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Senna vs. Schumacher

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Hello! Well, there were a lot of points to answer, so I hope you guys like reading! :-D 
This is really for everyone, but especially for Ryan T, if he's still around! 
��The wrong/ manufactured claim was mainly from Paul D of Scotland�� Sorry, Ryan, but I have read over my last mail and I cannot spot ANYTHING in it that is �wrong� or �manufactured�. By the way, I have not accused YOU of fabrications or distortions despite disagreeing with many of the things that YOU say � if you ever read this and reply then please return the compliment. Anyway. I said that Benetton would have won without Schuie because it�s TRUE � e.g. Johnnie Herbert winning at Silverstone AND Monza in 1995 (in both instances Schumacher was out � for the significance of this, see below). I said that Benetton won AFTER Schuie left because it�s TRUE � e.g. Gerhard Berger at Hockenheim. I said that Lotus did NOT win after Senna left because it�s TRUE � he scored their LAST EVER victory. The number of points Benetton reaped after 1995 DID decline dramatically � but they would have anyway, with the overpowering strength of the 1996 and 1997 Williams�I bet even Ayrton Senna himself couldn�t have used a Benetton to beat the Williams to the title in those years! :-D 
��Didn't they have the money at that time? Weren't they capable?? � You seem to have misunderstood the point I was making about mega-rich teams. ESPECIALLY where you wrote ��McLaren would have had a bigger budget than Benetton (correct me if I am wrong, that�s my one assumption). So, using your own argument about budgets as well, Senna had a better car than Schumacher�� No, I am NOT saying that the quality of a car increases directly with the amount of dollars available. That would be facile. My point was that the mega-rich teams that Schumacher has ALWAYS driven for never had to make do with a sub-standard package of engines, tyres, personnel etc. to the extent that Senna did when he drove for Lotus. This means that Senna�s achievements at Lotus, in a relatively poor car (because the team did not have the assets to make a better one relative to the competition at the time) were NEVER mirrored by Schumacher, who has ALWAYS driven for a team with much better resources. THIS means that I am more impressed with what Senna achieved before he won championships than I am with what Schuie achieved before he won his own. 
No, Ryan, I am NOT saying that McLaren was poor. Ferrari and McLaren were both stable, rich teams. But Schumacher could only join one or the other, couldn�t he? He chose Ferrari, but HAD he joined McLaren, it would NOT have disproved my point, and it would NOT have implied that I thought that Ferrari had no resources. 
You asked ��how come Ferrari didn�t win a Driver�s Championship since 1979 until Schumacher did it�� (Well, they�d have won it sooner than they did, as early as 1999, had Irvine NOT been required to submit track position to Schumacher earlier that year, to the detriment of his own point�s total). Anyway, that is an ENORMOUS question, and any answer would require amongst other things a complete regurgitation of the key events, deals and developments of all the championships from 1979 to 2000. Shorthand is - SOMEBODY was going to win the title back for Ferrari eventually, given the team�s resources. Had he been equal priority, EDDIE IRVINE could have taken it (see above). Also, it was NOT ONLY the arrival of Schumacher that changed the team�s fortunes; the revival of Ferrari was an ENORMOUS project, initiated and �sold� to the sponsors, management and so on LONG BEFORE Schumacher signed for them, and which would have occurred anyway without him. The arrival of Todt, Brawn, Stepney and Byrne (and many others), revised sponsorship and investment levels, revised team-orders and even a new attitude (�There�s no point being fast if you don�t finish�) also helped turn things around. However, all this really doesn�t stick to the point of our debate, which is �Who�s Better � Senna or Schuie?� 
��Also, if Byrne & Brawn�s Technical interpretations are not correct, the authorities would have dealt with it...� Well, that is as great a display of blind faith in the sport�s decision-makers as I have ever seen. You only have to have seen the unpunished scandals of illegal barge-boards, de facto traction control, photographs strongly suggestive of banned differential braking systems, the controversy over flexible floors and rear wings, Michael Schumacher�s lead-weighted crash helmet that he took to an official weigh-in (depressing but true), and Benetton�s use of an unapproved fuel filter (that THEY said would actually SLOW refuelling down, but which reliable sources have stated would SPEED UP pit-stops by about a second). This second may not sound like much until you remember the pit-stop in Brazil, �94, when Senna entered the pits AHEAD of Schuie � and left the pits BEHIND him�somehow!...There are many others, but most of these scandals and infringements have NOT been punished, despite having been either corrected or even being allowed to creep into the sport, to the EXTREMELY vigorous protests of fans, commentators and drivers alike. (Incidentally, as further demonstration of the advantage of having Ferrari putting most of their resources into one driver, look at the end of the 1999 season. After Schumacher crashed at Silverstone, Eddie Irvine became Ferrari�s championship hope, and, boy, Irvine�s points-per-race average fairly SOARED!...He was winning THIS, he was winning THAT�even taking into consideration Mika Salo�s self-sacrificing help, the man was somehow�mystically�REBORN! All of a sudden, the form of the Ferrari No.2 and underdog literally SKY-ROCKETED, to the point that he clawed back so much ground and reaped so many points that he was challenging Mika Hakkinen for the title by the last race of the season that year!) 
In response to ��Why can�t you speak about �92 ??.. I agree with you that Senna & Schumacher were not in comparable cars. Senna was in the car that won the Drivers Championship for the four years prior to that..� my reply is: because at the time of writing I was not immediately and intimately familiar with the results of that season, and the reasons for them. I was unprepared for someone to attach such huge significance to that one year, to the only complete racing year in Schumacher�s and Senna�s overlapped lives where Schumacher, for SOME REASON, scored more points. However, because this seems to be such a pivotal issue with you, I have decided to look into the 1992 season � here are my findings: The first thing I learned - and it was a strongly-recurring theme � was that at the start of 1992 the McLaren car was NOT by ANY MEANS up to the relative standards of previous years. In fact, by around half-way through the *1991* season McLaren were losing serious ground, and Senna took the title that year thanks to the amount of points he�d gained at the START of the season, when Williams were still trying to improve their package. This, Ryan, I hope will finally put the last nail into the coffin of your frankly EXASPERATING habit of insisting that a team that won championships in previous years must always logically still be front-runners the year after (or even SEVERAL years after!). Anyway. For various reasons, in 1992, Schumacher retired *4* times. My sources inform me that he scored 53 points that season. So far so good. Now, Ayrton Senna retired for various reasons *7* times, and scored 50 points. How badly did the different rate of fail-to-finishes affect the result? Well�looking only at races that they finished, Schumacher earned an average *4.8* points per race. Which is pretty decent. Ayrton Senna scored an average *6.25* points per race. This means that Ayrton Senna, rather more often than not, finished in a higher position when he finished a race than Schumacher did when HE finished a race. The inevitable conclusion, then, is that it was MACHINERY (*NOT skill*) that let Senna down. This means that in 1992, he retired on THREE more occasions than Schumacher. and yet finished only *3 points* behind him, in a season where, when he DID finish, he scored on average *6 points* per race. That really says it all. Given equally reliable machinery, Senna would have WHIPPED Schumacher. Further proof that when Senna finished he tended to BEAT Schumacher pretty convincingly can be seen in their tally of wins that year � Senna, *3*; Schumacher, *1*. I�m not taking anything away from Schumacher�s performance in 1992. He proved himself to be a bright new talent. Really impressive, beautiful. All I�m saying is that, adjusting for retirements, he just didn�t do as well as Senna, that�s all. 
Incidentally, here you say ��Couple that with the fact that he had 8 years� experience against Schumacher�s six races, Senna should have beaten Schumacher hands down...� Whereas HERE, you say: ��There are other factors such as the Chassis that could make a big difference�� And, even more damning: ��Statistics don�t say the whole truth, but longer the period (or larger the sample) the greater the accuracy. 10 � 13 years (160-200 starts) should give a fare result�� Oh? So you AGREE that the results over one year (16 starts) don�t give a representative result? So you AGREE that, say, 1992 on its own isn�t enough? OK, then how about we compare the race performances of EVERY race that the two men appeared in together? It�s easily done, and it would only be fair! Representing the results of 41 races, it is the biggest sample of comparative data possible for this discussion. Here are the results, pinched from PlanetF1�s superb archive� 
Head to Head Race Results: 
(Schumacher is on the left, Senna is on the right). 
Won 5 10 
Finished Higher 17 20 
when both finished 7 10 
Retirements 14 14 
(Incidentally, this table DOESN�T display the fact that Michael Schumacher never achieved a single pole position while Ayrton Senna was alive). 
Ryan, what I hear from you is �..Schuie got higher numbers in 1992, Schuie got higher numbers in 1992�� over and over. Don�t be fooled by the bigger numbers from that one year, Ryan. If it�s JUST THE POINTS IN THAT ONE YEAR that matter - Patrese scored *56* points that season, which is more than either of them. So Ricardo Patrese was a better driver than Senna AND Schuie, right?...(Nope!) 
�Tell me, what�s so good about �THE Alain Prost� compared to Hakkinen , Montoya or Raikkonen ??� I swear, Ryan, this is your finest yet! MUSEUM quality! Here are a few important pointers� Senna: Got NO sacrificial help from team-mate in all his Championship years. 
Schumacher: Got CONSTANT sacrificial help from team-mate in all his Championship years. Senna: Beat Prost, who�d achieved many victories, and multiple championships. 
Schumacher: Beat Montoya and Raikkonen at first when they were novices in different teams from him in years when he had a strong car and, later, beat them when they were more clued-up about Formula One when he had the DOMINANT car. 
Senna: Beat Prost, a tremendously strong-running veteran of the sport, in an EQUAL car. Schumacher: Has NEVER beaten champion material in their prime in an equal car. POSITIVELY DEMANDS relatively mediocre team-mates, who must always take a subservient role. Schuie, recently, has beaten **Eddie Irvine** and **Rubens Barrichello** in equal cars (with UNequal team orders). Looking further back to his Benetton championship years, in an equal car he beat Johnnie Herbert (who was really never the same after the accident early in his promising career that smashed his feet to bits), Martin Brundle (a good man and solid driver but, sadly, never a race-winner), Ricardo Patrese (a former race winner but WELL past his prime when he - ahem! - �raced� with Schumacher) and Jos Verstappen. Oooh! �Jos the boss!� I�ll let others pick apart the rest of your argument, Ryan. I could type about the differences between Senna beating Prost and Schuie beating those other chaps all day. 
Also, you said: ��You say that in �94 Senna�s car was �Difficult� quoting Frank Williams. Paul you are the one saying that Senna was good & won in these sort of cars�� Yes, given time, mate! Fair play, even in that tricky car he got 3 pole positions out of 3. He was CRASHED INTO once, spun on another occasion whilst trying to catch what I and many, MANY others have always thought was a VERY SUSPICIOUSLY nimble Benetton, and lastly suffered a fatal accident whilst leading a race. Senna would have won eventually that year � even Alain Prost said that Senna could maybe have even beaten Prost�s record of 51 race wins in 1994, had he lived (Senna had 41 at the start of that year). No-one could possibly pretend that the outcome of those 3 races were anywhere NEAR representative of Senna�s actual talents (or Schuie�s, for that matter). Then you said: ��How come Hill managed to push Schumacher to the limit in the same car ??...� Where you yet again return to your INFURIATING tendency to imply that cars cannot be developed or improved throughout the course of a year. Well, the �94 Williams WAS developed and improved throughout the year. So too, I presume, was the Benetton, but Williams seem to have clawed back more ground. Get this into your head � **THE WILLIAMS CAR AT THE END OF THE SEASON WAS OF GREATER QUALITY THAN THE CAR THAT STARTED IT**!! As a matter of fact, it was so good that in order to win that year, Schuie only managed it by intentionally ramming Hill, just because he'd knackered his own suspension and knew he was going to lose the championship by his own mistake. I say again, Schumacher had to punt Hill off, after Schuie had damaged his own car by hitting a wall seconds before, as the result of his own error! How can ANYONE who wants to talk about Schuie�s skill refer to the �94 Championship, the world-renowned PINNACLE of underhand, spiteful skullduggery and foul play, without cringing with embarrassment for the man? 
Incidentally, I presume that the apparently tasteless comment ��As for Williams cleaning the floor with Benetton : with due respect, Senna should have kept his car on the track in the first place. THREE IN A ROW in the best car is not good at all...� was unintended. Having been raised to have regard for folk and to give them the benefit of the doubt I will assume that you were NOT talking about Senna�s retirements when you stridently declare ��THREE IN A ROW in the best car is not good at all�� The reason being that not only was one of those retirements caused by someone else shunting him off, but also that another one actually resulted in a horrifying fatal accident that Senna, whilst negotiating an easy turn, for some reason could not avoid. So I presume in your defence that you are NOT implying, in ghastly terms, that Senna was so prone to lapses of judgement and skill as to be routinely incapable of keeping a car on a track. So you must have been talking about pole positions. That MUST be it, because the alternative �THREE IN A ROW� would be ghoulish. You must have meant �Three pole positions in a row in the fastest car is not an impressive performance,� but even so I remind you that Frank Williams himself said that the car at the start of the year was a difficult one, so either way you look at it, with that statement of yours, you are missing the point. 
Also you said ��George from Greece: Firstly, please read my comments on Lotus again & try to comprehend � or ask someone else to explain it to you� � You don�t need to patronize George as he made the same perfectly reasonable interpretation of your statement (about a team apparently having to be good in one decade after having won a championship in a previous decade) as I did. 
��On the subject of Contracts & Team mates, although I don�t think it is sporty, you can�t blame Schumacher for it�� Well, actually, Ryan T. from Sri Lanka, yes, we can! Schumacher�s �ME!-ME!-ME!� attitude has cheapened the sport for millions of fans and obscured his true level of skill. I actually really rooted for Schumacher when he was trying to beat Hakkinen, whom I saw as the dullest man in the world. But it was obvious even then that there were some serious questions to ask about Michael Schumacher. Eventually, I lost all respect for him in Austria 2002 when he took the win from Rubens, the guy who�d been on pole, and who�d led the entire race until the last few meters. Schumacher, with 10 points won as a direct result of his own demands, lacked the moral courage to even stand on the top of the podium while his country�s National Anthem played. He was getting jeered and booed by about 100,000 people anyway, why didn�t he just take his lumps? If he was doing something he could justify, and doing the right thing, why was he so humiliated? 
��Wonder what would have happened if Senna was the man at McLaren & Prost wanted to join ?...� Frankly, I think that after 1988 Senna wouldn�t have minded. Senna could beat Prost. That�s why Prost FORBADE Senna to join him at Williams when Prost joined them in 1993. (Just like Piquet vetoed Senna a few years earlier). Senna wanted to join Williams for 1993 as well, but was vetoed. He would have loved to drive against Prost, because Senna knew Senna was better. 
Finally, in response to ��Team mates helping the No.1 driver has always been there. I don�t like it but that�s there to stay. The mistake Ferrari made was that they were open about it. However, you can hand pick the number of times Schumacher got help from his Team Mate. Most of the time his mate was behind his competitors�� Yes, team orders have always been a feature of F1, BUT NOT TO THE SPORT-DESTROYING, CONTEMPT-INDUCING EXTENT THAT SCHUMACHER DEMANDS. It is THIS more than anything else that cheapens Schumacher�s currency. And have you considered how much the-team-mate-usually-being-behind-him is INEVITABLE, given the difference in the way they are treated as the result of his own demands? How much of it is down to preferential budget allocation, testing time (remember when Schuie was given his 2002 (or was it 2003?) Ferrari before Rubens got his?) imbalanced resources and technical personnel (�ever noticed how many car failures Rubens suffers compared to Schumacher?...). Ever noticed how in the 12-lap qualifying, Irvine or Rubens would routinely be sent out first, to assess the properties of the track and let Schuie view the telemetry TO THE DISADVANTAGE OF THEIR OWN QUALIFYING POSITION. And remember how in the race Irvine would bunch the pack up and make overtaking difficult while Schumacher romped away?...The list goes on� 
**Here is an open plea to team Ferrari � you are rich enough and strong enough to be able to run two Championship contenders, which has ALWAYS been the desire of the millions of fans who are the financial bedrock of Formula One. Millions of folk say that Senna vs. Prost at McLaren were among the greatest years of the sport. By now you must surely understand why NO-ONE likes to hear the words ��and Barrichello is in the lead, so that�s another 10 points for Michael Schumacher�!...� Ferrari, drop this attitude of putting all your eggs in one basket, give your team-members equal priority, with one of them eventually beating the other SOLELY ON MERIT like all of the other big teams and let�s go �RACING� again!** 
The logic is circular, and very, very tired. �Schumacher gets preferential treatment because he�s the Championship hope. And he�s the Championship hope because he gets preferential treatment.� Where does one cross the line, when does one change into the other? Regards all, Paul D - Scotland

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Schumaker has no good competitors. For this reason he got a lot of championships. By the other hand Senna compete against Prost, Mansell, Piquet, Lauda (all of them World Champions) and other good F1 drivers - Ury K - Brazil

This is the Last Time I will annoy you guys ...
Ioana : I haven�t read Jean Todt�s statement but will take your word for it. But wasn�t it Senna himself who told Ferrari that the Car wasn�t Competitive? (Perhaps he meant he wanted one in �95). Even if he was to join Ferrari in �95 what difference does that make ?? Senna was Ferrari's first choice, obviously, but Schumacher is the one who delivered ...
Graham R : I didn�t mean anything complementary when I said Ferrari was open about it. Perhaps I should have re-phrased it. And Austria 2002 was a disgrace. I�ve said it before. 
I think you have answered your own question about Williams & McLaren.
I don�t know why one wants to see two top drivers in the same team. I would rather just see more good drivers & teams in F1. Just imagine, two top drivers in a good team winning all the time! Won�t it be like 1988 & 2002? We know the result before the race has started? Graham, A Team Mate (driver) is only one person. There are something like twenty others in ten different cars. Now that�s where I want to see the competition coming from. After all, one could argue that a Team should work together � Not against each other. That�s why Ferrari is such a successful team at present. Currently, there are three main Teams & there�s nothing much between them, as seen in the last season. The good drivers in the current lot are already in those teams. So, if a top rated driver wants to get alongside Schumacher, he could easily do it in a Williams or McLaren. It�s not as if there�s a good driver languishing in Minardi, Ferrari wants him & Schumacher is blocking it. Is it?
About Schumacher�s insistence on team orders & other stuff; it is not ideal but you would find fault with him only if you are looking for a reason to. Anyway, that�s my opinion. You need not necessarily agree with it. I will respect yours.
George : I hope you�ve got the HELP you were seeking & you don�t SEE THINGS anymore! (especially, things like books that do not exist). Hope that the NUTS are sorted-out too. Finally, thanks to everyone who had a bit of a chat with me. GEM D of USA, ADAM of England, PAUL D of Scotland, GEORGE of Greece, GRAHAM of Australia & IOANA of France � It was fun. Also, thanks to the guys who provided this opportunity for F1 fans to interact with each other. Take care - Ryan T - Sri Lanka

Graham and George, I totally agree with you. Ryan, you said that only a MS would have dared to go to Ferrari in the '90s and contribute to its development, and for you this is one of the points that make him so much greater than Ayrton Senna..... Sorry to disappoint you, but you must have seen by now Jean Todt's recent (16 January 2004) statement, saying that in 1993 AS and him agreed that AS would join Ferrari from '95 ... if you haven't, check it out. So Senna was Ferrari's first choice, and Senna, far from being afraid to, was actually willing to go to Ferrari! Unfortunately, because of some concrete wall called Tamburello he couldn't make it ... Senna never drew back in front of a challenge, quite the opposite. All he asked for was being able to compete on FAIR terms, and win on FAIR terms. That's what he always did, and that's how he won his titles, exactly the opposite of your dear friend MS. That's why MS will never be a great champion, but just a guy who happened to win a lot of titles. 
Mathew : I may be biased, but you are definitely blinded by your endless admiration for MS and you are not doing him justice praising him for the dirty side of his driving, team orders, unfair terms in his team mates' contracts and accidents he caused on purpose, in order to win... unless your values in life are exactly these ones, in which case I am more than happy to disagree with you. And yes, this discussion is pointless. Pointless to restate facts and statistics, compare races, team mates, cars and so on... almost everything was said here, it's enough to have a look backwards. now it's up to each one of you to see where stays the truth. To me, MS is a great pilot without a doubt, but Ayrton Senna raised himself at a higher level through his tremendous skill, delicacy of touch, right values of sport and human values, sense of the competition and sense of racing, making body and especially SOUL with his car. His breathtaking overtakes, his brilliancy on the wet, his pure speed always, be it in qualifying or race, made his driving PURE ART... and that's why Ayrton Senna cannot be compared with any other pilot (at least those I had the opportunity of seeing racing in the 20 past years), he is so much their superior. 
To use somebody else's words here: thank you Ayrton, it was nice watching you! - Ioana - (Romanian living in France)

Ayrton used to win many races driving a car with less technology than others, and he won his 3 championships racing against other great pilots. Schumacher is a great pilot too, however I think he has the advantage of Ferrari's technology. I can imagine what could had done Ayrton with this car - Oswaldo E - Peru

George, You have written A LOT. And I agree with your LAST STATEMENT !  - Ryan T - Sri Lanka

Ryan, you agree that Team orders aren't sporty yet you can't blame Michael for it ? I've enjoyed reading your point of view on this debate but this ?? How can't you blame Michael when he dictates who his team-mate is ? And dictates that his team-mate has to yield when asked by the team ? What state does that put the team-mate in ? What motivation ? Of course they haven't helped Michael that much but that is because they can't. They are either incompetent, lack motivation or both!. 
I agree that Team orders are part of the sport but the top teams (other than Ferrari) have been reasonable when applying it. Both Williams and McLaren haven't applied team orders until it was clear that one driver cannot beat the other. I know McLaren did a stuff up at the opening round of '98 in Oz when they swapped Mika and David but that was a team-mate agreement and it was wrong to do. McLaren didn't interfere in '99 at Spa when David won ahead of Mika despite that being the 12th race of the season and Hakkinen was clearly the main contender for the title. In '02 Ferrari applied team orders in the 5th race of the season in Austria and Michael took the win. He could have slowed down but he didn't. Only when he heard the boos from the crowd that he asked Rubens to stand on the top step. What a JOKE. When did Williams or McLaren apply team orders and what is it that Ferrari was open about but the others were doing in secrecy. 
Ultimately we want to see two top drivers in the same team. Fans love to see that. Michael Schumacher AND Ferrari robbed us of ever seeing a top rated driver get alongside Michael. And you don't blame Michael ? That is why Michael is disliked by many despite his impressive record. He is NOT a good sportsman otherwise he wouldn't have driven others off on several occasions and he is NOT brave for dictating who drives alongside him in the team. 
Myself and millions of other fans can't wait until Kimi and Juan Pablo go head to head in 2005. That is what we want to see NOT a one man team. Good 'N' Ya McLaren  - Graham R - Australia

Dear Ryan when I say get the facts right I mean exactly that. I�ve said it before and I �ll say it again: If you want to say anything about Senna you must have been watching F1 since 84. You can hardly form an opinion based on the results you recently read in a book and you�ve obviously done exactly that. AS retired 6 times in 92 due to mechanical (or electrical) failures and MS 2. However you say 'the car that won the 88-91 titles' And I ask. WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE 92 PERFORMANCE. DID YOU ACTUALLY WATCH THE 92 CHAMPIONSHIP? HOW CAN YOU RELATE THE 92 MCLAREN WITH ANY OTHER MCLAREN BEFORE THAT? The 92 McLaren was dreadful as was the 96 Ferrari. It�s not the first time a team produces a very poor (in terms of competitiveness) car after having monopolized for several years, remember the 98 Williams? 
At least the 92 Benetton was reliable and in some races matched or even bettered McLaren�s speed. As for 93 the 2 cars were similar in terms of reliability however they did not have exactly the same engine. For the first half of the season Benetton had a higher spec Ford engine than McLaren. As for the chassis, Patrick Head said towards the end of 93 that Benetton had the best one. Only at the end of 93 did McLaren manage (through TAG) to produce improved software for the active suspension that allowed them to better Benetton and equal Williams. 
Experience and money don�t always get you to the top and Ferrari�s performance during those years is the best proof. The difference in AS �s move to Prost in 90 is that he didn�t cause the shunt. Let me explain myself. AS was behind Prost in Suzuka 89 because he was starting in the dirty side of the track (from pole). So in 90 and before the qualifying session he went to the stewards and asked if they could set the pole in the outside, being the clean line of the track. They said OK. After the qualifying session (AS took pole) J.M.Ballestre gave the order: do not change the pole position. So here we go again, sure you can start, Prost will probably get ahead and you can try to overtake him but wait didn�t that happen last year? The race starts Prost gets ahead and AS dives from the inside, probably no brakes at all, Prost closes the door, and they crash. Could have let him through though, at that speed AS could hardly turn, he would probably end up in the gravel. Some time after that AS actually said he did that on purpose (at least he was honest about it), said that he took part in the shunt but did not cause it. I too don�t think it was right but it was justified. It�s not about getting even, getting revenge, it�s about not allowing politics interfere with racing. But I couldn�t possibly expect you to know that could I? And of course again we forget Australia 94 don�t we? 
�He gave up his Championship winning team & put his career on the line by joining Ferrari� you say. Dear God give us a break. Put his career on the line? What were they going to do, destroy him? The fact is that Briatore himself let MS go because he could hardly afford him, he actually asked people inside Benetton what they preferred, keep MS and cut down on research and development or let him go? The guy just wanted too much money for a team like Benetton to give and nobody blames him for that but that was the next step he had to make, leave them for a bigger team. That team could have been Williams or McLaren but as we all know no team can stay on top for more than 4-5 years in a row. So he decided to go to the team that offered the most and I�m not talking just about money. They had the resources (unlimited budget) and the need (no title for many years) to give him everything he wanted and that meant letting him built the team around him (Brawn and Byrne). He could not have done that in Williams or McLaren. FOR GOD�S SAKE PEOPLE, HE DIDN�T MAKE A SACRIFICE BY GOING TO FERRARI HE MADE THE SMARTEST CHOICE (ACTUALLY WILLIE WEBER DID). He went there at the right time, he didn�t have to face people like Barnard and Fiorio, like Prost did back in 90. And on top of that he was young enough to try something else if it didn�t work out. 
AS prevented Warwick from joining him in Lotus because it was a small team and had limited resources. So he wanted to get all the support he could from the team, he wasn�t afraid of having a capable team-mate. When he was in McLaren he never asked for a specific driver or special terms in any other driver�s contract, because he knew he was in a team that had the resources to give equal (top) opportunities to its drivers. MS DID. But no, MS owns the team so we wouldn�t want anybody else to come and steal his glory do we? He did put his career on the line didn�t he???????? You can see the outcome but you are too blind to see the reasons. 
AS had competitive cars in 88,89,90,91. He had the best in 88,89. MS had competitive cars in 94,95,97,98,00,01,02,03. He had the best in 01,02. You can hardly compare a car at the beginning of the year with the same car at the end of it. You can understand the amount of development in 94 Williams if you compare MS and Hill at the beginning and at the end of that year but maybe that�s too much for you to understand. 
No Ryan I don�t understand why you care to mention that Lotus had won before and then that Benetton hadn�t unless you wanted to relate their performances. You can�t compare absolute numbers established in different eras, ratios however are more acceptable although, again, do not always say the truth. You dare to compare Prost from 88 and on with Montoya and Raikkonen of 03? What is that, new joke? No respect here at all dear Ryan. The �THREE IN A ROW� comment is way of your league. You hardly know what happened back then. Twisted things??? Have you really watched any races before 94?? You know, those books you have over there just state the results, nothing more. 
I must be nuts, I keep on spending time debating with people who actually compare Prost with Piquet(92), 92 McLaren with 88-91 McLaren, and on and on�HELP!!! - George - Greece

Paul D from Scotland : How can you say that Benetton would have won without Schumacher & Lotus wouldn�t have without Senna ? (That�s a one-eyed statement. Isn�t it ?) How many wins did you say Benetton had after Schumacher left ?? 
Paul, Schumacher won 2 Championships not 1 or 2 races. Where�s Benetton now anyway ? You are prepared to give Senna Credit for winning Races but not for Schumacher�s Championships ? Come on. 
On the subject of Mega Rich Teams; Are you saying that McLaren was poor & how come Ferrari didn�t win a Driver�s Championship since 1979 until Schumacher did it. Didn't they have the money at that time? Weren't they capable?? Also, if Byrne & Brawn�s Technical interpretations are not correct, the authorities would have dealt with it. If I remember right, Schumacher was stripped off one of his wins in 94. If they pushed the regulations to the limit, well, that�s what this sport is all about �push everything to the limit. 
Why can�t you speak about �92 ?? I agree with you that Senna & Schumacher were not in comparable cars. Senna was in the car that won the Drivers Championship for the four years prior to that. I am sure that McLaren would have had a bigger budget than Benetton (correct me if I am wrong, that�s my one assumption). So, using your own argument about budgets as well, Senna had a better car than Schumacher. Couple that with the fact that he had 8 years� experience against Schumacher�s six races, Senna should have beaten Schumacher hands down. 
No doubt Prost was a good driver & may have been the biggest name at the time. But you can beat a bigger name only if there�s some one bigger than you are! However, Senna did it only once in EQUAL CARS & Prost beat him the other time. Tell me, what�s so good about �THE Alain Prost� compared to Hakkinen , Montoya or Raikkonen ?? 
As for the points system that helped Senna win, well, the rule was that the one who had the eleven (I think) best finishes was the Champion. Everybody played by that rule. So Senna was the Champion. No question about it. You are the one bringing it out!! If you haven�t noticed, my assessments are mainly based on achievements. A win is a win. No �If�s, �Could have�s or �Would have�s. When I said that Schumacher did at least as good as Senna from 1991 � 1994, I included 91 to be fair by Senna, even though Michael took part in only the last six races. So, if you say Senna won in 91, then you must take Schumacher�s win in 94 or exclude both. That leaves us with 92 & 93 where they did better than the other once each. This is not even taking into account the fact that Schumacher had just begun his career. You had a good twist to it saying the cars were highly similar in 93. Paul just because both had the same engine doesn�t make these cars any similar. There are other factors such as the Chassis that could make a big difference. And that is where Experienced Teams get the edge. 
You say that in �94 Senna�s car was �Difficult� quoting Frank Williams. Paul you are the one saying that Senna was good & won in these sort of cars. How come Hill managed to push Schumacher to the limit in the same car ?? Why do you give excuses when Senna messes up & say it is suspicious when Schumacher wins? Obviously, if you knock off all negative performances of Senna & positive performances of Schumacher, you will end up with Senna being better! 
As for Williams cleaning the floor with Benetton : with due respect, Senna should have kept his car on the track in the first place. THREE IN A ROW in the best car is not good at all. 
George from Greece: Firstly, please read my comments on Lotus again & try to comprehend � or ask someone else to explain it to you. Otherwise you�ll be the joke! I agree with your answer to why Senna didn�t join Ferrari & I think that it was the right move by him. I asked the question because many people imply that Schumacher walked into a winning Team in Ferrari. I hope the others have read it. 
George, I couldn�t agree with you more when you said �we only see what we want to�. You are the perfect example! For instance, when Senna doesn�t do well (92), you say that the �car wasn�t reliable� (the car that won the Championship from 88-91), without giving credit to Schumacher who was in his first full season. You asked if Prost running into Senna & Schumacher running into Villeneuve were fair, without mentioning Senna doing the same to Prost! (whoever does it, it is wrong & unfair) 
On the subject of Contracts & Team mates, although I don�t think it is sporty, you can�t blame Schumacher for it. He gave up his Championship winning team & put his career on the line by joining Ferrari. You wouldn�t want to let someone else come & reap the benefits of it. Would you ? I guess it was a similar reason for Senna objecting to Warwick joining his team. (sorry for reminding you of things Senna did) And as for Senna having Prost for a Team mate, he really didn�t have a choice did he ? Prost was already there. Wonder what would have happened if Senna was the man at McLaren & Prost wanted to join ? Team mates helping the No.1 driver has always been there. I don�t like it but that�s there to stay. The mistake Ferrari made was that they were open about it. However, you can hand pick the number of times Schumacher got help from his Team Mate. Most of the time his mate was behind his competitors. (Just to add to things, do you remember McLaren offering to block Schumacher for Williams in 94 or 95 ??) 
On statistics, I haven�t read you saying it is not important, but plenty of others have ( & contradicted themselves immediately ). Statistics don�t say the whole truth, but longer the period (or larger the sample) the greater the accuracy. 10 � 13 years (160-200 starts) should give a fare result. 
George, could you let me know in which seasons Senna & Schumacher had competitive cars, respectively. I will take-up your �strong advice�, keep my mind clear & try to be more informed. 
As for your �@#$%^&%$#� � you can keep it (a bit like Greek to me). The wrong/ manufactured claim was mainly from Paul D of Scotland. I don�t see any of it in your statements although you have conveniently twisted things to suit your opinion. So what is it that I have to get right ? Cheers - Ryan T - Sri Lanka

I am a devoted fan of Ayrton Senna and I truly cannot say honestly who is the best.
Ayrton did not have the chance to finish his life naturally. I love Schumacher also but never like I still love Ayrton (beco). I still mourn his death, I feel I always will.
We all missed the best racing between two competitors which even you have to admit is true - Glynis H - Australia

Schumacher is the greatest and most complete driver in history. Senna was a brilliant driver and I would put him third in my all-time rankings in the third position. The driver I consider the most brilliant was Jimmy Clark, but Schumacher is more complete and efficient. In my opinion the best way to see who is the greatest is that: put the greatest 10 drivers ever (Nuvolari, Caracciola, Rosemeyer. Fangio, Moss, Clark, Stewart, Prost, Senna, Schumacher) in equal cars and let them battle, then we will we see who is the best. 
My opinion: 1. Schumi, 2. Clark. 3.Senna - Valy - Romania

Senna is the greatest F1 driver have ever existed - Luca - Switzerland

Dont compare Senna to Schumacher, Senna is the best driver at all time in the history of F1 forget the 6 times what Schumacher did. If Senna is alive even 1 world champion he cannot win. AYRTON NO ONE IS GREATER THAN YOU - Vencent - Philippines

If you would see that Michael has 6 championships and senna "only" 3, you would think Schumacher is twice as good as Senna. But don't forget that Michael is driving with all the driving aids possible, even traction control. Senna used the real "tuff" materials, his own gearbox, no traction control and of course the cars in that time were a lot harder to drive so I still think Senna is MUCH better than Schumacher - Tobias - Belgium

Hi, and Happy New Year to you all, and to the erudite Ryan T. from Sri Lanka. My point about Schuie not having to toil in underperforming teams compared to Senna is, I believe, borne out by the evidence. I'm sure that Benetton did not win before Schumacher joined it, but my point is that Benetton were a young team, with a very significant budget and huge potential. They'd have won races anyway, with Brundle and Herbert and whoever else, had Schuie not joined them. The same cannot be said for Lotus and Senna in '85, '86 and '87. Few doubt that Lotus would have won anything without Senna at the wheel. Also, Benetton went on to take victories after Schuie left; Lotus NEVER won again after Senna left. All of Schumacher's teams have been either capable of wins or stable, mega-rich teams with great potential, and all of them have had the same Schuie-Brawn-Byrne combo, whose interpretations of technical legality have always been, shall I say, questionable. 
I cannot speak for the 1992 results but I suspect that Senna and Schuie were not in comparable cars. This makes comparison difficult. Fortunately, we all know that the 1993 McLarens and Benettons were highly similar, and this leads to much more valid comparison. We can see that Senna ran rings around Schumacher that year, 5 victories to 1, including that immortal drive at Donington. 
You mention that Senna's championship came in the already dominant McLaren Honda. While this is true, the REALLY important point is that Senna beat Prost to the title. I mean, THE Alain Prost! Senna didn't get a leg-up from a stooge who sacrificed his own development budget, testing time and track position for Senna's benefit - he went out and beat the biggest name in the sport, in equal cars! And don't say 'but he got fewer points' as that point and its refutal (that we don't know how a modern points ruling would have affected his strategy) have already been made. Senna also took pole position in every race he contested in 1994, in a car that even Frank Williams described as "...a difficult car, we'll be the first to admit that." Even with such an early lead in the championship, due to Senna crashing in one race, spinning whilst trying to catch what many would say was a *suspiciously* quick Benetton in another, and having a fatal accident in another, Schuie still only barely took the title in the LAST race of the season, from Hill, a driver who could be fairly described as the No.2 driver at Williams at the start of the season. Even then he only managed it by intentionally ramming Hill, just because he'd knackered his own suspension and knew he was going to lose the championship by his own mistake. Had Senna lived to race in Adelaide, Williams would have cleaned the floor with Benetton. Of that there is no doubt. 
You also say that in 1991-94 and after that Schuie has done at least as well as Senna if not better. Well, don't forget, Senna was champion in 1991, and markedly more dominant than Schuie in 1993. And for most of 1994 and from then on the Schuie-Benetton and Schuie-Ferrari combo has not had a competitor-and-car package to compete against that was in the same league. There were no Prosts, Piquets or Mansells stopping SCHUIE from racking up the wins (AND Schuie has had it written into his contract that he must ALWAYS have No.1 status, thus forever obscuring his true level of ability) 
Lastly, you wrote "...some say that championships are not important. Can anyone tell me what these guys are risking their lives for..." - I think the point was more that the NUMBER of championships are not important to us, the fans, when we assess the merit of an individual driver (e.g. Gilles Villeneuve, Moss, Ronnie Peterson etc. who all, as you know, never won any). In fact, someone on this mailing list said that a driver's display of ability was more important to them than in judging their skill than the number of championships that they won, while someone else wrote that "Schuie's championships were tainted with team orders, cheating and downright dirty driving", an opinion I happen to agree with. Senna was not only a better driver than Schumacher, but he made the sport sustainable, dramatic, engaging and fun in a way that Schuie never can and - guaranteed - never will. Paul D - Scotland

Hey guys I'm gonna do something none of you (meaning MS supporters) ever did in this debate. I'm going to answer to a question. The question is: Why didn't AS join Ferrari in 94? Ok think, you're 33 and you've been struggling for the last 2 years with cars that are hardly competitive more than that they can barely finish a race. You still have about 2-4 years in F1 that is if you want to retire at your prime and not after that like Piquet or Hill did. So going to Ferrari means it'll take you about 2-3 years to have a competitive car, given the situation over there at the time, and then retire. Do you go there? NO, you go were there is a competitive car because you don't have time to build a team being not so far from retiring, especially if that team is where Ferrari was back in 93. Unless.. Unless you're 26 having about 10 years in front of you and already 2 titles behind. But even though you're one of the best guys ever, you really aren't so bright so when Willie Weber first tells you to join Ferrari you say: Gee Willie why would I wanna go to Ferrari when I can easily overtake them with my Benetton and not go to Williams or McLaren? YES HE RECENTLY ADMITTED SAYING THAT. However you do go there and take with you Brawn and Byrne to build the team around you. And because you can ,you pick up a team-mate whose contract says something like this: 
1. if he is in front of you he must move over 
2. if he is in front of you and there is another car between you he must slow down in order for you to catch up and overtake 
3. if he's right behind you he must also slow down in order to delay the guy behind. 
If anyone has any doubts about the above I suggest he should watch again Suzuka 97, if he ever did. 
Yes Hakkinen was really brilliant but sadly he lost motivation too soon, he did manage to beat MS though back in 98. However Hill and Villeneuve remain a joke (Ralf too). So is it the same having Hakkinen as an opponent for 2 years as having Prost for 3 and Mansell for 1. Of course dear Ryan you conveniently forget (as most of MS supporters do) that when AS joined McLaren (who were winning anyway,right?) HE HAD PROST AS A TEAM-MATE @#$%^&%^%$#. You can easily compare AS's first 2 years in McLaren with MS during 01,02. Of course you can only do that if you forget Prost ever existed or if you rate him at the same level with Barrichello. 
Again no one knows how AS would have driven in 88 if the point system was different and anyway it's really pathetic judging past championships with today's rules, suits Mathew though. 
Another question. Given the fact that Prost won in 89 crashing into AS (pretty much what MS did back in 97) IS THAT RESULT FAIR? If you believe that the 94 Benetton and 00, 03 Ferrari were sub-standard equipment then the 90,91 McLaren were too. However I do not believe that. It was quite obvious that those cars may not have been the best of their time but they WERE COMPETITIVE (COMPETITIVE DOES NOT MEAN BEST) and quite enough for AS and MS because they could (and can) make the difference. 
The fact that Lotus had won titles in the late 70's did not make it a better team in 85, good joke though. 
And about 92 maybe you should check McLaren's reliability but then again we only see what we want don't we (sorry I meant you). Statistics are important never said myself they weren't, but don't always tell the truth. For startness MS has been racing 3 years more than AS did and again he had competitive cars for a lot more years than AS did. I would like to know which of the above are wrong/manufactured claims. But I would also strongly suggest you kept yourself more informed and clear minded. In other words maybe you first should GET THE FACTS RIGHT. 
By the way as I recall the only guy who tried to "simulate" a championship with AS and MS with similar equipment and get his own results was Mathew. I do hope you don't take this mail as an attack on you personally or MS, I don't hate or despise him, I believe he deserves everything he has achieved it's just that he has been luckier than AS (never faced someone like Prost or Ballestre) and any other great driver in F1.
I am lost though this taxi driver really doesn't know where he's going, God I can't even find my head.... George - Greece

Senna would have ended up with 6 if he would have remained with the living for a couple of years longer as he would obviously have always been hired by the best team - Otto - USA

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