The One Hit Wonders


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In the 60 year history of the Formula One World Championship there have been 31 winners of the Drivers Title. Incredibly, it would seem that the odds of being a multiple world champion are about 50/50.

For the purposes of this article I have not included the current McLaren pair as there is a good chance that one or the other could add to his currently tally. So having said that, of the remaining 29, 14 drivers have won the Championship on more than one occasion and 15 have won it just the once.

I firmly expect that this article will be controversial, however it's interesting to look back on each one of the one time winners and speculate if there was another championship there for the taking or if (and it would seem in a surprising number of cases), they were destined for whatever reason, to only win one championship. It's important to stress that however they took their title it doesn't take anything from the fact that after a long season of racing that driver was at the top of the heap and will be for ever more.

In order to look at the ways that the various one time winners took their titles I've broken down the 15 into different groups that best seem to fit how they won.

First up is "Cometh the Man, Cometh the Car":

This is by far the biggest group of the one hit wonders. Drivers who fit into this category generally had a car for the first time that enabled them to maximise their talents to the full and one that was normally the class of the field. Most of these drivers faced their only challenge to the title from their own team mate, which shows how dominant the team they were in was at the time.

The names who I think fall into this category quite comfortably are:

Nino Farina - 1950. The Alfa's were 1-2-3 in the scoring in 1950 and won all 6 championship races they entered. Farina beat Fangio by3 points, but the third Alfa driver Luigi Fagioli actually outscored Fangio 28 to 27. However Fagioli actually finished the season on 24 points due to the "number of races count for scoring" count back. In 1951, Fangio ruled the roost at Alfa and despite taking a win for the team, Farina's career faded. Joining Ferrari for 1952 he only won one further race in the next 4 years. Another title for Farina was never on the cards.

Phil Hill - 1961. It's ironic that Ferrari's first constructors' title was taken after a close season row about engine capacities. 1961 saw the introduction of the 1.5 litre formula which most of the British based teams opposed. Ferrari were more than ready for the introduction of the new engine and their 1.5 litre V6 was the class of the field. Most of the British teams found themselves stuck with the 5 year old Coventry Climax straight 4 until they could acquire more powerful units. Hill's only competition for the bulk of the season came from his team mate, Taffy Von Tripps, who was tragically killed in the penultimate race of the season at a time when only he could pass Hills total. Hill never won another race and scored a total of 15 points in the next 4 seasons.

Jochen Rindt - 1970. While not quite fitting into the "team mate was runner up" part of this category, it was almost certainly a case of cometh the man, cometh the car for Rindt. Making his debut in 1964 he'd only taken one win prior to his championship season which came in 1969. He did finish 3rd in the 1966 world championship, however he scored almost half the points of the eventual winner, Jack Brabham, and failed to take a win that season. For the three of the first four races of 1970 Rindt had to make do with 4 year old Lotus 49 but he still managed to take the win at Monaco. He then switched to the new Lotus 72 and it was the perfect match with Rindt taking 4 wins in a row. Sadly he remains F1's only posthumous world champion. Would he have won another title? If he had remained with Lotus then I'm sure he would have.

Mario Andretti - 1978. There is no doubt that Mario Andretti is one of motor racings legends. Why then did he only manage to win the world title on one occasion? In the early years of his F1 career he chose to combine racing in the US with a limited Formula one campaign. Between 1968 and 1974 He raced on an ad-hoc basis for Lotus, March, Ferrari and Parnelli. He is one of a handful of drivers to take poll in his debut race and he won his first race after his 10th start (all be it 3 years after his debut). He should have taken the 1977 title. However while Mario was up to the task his Lotus 78 wasn't, with crippling reliability. Even though he took more wins than Lauda that year, the title went to the Austrian. In the first five races of 1978, now teamed with Ronnie Peterson (who was employed on the strict understanding that this was to be Mario's year) he took a single win. Then, much as Rindt's season blossomed with the type 72, so Mario got hold of possibly F1's most iconic car, the type 79. For the next 8 races, if Mario managed to see the chequered flag it was in P1 as he took 5 wins with Peterson adding 1 to the teams tally. Sadly in much the same way that Phill Hill's season ended tragically, so did 78 for Lotus with the death of Ronnie Peterson at Monza. Andretti never won another race. The Lotus 79 was quickly caught and passed by rival teams and the Lotus type 80 and 81 were total failures. Just two years after his title win Mario was a back marker with a final hurrah as a stand in for the injured Pironi in the final two races of 82, where he took a poll and a podium. With more reliability Mario could have been a double world champion.

Jody Scheckter - 1979. Scheckter had already had finished in third place twice and second place once in the championship, since making his debut in 1972. After an initial part time drive with McLaren he signed for Tyrell in 1974 with the unenviable task of filling a seat in a team recently vacated by Jackie Stewart. In his first full season he took a pair of wins. Both Tyrell and Wolf who he subsequently joined were professional teams but perhaps not quite capable of taking a title. Having said that, Scheckter took 3 wins and finished runner up in 1977 although he was 17 points behind Lauda in the final scoring. Joining Ferrari alongside Villeneuve for 1979 Scheckter suddenly found himself in a strong team and with a strong car. When driving the Ground Effect, 312T4 he finished in the top 5 in 11 out of 13 races and on the top two steps of the podium 6 times. Villeneuve took the same number of wins (three) and actually finished on the podium one more time than Scheckter (4 seconds to Scheckters 3) but other than that he only scored in one other race. The coda to Scheckters story is how quickly it all ended. For 1980 Ferrari produced an absolute dog of a car in the shape of the 312T5 and Scheckter's total of 2 points for a single 5th place remains the worst title defence by a reigning world champion. Was Scheckter in a position to be a multiple world champion? His best chance would have been 1974 when he was in a Tyrell team for whom success was still fresh in their minds. He was certainly more than capable.

Alan Jones - 1980. The third one hit wonder in a row from an era where no one team could develop and sustain a consistent package for any longer than a season and a half at best. Alan Jones took his first win for himself and his Shadow team, which made Frank Williams sit up and take notice. Signing Jones for the 1978 season it soon became clear that the Williams FW06 was light years behind the Lotus. It was then that Patrick head went away, worked out what made the Lotus 78 and 79 so quick and then improve on that and make it better. Taking delivery of his FW07 at the 1979 British GP (DNF) he quickly took 4 wins in the next 5 races to finish 3rd in the championship. It's a measure of how good the car was that prior to using the FW07 Jones had scored one third and one forth in the first 8 races of 79, DNF'ing in 5 and taking a 9th place in the other. After winning the opening race of 80 Jones had a bit of a wobble taking a second and a third but retiring in 3 of the next 5 races. After France though, he never looked back and he went on to take four more wins, 2 podiums and a third in the remaining races of the season. The following season, with the FW07 now updated in C form, Jones remained competitive, however his team mate Carlos Reutemann took more points off him throughout the season and it probably cost them both a chance of the title. Surprising most people by calling it a day after 1981, Jones admitted he'd retired too early. F1 however, had moved on and after a couple of unsuccessful come backs with Arrows and Lola, Jones quit for good. Could Jones have been a multiple world champion? If the FW07 had been ready for the start of the 1979 season or if he'd had a less competitive team mate in 1981 then I'm pretty sure he would have won back to back titles.

Damon Hill - 1996. Perhaps it's unfair to put Hill in this category because he could well have won the title in 1994 if it wasn't for a coming together with Schumacher in Melbourne. To my mind, Hill drove the race of his career in the wet in Japan to bring himself back into contention for the championship that year. Also adding to the season of woe, he had to drag Williams back after the terrible death of Senna and through a season that was without doubt one of the darkest in the 60 year history of the sport. Hill had lost his mojo in 1995, beaten in the mind by Schumacher after his WDC at the end of 94 and unable to find the consistency to mount a title challenge although he still managed to finish as runner up to Schumacher. 96 was different though. A revitalised Hill returned after the close season ready to go. After taking a win in Australia thanks in part to his team mate's mechanical issues, Hill didn't look back and he won 4 of the next 5 races. Once again failing to finish in Monaco while leading the race and another DNF in Spain, he quickly followed that up with another 3 wins in the next 4 races. With seven wins to Villeneuve's two, it should have been plain sailing, however Hill started to fall away. In the next 4 races before the show down in Japan he managed to come 2nd to his team mate twice and finished 5th once and retired on the other occasion. Going into the Japanese GP there was a 9 point gap which was pretty insurmountable, unless there was a major issue for one of the two drivers. Fortunately, lady luck smiled on Hill and let down Villeneuve who failed to finish. In the wake of his world title and like Prost and Mansell before him, Hill discovered that Frank Williams is a hard man to negotiate with. The door having been shown to Hill, the only seat he could get at late notice was with Arrows. It took 9 races for Hill to put his first points on the board and 12 races for him to pass Scheckter's total. Ironically, much as a mechanical woe denied Villenueve a win on his debut and gave the race to Hill, a mechanical woe on Hills car denied a debut win for Arrows and handed the race to Villeneuve. Managing to get a seat at Jordan for 98, he managed to take the teams first win in a one two with Ralf Schumacher at Belgium. That was as high as his post Williams career got and it reached a new low the following year when he allegedly retired a perfectly good car at the German GP. Hill remains joint 10th (with Alonso) on the most wins list with 22 wins, which is impressive by any ones standards and he was in a position to be a double world champion.

Jacques Villeneuve - 1997. Arriving in 1996 as the reigning CART champion Villeneuve, after taking pole on his debut, very nearly won the race but for an oil leak which allowed Hill to get past and saw Villeneuve limp home in second place. Jacques took his debut F1 win in only his fourth race, which stands up alongside some of the biggest names in F1. The first half of the 96 season belonged to Hill though, who wasn't going to be denied a title a second time. While Villeneuve did manage to get right back into the title hunt in the second half of the season Hill had done enough. After Hills departure, and with the bulk of the design work completed by Adrian Newey before he too left the team in protest over the treatment of Hill - the season would belong to Villeneuve. After a shaky start, which saw as many retirements as wins and the top step of the podium traded between Shumacher, Frentzen, Coulthard and Villeneuve, the challenge to Jacques' season fell away. Everyone of course remembers Schuey's attempts to push Villeneuve off in the final race, but it was too little too late and Jacques had achieved what his dad had been unable to do in his short life. Incredibly, 97 saw Villeneuve's final victory and it was all downhill from there. The following year and without Newey's input, the Williams was an absolute disaster, leading to Williams' worst season since they were forced to run with the Judd CV engine. Villenueve then went off to chase his ambition in the BAR team that was set up especially for him. A couple of sackings and a couple of comebacks later and it's hard to imagine it was the same driver that set a pole and almost won on his debut. Villenueve had one real chance to take a title and at least he managed that.

The next category of One Hit Wonder I've decided to call "When no one else was looking". This is the category for drivers who took the title without even winning the most races during that season or as a result of two other drivers fighting among themselves.

Mike Hawthorn - 1958. The History books show that Mike Hawthorn was the first British World Drivers Champion. However, that doesn't tell the full story of that season. Making his F1 debut in 1952, Hawthorn had 2 wins under his belt going into the 58 season. His previous best championship finish was 3rd for Ferrari in 1954 with a single win, three seconds and a fourth. The class car on 1958 was the Frank Costin and Colin Chapman engineered Vanwall, which took 7 wins out of the 10 races that season, 4 for Moss and 3 for Brooks. The problem was that (as was the case with most cars that had been touched by Chapman) if the Vanwalls didn't win they didn't finish. For Hawthorn, consistency was the key and although he took just a single win, he finished second on 5 occasions with a third and a 5th as well. He only retired twice compared to Moss's five and Brooks' six. Of course that isn't the complete story, because as most people know, thanks to a supreme act of sportsmanship from Moss whose testimony to the stewards in Portugal enabled Hawthorn to successfully appeal his disqualification, he would not have won the title by a single point. Hawthorn announced his retirement immediately after winning the title. It would seem that he was always going to be a one time champion.

John Surtees - 1964. Like Mario Andretti, there can be no doubt that John Surtees was a great driver, but strangely he has the weakest toe hold on the Formula one world championship of any champion. Not only was he outscored by second placed Graham Hill, 41 points to 40, which converted to 40 points to Surtees and 39 to Hill when the best 6 races count rule was applied, but until the very last lap of the last race of the season he had never even led the points table at any time that season. Everybody knows that Surtees was the first man to win the world title on two wheels and four but he announced his arrival in the world of F1 by taking 2nd place for Lotus in the 1960 British GP, which was only his second race. Racing in a privately entered Cooper and Lola in 61 and 62 respectively, he signed with Ferrari for 1963. Surtees was already a big name in Italy thanks to his association with the MV Augusta motorbike team. He won his first race for Ferrari at the 1963 German GP. 1964 started badly for Surtees with just one second, one third and three retirements in the first 5 races. Clark was running away with the title having taken 3 wins and a fourth while Dan Gurney and Graham Hill with one win each were also in the hunt. It's at that point when things began to go wrong at Lotus. Clark would score only 2 points in the remaining five races. Surtees took 2 wins and a second while Hill took one win and 2 seconds. Going into the final race of the season in Mexico, any one of the three could still take the title. Hill was involved with Bandini, one of Surtees's two fellow Ferrari drivers, and limped home to finish 11th. Clark then lead the championship until the very last lap, when he pulled up with an oil leak. Surtees now only needed to finish second to take the title and this was achieved with the help of Ferrari signalling to Bandini to let Surtees through to take the place. Surtees left Ferrari after a dispute in 1966. Although he did finish second in the points that year (he took two wins, one for Ferrari and one for Cooper), he was never going to outscore Jack Brabham who had the title sewn up with 3 races to go. It could be argued that John Surtees was lucky to get one WDC, let alone be in the hunt for two, however he remains an incredible all round driver whose achievements are never likely to be repeated.

Denny Hulme - 1967. After a strange 1966 when many teams failed to get their new 3 litre engines to work properly, 1967 saw the introduction of F1's greatest engine, the Ford Cosworth DFV. Far more powerful than the Repco engines that carried Brabham to the title in 66 with relative ease, 1967 looked like it was going to be a Lotus year. Initially the DFV just couldn't get the car to the finish line and the Brabhams once again found themselves in the hunt for the title. Hulme the kiwi was in a straight fight with his boss and team owner, the Aussie Jack Brabham, and it was a case of the pupil becoming the master. Both drivers took 2 wins while Jack actually took more second places with 4 to Hulmes 3. There the similarity in scoring ended however, with Hulme taking 3 more third place podium spots. Jim Clark meanwhile managed 4 wins during the season but with only a handful of points to back that up, he finished 3rd. Hulme, proving that you really shouldn't beat your boss, moved to McLaren for 1968 where he took two more wins. An extremely consistent driver, he remained at McLaren until his eventual retirement in 1974, taking one win in his final season. After taking his title, the best he managed in the championship but perhaps his most important contribution to McLaren was rebuilding the team after the death of Bruce McLaren in a Can-am test at Goodwood in 1970. Denny Hulme was certainly good enough to win another title, however he was never the quickest driver over a single lap, scoring just a single pole in his career. From what I understand about his nature and the fact that he lost so many of his fellow drivers, just surviving that period of F1 seemed to be good enough for him.

Kimi Räikkönen - 2007. Formula one had seen nothing like the madness of the 2007 season and the events that surrounded McLaren and its two drivers. Fernando Alonso started the season as favourite for the title while there was a lot of anticipation about his rookie team mate. Besides the ever growing spectre of Spygate, the trouble at McLaren began at Monaco and went downhill thereafter. With just two races to go it was either Hamilton's or Alonso's title to lose and well, lose it they did. Kimi took the chequered flag in both China and Brazil to win the title by a single point. After making his debut with Sauber in 2001, Kimi Joined McLaren for the following season; he finished runner up to Schumacher in 2003 and to Alonso in 2005. 2005 was his best season by a mile. Both he and Alonso scored twice as many points as third placed Michael Schumacher and Kimi took 7 wins, which was the same number as Alonso. Kimi, however, never recovered from a poor start to the season where in the first four races he could only manage one 3rd place and one 8th place, while Alonso reeled off 3 wins and a third. Kimi was in a position to be a multiple world champion but for the poor start in 2005.

The next category I am going to call, Victims of circumstance. There are two drivers who fall into this category and both of them are regarded as supremely quick and maverick drivers, whose careers started with impressive performances in lower order teams followed by a title in their debut season for their new team, followed by the eventual decline and retirement.

James Hunt - 1976. One of F1's great "What Ifs" is "would James Hunt really have won the title if Lauda had not had his accident in the German GP?" As much as I think Hunt was superb (he made F1 commentaries hilarious with his verbal sparring), you would have to say no. Known as "Hunt the Shunt" due to his rather reckless F3 driving, he arrived in F1 at Hesketh racing in 1973. The ultimate no rules party team had found their ultimate no rules driver. Taking two podiums in his debut season, 3 more in his second season, he finally managed to take his debut and Hesketh's only win at the 1975 Dutch GP. McLaren came calling for a replacement for a departing Fittipaldi and Hunt was their man. By the time the teams arrived at the 14 mile old Nurburgring, Lauda was a country mile ahead in the championship with 6 wins, 2 seconds and a third while Hunt had managed 2 wins, a second and a fifth (although he did win the British GP he was later DSQ'd). After Lauda's horrific crash, Hunt took the win in Germany and another in Holland before Lauda's miracle come back. Of course we all know about the events of the rain soaked Fuji GP where Lauda pulled up after a handful of laps, stating his life was worth more than the WDC, and the story of Hunt's drive through the field to the required third place. It's also interesting to note that Hunt, like Surtees before, only led the points standings in the Drivers championship on the last lap of the last race of the season. After his title year Hunt managed to take three more wins, however the bulk of the season was spent sat in the pits after the venerable McLaren M23 proved hopelessly out of date by 1977 and the M26 proved to be an unreliable replacement. Gradually Hunt lost motivation and interest. A move to Wolf failed to revive his love of the sport and after a disastrous first half of 1978 he walked away. Hunt only had one chance to win a title and while fate played its part he grabbed it with both hands.

Keke Rosberg - 1982. This season is still spoken of as one of the best but one of the maddest years in F1 history. There were no less than 11 drivers taking wins and not one of them in more than two races. The FISA / FOCA conflict for control of the sport was at its height, which saw drivers strikes, bans, fines, boycotts and all sorts of trouble between teams and the sport's governing body. Most tragically however, this season saw the deaths of Ricardo Paletti in the Osella and Gilles Villeneuve in the Ferrari. Would this have been Villeneuve's season? Maybe, but we'll never know. After his death it was far more likely that it should have been Pironi's season. Before Pironi's career ending crash at the German GP he held a comfortable lead in the standings with two wins and 3 podiums. His biggest challenge seemed to be coming from John Watson who also had 2 wins but 2 podiums while Alan Prost and Niki Lauda also had two wins to their names. Rosberg finished 3rd in Germany and followed that up with a second in Austria where he lost out to Elio De Angelis by 5 hundredths of a second, he managed to finally take that elusive win and the lead in the championship at the Swiss GP. Watson's McLaren never regained the form it had shown in the first half of the season and for Rosberg, a single 5th place in the last two races was enough to see him over the line. Rosberg was never again in a position to win the title as Williams provided him with a succession of unreliable and under-performing cars as the team struggled to match the performance of the Porche and BMW powered McLarens and Brabhams. By the time the problems with the Honda engine were sorted in the 1985, Rosberg's performances improved and he managed 3rd place in the championship but with almost half the points of winner Alain Prost. Leaving Williams to become Prost's team mate, Rosberg endured a terrible season with a best result of one visit to the podium in second place for at the Monaco GP. It was enough for Rosberg and he called it a day. Another driver to add to the list of those that only ever had one chance to become a world champion and seized the day.

The last category I've titled "the Ultimate One Hit Wonder" and there is only one man who fits the bill.

Nigel Mansell - 1992. Just how Nigel Mansell only won a single world championship will remain as big a mystery as the age old question "how long is a piece of string?". Mansell is 4th on the all time list of race winners with 31. He finished 2nd in the world championship in 1986, 1987 and 1991 and during that era he drove for some of the biggest names in F1, Lotus, Williams, Ferrari, Williams again and finally McLaren. The opposition was nowhere near him in 1992, granted there was no Prost and Senna's McLaren wasn't what it once was, but Mansell ran away with the title. So what went wrong elsewhere? After a slow start to the 86 season, Mansell hit a rich vein of form by taking 4 wins and 2 thirds in the 7 races between Belgium and Hungary. In a three way fight between Mansell, his team mate Piquet and McLaren's Alain Prost, Mansell had the upper hand going into the last 3 races. After consolidating his lead with a win in Portugal, Mansell arrived in Mexico knowing he could take the title. Disaster struck when he made a complete hash of his start and could only manage to finish fifth. Going into the final round in Australia, Mansell needed to finish ahead of Prost and Piquet to take the title. We all know that his race ended in a shower of burnt rubber and sparks after a huge blow out. Prost took the title after Piquet was called into the pits for fresh rubber as a precaution. In 1987 the relationship between Mansell and Piquet was colder than the freezer section in your local supermarket. The two of them slugged it out across the season, taking points from each other all along the way. Mansell took 6 wins to Piquets three, but Piquet managed to prove the age old principle of "to finish first, first you have to finish." Piquet finished on the podium 11 times to Mansell's 7. Consistency was the key to the season. After 3 wins in two tumultuous years at Ferrari, he returned to Williams where it initially seemed that he'd not come back at the right time however, the highly advanced FW14 took a while to dial in and when it did, it took off. After 3 DNFs in the first 3 races Mansell scored a run of wins and 2nd places that put him right in contention for the title. The wheels came off this challenge during a frantic pit stop in Portugal when Mansell was released with an incorrectly fitting wheel nut. He was subsequently disqualified after receiving work to the car outside of the pit box. As already discussed, in 1992 with the upgraded Williams FW14B, Mansell finally managed to get all his ducks in a row to bring home the title that could have been his 3 times before.

Conclusion: This post started out as a simple look at the one hit wonders of the world championship with a view to seeing how many of those actually only ever had one chance at taking the title. From what I've read and discussed here I think the tally is 8 drivers who could have taken another title if luck, reliability and several other factors had gone their way and 7 drivers who I think no matter which way the dice fell would only have ever been a one time world champion.
Good Lord, C_A_T, you must have typers cramp after this lengthy and informative post! Well done!

What people don't realize today is that, in the 50s, 60s and 70s, sports cars were considered to be at least as important as F1 and many teams put equal or greater effort into their sports car racing. Ferraris initial fame resulted not from their F1 wins, but from the exploits of their sports cars. In that era, Phil Hill was one of the pre-eminent sports car drivers. Indeed, one of the best of all time. Also, immediately following clinching his title, Enzo asked him to re-sign for the following season. In the emotions of the moment, Phil did so. Only later did he find that Enzo had neglected to mention that most of the key staff in design and finance were leaving, which meant that the team was a mere shadow of its former self the following year. Following that unsuccessful season, Phil made a horrible mistake and signed on with ATS-one of the biggest piles of rubbish to ever take up space on a Formula 1 grid.

Denny Hulme was the dominant driver in the late and much lamented Can Am series. These sports cars were even faster than the F1 cars of their day. It was also the series that McLaren chose to concentrate their efforts on, to the detriment of their F1 results. Denny's results should be viewed with that in mind.

Mario absolutely should have been WDC in both 1977 and 1978. He brought Lotus back from the dead in 1976 with his win in the 77, a car of so little competitive abilities that Peterson left the team early in the season and fled back to March. Mario stepped into the void and persevered to make it a winner. And although I have always been a huge fan of Peterson, I have never been ABSOLUTELY convinced that he could have beaten Mario anyway. He wasn't able to thrash Fittipaldi in equal equipment, and I rate Mario much higher than Emmo.

I think Surtees may well have won another title if he hadn't had his horrific crash at Mosport in 1965. He never seemed the same after that, although still very good.

To me, Keke and JV seemed the luckiest of all of them.

Thanks for bringing so many memories back. :thumbsup:
Reading the section about Nigel Mansell's 1992 WDC reminded me that he was also a one-hit championship wonder in Indycar here in the States'. When he came over from F1 in 1993, everyone was stunned..........I mean, here's the Formula 1 world champion and he came over HERE? Of course, it didn't hurt that he signed w/Newman-Haas Racing, which at that time was one of the two big teams in CART that year(the other being Marlboro Team Penske, which had 2 drivers you might've heard of in Emerson Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy.......). What was even more amazing about Mansell's championship run that year was that, for someone who'd never raced on an oval in anger, Mansell managed to win four of the six oval races that year..............
---Phoenix: DNS(crashed during practice)
---Indy 500: started 8th, finished 3rd
---Milwaukee: started 7th, finished 1st
---Michigan 500: started 2nd, finished 1st
---New Hampshire: started from pole, finished 1st*
---Nazareth: started from pole, finished 1st
*--his battle w/Paul Tracy at New Hampshire in the New England 200 is considered one of the epic oval races in the modern-era of Indycar racing[1979-present]

All told, Mansell won five races(Surfers Paradise, Milwaukee, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nazareth) en-route to winning the 1993 PPG/CART IndyCar title, becoming the first(and so far, only) driver to win the series title in his rookie season. He also, due to the fact that the CART and F1 schedules didn't end at the same time, became the first driver to hold both the Formula 1 and CART titles at the same time. Another thing that made his season memorable was that he is one of only four drivers to lead in their first Indycar start(the four are, as listed below)...........
---Nigel Mansell, 1993-Surfers Paradise*
---Sebastien Bourdais, 2003--St. Pete, Fla.
---Graham Rahal, 2008--St. Pete*
---Simona de Silvestro, 2010--Sao Paulo
*--both Mansell and Rahal went on to win both of the above races

Of course, just as fast as Mansell's star rose in Indycar racing, it fell just as fast the following year...............
----1993: 15 starts/16 races, 5 wins[1 street/4 oval] & 7 poles, won championship by 8 pts. over Emerson Fittipaldi
----1994: 16 starts/16 races, 0 wins[finished 2nd twice] & 3 poles, finished 8th in the points, 127 pts. back of Al Unser, Jr.

Give him credit, though................Mansell came over here and :censored: -slapped the field in 1993. They, in turn, :censored: -slapped him the following year................ :o :o :o :o
Great topic and presentation C_A_T :thumbsup:

I categorically refuse to accept the statistics and record books in regard to 1994! Damon Hill won that Championship and no amount of official bullshot is going to change that in my mind. Absolutely no-one should now be in any doubt as to Michael Schumacher's abilities and spacial awareness during his prime. He knew exactly the condition of his car and what he was doing when he cynically took Damon out of the Australian GP.

My apologies for the rant

But we all know who really won the Championship that year and if there is any doubt in your minds then you should review the post incident, post race footage and interviews. Damon was as heroic and magnanimous in defeat as Michael was timid and shamefaced.
I haven't had a chance to read this yet but can I just say Wow!

I'm thinking that for articles of this depth we need some sort of repository for them so they don't disappear into the depths of the forum.
Ayrton Senna, during one of his more protracted negotiation sessions with Mclaren in 1992, had a test in Fittipaldi's Penske car at Phoenix. Fittipaldi drove the car first and then Senna went out for a few laps. After the session the team refused to publish Senna's lap times (claiming they weren't being timed) but the accepted wisdom was that Senna had gone so much faster than Emmo they didn't want to embarrass the old feller.

Imagine how Mansell's "rookie" season would have gone had Ayrton been lining up on the grid against him.


Back to the thread, very good stuff CaT. I may do some analysis of where these drivers finished in other seasons (when I have less time) as some, such as Mansell, were "bridesmaid's" at least once.
cider_and_toast said:
Would he have won another title? If he had remained with Lotus then I'm sure he would have.

Just to clarify, you've got 8 possible double WCs and 7 one hits.

Is that...

POSSIBLES: Surtees, Rindt, Andretti, Scheckter, Mansell, D. Hill, Raikkonen
OTHERS: Hawthorn, P. Hill, Hulme, Hunt, Jones, Rosberg, Villeneuve

Am I right?
Cider, just one little detail: You have included Kimi on the

cider_and_toast said:
The next category of One Hit Wonder I've decided to call "When no one else was looking". This is the category for drivers who took the title without even winning the most races during that season.

He did win the most races that season. But, that’s provably the right category to classify him though.
teabagyokel said:
POSSIBLES: Surtees, Rindt, Andretti, Scheckter, Mansell, D. Hill, Raikkonen
OTHERS: Hawthorn, P. Hill, Hulme, Hunt, Jones, Rosberg, Villeneuve

I think I've got Jones and Surtees the other way round but the rest are bang on. The way I approached it was to try and look at which of the drivers who took a single title could have been in a position to take another one. I think Hulme had at least one further opportunity after 1967 to take a title where as Surtees after falling out with Ferrari didn't get another chance. Rindt is difficult because it's pure speculation in his case however he was supreme in the Type 72 and given Emmos performances in 1972 you have to think that Rindt would have been a champion that year.

laFrau said:
He did win the most races that season. But, that’s provably the right category to classify him though.

Quite true laFrau. One or two of the drivers were quite hard to place and what I didn't want to do was have as many categories as there were drivers. I've edited the post to clarify that bit.

I've noticed some of the text has been written using spelling and grammar that aren't generally recognised in the English language. I apologise for that and will be editing it as I find each error.

*Edit* big thankyou to Fat Jez for proof reading the post and hammering out the bugs.

It was a long night. Glad you all like it.
I've read that Jochen would have retired following his WC win anyway, so I'd place him in the 'others' category, myself.

But nevertheless a stunning and interesting, not to mention painstaking, analysis there C_a_T :thumbsup:
A huge amount of work here: it must have taken several hours!
And courageous too! - Obviously your categorisation of drivers is likely to be controversial, as you know.

I do not have long so I will keep this brief: In my opinion you have wrongly categorised Damon Hill. Although only credited with one World Championship, he was not a 'one-hit wonder'. Everyone knows the logical arguments, so I do not intend to repeat them here.

However, I respect your opinion; it is better than most.
Consicave, I agree with your good self and Snowy when it comes to Damon Hill though sadly however much we know that he should have won the title in 1994 it's not what the record books show.

Much as the same way that those awful refereeing decisions in Football are never changed after the event, M Schumacher will always be engraved on the cup next to the numbers 1994 (is there a cup for the World Drivers Champion out of interest??).

As I said in the post, Hills drive in the wet in Japan is one of my favourite races of all time.
Great work CaT, a few hours hard work must have been needed for this. If it were on another site I would suspect a little thing called 'cut and paste' but that's what I love about this place - everything's kosher!

I always thought that Kimi was unlucky not to have a title more, particularly in 2005. The Mclaren of that year was very much what Red Bull were like last year and even this year - extremely fast but extremely fragile (the Newey curse it seems :) ). In 2003, he came up against a Schumacher on that run of titles whereas in 2004 and 2006 the Mclaren was lacking pace and let him down badly. 2007 is a much maligned title in my opinion, what with all that happened, and probably one that no one will want to be remembered for winning, which is a bit of a shame for Raikkonen. After he achieved what he set out to do, his attitude nose dived and lost the motivation to go on to further glory. I think he is the fastest driver, in terms of out and out pace, to have graced F1 over the last 10 years.

In terms of the other drivers, apart from JV, I can't really say much as I only started watching Formula One in the second half of 97. I can read and watch old clips but it doesn't really do justice to their achievements.
No doubt about Raikkonen really, he slipped through the McLaren net in 2007 just as much as Hamilton slipped through the Ferrari net in 2008.

You wonder, though, if Kimi had pipped Schumi in 2003, would we have seen him stay in F1 for as long as 2005? Its a moot point, but if the dice had fallen the other way and Kimi had won an earlier championship, would he have just bailed on the sport earlier, hence being a One Hit Wonder at any rate.

Of course, cat is right, he had the talent to become a two-timer.
Good point on Kimi there actually and it probably would have been the case that he may have done a JV. Had he won it earlier, his motivation may have gone earlier too and would simply have lingered about in mid pack teams picking up pay checks, probably from Toyota. Anyway, it is a moot point as you say Teabag
FB said:
Ayrton Senna, during one of his more protracted negotiation sessions with Mclaren in 1992, had a test in Fittipaldi's Penske car at Phoenix. Fittipaldi drove the car first and then Senna went out for a few laps. After the session the team refused to publish Senna's lap times (claiming they weren't being timed) but the accepted wisdom was that Senna had gone so much faster than Emmo they didn't want to embarrass the old feller.

Imagine how Mansell's "rookie" season would have gone had Ayrton been lining up on the grid against him.


Back to the thread, very good stuff CaT. I may do some analysis of where these drivers finished in other seasons (when I have less time) as some, such as Mansell, were "bridesmaid's" at least once.

FB, that woulda' been a wicked 1993 seeing Mansell vs. Senna racing in North America...............of course, had Penske not tapped Paul Tracy to drive alongside Emmo, odds are Ayrton Senna would've been racing Indycars that year...............alas, we'll never know what might've been........ :(
cider_and_toast said:
Consicave, I agree with your good self and Snowy when it comes to Damon Hill though sadly however much we know that he should have won the title in 1994 it's not what the record books show.

Much as the same way that those awful refereeing decisions in Football are never changed after the event, M Schumacher will always be engraved on the cup next to the numbers 1994 (is there a cup for the World Drivers Champion out of interest??).

As I said in the post, Hills drive in the wet in Japan is one of my favourite races of all time.
Right. But I thought that you were attempting to differentiate between the drivers who only scored one Championship? If 'One Championship = One hit Wonder', then of course I would have to agree. But I thought the point of your article was to differentiate a qualitative perspective?

If I have gone too deep, I apologise and realise that I must have misunderstood. I will re-read it when I get some free time - hopefully tomorrow.
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