Most significant contributions...


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In the secret tyre test thread, F1Yorkshire posted how he thought Red Bull had made a significant contribution to F1. It was a statement to which I disagreed but that's the beauty of forums such as this. We can have this sort of debate in the spirit of friendship and discussion.

So, my Monday night thread is this.

Have a good think and then produce your top 5 people / teams / or what ever criteria you wish, to have made the most significant contribution to Formula one.

This could be individuals in the form of someone like Jean Todt or Bernie, Teams such as Ferrari or even bits of equipment such as KERs or the HANS device.

Rank them and list them from 5 down to the one you think in your opinion made the biggest contribution at 1 and we'll see how the lists compare and see if it provokes some interesting debates.

I'll have to go and think of my list now.
I coudn't manage to place them in any particular order...

Professor Sid Watkins - Really pushed safety and I'm sure he stopped many needless deaths.

John Barnard - The designer of the first carbon fibre Formula 1 car - The MP4-1.

Jackie Stewart - The best of both worlds, a fantastic person who pushed the envelope on safety, was a brilliant F1 driver and also a great ambassador for the sport. Probaly the best example of a driver F1 has ever had.

Ayrton Senna - Not for the quality of his driving. But he has really was the first of a kind, an example to the modern ruthless F1 driver.

Bernie Ecclestone - Yes, really. As much as I don't like the little twit, there is no doubt that he has made F1 what it is today, a truly global sport.
Ok, here's my list then.

5) Enzo Ferrari - As makers of F1 cars go you have to admire what he and the Scuderia achieved. By the end of the 50's nearly all of the big car companies had gone. Ferrari stuck with it through the good and the bad and some of the drivers to have been introduced into F1 or to have graced those scarlet cars are some of the best the sport has ever seen. Lets face it, all the greats wanted to be a driver for the team. Forget the politics and you have a pretty awesome heritage built around Enzo.

4) Adrian Newey - For the past 25 years, where he lead the rest of F1 had to follow. He has designed world class cars for 3 different teams in over 20 years. I wonder what would have happened to Jaguar if the deal had ever gone through? Could he really have worked his magic there as well ??

3) Colin Chapman - As with all of the great engineers throughout history, it wasn't always his idea that he used but he saw the potential in other peoples ideas or saw where they could be made better. Not always the best engineer but certainly without a doubt the most visionary. To misquote Sir Isaac Newton, If Adrian Newey has seen so far, it is because he was standing on the shoulders of Colin Chapman.

2) Bernie Ecclestone - Sigh, it pains me to say it but without him I have a feeling the whole house of cards would have come down a long time ago. When he goes, I don't think anyone can imagine who'll replace him. His vision initially as a team owner ensured that a cottage industry became a global mega sport to rival any series on the planet.

1) Professor Sid Watkins - Brought in at Bernies request, you can't put a price on life. Yes we all know that motorsport is dangerous. This weekend at Le Mans reminded us of that. But like any sport, you need to do what you can to minimise the risk. In an era when drivers were killed on a yearly basis something had to be done and so many drivers owe their lives to the Prof. His contribution to my mind has been the most significant.
Bernie Ecclestone. Because he invented F1 and for everything else he has done and continues to do to promote the sport.

Max Mosley. Because he got rid of Ballestre and did what was required to legitimise Bernie's crazy plan.

Sid Watkins. For saving lives.

Enzo Ferrari. His name is the clue.

Ron Dennis. Because he was the perfect counterbalance to Bernie and Max.

I would love to have these five to dinner anyway. Or maybe for a game of Monopoly? That would be fun.

Great thread cider_and_toast!
How about having those five together for a game of Risk jez101?


1) Sid Watkins, according to Wikipedia 49 driving F1 cars.

2) Colin Chapman, he had an open mind, he could use his own ideas or hone those of other designers.

3) Tony Vandervell, he put the UK into the forefront of F1, inspiring others to follow. In 1958he Vanwall was the first British car to win the WDC. He was also a thorn in the flesh of the taxman, worthy of putting him into any list of the greats.

4) Lord Hesketh, for making F1 fun. A good old British eccentric who loved all forms of motorsport.

5) Enzo Ferrari, without him who would be British fans love/hate figure? Love him or hate him you cannot ignore him.

And then a big minus placing to Mr Ecclestone, who took a sport beloved by motor racing fans and turned it into a money making machine that has motor sport fans bottom of it's list of priorities.
Apologies to the OP but I'm going to have to cheat since we are lumping everyone in F1 together in a single top 5.

Bernie Ecclestone: Very much for the reasons others have stated above. However, I can only place him 5th because for all of the impact driving the sport as a business it is as much due to his monopolising it when it was there for the taking. Like many a business empire it's first served grabs it and the rest is history until someone takes it away, it's sold or the guy dies.
Bernie = No.5

Stirling Moss: I would put this guy as No.2 or 3 if the OP was just about Brit's as his legacy will always be as the bloke who inspired generations of young Brit's to see motor racing as a professional career. Back then this country was so conservative (not the political kind) that the parents of my generation would routinely frown on the idea with the phrase "get yourself a proper job or get out". It's the mark of the man that decades after his enforced retirement, due to the horrifying Goodwood prang, he commands the respect and admiration of any driver worth the salt.
Stirling = No.4

Ken Tyrell, Rory Byrne : Ken was a garagiste team owner/manager/designer whose cars so often went where they shouldn't have been expected to go. Scored championships and gave so many drivers and engineers their first steps on the F1 ladder. His ideas and designs, even those he didn't perfect, inspired and/or were nicked by virtually everybody else in F1. His influence on his contemporaries and the young engineers who came after him cannot be underestimated. Statistically Rory is the third most successful F! designer (after Adrian Newey and Colin Chapman) with more than 70 GP's, 7 constructors titles and 6 WDC's bagged by cars of his design. Would Schumacher have notched up 7 WDC's without him? Who knows.
Ken = No.3.1; Rory = No.3.2

Colin Chapman, Adrian Newey: It's hard to split these two but I'm giving the edge to Colin Chapman because the financial and technical resources available to Newey are light years away from what Colin had to work with. In many ways though they are of the same piece of cloth. Both are reknowned for stretching designs and innovations to the nth degree within banning distance of the regulations, and taking titles hand over fist. Colin also gets an extra nudge due to his being another of the rolled into one team owner/manager/designer and essentially garagiste at heart.
Colin = No.2.1; Adrian = No.2.2

My last selection is as much a surprise to me as he will be to you coming as he does top of my list. Sir Jackie Stewart. Not only is he a 3 times World champion, ex-team owner manager (albeit briefly) but as a driver one of the most influential people on the sport with regards to driving and to safety. Jackie formed along with Sid Watkins and Max Mosley the primal force lay behind the safety revolution that began in the late 1970's and continues to this day. Jackie's part in this revolution was no small beer at the time. He was fighting not only the establishment running F1 but also a good many drivers who had yet to wake up and see the light bulbs. He was also a key figure lurking in shadows of Paul Stewart Racing supporting and advising his son whose team kick-started the careers of many aspiring racing talent. In addition, his business acumen is quite possibly up there with Ecclestone's but he only uses enough of it to do good stuff and have a great life (respect, man).
Sir Jackie Stewart = No.1

Fenderman's Note: Of course all of that could just be a load of old bollocks made up by yours truly after fifty years of F1 mind-altering conditioning ...
Think I'll thrown some out there that haven't been mentioned.

Turbo - era Renault: Soldiered on with their turbo power unit in the face of atrocious reliability. Ushered in an era of fire breathing beasts. Never managed to achieve their ultimate goal.

Lewis Hamilton: Love him or hate him, Formula One wouldn't be the same without him. Single-handedly created legions of hardcore F1 fans worldwide in a very short timespan. Crossed several racial/cultural barriers.

Bernd Rosemeyer: This guy was awesome. Met an unfortunate fate while helping push the sport to the peak of technological allowances.

Marlboro: Featured prominently on iconic liveries for decades. Advertising everywhere.

Goodyear: Owner of 25 World Driver's Championships. Unrivaled for long periods of time.
Mines a top 5 of people that have influenced the sportbin the UK.

5- Nigel Mansell.

Lewis Hamiltonites might think that the biggest influx of British F1 fans was when Mr Hamilton entered F1 but in actual fact Lewis fever was mere peanuts compared to Mansell Mania. Yes he was a bit dull and a bit of a whinger but my god he got the whole of Britain behind him. You only have to look at the wins at Silverstone in 91 and 92 and the track invasion after to see the crazyness of it. More importantly though Mansell Mania came along at a time when F1 did not rule the waves or the TV as it did now. We didn't always get races live and if we did coverage only started on Lap 5 when the tennis had finished. Qualifying? if it was at the British Grand Prix and if the cricket was rained off maybe. Practice? Ha! But then along came Mansell who caught the public imagination and suddenly F1 was getting TV time just as Bernie was turning into a show. Would it have worked if Britain wasn't Mansell mad? Probably not. Would the sport have had the media coverage it did to make a star of Lewis without Nige? Nope.

4 - James Hunt

Another British hero and the original Rock n Roll race driver. His partying has overshadowed the fact he was an exceptional talent. Now championed by his natural succesor Kimi Raikkonen and whilst most will rank many above him but as when Hollywood want to do a movie about F1 which driver do they think makes the best story? Hunt the Shunt! Add to that he will be remembered as the perfect sarcastoc foil to Murry Walkers excitment on the commentary team and I think his influence can be seen. I met him once when I was a kid at the NEC, he was very friendly and I think a bit tipsey. Even as a kid I was laughing at the fact you looked at the pics of him at the event the year before you saw he was wearing the exact same clothes.

3- Jackie Stewart

In the words of George Harrison he was the master of going faster and, IMO anyway, the greatest British driver of all time with his 3 titles. Not only was he an exceptional driver but he was also a political force in making Grand Prix racing safer and whilst some will argue it lessened the thrill it undoubtedly meant the sport survived. In todays climate if they had the deatb rate they did back then all played out luve on TV the sport would be abolished before the season finished. Jackie was the leading force behind that and who can blame him? Wouldn't you tire of watching your peers die?

2- Stirling Moss

So he never won a world championship but when I started watching F1 he still had more wins than any other British driver. Moss dueled withe Ferraris and Fangio during the 60's glamour era and is still the first name most people would think of when asked to name a famous british driver. When your stopped for speeding in the UK its odds on the police officer who pulls you over will say "who do you think you are? Stirling Moss?"

1- Murray Walker

He may only be a commentator but to nearly everyone in Britain (and world wide) Murray is the voice of F1. His perfect pitch of excitment, good humour and gaffs was absolutely perfect for the sport and I knew people (such as my Mum) who only watched the coverage to listen to Murray (with Hunts wit an added bonus). No one has done more for the sport in Britain than Murray and all hail him for it. Now unless I'm mistaken, and I probably am, Murray Walker is biggest influence on F1 in Britain.
5. Murray Walker - Mr. Formula 1 in the UK; he fundamentally increased the popularity of F1 in those areas which had the privelige of hearing them.
4. Jean Todt - re-organised Ferrari into the winning machine that it was in the early 2000's, partly responsible for the numerous records held by Ferrari and Schumacher.
3. Enzo Ferrari - as posted above.
2. Senna/Prost - Their rivalry is what helped to vastly increase the popularity of F1 in the eighties - they are now household sporting names.
1. Bernie - If it wasn't for Bernie, F1 probably wouldn't have survived into the 21st century in its current form.
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