Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher are two of the most iconic names in the history of Formula 1, and both are among the greatest drivers in the sport’s history.
There will always be a debate about which of the two legends is actually the best of the pair. Both raced against each other in Formula 1 from Schumacher’s debut in 1991 until Senna’s untimely death in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Senna and Schumacher never really fought dach other for the World Drivers’ Championship in Formula 1. 1994 looked like the hear were both would be fighting until the very end for the crown, but Senna’s sad crash at Imola on May 1st, 1994, was simply a tragedy on all areas.
How about their stats?Well, had Ayrton Senna survived and retired whenever he wanted too, the stats of these champions would’ve probably looked similar, as Senna could’ve possibly taken wins and titles from the German icon.
Senna had 41 victories in 161 starts, with 80 podiums and 65 Pole Positions (a record until 2006). Senna’s 41 wins were second all-time at the time of his death.
The Brazilian won three Formula 1 World Championships in his career (from 1984 to 1994) and competed for Toleman, Lotus, McLaren and Williams. He won six races for Lotus and 35 for McLaren. His three titles came for McLaren in 1988, 1990 and 1991.
On Schumacher’s side, he finished his career with 91 victories, 68 Pole Positions and 155 podiums (all records at the time of his retirement). He drove for Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes.
Moreover, he won seven Formula 1 World Championships. The German won with Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004.
At the start of Schumacher career, while Senna was in his prime, most cars did not have semi-automatic transmissions yet.
The semi-automatic transmissions took over in the following years, and some cars would automatically shift gears. In 1994, fully-automatic transmissions were banned, while the software returned from 2001 to 2004, when Schumacher dominated with Ferrari.
Active suspensions and traction control started to come to life in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Both were banned, but traction control returned in 2001, again during Michael Schumacher’s dominant run with the Scuderia Ferrari.
Both champions are legends of the sport and have strong cases to be considered F1’s greatest ever racer.
Still, the most important aspect of this debate is to fully respect the achievements on both sides and give credit to the unique careers both drivers were able to built during their time.
In 1989, we introduced an all-new V8 engine for F1, the HB. It powered many drivers to victory, with Michael Schumacher taking his first F1 win at Spa 1992, while in 1993 Ayrton Senna won 5 races with the HB! His last win was the 1993 Australian Grand Prix. #60YearsOfCosworth pic.twitter.com/FFGTiqjuKy
— Cosworth (@Cosworth) September 11, 2018
Whether you pick Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher, there must be an agreement about both being legends of motor racing and two of the best we’ve ever seen around a Formula 1 circuit.