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Old 7 Mar 2021, 12:52 (Ref:4039389)   #997
2 litre Touring Car Star
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Originally Posted by BTCC frog View Post
Okay, I'm not sure if you're saying that Hakkinen is better than Schumacher, or just that Schumacher is not the fastest driver of all time. By the way, I'm not saying Schumacher is the greatest driver of all time - I excluded him from that list because of Jerez 1997. I'm also not saying that he's the fastest on raw speed - that title definitely goes to Ayrton Senna. My argument is that, if there was a championship for every driver in history in equal cars (of course this is difficult to measure because of the differences between cars from different eras (Hamilton wouldn't beat Fangio in a 1950s car, but Fangio wouldn't beat Hamilton in a 2010s car), but lets just pretend that the cars they were driving all suited their driving styles, but were equally good), Michael Schumacher would win the championship, and I stand by that opinion.

I am going to assume you are arguing that Hakkinen was better than Schumacher. If this is not the case, I am sorry, but I don't see how Hakkinen can be used as an example to why Schumacher was less good than Hamilton, or Fangio, or Senna, so I will have to assume that you are arguing that Hakkinen was better than Schumacher.
Now you say that Hakkinen drove an inferior car to Schumacher in most of the seasons that they were in Formula 1. I'm sorry, but this is a totally pointless argument, because Hakkinen didn't beat Schumacher in those seasons. Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but 1992, for example, is not evidence that Hakkinen is better than Schumacher, because Schumacher beat Hakkinen in a superior car. This proves nothing. Then, in 1994 Schumacher won the championship, with Hakkinen not even close on points (92 vs 26), but Schumacher again was in a superior car, so it proves nothing. What I will say is that I think the Williams was a lot better than the Benetton, so the fact that Schumacher beat him to the championship was very impressive. But Hakkinen beat Alesi in a slower car, of course. One way to try and compare them is through teammates. The Hakkinen-Herbert comparison is hard to make for the races, because the Lotus was so unreliable in 1992, but in qualifying Hakkinen was only just ahead (average 12.5 to 13.1). Schumacher was a lot further ahead of Herbert in 1995, but it is not a particularly fair comparison as it doesn't show the closeness in time, just in positions, and I cannot find the data for the differences in time. According to these stats, Hakkinen was slightly further ahead of Brundle than Schumacher was, but don't forget that Hakkinen had a whole season's more experience than Schumacher had at the times that they faced Brundle.

In 1996, Schumacher scored almost double the points of Hakkinen, but Irvine finished behind Coulthard. Was Irvine really that much worse than Coulthard? I don't think so. I think the Ferrari was superior to the McLaren in 1996, but not by the margin that Schumacher beat Hakkinen. I think Schumacher was considerably better than Hakkinen this year. Then to 1997. Schumacher was disqualified this year, and for this reason he cannot be the greatest of all time. But in terms of the championship that I discussed earlier, this disqualification is irrelevant, and the important thing is the overall season. Schumacher dragged his Ferrari within three points of Jacques Villeneuve in a Williams that was so much better. Meanwhile, Hakkinen was beaten by Coulthard. This year, Schumacher was a lot better than Hakkinen, and I think the driver made a big difference here, not just the car - again the Ferrari was better, but the McLaren was not too far off. Schumacher made the difference.

Now, 1998. Here, Hakkinen had the dominant car, but only just edged out Schumacher by fourteen points. Schumacher was the better driver overall. Of course, Hakkinen was a lot further ahead of Coulthard this year than in previous years, maybe because Hakkinen improved, or maybe because Coulthard was much worse than before. It is hard to say, but I still think Schumacher was the better driver this year. You have then rightly ignored 1999 due to Schumacher's injury, but then we get to 2000, where Schumacher just beat Hakkinen in a close fight. But was the Ferrari definitely better than the McLaren? Coulthard beat Barrichello in the championship, and Barrichello had done a brilliant job in previous seasons. One factor that hasn't been considered here is that Schumacher was given preferential treatment by Ferrari, but I don't think that made as big a difference as some have made it seem. Finally, 2001, where Hakkinen had a shocker of a season, and Schumacher dominated the championship. Seeing as Schumacher had a horrible time in 2010-2012, I think I will allow Hakkinen this bad season and not count it against him.

So, overall, I would agree with you that Hakkinen was a very good driver, and is definitely in the top twenty of all time. But he was not on Schumacher's level. Maybe you were not arguing that Hakkinen was better than Schumacher, and were simply arguing that Schumacher is not the fastest driver, but if this is true you cannot use Hakkinen as proof for this. So the 'inferior car' idea doesn't work, because Schumacher beat Hakkinen in his 'superior car,' so it proves nothing. You mentioned the F3 titles, and I don't think this is relevant to the comparison in Formula 1, as Formula 3 is very different. For an example in recent times, Pierre Gasly only just beat a rookie Antonio Giovinazzi to the GP2 crown in 2016, when they were teammates, so Giovinazzi seemed like the better driver. But now look at them in Formula 1. Gasly is a race winner, and Giovinazzi has had a very poor last two years. I stand by my opinion that Schumacher would have won the previously mentioned championship.
I would discourage you from writing such large posts because it's just going to do your head in.

Despite all that, What's your opinion that the substantial changes for the 1994 season heavily benefited Benetton/Schumacher?

The 94 rules were designed specifically to gut the Williams team. But as a consequence, it also shafted McLaren. They were getting better and better with their electronics, and they were affected as well, but it gets lost because of the Peugeot engines blowing up.

Benetton were good, but no great. A few opportune wins here and there, and that's it. Had the rules not changed for 94 (or ever) they were not going to win a championship.
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