Record hunter or Glory be thy name?

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
After being bored by Valencia on Sunday I decided to have a look back through some of my old highlights DVDs to remind me why I love the sport and I got thinking about Michael Schumacher. Schumi has more titles than any other driver in F1 as we all know but he also has a 4 year gap between title 2 and 3 where you could argued he was still by a long way the best driver in F1 could probably have negociated his way into any team in F1 at the time but he didn't he chose Ferrari.

Lets wave the amount of money being paid to him here and look at the reason he chose Ferrari - Schumacher wanted the glory of bringing this once great team back to the front of the sport. He wanted to be forever known as the man who made Ferrari great again - and lets face it he acheived it. I also think the only thing that tempted him out of retirement and the reason he's still here is the prospect of also being known as the driver that brought winning ways back to the famous silver arrows of Mercedes.

Which made me think that beneth Schumi's win at all costs attitude is actual a romantic soul who cares more about the glory than the records. Now I'm sure there are those of you who will debate this and I'm sure I would on another day but it got me thinking about drivers, champions both past present and future and which ones are the ones with the glory in their eyes and which ones are all about the records? I'm not saying either is better but there is def a different attitude that can be seen in drivers and sometimes it changes as their career goes on.

Senna to me was the ultimate in record hunters as he famously would negoicate ruthlessly to make sure he was in the best car in the field famously offering his services for free to Williams in 1993 and showing a reluctance to even compete in F1 when he didn't get his seat there - although even he might have softerned as time went on as he often spoke about ending his career driving a Ferrari even if it was 'as slow as a snail'

Jean Alesi can be viewed as a driver who let pride and glory get in the way of what could have been an amazing career. Jean Spaghetti chose Ferrari over many other offers of drives(including Williams) because of his proud Italian heritage. Even after turning Williams down initially that first time you got the impression that he was still highly rated and if he'd announced his decision to leave Ferrari would have ended up being snapped up by one of the front running teams - but he never did because he loved Ferrari so much and by the time they fell out of love with him his career had peeked and his chance gone. Ended his career with just 1 Grand Prix win.

Prost is a great example of someone who started out as a romantic wanting to win the title as a Frenchman in a French team, Renault and just lost faith that he'd ever acheive it after 3 season and moved to Mclaren to concentrate on himself. I guess his career came full circle when he returned for one last season to win a title in the Renault powered Williams.

What about the current field?

Well Lewis declaring that he wants to stay at Mclaren for his whole career certainly shows him up as more of a glory seeker than a record seeker - as does the bet with Ron Dennis about being Mclaren's first tripple champion - however we seen signs of Mr Hamilton feeling impatient with this

Sebastian Vettel is reknowned for his interest in stats and figures so maybe you'd class him as a record hunter but I can't help but feel that because of this love of stats that after he has 2 or 3 titles under his belt he might fancy the prospect of 'doing a schumacher' and bringing a once great team back to the front. Maybe a future move to Mercedes is on the cards?

What do you guys think? How many drivers can you think of who have acheived less in their career than they should out of loyalty or idiolism? Which former champions and present day drivers do you see as having their eyes on the prize and nuts to the rest of the world if it tries to get in their way?

Debate is nice but please lets not turn this into my driver is better than your driver. I'm not suggesting either way is better than the other I'm just interested in which drivers are percieved as what.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Prost is a great example of someone who started out as a romantic wanting to win the title as a Frenchman in a French team, Renault and just lost faith that he'd ever acheive it after 3 season and moved to Mclaren to concentrate on himself. I guess his career came full circle when he returned for one last season to win a title in the Renault powered Williams.

Just a short note on Prost and Renault, I read a report some years ago that he left the Regie as he had been having an affair with one of the team managment's wives (think it was Gerard Larousse).

Anywho, it certainly was the making of him and Renault went downhill rapidly after he had left.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Yes, Prost was certainly shown the door at Renault.

Jackie Stewart turned down Ferrari to go into F1 with Ken Tyrrell - a man who had never run in F1 before. That took some courage, but Jackie's judgement proved correct with three world titles as Ferrari endured one of their periodic slumps.

I hardly need to mention the mutual respect and loyalty between Jim Clark and Colin Chapman, of course.

And what more romantic notion could there be than setting up your own team, and winning the championship in a car with your own name on it? Jack Brabham did that, while Bruce McLaren and Dan Gurney also had success at the wheel of self-built cars.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
: off topic: but maybe relevant to the discussion - Jean Rondeau is the only man to win at Le Mans in a car bearing his own name.

: on topic: One wonders if Schumie carried on for as long as he did first time around simply to make it almost impossible for anyone to ever beat his various records. And there are many...

Anyone remember Nigel Mansell going on about how emotional it was to win his 17th Grand Prix, beating Stirling Moss's English driver record of 16? Said is his monotonal, nasal, Brummie accent he sounded anything but "emotional". Maybe I do the man a disservice?
 

RickD

Pole Sitter
I don't think so with regards to Schumacher FB. I think that he had spent so much time making them into a winning team that he was likely to stay as long as they were dominant. That way he could reap the rewards for the years he put in when he could easily have chosen another team and been consistenly winning each year. If that had been the case, it is likely he would have more than the 7 he has now.

I also think that later on, he could well have had confidence issues with regards to having a competitive team mate. There is an interesting comment from Ross Brawn in Jensons book about drivers lacking confidence, especially after a bad result and that JB would have been surpised which drivers were lacking that confidence. Reading between the lines of the comment, and watching Schumacher over this and last year, I would say that Ross was talking about him..

I will dig out the quote tonight and edit this post.. :thumbsup:
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
I don't think its as simple as the "glory vs the records". I think the more apt word is challenge. I think Schumacher had achieved what he wanted to achieve at Benetton and took on, at great risk to his career, F1's greatest challenge. To go where Villeneuve, Mansell and Prost had failed before him and come out successful. Kudos to him.
 

Andyoak

Race Winner
Agreed TBY; and I'm pretty sure he said as much at the time...
It's easy to forget quite how unsuccessful Ferrari were before then; especially for younger fans of F1.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
TBY has probably summed it up better than me but it was the general point I was getting at and I completely agree with you Andy about its easy to forget how bad Ferrari had become before Schumacher. You could say the same about Mclaren in the mid 90's too. Always makes me smile when people claim both those teams are currently in a slump.

I think Hamilton's unswaying loyalty is swaying somewhat of late which is a shame but completely understandable in his situation. I'm sure he'd love to spend the rest of his career with Mclaren really but there comes a time in every great drivers career where they have to chose between friends and success I guess.

As for Vettel - if he does canter his way to this years title breaking every record along the way it would not suprise me for a second if he doesn't take up the Mercedes challenge. Young German driver bringing the silver arrows back to their former glory. Don't think a stato like Vettel or Mercedes can resist it really. Schumacher had/has the same dream and is why he came back. I still think Schumi believes they'll give him the car next year for him to do that himself though which is why he won't retire.

Here's another one for you. Jaques Villeneuve. I never rated him but could you argue that his decision to move to BAR, a team he heavily invested in and run by his close friend, cut short what he could have acheived in his career? Yes the Williams team were on the wane in 98 but were back to winning races again a couple of years later - not to mention a fact that year later Ferrari were looking for another driver and even with the Schumacher veto you can't say they wouldn't have been tempted by having the name Villeneuve linked with Ferrari again. Even a move to Jordan would have given him the winning oppotunity. Can we count him in the 'challenge' bracket?
 

Bill Boddy

Professional layabout
Contributor
When Jean Todt left Benetton he took Byrne, Brawn and other key figures with him. Benneton could not possibly recover from that in the short time so Schumacher had to leave if he wanted more titles.

It was unlikely that Williams would want him, he would be much too expensive for Frank if for no other reason. Also Ferrari were throwing money at their problems and Todt & Co wanted him. Once he had made the move there was no going back, but he manfully stuck to the (enforced?) task and it paid off handsomely, he finished up with the glory and the money.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
When Jean Todt left Benetton he took Byrne, Brawn and other key figures with him. Benneton could not possibly recover from that in the short time so Schumacher had to leave if he wanted more titles.

Jean Todt did not ever manage Benetton. Schumacher took Brawn and Byrne etc. with him. Benetton was Flavio's patch from long before then.
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
Well Lewis declaring that he wants to stay at Mclaren for his whole career certainly shows him up as more of a glory seeker than a record seeker - as does the bet with Ron Dennis about being Mclaren's first tripple champion - however we seen signs of Mr Hamilton feeling impatient with this

Sorry, what bet is that? I always thought that Prost was McLaren's first triple champion - '85, '86 and '89???
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
There is a McLaren F1 LM at their HQ - Ron Dennis said Lewis could have it if he won 3 x WDC

Linky

 

Bill Boddy

Professional layabout
Contributor
If thats the picture I think it is, then we've had it on this very site before. And never again!

No, no, it's not THAT one, I would never do that even to someone that I hated.

Well, it might be in the huge selection if you dig deep enough, but I didn't see it.
 
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