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The George - Mathew T debate


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Senna vs. Schumacher - Your thoughts ?

Read what others are saying on this debate  

It all started when George from Greece posted this comment on his thoughts on the 2003 Japanese GP:

Yeah it was really impressive watching today's best, most experienced and most successful driver hitting Sato and almost da Matta in the most important race of the year. Having probably the smallest task possible, he managed to drive as a bad rookie and make stupid mistakes. Still he has been lucky enough this year as always. He really is great I recognise that but please records don't always tell the truth so don't compare him with the real great ones such as Senna, Clark or Fangio. They never did the mistakes he has, it's just that he never faced the competition they did - George - Greece

And Mathew T from Australia replied:
What is George from Greece talking about!. He obviously hasn't been watching formula 1 for very long because he conveniently forgets that when Senna was killed Schumacher had just taken him to the cleaners in the first 2 races and was about to do it in the third IMOLA 94. Tragically Senna was killed and we never got to see probably the greatest rivalry in F1 history. He then proceeded to go on and take care of Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, every single team-mate he has ever had and anyone else you care to mention. He has now broken every record there is to break except for pole positions and Monaco victories and he will achieve both of them as well. He has taken on the best and beaten them as the above shows. The only reason this year was close is that the FIA have basically cheated and changed the rules to try and beat him. He scored 6 wins to the next best which was 2 and 5 pole positions and he would consider this to be a bad year personally for him. If George from Greece had bothered to follow qualifying he would realise that the only reason that Michael was in the midfield was because it rained during qualifying when he went for his run and was dry for the majority of others. Michael is the greatest driver motor sport has seen in the modern era and the reason I say that is because he has been able to combine the best abilities of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost all in the 1 package. He has the speed, the ability in the wet, the qualifying record, the ability to get the best out of less than ideal handling cars which were the hallmarks of Senna's greatness and he has the race tactical nouse and the ability to make very few mistakes and play the percentages that were the hallmarks of Prost's greatness. This package makes him the ultimate formula 1 driver and if George wants to talk about mistakes how many has Michael made in the last 13 years of driving, you could probably count them on 1 hand and unbelievably he has achieved his current record without the number 1 car with the exception of 2001 and 2002. 
(This post was edited)

George from Greece replies:
Ok I really feel obliged to answer to Mathew from Australia. 
1.About 94, first 3 races Senna on pole and M.S poor second. Senna retired in Brasil while second due to Williams great pit stops and Hakkinen took him out while braking for turn one in Aida. And I'm pretty sure you hardly know if M.S was able to take A.S to the cleaners that day. he didn't have to anyway, Williams took care of him. 
2.On the other hand Ayrton actually humiliated M.S and Prost whenever it rained in 93. I'm pretty sure you ignore maybe even deliberately Donnington, from which M.S has definitely learnt a lot. 3.About M.S's rivals only Hakkinen is worth mentioning who actually beat him in 98. But you see that's what I'm talking about that is what you don't see probably because you don't know. Apart from Hakkinen, during 98 and 00, M.S didn't actually have a worthy opponent, someone like Prost or Mansell. Senna even when he had the best car (in 88,89) he had Prost as a team-mate. When it's down to drivers like Senna or Schumacher it's about having a car capable of winning not necessarily the best. Senna had that for four years(88,89,90,91) clinched three titles, M.S for eight (94,95,97,98,00,01,02,03) clinched six, same ratio different competition. Even so there are two (01,02) competition free champs. Senna never had that. 
4. About Suzuka, I was referring to M.S hitting Sato and almost da Matta, not being at the back of the grid due to rain. However it was rain that helped him at Indy since he had the best rain tires and there was no other way for him to get passed Raikkonen unless it rained. 
5. About mistakes it's not just me saying that, ask Jackie Stewart and Sterling Moss about that, that is if you heard them before. Also try to remember how Schuey lost in 97,98 and almost lost in your country in 94, thank god for Damon or did Schuey actually do that on purpose. Maybe Villeneuve knows. Anyway Ferrari deserved the champ, Montoya lost it due to his mistakes and of course Williams inability, same about Kimi and Mclaren. He made mistakes but was also very unlucky (Nurburgring and Hockenheim). McLaren had two great fiascos, they managed to spend a lot of money and time on a car that never raced and they actually keep Coulthard for 04,what does he do, pay them? 
As for Michael, great driving, also mistakes and of course luck. now hear this out. 13 years in f1, 5 WC, the best the most experienced on the last and the most important race, only needs one point, only needs eighth and what does he do? He hits Sato, loses the front wing, that is the way of the champ the way of the greatest!!!!!!! Well at least he didn't hit a wall and then hill like 94 or Villeneuve like 97 but then again were those mistakes? No just the wall part. 
You'll have to excuse my spelling (or English).
(This post was edited)

And Matthew T from Australia replies:
George get a grip!. Firstly in 1994,95,96,97 Williams had the No 1 car in 98,99,2000 McLaren had the number 1 car and in 2003 for the most part Williams had the No 1 car again. this has been well documented by just about every commentator in F1. Secondly Senna may have out qualified MS in the first 3 races in 94, however in Brazil he was 8 seconds behind MS when he went off the circuit trying to keep up. I can assure you this is correct because I have it on tape, then at AIDA he was already behind MS when he was hit by Hakkinen and we know what happened at Imola. Also at the start of the 94 season Schumacher had driven in about 40 races at that point to Senna's 158. Senna was in his prime, Schumacher was a rookie. If you think I'm ignoring Donnington in 93, maybe you are ignoring SPA in 92 in terrible conditions in about his 20th F1 race when he blew away a field containing Senna, Mansell, Piquet, Berger, Alesi etc. He also sore off Piquet as his teammate. 
Senna had the best car in 88,89,90,91 and won 3 titles which is a great effort. Schumacher had the best car in 2001,2002 and has won 6 titles which is unbelievable. 
At Indy he simply made no mistakes compared to most the other drivers as Prost used to do and that is why he won. Stirling Moss like many British people don't like Schumacher because he pulverised Damon hill into submission in 94 and 95. Incidently the only reason the championship was even close in 94 was because once again the FIA cheated and took 3 races, 1 victory and 1 second place off Schuey to even up the championship. He would've won it by about 40 points had this not happened. Same as was the case in 95.
In 97 he did the same thing to Villeneuve that Prost did to Senna in 89 to clinch the title. In 98 he had mechanical failure on the grid and in 99 he broke his leg or else he would have 7 world titles.
Come on George actually watch the races and analyse what is in front of you. Some people don't like Schuey because he doesn't conform to the pathetic little stereotypes that some people demand of sportsmen. 
70 VICTORIES, 6 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, 55 POLES, THE MOST POINTS EVER SCORED, THE MOST FASTEST LAPS, THE BEST WINNING RATIO, RACES TO VICTORIES, THE BEST RECORD VERSUS TEAMMATES..... WITH MUCH MORE TO COME .... YOU DO THE MATHS GEORGE. (This post was edited)

  


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To that George from Greece replies:
Here we go again. Firstly it's well known to every commentator that in 94 Williams produced the very promising but also very difficult to handle and not so fast ,during a race distance, FW16. At least for the first half of the season until it was developed and properly tuned.
B194 on the other hand was very good straight out of the box (a "bomb" as Schuey said) with less power but also less consumption. Those 8 seconds were due to longer pit stops and Senna had started chewing about a second a lap when he actually spun off. 
Schuey indeed made a better start in Aida and he kept on doing his best ever starts for the whole season. Up to today there is still a lot of scepticism from people inside F1 about how legal B194's electronics were. Especially if you think that MS is indeed a poor starter, a known fact even seen today. And of course after 40 GPs, almost 3 seasons you are NOT A ROOKIE. 
The Spa 92 race was quite interesting, it did not rain for the whole race, a lot of rain showers. Every team strategy was ruined, it all came down to pitting for slicks in the right time and almost everybody had an exit. Reportedly MS had a small exit at the latest part of the race and noticed, while on the grass, that his tyres were blistered, and decided to pit. That was the right time to do that and it was down to luck. Because, if it wasn't , I really can't understand why he did not do that again in Brasil and Donnington 93, having a higher spec Ford engine than Senna and for the most part of the season a better chassis (during 93, as Patrick Head reportedly said).
By the way, by that time, Piquet was really very slow, stayed out there a lot more than he should. Another known fact is that Ferrari for the biggest part of the 90 season had a better car. Also Williams during the second half of 91 season had a better car. During the first half of 91 he had the best car (Senna) and won almost everything. During 88,89 when he also had the best car he had Prost as a teammate. DID AT ANY TIME OF HIS CAREER, MS HAVE A TEAMMATE AS HALF AS GOOD AS PROST WAS? I really don't  think so. I reckon Barrichello is the best teammate he ever had and he actually had to give over first place last year in Austria. MS said he didn't want that but of course he was the one who requested special terms in Irvine's contract some time before that.
So during 01,02 MS DID HAVE THE BEST CAR AROUND AND THE ONLY GUY WITH EQUAL MACHINERY WAS ACTUALLY NOT ALLOWED TO WIN. On the other hand Senna lost a championship by Prost who actually had to take Senna out to win it and of course J.M.Ballestre's support. It's also not quite clear McLaren had a better car in 00.Ferrari had been faster in a lot of tracks and a lot more reliable and anyway whatever was better it was too close to tell.
As for 98, you don't lose a title in a race you lose it throughout the year. I do also remember him going off in Austria and that was just one of that years mistakes. 
You can't really be serious on that remark about all English not liking Schuey!!!!!! Does that include Martin Brundle, former teammate of MS, Hakkinen, and Senna rival from 1983 British F3 championship? (entered F1 in 84 with Senna). This guy has been as close to these 3 drivers as no one else and rated in F1RACING article: 
1.In terms of talent 1.SENNA 2.HAKKINEN 3.SCHUMACHER 
2.Best driver overall 1.SENNA 2.SCHUMACHER 3.HAKKINEN 
I bet you think you know a lot more than this guy does, or is it maybe that he doesn't like MS because he was stealing his socks!!!! Sorry I forgot he's English too!!! 
How can you really tell me about watching and analysing the races when even MS himself admitted that Indy was down to Bridgestone superior tyres. Kimi drove just as perfectly in the wet making no mistakes. Bridgestone were at least a second faster. 
By the way ,what MS did by accident in Spa 92 ,Senna did it on his own in Estoril 85 (just as inexperienced as MS was and having as fierce competitors as he did) and almost did it in Monaco 84 (his sixth gp!!!!!!!) when the race was stopped because he was going to pass Prost and win. (J.M.Ballestre again) 
MS was punished in 94 because he overtook Hill during the formation lap (he is that smart) and because the bottom of B194 WAS WORE OUT BEYOND THE ACCEPTABLE MARGIN. 
The truth is MS is really the best guy around , has been since May 94 and probably will be until he retires 'cause I really can't see anyone better. But don't compare different eras with different drivers facing different competition and don't say what would have happened if MS had not broken his leg because I can tell you that if it hadn't been for that broken steering column those numbers you flash out, would have been the other way around. 
Now that we got the facts right could you please answer me one question? How come MS, having 3 more years in F1 than Senna with less competition and better cars for a longer period of time, still has 55pp instead of Senna's 65pp? I KNOW, THE ENGLISH KEPT STEALING HIS MOJO BEFORE THE QUALIFYING SESSIONS. OH BAD ENGLISH ,BEHAVE!!!!!!!!! 
P.S. Williams was better for the most part of 03 but ,as I said they made many mistakes in car set up and race strategy. (This post was edited)

Matthew T from Australia replies:
My first response to your first email was in response to your statement "please do not compare Schumacher to the real great ones like Senna, Clark, Fangio". This is a comment made by a man who can't stand the fact that someone he hates is now the best and most successful driver of all time. There is absolutely no logic in it and you know it. You are driven by the fact that you hate Michael Schumacher and hate the fact that people could rate him as good or better than your obvious hero Senna. I'll let you in on a secret George, no one was a bigger fan of Senna than myself when he was racing and no one was more delusioned when he was killed than me. I have pictures of Senna up on my wall and also several books, so the fact remains that my comments aren't biased because I loved Senna. Yours are driven by your hatred towards MS. A lot of people who were Senna fans hated MS when he burst onto the scene because he threatened Senna's dominance and claim to the number 1 driver. He also did this in a ruthless, unemotional and outwardly disrespectful, in other words arrogant manner. Of course this is incorrect, it was just the nature of his approach and determination, unfortunately a lot of people don't understand this and have held it against him to this day. Senna was a much more emotional and charismatic individual outwardly which endeared him to the public. Other than for Ferrari and Benetton fans, Schumacher will not be loved by any F1 fans ever. I for years had refused to believe that anyone could possibly be as good or better than Senna. 
The speculation about the B194 was just that speculation nothing was ever proven and these cars go through a rigorous test after race. Please do not try and tell me that experts in their field could not have found anything about launch control, traction control or whatever. 
Spa 92, Spain 96, Monaco 97 where he beat Fisichella by nearly a minute, Nurburgring 2000 where he blew Hakkinen away in wet and changeable conditions, Suzuka 2000 where he did the same do you want me to go on. 90 and 91 Schumacher was not even their for the most part so I'm not even interested in talking about it but I'm happy to talk about 88 and 89 because it illustrates my point. In 88 Senna had 8 wins and 3 seconds which then gave him a gross point score of 90 points for which he was able to count all 11 finishes. Prost had 7 wins and 7 seconds which gave him gross points of 105. Under today's rules Senna would have lost this Championship. Prost was only allowed to count 87 points, 11 best finishes. Senna was unlucky with retirements in 89 which was what really in the end cost him the Championship. Other than in qualifying and wet races he was actually matched or even bettered by Prost because Prost always made sure he finished unless he had mechanical failure. Senna did not as brazil 94 showed. He chose to push the car too hard and give up 6 points. Prost would not have done this and neither would have Schumacher. Incidentally retirements I believe are not always due to bad luck. Did you ever notice that Prost like Schumacher had very few retirements and yet guys like Senna, Alesi, Mansell always seem to have bad luck with reliability? This is partly due to the fact that they only drive one way, flat out or bust. This is not a talent flaw but a tactical and also personality flaw. Like Senna bumping into Schlesser at Monza 88. This flaw is fine when you're driving against guys you're much better than but is fatal against guys that are as good or nearly as good as yourself. It costs races and championships and Senna found this out when driving with Prost. 
In sheer talent Senna was as good as anyone I've seen but over a whole season against someone like Michael in the same car and the same amount of retirements he would struggle because Michael is quicker than Prost, better in the wet, better in qualifying (56 poles to Prost's 33) but would conserve the car and make just as few errors as Prost. This is what makes Michael so formidable. 
In F1 magazine in (I think) 2001 their was an article from one of the writers about how Senna concentrated on being the fastest and Prost just concentrated solely on winning the race. It then went on to say that Michael has managed to do both which I believe makes him the best F1 driver of my time. The flaw that I'm talking about is not something that a driver can just get rid of as Senna said it's in your blood. 
I'm not even going to comment on Fangio and Clark because I was not even born when they were racing. Being the best F1 driver of all time is not about just being the most talented, it's about the whole package and that is why in my opinion MS is the best I've seen. That is why when in 2001 and 2002 he had 20 victories to Barrichello 3 and beat his team-mate by about 70-80 points each year because Michael maximises everything which Senna did not always do. Do you think that Senna would've beaten Barrichello by more than this ? I don't think so. 
In relation to 2000 with McLaren whether a car is 5% better 10% better or 90% better, it's still better and Schuey won that championship by 18 points and against Hakkinen and had 2 collisions mid year in a row where he got 0 points. 
The article with Brundle was done just when MS clinched title 3. Do you think that he would still have the order the same? 
Undoubtedly if Senna was not killed he would have more victories and Schumacher less but that is not my point. It's the whole package that counts not just stats. (This post was edited)

George from Greece replies,
OK, this is getting really irritating. first you say that MS is the best ever then you finally admit that you actually have no idea about Clark or Fangio. WHICH ONE IS IT? HOW CAN YOU REALLY TELL, DO YOUR PRECIOUS NUMBERS SAY THAT? Did you know that many people who have actually SEEN THEM ALL rate Clark first? Is this YOUR LOGIC? 
No dear Mathew I don't hate MS, I was actually quite happy when he finally made it in 00. I just don't over rate him. The thing is that he really is one of the greats, after those three that is. But no, no posters in the room, no books about MS, and no need to lie about anything. I know all about all his great races but I didn't close my eyes in the worst , same about Senna. But I wasn't looking desperately for a new idol when he was gone, cause I would be deeply disappointed. 
Well the truth is that nothing was proven with solid evidence about B194's electronics. But then again FIA actually admitted several years ago that even though they knew that a top team was cheating (incidentally the speculation was about MS's car AGAIN) they could not prove it. That is why these EXPERTS allowed traction control (back) in. 
About 88, a great driver is also about adapting to circumstances and that is not just about feeling the car and driving accordingly. It's about changing even your driving style when you have to. The rules did not change during or at the end of 88, they had been there for years. So I reckon that the smart and the right thing to do in order to win the title is to win your opponent and be ahead of him as many times as you can, NOT COLLECT POINTS!! That is what he should have but could not do. Don't blame that on the points system. And please stop with the IFS. I remember some years before that, that the first in qualifying got also one point. Yes that's right POLE POSITION. Need I say more? And I suppose you don't think that Prost should have been punished after pulling that stunt in Suzuka!!!! Yeah right, now blame it on mechanical failures. 
One thing is for sure, this is something that both MS and Prost share. If he's going to pass you TAKE HIM OUT. 
Don't bother to mention Suzuka 90 unless you don't know what happened in the backstage AFTER the qualifying session. For a man who owns books about Senna you don't seem to know much about his great mechanical feeling, that most of the engineers he had have talked about. Nor his smoothness to the car and about how he took care of it even driving as fast as he always did. Do these books actually have words inside them and if they do, have you read them? 
I also remember MS's great tactical race in Spa 98 when being a distant first, he was going flat out, when he should have been a lot more careful. ESPECIALLY WITH BACKMARKERS. Coulthard made a mistake and MS made himself vulnerable by exceeding as he did. And you also forget MS crashing on Barrichello in the first corner in Argentina 97. Incidentally if YOU actually looked better into races you'd see that MS did all these great (wet) races with a car set up for wet, which was not the case for everybody. Especially since nobody else could wait until the last minute to decide, having two cars with different set ups. I don't remember him doing that well in Brasil with rain a couple of years ago.
By the way who is really making all these great decisions about the strategy of the race, isn't Brawn making them (most of them) NOT MS? 
Senna was out to win, that is how he won more times than Prost not only because he was faster. Of course you forget again that during the turbo era especially but also later and before the refuelling era, fuel consumption was critical and I can assure you, you don't win if you only drive one way. Again JYS in 90: Senna is not only the fastest in the world, he is actually the best, has matured... 
No I 'm not going to say what WOULD have happened not going to make imaginary team mates, championships and so on. In every e-mail I've ever sent I present facts and opinions by people who definitely know better, people who have been there, not just every wannabe journalist article writer whose actual job is to create myths to make a living. And please try reading them more carefully, I know I can't speak English so good but I don't think I m that bad. I was referring to 90,91 because of the remark you made about Senna having the best car, NOT MS. Again I'll say, drivers like Senna or MS don't have to have the best car to win, they just need a car CAPABLE of winning like 90,91 McLaren and 94,95,97,98,00,03 Ferrari. 
No Brundle hasn't changed his mind, yes Senna ALWAYS maximised everything and please give me a serious argument not speculations and wrong assumptions. Don't flash out numbers without knowing what they mean, can you actually compare Prost's PP (Senna team mate and opponent for 10 years) with MS's!!!
Senna's flaw was in his blood? Nice connection!!! Has there ever been a car as reliable as Ferrari has been for the last (few) years?? Never said it's only about talent. Maybe you should try and get that Brundle article, and then talk about the whole package. 
P.S. H,M.FANGIO:starts 51 ,wins 24 ,aprox one out of two M.S. starts 194 ,wins 70 ,aprox one out of three THAT'S ME DOING THE MATH'S THAT YOU LOVE SO MUCH ABOUT RACES TO VICTORIES RATIO.
Correction by George:  Made a mistake, turns out my English is a lot worst than I thought. You never said MS is the best ever so I was wrong in the beginning.


Reader's Comments

I visit this page for first time but I feel that I must leave a message. First of all to make it clear. Ayrton Senna never had all the electronics and the technology that Michael Schumacher has. Also Ayrton Senna had the best car for three years (1988,1989, 1990) Michael Schumacher has the best car for five years (2000,2001,2002,2003,2004) Even when Senna had the best car, there were many great drivers to battle him.
Now Schumacher is in a very comfortable situation. No other driver can fight for the 1st place and the worst is that teams with great history are not competitive (Williams, McLaren) 
In 1991 the best car was the Williams FW14. Nigel Roebuck said that it wasn't Williams that lost the title that year, it was Senna who won it with a car which should not be winning races. 
In 1992 the best car was the Williams FW14B. The second best was Michael Schumacher's Benetton Ford. Senna's car had a strong engine but the chassis was very bad. But as you know Senna made 3 victories while Schumacher made 1. 
In 1993 Senna's car was even worse while Williams and Benetton were improved. McLaren used Ford engine of 1992, the new version was given only to Benetton. But even after this Senna made 5 victories and Schumacher made 1. 
In 1994 the Williams FW16 was a new car and the only good on it was the history of the successful Williams-Renault the past 2 years. Several modifications were done in order to make it capable of finishing in grand prix. Frank Williams said that Senna after a practice session wrote four pages of suggestions to improve the car. I've heard Ross Brawn saying that Benetton was better than Williams that year. Many people insist that Benetton's car was illegal. In the Brazilian Grand prix Senna took the pole position easily. In the race he was doing well until a rare mistake caused him to lose the control. In Aida Senna took the pole position easily again. But in the race he was forced to retire because of a crash with Hakkinen in the start. After Senna left the track he watched the rest of the race from the pits where he shouted that Michael Schumacher's car is reacting differently from the other Benetton, later he mentioned that Benetton's cars are suspicious. In Imola Senna takes pole position easily again. In the race, after the safety car left the track, Senna was leading and Schumacher was behind. Senna crashed so Schumacher took the lead. BUT in lap 6 Senna made 1.24s time with a car full of petrol. This was the fastest lap of the race and the 3rd fastest of the whole weekend (including the restart). Schumacher bettered this time only at the end of the race when his car was almost empty of petrol. 
I will not try to change people's minds. If you like Michael Schumacher, it is your choice. Other people like Alain Prost, others Nigel Mansel. 
But know something. By 1 May 1994 F1 lost its crowd. You, who say that you like Michael Schumacher, are what remains from the fans that F1 had 10-12 years ago. Most of my friends are fanatics of formula 1. All the joy Senna brought to them is now lost because there is a driver named Schumacher who is believed to be the best driver only because he won 7 championships and the truth is that he has nothing else to present than the best car among the others. And before I finish I would like to make a wish. I wish that Schumacher will not retire soon. Just win another championship with Ferrari and then sign at Sauber (or at Toyota). Then we'll see who's the best driver - Haris - Greece


Mathew be very carefully disrespecting Ayrton Senna by saying Shui took him to the (CLEARNERS) in 94. I'm also from Australia my mate. I have 2 many comments to say about this issue, so I will keep it as simple as I can. Professional Driver Senna was a naturally gifted professional racing car driver that was the only person in this world that could lap within 5cm difference of the cars width in between laps over & over. 
1/ Monaco is the hardest grandprix prix to win................ Mr Monaco 
2/ Racing in the Wet is the hardest to do..................... 93 Donington 
Rock Star/Driver Shue is a business/professional racing driver with his own gifted talents. Irvine or Rubens can u let me pass you or can u slow down or block every won else so i can win again please, I'll make sure Ferrari pays you well - Kamron - Australia


F1 racing June 2004 issue has an article, 100 greatest drivers of all time. They regarded SENNA as the no. 1 driver, I think this should this settle this debate - Alvin - Canada


As a fan of MS and Senna they to me are the best drivers that have ever existed. You are not able to compare these both great drivers because they are both different ways. So back off and let F1 be - Sarah - Australia


First of all, I must admit that I DO admire Ayrton Senna and that I DO NOT admire Michael Schumacher. The reason for such an attitude is quite simple: overtaking; while Senna has mastered it, in every possible situation, Schumacher has specialized in pit-stop overtaking and that's neither funny nor a proof of skill (to Schumacher fans: please notice that I'm not requiring him to make 3 overtakes in a single lap, as Senna did in Donnington 93). 
But Schumacher fans attitude is outrageous to me: they simply don't accept the fact that there are a number of people as great as China's population that think differently. And more: so what if I don't like him? I'm entitled, I have the right to do it. Let's face it: Schumacher fans arguments are based on statistics; after all he holds both wins and titles records. Again, so what? Fangio has 24 wins in 51 starts (47%), that's a DEFINITIVE RECORD! And yet Fangio has considered Senna his legitimate successor. 
To Matthew T.: your analysis on best F1 seasons' cars is very poor and contradicted by the facts while your pretension to make predictions about the Senna X Schumacher rivalry results if Senna hasn't died is simply ridiculous - Marcus C - Brazil


To compare this rivalry you have to take a lot of things into account. 
1) The obvious strong traits I will start with both drivers. 
2) The not so strong traits will be shown to analyze. 
3) The negatives of both and then I know who is better and you will too. 

1. SENNA no doubt tremendous qualifier destroying Prost. Very frequently easily faster than Berger in Qualifying. He was somewhere around 6-7 tenths quicker than Hill. He would've been easily quicker than Hakkinen with times similar to Berger. Hakkinen was good in Portugal, and Suzuka especially in his career. Looking at Senna's times he was randomly and easily over a second faster than Berger, Prost, Hill. He was faster than Schumacher three in a row in 94 with yes different machines and the machines have different characteristics on each track. Okay. Thats important. Schumacher takes the benefit of that because looking at Imola, Aida in 94 Hill was only 3-4 tenths slower than Schumacher thats a bit close b/w the two. So Williams was slightly faster in qualifying. 
SCHUMACHER in qualifying has been phenomenal with not the same records. why? looking at the early cars in 92-94, they were lighter, more downforce, quicker, less aids, so drivers could use more of their daring abilities and skill. Schumacher only at 22, first year was faster than Piquet, next year was on average 7 tenths quicker than veteran Brundle. Schumacher was rookie. Killed Patrese, Verstappen, Lehto, Herbert, and Irvine in the era of slicks. Barrichello is very close right now but he has been very quick every year. yes he doesn't have the best track record for domination but looking at his rookie year and even with Irvine, and that he is with the best team now for 4 years getting technical and emotional support he has come closer to Schumacher. And Schumacher is more moody in his drive. His skills are more suitable for light, quick, slick tyre and no aids type of F1 cars of the past. Barrichello depends on neutral cars that like to go in one line with full throttle that cant jump and slide and cut corners like F1 cars with slicks. So the times have changed in F1, the qualifying times are closer because the drivers have less influence in the cars, and that teams are more sophisticated and spend more time and years with drivers and so Barrichello has finally gotten better and better. Schumacher was always superquick but now his skills somehow cant be used probably. 
RACE speed Senna and Schumacher are very close. In the rain its debatable. Again different cars have different characteristics even in the rain. But I have to go with Senna just a little quicker with that. Schumacher has great low fuel, high fuel speed so did Senna. But I think somehow Schumacher is systematically quicker than Senna in the races if they had slicks on. Schumacher had championship cars realistically and frequently in the years of 94, 2000, 2001, 2002, and half of 2003 races. The rest of his career like 95, 98, 99, he has had cars second to others. Its simple to look at this. Look at qualifying times. Even in 2000 Mclaren maybe had better race car I think. Barrichello couldn't stay with Coulthard, Hakkinen but he is as quick if not quicker than Coulthard. 
If they were teammates qualifying would go 9-7 Schumacher or vice versa. Race wins Schumacher 7 and Senna 5. But Senna is more special I think, his potential was unequal. Schumacher's skill and nice touch is unequal. Senna had more tenacity while Schumacher more ruthless in a way. 
Todays F1 cars are deceiving when comparing drivers, the times have shrunk between teammates. I have to go with Schuey. If I had some times overall both in qualifying and the races this is how it would go. - Nick - USA


Impossible to compare. I remember watching Senna when I was a kid and the guy was something else. But then Schumacher is too. The truth is that the greats can never be truly compared. Both had strengths where others had weaknesses. 
One thing I am certain of is that Schumacher would have beaten Senna had Senna lived. It was the change over time that will come to Schumacher, maybe even in 2004. Like it was never true to compare Senna and Prost - because Prost peaked while Senna was still young. Senna took Prost's mantel as the man to beat because Prost peaked and Senna was still on his way up. Both Senna and Schumacher were awesome in so many ways. But both made mistakes, no question. Schumacher made a pigs ear of the last round in Suzuka, that true, but I remember Senna throwing away a fair few races too. Remember him spinning out of the lead at Silverstone through the old circuit that is now Beckets? 
Both were willing to run people of the road to win titles. We saw it with Senna in 1990, Schumacher in 1997 (Still not sure about 94, I think it was not as clear cut as people made out, or as clear cut as 97), and even Prost ran Senna off the road in 1989. Watch the video again if you think that was Senna's fault - no way. 
Both were able to squeeze an extra few % out of a qualifying lap. And I don't buy that Senna's stats make him the better qualifier. Prost was a canny racer, and Mansell a very gritty racer, but neither was a great qualifier. The likes of Hill and Alesi by contrast could pull out some stunningly fast one off laps, but lacked the ability to turn their speed into results. For me the crucial thing if there is a difference is this. Schumacher has never lost top spot in his career. He got to the top at Benetton, gave it away to join Ferrari, won it back in 2000 and has kept it since. Senna did lose top spot though. He dominated in 90 and 91, yet he and McLaren let Williams get on top for 92 onwards. I'm not sure whether Schumacher will or not - he came close to giving it away last year, and I fear this year might be the one where the young guns finally get him. 
For me there is no way to top one against the other. Both were genius, both were controversial, and make no mistake both have messed up at times. Even the best make mistakes! - Oli - England


've read carefully the comments made by everyone in this debate. I must say that things are rarely black and white, but in this case it seems they are. I have a huge bibliography about Ayrton Senna and I have followed his career and life as closely as possible from 1983. I can tell you one thing: I have never seen an athlete in any sport having such an impact on the world (media, press, fans, simple people etc.). ESPECIALLY SO LONG AFTER THEY HAVE PASSED AWAY OR RETIRED!!! 
I have come to think that Ayrton was a little bit more than human. He had reached another level of existence. Such men are brought to this world rather rarely, with one purpose alone: TO SHOW MANKIND THAT NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! THAT HUMAN WILLPOWER AND COMMITMENT CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING! TO SHOW THAT HUMAN POTENTIAL HAS NO LIMITS!!!! AND FINALLY THAT THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT WHAT MATTERS IS TO BE THE B E S T IN WHATEVER IT IS YOU DECIDE TO DO. 
Now, my thought is that if you've reached this level of consciousness and awareness, figures and statistics SIMPLY DO NOT MATTER WHAT SO EVER.... Ayrton knew, and those that ARE AWARE know too... (Monaco '84,'89,'92 - Estoril '85 - Spain '86,'92 - Brazil '91,'93 - Donington Park '93.....)....
When ANY other driver repeats/matches such performances, I will BOW to their genius....BUT UNTIL THEN LET US PAY OUR RESPECTS TO "THE BEST" AND NOT TRY TO DIMINISH THEIR BRILLIANCE BY WORSHIPING "NUMBERS"..... Vagelis K - Greece


I am 26 and I've seen them both in action. I generally do not worship athletes, I am just a fan of racing. It may seem strange but after AS death I liked MS because he was the following (in MY order of priority): a) the fastest guy left, b) fairly risky and fun to watch (much more than he is now....), c) fair player (THEN...), d) young. 
I HATED him when he made clear that he wanted to win at all cost, even by risking other driversí integrity: crashing into Villeneuve in order to get the championship, crashing like a rookie into David who was 1 lap behind (What was he trying to prove? wait for the blue flag, man!!!!!). Not only that, he falsely accused him of being irresponsible, like a schoolboy who doesnít admit his fault. 
Remember what he did to Mika one lap before he overtook him in Belgium (in a brave I have to admit way): changed direction the last moment at way over 300kph. IS HE NUTS? Had they crashed, there wouldn't have been much left of them to talk about. So much for his sportsmanship...
AS (Senna) NEVER put anyoneís life in danger, despite driving over the limit (which was far beyond MS limit - admit it guys: he was the best in terms of feeling the car and controlling it at very high speed and in treacherous tracks where one has to be brave and dedicated to win like, Monaco - ). 
I honestly DO NOT GIVE A SHIT who gets the most titles or the most money!!! As a spectator, I want to see SPEED, FAIR PLAY, and RISK. That's why I like drivers like AS, Montoya, Kimi, Nigel Mansell (in F1) ,and Ari Vatanen, Colin McRae, Tommi Makinen, Petter Solberg (from WRC). 
MS is very fast, used to be even faster several years ago but he lacks the rest of the qualities. He is clever, great businessman, hard working, effective, ALWAYS LUCKY (GIORGARE: AHDIASTIKA KOLOFARDOS GAMW THN POYTANA!!!!!!!) the driver I would hire if I owned an F1 team. But I DONíT!!!! I want to see the things I mentioned above. Moreover MS has always had small calibre teammates (not of Prostís anyway) who as characters always obeyed and caused no serious trouble. MS has been driving the best car the last 4 seasons (Matthew, the best car is NOT essentially the fastest; it is the car THAT SCORES THE MOST POINTS = THE MOST RELIABLE AND QUICK ENOUGH). Remember, even when Mika won his 2nd title, Ferrari won the constructorsí despite driving with Irvine and Mika Salo for most of the season (the season during which David run into Mika in Austria and McLarens frequently got DNFs due to mechanical failures). Had Irvine crashed into MS, he would have been fired the following day... He is so lucky that the few times something goes wrong with the car, itís ALWAYS Rubensí car!!!! (MS, go to Las Vegas, boy!!!!!!). THERE IS NO ROOM FOR OTHER DRIVERS IN SCHUMMIíS TEAMS (he brought Ross Brown and Rory Byrne with him from Benetton when he joined Ferrari, people who knew him and adjusted the team to his needs). 
AS won 5 times in 93 despite his car being well off Prostís Williams pace. He was also much faster in qualifying (the session that shows how much courage one has) than ANY other driver. In 88 he was almost 2sec faster than Prost. Check this out: "Monte Carlo, í88, the last qualifying session. I was already on pole and I was going faster and faster. One lap after the other, quicker, and quicker, and quicker. I was at one stage just on pole, then by half a second, and then one secondÖand I kept going. Suddenly, I was nearly two seconds faster than anybody else, including my teammate with the same car. And I suddenly realized that I was no longer driving the car consciously." 
"I was kind of driving it by instinct, only I was in a different dimension. It was like I was in a tunnel, not only the tunnel under the hotel, but the whole circuit for me was a tunnel. I was just going, going Ė more, and more, and more, and more. I was way over the limit, but still able to find even more. Then, suddenly, something just kicked me. I kind of woke up and I realized that I was in a different atmosphere than you normally are. Immediately my reaction was to back off, slow down. I drove slowly to the pits and I didnít want to go out any more that day." 
"It frightened me because I realized I was well beyond my conscious understanding. It happens rarely, but I keep these experiences very much alive in me because it is something that is important for self-preservation." Ayrton Senna 
CAN ANYONE DO THIS- Prost, Mansell, Schummi?? 2 sec in pole and still going for it ??? The man was INSPIRING for everyone. Even if one was not in the mood to sacrifice his Sunday noon nap to watch a GP, he would do it just to watch Ayrton fight with himself and the time. Thatís the essence of motorsport: SPEEEEEEED and STYLE. 
MS you are good but not THAT fast or inspiring. Prost you are good but have friends in high places and sometimes didnít play like an honest man. Nigel, well done. 
Kimi, Juan, Alonso keep up the good work and be Ė if possible - like AS because we are getting bored... AYRTON bye - nice watching you. U R THE BEST I CAN REMEMBER - Tolis - Greece


Ayrton Senna had the passion and wore his heart on his sleave. That's why millions around the world still mourn his death and people respect but do not love Schumacher. 
Senna seemed to have a depth of emotion that Schumacher does not have. And lest we forget, when he raced and drove for pole he was scintillating. For me there is no other than Senna - John W - England


It is a fierce debate by Mr George and Mr Matthew T. The debate can go on and on without getting a definite answer. We would never EVER get an answer for who is the greatest EVER. Ever since the beginning of motor-racing, things have changed dramatically throughout the decades. NO ONE ever could imagine that the THRUST-SSC(Modern) could overwhelm a World War I Warplane in straight line speed. 
DIFFERENT ERAS produce GREAT DRIVERS of that particular ERA. Rules and regulations have been changing since the beginning of motor-racing even until today. New innovations and technologies have been created throughout the years. Rules and regulations are meant to keep these innovations and technologies in a margin whereby safety is observed and drivers' skills are being tested. 
I am sure that many motorsport fans have realised how many technologies have been outlawed since Grand Prix Racing began. (Ground Effects, Turbo Engines, Active Suspensions, Wide Body Chassis, Bigger Front and Rear Wings, Non-Grooved Big Slick Tyres...etc) 
I am really amazed by the efforts of Mr George and Mr Matthew's in keeping track of statistics and great races of both Ayrton Senna Da Sliva and Michael Schumacher. 
To me, I can only accept that Ayrton Senna Da Silva and Michael Schumacher are the best drivers of THEIR ERA. There is NO ONE as the greatest driver of all time - CJ Chen - China


George, you are so right. Schumacher is half the driver that Senna was...Which is still one hell of a driver! That's part of why Schumacher is doing so well - Level8Drummer - USA

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