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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:36 am 
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Which season in your opinion had the weakest field of drivers? which had the strongest?
This is not just title contenders, but every driver that competed in the season.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:55 am 
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Good idea for a thread. Should spark some interesting debate.

I'll go for..

Worst: 1979 - Scheckter takes the title from Villeneuve, Jones, Laffite, Regazzoni, Reutemann, Depailler, Arnoux, Watson and Pironi completing the top 10. Well-known names, but few of them greats.

Best: 1950 and 1993

1950 - Fangio followed by Ascari, Gonzalez, Farina and pre-war great Villoresi.

1993 - Prost leading Senna, Hill and Schumacher. Hakkinen making his debut late in the season.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:55 am 
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Strongest - 1985 though 2012 could possibly be seen as having the strongest driver line up a few years down the line.
Weakest -1995


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:56 am 
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weakest 1995 Only true great was Schumacher with Hakkinen not at the top yet and Hill off form.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:13 am 
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Toby. wrote:
Hakkinen making his debut late in the season.
Then who was the imposter I saw driving alongside Johnny Herbert in 1991? 8O

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:45 am 
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Yeah I'd agree 1979 wasn't the best. And prior to that much of Jackie's reign didn't have the greatest strength in depth.

For me any year that had Senna and a mature Piquet, Prost and Mansell would be a contender for best. Or maybe the brief period when most of that lot met Schumi, perhaps the quality ran deeper then.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:47 am 
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I'd say 1994 was an orphan year after Senna's death, no champions running on the field apart from a couple of participations by Mansell. The title fight between Hill and Schumacher was lacking a bit of pedigree. There were names like Berger, Alesi, Coulthard and Hakkinen, but none of them were on a high peak of their careers.

2012 is probably the opposite case, 6 word champions on track, 7 different race winners and 5 winning teams.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:10 am 
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Fiki wrote:
Toby. wrote:
Hakkinen making his debut late in the season.
Then who was the imposter I saw driving alongside Johnny Herbert in 1991? 8O


Oop. You must forgive me, 'return' was obviously the word I was looking for whilst browsing the forum mid-lecture ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:35 am 
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Toby. wrote:
Fiki wrote:
Toby. wrote:
Hakkinen making his debut late in the season.
Then who was the imposter I saw driving alongside Johnny Herbert in 1991? 8O


Oop. You must forgive me, 'return' was obviously the word I was looking for whilst browsing the forum mid-lecture ;)

And let's not forget, as others have stated in another thread, that Herbert was already running and scoring for Benetton in 1989 =D


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:36 am 
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Certainly a good thread topic.

It would be difficult to find which seasons are weak or strong all the way through the whole field, and would need detailed study.

What most posters are proposing are really the quality at the front, which is all that can be done fairly quickly, as mine is:

Weak seasons:
1952: Ascari/Ferrari dominant, Fangio out from injuries, maserati only appeared at last race.
1959, 1960, with Moss having five gearbox failures while leading (1959), then missing three races from crash injuries (1960).
1993: Prost cruising in dominant Williams. Except when Senna won!
1994-1997: Only Schumi top driver, Williams cars so much faster 1996-7.

Strong seasons:
1951 Alfa Romeo vs Ferrari
1973 Tyrrell vs Lotus
1976 Ferrari vs McLaren
1982 Toughest to date with 7 winning makes
1990 McLaren vs Ferrari
1998-2000 McLaren vs Ferrari
2001 Ferrari, McLaren and Williams-BMW with very good drivers.
2007-8 McLaren vs Ferrari and four drivers so close-matched
2010-2012 Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari (plus Lotus-R in 2012) going for wins, so many top drivers.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:55 pm 
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chican wrote:
I'd say 1994 was an orphan year after Senna's death, no champions running on the field apart from a couple of participations by Mansell. The title fight between Hill and Schumacher was lacking a bit of pedigree. There were names like Berger, Alesi, Coulthard and Hakkinen, but none of them were on a high peak of their careers.

2012 is probably the opposite case, 6 word champions on track, 7 different race winners and 5 winning teams.


That's as much due to the cars as anything (2012).

I agree about 1994 tho. Although Berger was only 34!

2002 has serious pedigree. M Schumacher, R Schumacher, Hakkinen, Coulthard, Raikkonen, Montoya, Button, Trulli, Fisichella, Massa, Heidfeld, Irvine, Webber, Barrichello, Frentzen, Villeneuve, Panis. If only Alonso hadn't been missing due to testing for Renault.

And yet it will not go down as a great season because of the dominance of the Ferrari.

In the 2012 field we can match M Schumacher to Vettel, R Schumacher to M Schumacher, Hakkinen to Alonso, Button to Hamilton, Raikkonen to um Raikkonen, Montoya to Hamilton (Ham is better but Montoya still took 7 poles), Trulli to Rosberg, Massa to um Massa, Barrichello to Button, Coulthard to Maldonado, Fisichella to Perez, Webber to Hulkenberg, still got Villeneuve, Panis, Frentzen to go.

The power of the cars has a bigger effect IMO, if you add in Alonso then the 2002 field would be better than the current.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:15 pm 
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POBRatings wrote:


It would be difficult to find which seasons are weak or strong all the way through the whole field, and would need detailed study.

What most posters are proposing are really the quality at the front, which is all that can be done fairly quickly, as mine is.

Yes this is what's kept me pondering. Judging on the whole field is very difficult, so focusing on one aspect of it is the only option (unless you have a lot of free time). As such it's almost more sensible to look at the drivers at the bottom of the field. And if you do that it seems that what dictates the strength of the depth of the field is circumstance. Perhaps the 50's saw more rich playboys amongst the backmarkers than later era's. So how strong was the whole field then? Perhaps today there are more pay drivers.

The strongest field of drivers was possibly a season when circumstances (the rules, the number of properly funded teams, the number of teams full stop) meant there were no/few pay drivers.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:04 pm 
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Eva09 wrote:
2002 has serious pedigree. M Schumacher, R Schumacher, Hakkinen, Coulthard, Raikkonen, Montoya, Button, Trulli, Fisichella, Massa, Heidfeld, Irvine, Webber, Barrichello, Frentzen, Villeneuve, Panis. If only Alonso hadn't been missing due to testing for Renault.


By 2002 Häkkinen had already entered his sabbatical which turned out to be retirement.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:09 pm 
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2007 at the start was kinda weak. Alonso was the only current champion, Raikkonen had it all to prove at Ferrari, Hamilton was an unknown rookie, Kubica pretty much the same with an extra few GPs under his belt, Kovi was unknown, Fisi was fading pretty fast, Massa still had it all to prove at Ferrari without Schuey, Barrichello (had a pretty poor 06 at Honda) and Button (only had a single win at the time) were still considered journeymen both of whom were on a fine line of being pushed out by a young gun, Webber still hadn't won a GP, Coulthard was in the twilight of his career big time, Vettel didn't arrive until later in the year and the backmarkers were full of drivers like Scott Speed, Luizzi, Sutil, Davidson and Albers (all of whom were never going to set the world alight).

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:14 am 
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Agree with the 2001/2 line up. Although I am going with 2001

M Schumacher, R Schumacher, Hakkinen, Coulthard, Raikkonen, Montoya, Alonso, Button, Trulli, Fisichella, Massa, Heidfeld, Irvine, Webber, Barrichello, Frentzen, Villeneuve

All race winners and the bolded drivers either won a championship or mounted a serious championship challenge in at least one season.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:40 am 
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lamo wrote:
Agree with the 2001/2 line up. Although I am going with 2001

M Schumacher, R Schumacher, Hakkinen, Coulthard, Raikkonen, Montoya, Alonso, Button, Trulli, Fisichella, Massa, Heidfeld, Irvine, Webber, Barrichello, Frentzen, Villeneuve

All race winners and the bolded drivers either won a championship or mounted a serious championship challenge in at least one season.

Webber wasn't racing in the 2001 season, his debut was 2002

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:48 am 
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RaisinChips wrote:
Eva09 wrote:
2002 has serious pedigree. M Schumacher, R Schumacher, Hakkinen, Coulthard, Raikkonen, Montoya, Button, Trulli, Fisichella, Massa, Heidfeld, Irvine, Webber, Barrichello, Frentzen, Villeneuve, Panis. If only Alonso hadn't been missing due to testing for Renault.


By 2002 Häkkinen had already entered his sabbatical which turned out to be retirement.


True, you can't have it all at the same time, can you?

But 2001-2002 between them have some serious credentials.

Perhaps you go with 2001 as that has Hakkinen and Alonso.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:51 pm 
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Balibari wrote:
POBRatings wrote:


It would be difficult to find which seasons are weak or strong all the way through the whole field, and would need detailed study.

What most posters are proposing are really the quality at the front, which is all that can be done fairly quickly, as mine is.

Yes this is what's kept me pondering. Judging on the whole field is very difficult, so focusing on one aspect of it is the only option (unless you have a lot of free time). As such it's almost more sensible to look at the drivers at the bottom of the field. And if you do that it seems that what dictates the strength of the depth of the field is circumstance. Perhaps the 50's saw more rich playboys amongst the backmarkers than later era's. So how strong was the whole field then? Perhaps today there are more pay drivers.

The strongest field of drivers was possibly a season when circumstances (the rules, the number of properly funded teams, the number of teams full stop) meant there were no/few pay drivers.


Quite right about the fifties: the several drivers who could fund their own racing then were very slow, some over 3 to 7% off-pace. Today there are no amateurs, even 'pay drivers' are really fast and very professional.

This does not mean it was necessarily easier to win in the fifties; as I found doing the analyses for my 1994 Book, the backmarkers and midfield have no effect on the front-runners whatsoever. Races are always only between the two or more fighting at the front; this has not changed since racing began in 1894.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:42 pm 
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2012 was the strongest driver lineup, ever.

How people can try to argue that seasons from decades ago had more talented grids, I don't know.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:39 am 
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mccormickja wrote:
2012 was the strongest driver lineup, ever.

How people can try to argue that seasons from decades ago had more talented grids, I don't know.
and your reasons are...?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:29 am 
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chican wrote:
mccormickja wrote:
2012 was the strongest driver lineup, ever.

How people can try to argue that seasons from decades ago had more talented grids, I don't know.
and your reasons are...?


Talent in sport gets better all the time. Training techniques improve etc etc. In F1's case, participation has improved too as grass-roots level, so the pool of talent has enlargened.

Also, in his 'Legends of F1' interview with Sky F1, Mika Hakkinen said that only about 30% of the grid took the sport properly seriously and trained hard (fitness wise). Nowadays every does.

As for 2012, well there were 6 World Champions. The only obvious driver missing was Kubica.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:18 pm 
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mccormickja wrote:
chican wrote:
mccormickja wrote:
2012 was the strongest driver lineup, ever.

How people can try to argue that seasons from decades ago had more talented grids, I don't know.
and your reasons are...?


Talent in sport gets better all the time. Training techniques improve etc etc. In F1's case, participation has improved too as grass-roots level, so the pool of talent has enlargened.

Also, in his 'Legends of F1' interview with Sky F1, Mika Hakkinen said that only about 30% of the grid took the sport properly seriously and trained hard (fitness wise). Nowadays every does.

As for 2012, well there were 6 World Champions. The only obvious driver missing was Kubica.

I wouldn't rule out talented drivers from the 70s and 80s despite their low developed training system.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:39 pm 
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A season's strength (we are only talking of the front-runners) is defined by how close they are in package speed.

It does not matter who the drivers are. EG In 1996-7 Damon Hill and Jacques Villenueve were not as fast as Schumacher as drivers, but their cars were faster than Michael's, so the race-winning was close/tough.

It also does not matter when the season was in F1 history: 1951 was very tough, Fangio/Alfa Romeo only just beating Ascari/Ferrari and Gonzalez/Ferrari; 1973 was tough as Stewart/Tyrrell and Fittipaldi-Peterson/Lotus fought for the wins. In 1982 there were 11 different winners and no-one scored more than two wins.

Imo 2007 was the closest season in history among four drivers. 2012 was tough too with Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton at the top and Button, Webber, Raikkonen 'close-behind' winners.

All these strong-season cases occurred due to the 'accident' of several packages being close-matched.

Same case with 'weak-seasons' , which are not planned, they just result from the mix of teams/cars/ drivers. Weak years such as 1952 when Ascari/Ferrari dominated, 1963-5 when Clark had little opposition and 1988-9 when the McLaren-Hondas were unopposed. Although Prost and Senna found it tough!

The time in history/standard of training/prep/fitness of drivers does not make things easier/harder. Only the closeness of the packages matters and how many packages there are close enough to the the top. 1982 was the toughest in this respect.

For what is may be worth, my package ratings show that 1982 had 7 packages within my 100.3 rating; 2012 had 6, but the wins, at 5,4,3,3,2, were not as evenly scored as in 1982. In 1982 five packages were within 100.1, in 2012 it was three, which explains why 1982 was so close in wins.

2007 and 2008 each only had 4 packages within the 100.3 figure, but in 2007 they were all equal-rated and the wins were fairly evenly scored at 6, 4,4,3.

Let's hope we are lucky again in 2013, with other teams being close to Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:26 pm 
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mccormickja wrote:
2012 was the strongest driver lineup, ever.

How people can try to argue that seasons from decades ago had more talented grids, I don't know.


Michael Schumacher Hakkinen Barrichello Fisichella Coulthard Alonso Raikkonen Ralf Schumacher Trulli Frentzen Villeneuve Panis Irvine Montoya Button Alesi

That was over a decade ago.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:35 pm 
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Eva09 wrote:
mccormickja wrote:
2012 was the strongest driver lineup, ever.

How people can try to argue that seasons from decades ago had more talented grids, I don't know.


Michael Schumacher Hakkinen Barrichello Fisichella Coulthard Alonso Raikkonen Ralf Schumacher Trulli Frentzen Villeneuve Panis Irvine Montoya Button Alesi

That was over a decade ago.

Only 4 drivers in the grid had challenged for a championship seriously at that point. On the 2012 grid we had 6 WDCs and another 2 drivers who had been in with the chance of winning one in the last race at some point, Massa and Webber. 2012 was way stronger.

In fact the only driver on the 2012 grid who had never scored points by the end of the year was Pic.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:57 pm 
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Laura23 wrote:
Eva09 wrote:
mccormickja wrote:
2012 was the strongest driver lineup, ever.

How people can try to argue that seasons from decades ago had more talented grids, I don't know.


Michael Schumacher Hakkinen Barrichello Fisichella Coulthard Alonso Raikkonen Ralf Schumacher Trulli Frentzen Villeneuve Panis Irvine Montoya Button Alesi

That was over a decade ago.

Only 4 drivers in the grid had challenged for a championship seriously at that point. On the 2012 grid we had 6 WDCs and another 2 drivers who had been in with the chance of winning one in the last race at some point, Massa and Webber. 2012 was way stronger.

In fact the only driver on the 2012 grid who had never scored points by the end of the year was Pic.


I don't really think so, I just think the cars are closer.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:12 pm 
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Nah the quality of the field was far stronger in 2012. 6 WDCs > 3 WDCs any day. Especially when one of them in 2002 was JV.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:29 pm 
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About 1979. Its wasn't weak at all.

Mario and Carlos didn't have competitive cars for 1979. The same goes for Niki Lauda. These drivers, with deceased Peterson, were first four drivers in rankings a year before.
Scheckter is very much underrated, he was one of the greats of his time.
Gilles, well he is a legend.
Jones also, amazing how well he drove.
French connection was also active these years with Laffite, Depailler and Jabouille, all scoring at least a victory.

They were all very fine drivers.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:49 pm 
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Lt Drebin: well said about 1979, it was a very competitive season and the drivers you mention were all really good (especially Andretti and Reutemann as you say) and close-matched. The near-equal wins between Ferrari and Williams prove the competition was tough.

To me the easiest/weakest seasons were those when one package dominated.

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