Poll Best driver of the Decades

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
I will limit myself to the decades that I actually observed:

1960s: Clark. The best driver I have ever seen competing against the most talent-laden fields.

1970s: The toughest call. It could be Stewart, Lauda or Andretti. I will go with Andretti because, in several of the Chapman biographies I have read, he credits Andretti's engineering talents and feedback with bringing Lotus back from the dead following the debacle of the Lotus 76. And I was a HUGE Lotus fan.

1980s: Prost. There were numerous accounts in various motor racing magazines of the period which said that, when he and Senna were teammates, Senna frequently (before their falling out) went to Prost to find out how to set up his car. Plus, Prost made it all look effortless, while Senna drove more with his balls than with his brains.

1990s: Schumacher

2000s: Red Bull

2010s: Mercedes: Since the turn of the century, IMO, the car has been the primary determinant of the Championship. The fields have been getting weaker with the overwhelming presence of pay drivers, and the proliferation of driver aids (those buttons and knobs on the steering wheels aren't ther for looks) have made the driver an ever smaller part of the equation.
For 2000s, do you really mean red Bull? After all, they only won their first championship in 2010- but utterly dominant from 2010-2013.

Ferrari on the other hand from 2000-2004...
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
PS - I would also ban all the buttons and knobs on steering wheels.... the level of corner to corner adjustments that drivers are asked to make is ridiculous.

There should be 3 pedals - a clutch should be a foot pedal.

bring back h-pattern manual gearboxes.

There can be 2 buttons on the steering wheel. There should be no telemetry between car and pits.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
To add to the Peterson vs Andretti discussion Publius Cornelius Scipio I think Ronnie was as fast as Lauda probably quicker but made a few terrible career choices just as he was at his peak. Leaving Lotus joining March and then
joined Tyrell post Stewart era and they bought out the Six wheeler. Unfortunately the results did not come as the car was more difficult to set up I think getting heat into the front tyres was an issue. He went back to Lotus as a contracted No 2
and was often riding shot gun behind Mario. He refused to be drawn into whether Lotus favoured Mario but he did accept a contract from McLaren to be team leader. Supposedly Ronnie had an off the seat pants style to driving which many admired but he probably did not have the disciplined approach like Stewart or Lauda to set up the car.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Ronnie left Lotus the first time because he could rightly see the team were heading in the wrong direction at the time.

It's hard to underestimate how awful the Type 76 was to a team who had won so many races with the 72. Because the 76 was so bad Lotus ended up using the 72, a 5 year old car, in 1975 and poor Ronnie had no chance. I expect he felt the same about the type 77 as well.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
I think I read somewhere that Emerson Fittipaldi left Lotus because he realised he was helping Peterson set the car up to beat him . In essence Ronnie was able to use Emo's set up and data to make it work for him.

It has to be said the Lotus 79 was discovered by accident in a windtunnel test so who knows how things would have turned out for Lotus and Mario then
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
It has to be said the Lotus 79 was discovered by accident in a windtunnel test
Tony Rudd had worked on the basic concepts for the wing car while he was working for BRM. Google the BRM wing car models and look at what might have been. Unfortunately, John Surtees joined the team and didn't want to know about fancy designs and convinced the team to halt work on it. Rudd talks about this in his biography. Both Surtees and Rudd left BRM at the end of the season.

Rudd restarted the work at Lotus. During a long day of model tests where they had made numerous changes to the shape of the side pods, they were having trouble keeping them level in the wind tunnel.

To counter the sag they glued strips of cardboard along the sides of the pods so that the sides would only sag a little. Everytime they ran a test thereafter and the side pods on the model sagged so the cardboard strips sealed the gap under the car, the down force readings went off the scale.

They checked it and checked it again and it discovered the ground effect. The biggest problem they then had was trying to find a material that could rub along the track to make the tight seal.

The Type 77 was used to test out materials and I believe ran with a rudimentary skirt system using brushes at a couple of races in 76 but I'm not sure which ones.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
If the 78 had been more reliable, Mario would have won the WDC in that as well.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Not sure the Lotus 78 would have won the title given the Ferrari's hit form in the latter half of that season . The Lotus 78 the downforce was not as good because the Lotus 79 did really suck the air and make the car stick to the ground
 
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