The Formula 1 world championship has 68 seasons of history, in which more than 80 teams have competed. With these figures we can get an idea of the large number of riders who have participated in this competition at one time or another. Let’s try to understand together who is the best driver in the history of Formula 1.
Most of the drivers went unnoticed, due to the lack of opportunities to find a competitive car or a solid team. On the contrary, others have marked an entire era and are considered legends.
In this article we want to focus on the best. Any motor fan will already have an idea of the different candidates who can be considered the best driver in the history of Formula 1.
The best driver in the history of Formula 1
The number of world championships is a clear indicator of the drivers who have dominated the nearly seventy years of the Formula 1 world championship. Looking at this ranking, we find the following:
- Michael Schumacher : 7 world championships
- Juan Manuel Fangio : 5 world championships
- Alain Prost : 4 world championships
- Sebastian Vettel : 4 world championships
- Lewis Hamilton : 4 world championships
The winner is evidently Michael Schumacher, absolute ruler of the world championships during the first half of the 2000s and part of the 90s. So we can say that when it comes to the number of world championships Michael Schumacher is the best driver in the history of Formula 1.
Looking at the record of victories in Formula 1, we observe the following:
- Michael Schumacher: 91
- Lewis Hamilton: 62
- Alain Prost: 51
- Sebastian Vettel: 46
Once again Michael Schumacher wins, also as regards the driver with the most victories in the same race. We do not know if Michael Schumacher is the best driver in Formula 1 history, but it can certainly be said that he is one of the best.
What do the team leaders think?
Each year, once the season is over, the team leaders choose the one who according to them was the best driver of the year. This choice is made through a scoring system.
On more than one occasion the name of the driver chosen by the team leaders did not coincide with that of the world champion of that year, as it did in 2012. Even if Vettel won the world championship, the team leaders chose Fernando Alonso.
This highlights how empirical data often do not guarantee reliable information. The figures often do not do it justice because they do not take into account certain factors, such as whether the driver started his career in a modest team or what percentage of credit should be given to the car and which to the driver.
A study by the University of Sheffield
This university has tried to establish who is the best driver in the history of Formula 1. To do this, they have devised a system that takes into account both the statistics and the skills of the driver. The winner is Juan Manuel Fangio, followed by Alain Prost and Fernando Alonso.
Ayrton Senna, is he the best driver in history?
In the history of Formula 1 there is a very striking case in which the opinion of the drivers coincides with one of the largest polls carried out in the world of motors. Years ago, a well-known magazine asked 217 Formula 1 drivers and 194 readers who the best driver in Formula 1 history was for them. The winner was Ayrton Senna.
After all this data, the only clear thing is that the statistics in many cases do not do justice to the driver’s talent, even if to get into a statistic like this you have to be a top-level driver. We haven’t established who is the best driver in Formula 1 history, but among the best there are certainly: Michael Schumacher, Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.