the incubus wrote:
lots of good stuff, I just don't want to take up too much space
Indeed, the only reason Moss never won a title was because he twice gave up his car for his team mate, whilst actually being in a title winning position himself. However, he was not obliged to do so, merely he did not think that to win the title because of his team mates misfortune would be a worthy way of winning, or, more pointedly, very gentlemanly thing to do. Extraordinary, to say the least.
I do agree that i find it a bit odd that they use to do this, but times change, and yes sometimes Fangio took his teammates' cars, but usually he was already far ahead of them. In the modern era not only is that against the rules, but it wouldn't be practical, as you allude to, driver set ups are so varying, and unless you're the same size as your team mate you wouldn't actually fit in their car anyway. However, if you ignore for the moment the physical improbability of it, if it hadn't have been against the rules there would have been many occasions when Schumacher's team mates had to turn their car over to him, and he would not have shirked at taking their cars.
I do not consider achievements of past drivers as lesser because sometimes they did things in their team mates' cars if their's had broken, that was part of the game back then, just as I do not consider the achievements of drivers in the modern era as being of a lesser standard merely because they face a far lesser risk of imminent injury or death, thus making prolonged careers, and pushing to the absolute limits far more reasonable achievements, that's just part of the game now.
Personally I recognise, and agree with your criticisms of Senna, but again, virtually all of them can be leveled at Schumacher, and thus cannot be used as an argument for one being a better driver than the other. As I've said, personally I don't acknowledge such things in my judgments of a driver's ability, perhaps in my judgement of whether I like them or not as a driver (not whether or not I like them as a person). But most of the greats have at some point or another, and to a lesser or greater extent, exhibited such narcissistic, self righteous blinkeredness (if that's not too many words slapped together).
As regards the jumping ship, people often argue that the knowing when to switch teams is another sign of a great driver, lets face it, McLaren had a rough 5 years thereafter. You could also argue that Schumacher did a worse thing. Okay he moved to a team only about the 3rd or 4th best on the grid, but he took his multi-championship winning team with him, and turned Ferrari back into winners, whilst relegating his old team back to 3rd or 4th best, until they'd rebuilt by the early 2000's. If he and the team had have stayed, it's entirely probable that Benetton would have had the success that Ferrari then enjoyed (obviously that's as "nothing" a statement as the Senna '94 thing, just speculation, but seeing as it was this team that was at Ferrari, it's a fair bet).
So, what did he do it for? A new challenge? Hmm, not much of a "new" challenge if you're pretty much just taking your currently, clearly dominant, team of people off to somewhere where they'd have an even bigger budget to play with. So he did it for more money, personally? You could argue that there's precious little else it could have been. At least Senna's decision was for more success, and probably money too. But again, I don't hold this potential viewpoint against Schumacher's clear skill, he's certainly been one of the all time greatest.
I'm just going to paraphrase this bit of your post - "Fangio was the Michael Schumacher of his era, and yet that alone was not enough, teammates surrendered their cars to him if it was thought they were superior or in the event his own car would fail. It wasn't very often but it did happen and that should never have been allowed regardless of being standard practice of the day."
You could quite easily say "Schumacher was the Fangio of his era, and yet that alone was not enough, teammates surrendered their positions, their leads, their certain victories to him if it was thought they were superior and that in the event Schumacher couldn't beat them by himself. It wasn't very often, but it did happen and that should never have been allowed regardless of being standard practice."
As I've said before, it's all swings and roundabouts, each era has both advantages and disadvantages over every other era. The drivers of each era can only truly be judged in context, against their competition, in that way the greatest stand out, thereafter it is all personal opinion as to which of the various greats are the greatest of all. But, although I have my own personal viewpoint, honestly, all of them are entirely justifiable as being top of the pile in my opinion.
Like you say, good debate though, and finally, considering the seemingly ever increasing banality of the forum, but finally, Austin!