The complete package

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
You see it all the time on discussion forums, websites and in magazines.

How so-and-so driver isn't the complete package because they: are poor at qualifying, aren't great at starts, can't manage their tyres, can't heat their tyres up quickly enough, make poor strategy calls, have poor racecraft, lack judgement, can't overtake, are too hot-headed, were only successful because of x, y and z, etc.

So has there ever been a driver who was the complete package?
A driver who did everything that was expected of him, and more, despite the machinery he may have had to work with?

Or is that a question that most fans are unable to answer objectively?
 

Clinton

Rookie
Michael Schumacher, only thing missing was a consience.

Could be considered lacking in composure under extreme pressure (e.g. 1994, 1997, 1998 and 2003 season finales). Also wasn't considered the best of starters early in his career. Not the most sporting of drivers as you say. Otherwise ticks all of the boxes.

Fernando Alonso is generally regarded as being the most well-rounded driver in his prime today. I can't think of any criterion at all on which he could be considered to be below-par.
 

racecub

Champion Elect
I think Alonso thinks he's the most complete driver and perpetrates that myth. I think he still makes a lot of mistakes (2010) he sometimes loses interest when not in the hunt and he loses the plot when he has a fast team mate.
How about Prost? Not my favourite driver but he must tick a lot of boxes,maybe not the 'exciting driver' box.
And what would you say stops Senna being considered the most comp[lete driver? he certainly ticks the 'exciting driver' box.Any he missed? And loads more boxes.
 

Dario Resta

Podium Finisher
I don't think anyone can be called the complete package, as none of them are flawless.Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel etc. all fail on at least one of Brogan's criteria. Maybe the one thing a complete driver needs IS a lack of conscience though - worked for Prost, Senna, Schumacher etc? I was going to go for Button, but he fails the test as well - and he has a conscience. I think Brogan's list of attributes covers so much that no-one will fulfill them all.
 

McLarenDan

Test Driver
Alonso is known to lack wet weathe skills I think otherwise I'd go for him. I don't rate the older(Fangio period) drivers compared to nowadays I think they were just slower as there was a smaller pool of talent. Jim Clark wasn't the best at wheel to wheel racing when he actually had to do it. On form I'd say Hamilton does infact tick all the boxes and before 2011 I'd have said him without a doubt. Him and Alonso were way further up the field than they should have been in 2010, and Lewis had never had a bad season. Obviously now he has a flaw in his mental state, and can be easily distracted(Alonso got a divorce and that doesn't put him off his game!). A shout for Hakkinen? Raikkonen has the boredom problem, Schumacher wasn't a great starter and was a dirty bastard. Prost? Not the best qualifier.

Senna??
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
I think Alonso thinks he's the most complete driver and perpetrates that myth.

I think thats a little unfair - On more than one occasion Fernando has admitted he's not by any means the fastest driver on the grid to the point where I think he's been putting himself down.

As for the original question about the full package. I don't think the question can be answered objectivly by any of us who have leanings towards one driver or the other. You might quote drivers from the past such as your Clarke's and your Stewarts, Your Prosts and your Sennas but history tends to forget the bad things and glorify the good one's.

Mr Schumacher is still around so his bad things are still very much etched on to people's brains - especially as the media loved to cast him as the panto villian (same with Fernando) but he was certainly close or more to the point Schumie was smart enough to make sure if he wasn't the best at something he had someone in his back-up squad he was. Doubt your the best tactician on the grid? Employ Ross Brawn to do it for you. Doubt you're the best car developer around? Get Rubens Barrichello as your team-mate!

Have we ever seen someone who is the full package? No. I doubt we will - every driver has a weakness its the nature of the beast.

Interestingly all Brogan if you were doing a top 5 of who was good at all the things you listed in the article for the current drivers I'm pretty sure Nico Rosberg would get in the top 3 for most of them yet after 108 Grand Prixs he still has no wins and has never really been pursued seriously by any of the big teams. Maybe its a case of jack of all trades master of none.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
The thread title question is very difficult to answer because when it comes to drivers from the mdern era we remember their racs, we saw it all, every little bit of racing is available on youtube and so on.
When it comes to drivers from the pre-eighties age most of us only have written accounts and not even all Grand Prix were broadcast on TV so we miss out on the bigger picture.
Comparisons between drivers of different eras is therefore necessarily distorted. Time forgets most things, both when it comes to brilliance and flaws.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
The thread title question is very difficult to answer because when it comes to drivers from the mdern era we remember their racs, we saw it all, every little bit of racing is available on youtube and so on.
When it comes to drivers from the pre-eighties age most of us only have written accounts and not even all Grand Prix were broadcast on TV so we miss out on the bigger picture.
Comparisons between drivers of different eras is therefore necessarily distorted. Time forgets most things, both when it comes to brilliance and flaws.
Thats a very good point.
Butt there are some of us who do remember and saw live races many years ago.
I attended my first live GP in 1955 and saw many other races on TV and in some cases Pathe news at the local cinema.

But Brogan has hit the nail on the head with this
So has there ever been a driver who was the complete package?
A driver who did everything that was expected of him, and more, despite the machinery he may have had to work with?

Or is that a question that most fans are unable to answer objectively?
Today most opinions are formed after watching endless replays on video.The smallest mistake by any driver is analysed ad infinitum.
As for objectivity it is difficult to find anyone who will give an unbiased opinion.
 

Josh

Champion Elect
I think Alonso thinks he's the most complete driver and perpetrates that myth. I think he still makes a lot of mistakes (2010) he sometimes loses interest when not in the hunt and he loses the plot when he has a fast team mate.
How about Prost? Not my favourite driver but he must tick a lot of boxes,maybe not the 'exciting driver' box.
And what would you say stops Senna being considered the most comp[lete driver? he certainly ticks the 'exciting driver' box.Any he missed? And loads more boxes.

You don't need to be 'exciting' to be the complete package.

To be honest I think Alonso comes closest to being the complete package these days, he seems to have lost his hot-headedness and just gets on with the job and fulfills (I think) most of the criteria. Sure he makes mistakes but being the 'complete package' doesn't mean being flawless...

Still I don't think you can ever say someone is 100% the complete package.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
I think Chad is right on the money. Of all of the drivers I have had the pleasure to watch in action, Clark and Stewart are the only ones I can think of that meet all criteria. I can't (won't) comment on drivers, such as Moss, that I never got to see race in anger.
 

no-FIAt-please

Champion Elect
Premium Contributor
Although I know very little about him... If Moss had it all why is it that he failed to win a championship and he claims Fangio was the best he ever saw?
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
Although I know very little about him... If Moss had it all why is it that he failed to win a championship and he claims Fangio was the best he ever saw?
Fistly Moss was gentleman.He could have won the 1958 WDC as Hawthorn was disqualified for running the wrong way on the track.Moss protested to the stewards and Hawthorn was reinstated and won the championship by a single point from Moss.
Secondly this statement from Moss says an great deal about him.
, "Better to lose honourably in a British car than win in a foreign one"

F1 was still a sport in those days.A far cry from what it is now.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I don't think any of the drivers on the grid at the moment could be regarded as "the complete package". Schumie in his pomp was the closest we've seen in the last 20 years and I take issue with the comment about Schumacher lacking composure under pressure, he knew exactly what he was doing when he ran into Hill, Villeneuve etc. so you could add this to the requirements of what's needed to be complete - depends what you want, someone who wants to win under any circumstances and conditions? Michael Schumacher!

Prost couldn't drive in the rain, can't remember what the events were that lead to his problems with wet weather but it was physcological. Senna was an incredible qualifier but his race craft sometimes let hime down. Lauda was a brilliant race driver but not the best at qualifying. Can't really comment on Stewart or Clark as they pre-date my experience but if anyone is going to wear this crown, from what I've read, it has to be Jimmy Clark.
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
I agree with Racecub, Alonso did make the claim back in 2008 that he was the most complete, ever since then that's what he's referred too, but I disagree, he has many faults, 2010 proved that in many ways.

Judging from what I've read about Jim Clark, he would probably top the list along with Schumacher.

There's also Vettel from this season, not much he's done wrong, but it mains to be seen if he can carry that on, but he certainly answered to most if not all of his critics this season.

I can only name some from the modern age from '98 onwards.

But I do think that Kubica for his 2010 season has to be up there with the current line up, I did think he was the "most complete", great in qualifying, good at starts, great race results, managed to get his slower car amongst the Mercedes and ahead of the top teams more often than not.

Thing is, every driver that I have mentioned has had the team around them.

I doubt there ever will be a "complete driver".
 
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