main points remain anyhow, Schumacher becomes Mercedes poster boy and wins a lot for McLaren, and he never joins Ferrari. Senna retires after one-upping Prost.

Maybe the transition in the days of Alonso and Kimi begins earlier.

Montoya at Ferrari?

:)

#46 Spillage

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 13:52

What if Niki Lauda hadn't had his accident in 1976? He would surely have won the 1976 title, and perhaps with three titles in a row from 1975-77 his relationship with Ferrari may not have deteriorated and he could still have been there to win the title in 1979, as Jody Scheckter did. Given Niki was still good enough for a WDC in 1984, it's not inconceivable that he could have matched Fangio's tite haul.

 

But there are a great many such examples of careers hit hard by fatal accidents or inury. Just off the top of my head Moss, Clark, Rindt, Lauda, Villeneuve and Senna all had fatal or debilitating accidents when they looked a safe bet to scoop a few more titles. Then there's guys who weren't a million miles away from there like Peterson, Massa, Kubica who could have gone on to achieve great success - and then there's guys like Arundell, Brise and Bellof who looked fantastic but had serious accidents before they could reach the top (Brise died in a plane crash, but the point stands). And then there's guys like Johnny Herbert and Paul Warwick who were fantastic in the junior formulae but had their bad accidents before they even made it to F1.

 

There are so many different scenarios that could have played out if safety standards had always been as good as they are today. Who knows what could have been.


Edited by Spillage, 25 April 2020 - 13:54.


#47 TomNokoe

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 13:55

Hamilton lurker confirmed

https://twitter.com/...4886490112?s=19

#48 Atreiu

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 14:30

Totally.

#49 PlatenGlass

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 17:04

1994 with Senna surviving the accident is always very interesting, but it very much depends on a couple of key things. Does Silverstone (bans/disqualifications) still happen, and do Senna's suspicions about the Benetton have any material effect on how Benetton run their car over the season?

 

I would say it's unlikely that the events of Silverstone would have happened, and Schumacher would have probably had a clean run through. That largely puts Damon Hill out of the picture, but would Senna have been able to catch him? I think Schumacher would have almost certainly added a fourth win at Monaco anyway, given the nature of the circuit and the Benetton's relative strengths. I think Williams probably had definitively the faster car from about France, and in Senna's hands it would have won most of the races from then on. Whether that would have been enough, it's difficult to say.

 

If we look at it simply and give Senna the same mechanical retirements as Coulthard/Mansell, then that means Spain, France, Germany and Italy, and it would be difficult to see him coming back from that. Damon Hill had none over that period, so if we re-randomise the Williams failures, then on average they'd get two each, and I think that's fair enough. Spain would cost Senna 12 points relative to Schumacher (lost win and Schumacher goes from 4 to 6), France would be 14, Germany 10 and Italy 10 (Senna still gets 6th as Coulthard did and Schumacher goes from fourth to third, still behind Berger on this power circuit). This is an average of 11.5, so we'll be generous to Senna and use Spain and Germany, averaging 11.

 

So Schumacher wins the first four, then is second in Spain behind Hill (gearbox), and wins in Canada. Then he gets seconds at France and Silverstone, retires from Germany, second at Hungary, still disqualified from Spa, fourth at Monza and is second in the Portugal and Europe, and third at Japan. This gives him 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 6 + 10 + 6 + 6 + 0 + 6 + 0 + 3 + 6 + 6 + 4 = 93 going into the final race.

 

Senna retires from the first three and then is second at Monaco, retires from Spain, second at Canada, and wins the rest barring Germany. 0 + 0 + 0 + 6 + 0 + 6 + 10 + 10 + 0 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 = 92 going into the final race.

 

Then what happens at Adelaide? Well, Mansell was on pole so Senna probably would have been too. And he probably wins it from there.

 

So yeah, I think it probably would have been close, but with Senna largely dominating the second half of the season. I don't think Hill would have got a look in though really.



#50 Beri

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 17:47

Hamilton lurker confirmed

https://twitter.com/...4886490112?s=19


Hi Lewis!