The Top 10 - Men who changed F1

PICK 10 - Vote for your top 10 most influential figures in Formula one.

  • 1) Jaun Fangio

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  • 2) Adrian Newey

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  • 3) Gordon Murray

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  • 4) Colin Chapman

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  • 5) Enzo Ferrari

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  • 6) Max Mosley

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  • 7) Bernie Ecclestone

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  • 8) Michael Schumacher

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  • 9) Jack Brabham

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  • 10) Ross Brawn

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  • 11) Jean-Marie Balestre

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  • 12) Bruce McLaren

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  • 13) Ayrton Senna

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  • 14) Hermann Tilke

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  • 15) Sir Francis Owen Garbatt Williams

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  • 16) Alain Prost

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  • 17) John Barnard

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  • 18) Sid Watkins

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  • 20) Patrick Head

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  • 21) Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth

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  • 22) marketing manager of the Gold Leaf brand in 1968

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  • 24) Ken Tyrell

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  • 25) Sir Jackie Stewart

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  • Total voters


Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Valued Member
Ok, so we've looked at the cars that changed the face of F1 and we've looked at circuits so I thought it's time to look at the top 10 men who have changed the face of F1. This list is just my thoughts to get the debate going.

10) Jaun Fangio - The driver that for decades was the yardstick by which others were judged. Sure he moved to the best car each time to ensure he had the best chance of winning but he still took 5 world titles. That, until the arrival of a certain MS, was a target that seemed almost impossible to beat.

9) Ross Brawn - The man who was a great part of Michael Schumachers success and for whom the word "tactics" is a byword. Before Ross, racecraft wasn't really talked about but afterwards it was accepted that without the right tactical brains in the pits the driver was always going to be on the back foot. He's now producing some great results with the former Honda team which says a lot about his tallent in itself.

8) Adrian Newey - In modern F1 where the design of a car takes place among a large group of individuals and their computers the days of the individual designer heading a small design staff are long gone. Maybe the last man still in F1 to have worked like that is Adrian Newey. Producing the near winning March design before going on to produce world beaters with Williams and then Mclaren is a brilliant CV in itself however he now has a winning car with RBR. There aren't many deisgners to have designed winning cars with 3 different teams.

7) Gordon Murray - One place above Newey and perhaps one generation (in design terms) before him was the incomparable Gordon Murray. In a career that spanned two teams, Brabham and Mclaren, he designed race and championship winning cars that were both original and fast. As the man responsible for the Mclaren MP4/4 which won 15 out of the 16 races it entered he perhaps designed the ultimate F1 car.

6) Ron Dennis - The first of a new generation of Team Managers whose corperate background was as strong as his racing background. At first ran Mclaren in company with Teddy Meyer before taking over totally and turning the team into the giant it is today. With Lauda, Prost, Senna and later with Alonso and Hamilton, Mclaren have always had to juggle manageing their star "egos" with winning races but for the past 30 years it's never been too much of a problem. The team lost it's way a couple of times but with Ron at the helm they have always managed to come back. It's a shame that Ron had to retire with the after effects of SpyGate still ringing in his ears has tended to overshadow his effect on F1.

5) Colin Chapman. - Maybe the last team owner and designer, Colin Chapman and Lotus were at the forefront of motoracing for 20 years. The team was the first to reach 50 race wins and produced some of the most outstanding cars of a generation. Possibley the greatest F1 car of all the Lotus 72 was so advanced for its time that it was used over 5 seasons and was winning races for 4 years. Chapmans influence on F1 faded as the 70s went on and the cars that gave Lotus it's last real success during his life time (the type 78 and type 79) were not so much a Chapman design as they were his team at Hethal. By the early 80s he had almost walked away from F1 and was heavily involved in the Delorean scandel which, had he not sadly passed away in 1982, would have surely come back to haunt him in later life. That said his designs paved the way for all modern F1 cars today.

4) Michael Schumacher - 7 titles should say it all. Not many drivers can claim to be so far ahead of the opposition that they have rules changed and scoring systems altered in order to make the competition closer. Yes Schumacher set new levels of skill and results but he also showed a darker side to F1 that perhaps only Senna could match in terms of win at all costs attitudes. It is doubtful that F1 will ever see a combination of team and driver that will ever dominate as much as Schumacher and Ferrari and in truth this is a good thing.

3) Enzo Ferrari - He wasn't a designer or a racer and he never attended Grand Prix so why is Enzo placed at number 3? Well without Enzo there would be no Ferrari. He stepped down as managing director of the team in 1971 but retained a great deal of influence in the way the F1 side was run. Nigel Mansell proudly boasts that he was the last driver selected to drive for Ferrari by the man himself. The myth that has grown around the scarlet cars is directly down to Enzo. The fact that the team reamained huge throughout a 20 year period where they didn't win a championship is down to its reputation. Everybody knows what Ferrari is and what they stand for.

2) Max Mosley - Max, the M in the March name is one of the most controversial figures in F1. After turning his back on team ownership he became FOCAs lawyer and Bernie Ecclestones sidekick in the FISA/FOCA war. His influence grew and culminated with his winning of the FIA presidency in 1991. Like him or loath him he has presided over the growth of the sport from a bunch of garage mechanics into a multi-million pound buisness. If there is one achievement that all fans should embrace it is the development of safety in the sport that was long overdue. Yes he has been president for too long but his legacy will remain.

1) Bernie Ecclestone - Could it have been anyone else? Like Max before him he is responsible for the development and growth of F1 into a Multi-million pound buisness and in turn, and as he's often keen to point out, he has made the team owners, very weatlhy men as well. He was the first man to recognise that the teams had more power when they work together. After reaching a truce in the FISA/FOCA war the only way for Bernie to go was up. Since then if anything needs to be done in the sport its a case of "Ask Bernie". It often goes un-reported but many teams owe their very survival to Bernies deep pockets. Teams such as Jordan and Minardi only managed to keep racing thanks to a quick loan from Bernie. Perhaps he has too much control of the sport and it's difficult to see where it will go after he eventually stands down. The power vaccum that he will leave behind will be a huge danger to the way the sport is run. Perhaps it's time he looked at arranging an orderly handover to prevent the breakup of the sport. The fact remains however, that no one has changed the face of F1 as much as Bernie Ecclestone.

Any thoughts????
I read the title and thought of a list and thought I was really clever, then I read your post :(

May I humbly add (for better or worse and in no particular order)

Jean-Marie Balestre - Because without him we wouldn't have modern formula one

Bruce McLaren - obvious

Ayrton Senna - on the list because of his driving genius but his untimely death meant that a lot more drivers are alive today

Hermann Tilke - if anyone has changed modern F1 it's him

Sir Francis Owen Garbatt Williams - nuff said
I read the title and thought of a list and thought I was really clever, then I read your post

Sorry Spesh, :embarrassed:

I thought I would post my thoughts to get some debate going. Publish your list.
This sort of debate is always going to split opinions.

For example you could include Alain Prost, perhaps the most complete driver F1 has ever seen. A man who went head to head with the very best of his era and either was their equal or beat them (a claim Michael Schumacher, for all his brilliance, can never make)

John Barnard, the man who brought many advances to F1 including carbon fibre monocoques and semi-automatic gears; both of which still have a huge impact today.

Sid Watkins, where would F1 safety be without him?

If you are going to include Frank Williams then Patrick Head has to be there with him.

Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth - for obvious reasons...

Jim Clark - outside of my era but from what I have read and seen his impact on F1 was astounding.

The marketing manager of the Gold Leaf brand in 1968

Gerard Larousse - the man who talked Renault into making a turbo charged F1 car and changed the face of the sport for a decade.
Good shout about Sid Watkins.

As I said at the top, It put up the original list to provoke a bit of thought and debate but that dosn't mean it is definative in any way.

FB, I thought about Jim Clark and Alain Prost but while they were superb drivers and two of the greatest ever I don't think they changed F1. The impact that they both had was purely in terms of sporting brilliance. Neither could claim to have whole rules changed in order to make the racing more competative which Schumacher can. Now I'm not saying that Schuey was better than Prost or Clark and you make a very good point about team mates but I think Schuey had a greater impact and left a greater mark on the sport than Clark or Prost. (now that's cause for debate in itself!!!)
C_a_T in "not supporting the Lotus driver shocker!" ;)

Hmmmmm Ken Tyrrell for getting more than 4 wheels banned? (that's a bit rubbish that one)
If it weren't for Sir Jackie Stewart's safety campaigning in the early 1970s Sid Watkins might never have got involved in the sport. Certainly the number of serious injuries and fatalities was reduced as a direct result of Stewart's actions.

He's done plenty more for Formula One as well, of course.
GordonMurray said:
If it weren't for Sir Jackie Stewart's safety campaigning in the early 1970s Sid Watkins might never have got involved in the sport. Certainly the number of serious injuries and fatalities was reduced as a direct result of Stewart's actions.

He's done plenty more for Formula One as well, of course.

The introduction of tartan as a paint scheme?
LOL That red mac just looks wrong in every way.

As far as names go I think we have so many now that it would be worth listing them and then maybe putting them into a poll to find the top ten. Then we can debate the order of the 10 from there.

So here are our nominations so far.

1) Jaun Fangio
2) Adrian Newey
3) Gordon Murray
4) Colin Chapman
5) Enzo Ferrari
6) Max Mosley
7) Bernie Ecclestone
8) Michael Schumacher
9) Jack Brabham
10) Ross Brawn
11) Jean-Marie Balestre
12) Bruce McLaren
13) Ayrton Senna
14) Hermann Tilke
15) Sir Francis Owen Garbatt Williams
16) Alain Prost
17) John Barnard
18) Sid Watkins
19) Jim Clark
20) Patrick Head
21) Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth
22) marketing manager of the Gold Leaf brand in 1968
23) Gerard Larousse
24) Ken Tyrell
25) Sir Jackie Stewart
26) Roland Ratzenburger
27) Lewis Hamilton

I think the poll is limited to 26 options but I'm not certain.

We may have to have a pre-qualifying LOL
cider_and_toast said:
I think the poll is limited to 26 options but I'm not certain.
I've just upped it to 30 and it can be increased again if necessary :thumbsup:

I would have done it sooner but the laptop doesn't work in the pool :D
I'm going to say Roland Ratzenburger for political reasons regarding the Senna death. Its not any less of a loss because he's not the three time World Champion y'know?
It's interesting and perhaps indicative of the sport that the most recent members of the list are Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn.

Has there really been no-one who has appeared in the last 10-15 years that hasn't had an impact on F1?
I don't think there has...
To be honest Bro, The only person I can think of that fits that criteria is Lewis because of his background. Who would have thought that the ugly spector of racism would effect F1? It's a sad way to have an impact on a sport but on the bright side Lewis is a role model for a whole new generation of motorsport fans.

As for any others, There may be some people in F1 in the last few years that will go on to have a greater impact but there effect on the sport hasn't been measured yet. If Todt wins the FIA election or for that matter Ari does and we rehold this debate in 10 years time then I'm sure their names would be on the list.
I've now added a poll to this thread.

In the event of a tie (which I know there will be!!!) those with the least votes will be removed from the running and I will start a new thread with those remaining, to run off for the final ten (If that makes sense)

I have allowed for re-voting so you can change your mind.

The Poll will run for the next 8 days. I hope everyone takes part so that we can get a good reflection of the thoughts of the site.

C_A_T :goodday:
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