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Senna and Ferrari or Schumacher

Discussion in 'F1' started by klfpaul, Jan 16, 2004.

  1. klfpaul

    klfpaul Karting

    Apr 7, 2003
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    What's your opinion of this?

    http://forums.atlasf1.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=65318

    Do you think Ferrari would have done any better or won a WC sooner?

    I am a Senna fan first and foremost, but I am not so sure that it would have happened, even with Senna. I mean the Ferrari's of that generation were terribly unreliable, iirc. Although, Prost almost won a WC with them in 91...

    -Kevin
     
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  3. Mule

    Mule F1 Rookie
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    I don't know how "secret" this was, since I have read about it in a few books.

    But I think Ferrari would have improved a bit with him. Though argued, it takes a car and driver to win. Ferrari lost a lot of races with Prost, Berger, Patrese, Lauda, Villeneve and others because the car was lacking. Also, internal politics hurt the team when they could have been winning. Hard to say how Enzo and Senna would have gotten along over time.
     
  4. joopjoldersma

    joopjoldersma Formula Junior

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    It would have been interesting. But sadly enough ....... .
    This is the second time something like this happened (remember Sterling Moss).

    Joop
     
  5. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    As great as Schumacher is, it wasn't just him who moved Ferrari forward on the grid. It was the fact, that he brought his Benetton team with him. Brawn and Todt (sheesh I hate admitting this) were a substantial factor in the turn around as well. And probably others we haven't even heard of.

    Senna by himself couldn't have done it, nor could Schumi. Heck, Prost wasn't able to do it. Although he came close.
     
  6. joeyy

    joeyy Karting

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    Senna might have one a WC because he was one of the most demanding drivers ever. if he saw something in the team was lacking he would have forced a change. also think of how great a driver he was, remember how bad the maclaren was after he left, he willed that car (which was a piece of junk) to the 2nd and 3rd places he got. one year later Mika couldn't get it on the grid!!
     
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  8. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    You have a point there. Senna did a lot of things with pure will and talent. Almost beating Prost around Monaco in a Toleman, to name one.
     
  9. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    Todt solved the Italian political BS that kept Ferrari impotent. They always were up there in the top 4, but you need perfect harmony within the team to get that extra bit to make a champion.

    The Barnard '91 car was a good car but would have been better if they had listened to Prost. One has to give credit to Prost for taking Ferrari that close considering:

    1. Barnard refused to work in Italy and thus forced Ferrari to create a design shop in England, while the engine was made in Italy. This removed one of the biggest advantages Ferrari had, ie. they all worked together and should have been able to build more integrated cars.

    2. Prost was driving with the new paddle gearshift that would have taken some learning and caused a few DNF's ...

    3. Ferrari STILL did not take the first few races of the year seriously and did not start their act until the European season ... by then the championship lead to McLaren or Williams was huge!

    4. Prost did not like the car on bumpy tracks and tried to get Ferrari to address this issue. Thus again give credit to Prost for being able to drive around this problem. What he did wrong (but I can simpathise) is after being frustrated that Ferrari would not do anything, he went to the press, hoping that they would be forced to do something about it ... er, it backfired, and amazingly they sacked the best driver they had had since Schecter! Idiot Italians!

    Todt as part of his working on the politics hired MS and his band of merry men from Benetton. The most important part of the equation is that Todt and very much MS are BIG team players ... you never hear MS bag the car of team (even when it blew up on the warm up lap) ... this has built a very strong team where everybody gives 150%.

    JV and Ralph could learn from MS ... but they are both too stupid!

    I do not think Senna would have been as instrumental as MS. Why?

    If I remember rightly they went after Senna and Prost, and got Prost. Senna would have been able to do what Prost did but he would not have solved the political BS like Prost was unable to do. Why?, because Senna very much needed Ron Dennis and the perfect McLaren team around him. Ron Dennis is very, very good at playing games with his drivers and Senna would have needed a lot of ego massaging. That one of the reasons Senna never looked right at Williams. Frank Williams does not believe in that BS, and thus tells a driver how it is, and lets them faulter around by themselves. You need to be an extremely strong minded person to race a Williams, and while Senna had enormous self belief, when the Williams was not working Frank would not have been supportive and listened and kept Senna unpaniced ... Ron would have!

    Look at what Ron did with Mika. Mika was always extremely fast but hardly a racing driver. Ron worked and worked (why I could never understand, but he must have seen something in Mika's early career that I couldn't ... or he gave great BJs :)) with Mika and taught him how to get through the first corner, etc. and we ended up with a driver that on his day could take it to MS and beat him. Mika in any other team would not have survived and would have left like Frentzen.

    I think Todt is like Ron ... but I also do not think MS needs any emotional support, but Rubens needs it constantly ... way to much work for the team and why he will never, ever be WC. Stewart has talked about RB and how he is a great driver that needs a push ... sorry that should come from within IMO.

    Pete
     
  10. FLATOUTRACING

    FLATOUTRACING F1 Rookie

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    I agree with Pete. I am a Senna fanatic (my son is named after him) but I don't think he could have gotten them a championship. At this stage he was already in his mid 30's and although he was still considered the best in the world in the early 90's, by the mid 90's to late 90's one has to wonder if he could still perform on that level.

    Look at people like Lauda, Mansell, and Piquet. Granted none of them were Senna but all were great drivers/racers who lost a step due to age.

    Lastly, I don't think Senna could have garnered the same commitment from the crew the way Michael has. Michael, more than any other driver of the modern era, has a special relationship with his crew from the test drivers down to the last team member. You can see it when he is on the victory podium smiling at his team members and pointing to them.

    Senna was a very cold person, especially when things were not going his way and I don't think he could have rallied the troops the way Michael has done.

    It's easy to forget how hard the first title was for MS and Ferrari. It took them 5 seasons and a lot of hard work and failures.

    I doubt Senna would have stayed that long nor do I think he would have had a positive impact on the team when things were not going as well.

    Also, one must look at how each person (Senna and MS) would view himself within the team. At the juncture in question (1993) Senna was a three time World Champion who had utterly dominated F1. He was used to the best machinery (though not in 93 and 94), the best mechanics, designers, and so on. He wasn't at that stage where I think he wanted to build up the team.

    MS, although a two time champion, was still not a totally dominant driver having only been in F1 a few years by 95. He was young and eager to learn and make his mark in F1 history.

    MS brought with him a huge contingent of his Benneton F1 titles. Senna would have had a hard time getting the top people to leave McLaren many of whom had been with the team for many years (Newey, Ramirez, etc..)

    I think Senna would have been done with Ferrari and F1 before they would have won a title.

    I always regreted that Senna didn't drive for Ferrari since I never liked McLaren but in hindsight had he driven for Ferrari any time during his career it would likely have had a negative impact on his titles, points, and wins.

    Regards,

    Jon P. Kofod
    www.flatoutracing.net
     
  11. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Pete and Jon, I think you guys are both spot on in your comments. With one exception: Senna might still be with us if he had NOT gone to Williams. They hid that one fast, but I still believe sloppy workmanship at Williams caused the steering column to collapse and cause his death.

    Anyway, I especially liked Pete's comments on Mika. I think you got that one well covered. To me it is hard to understand how a F1 WC driver needs over 100 GPs to get started. Look at MS, fast from the get go, put that Jordan right onto the grid of Spa in his first attempt.
     
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  13. Aircon

    Aircon Eight Time F1 World Champ
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  14. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    I have read many times that a suspension component punctured the helmet and that was what actually killed him. I think I can even remember the pictures when it all happened.

    Anyway I do not see any benefit discussing this over and over again, as we never know the actual cause of Senna loosing control, just like the never did with Jim Clark. Saying that I do not think personally that the steering column broke, I think Senna just lost it, maybe due to cold tyres ... I don't know, but even the best loose it every now and then.

    Pete
     
  15. Aircon

    Aircon Eight Time F1 World Champ
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    There was a detailed documentary about it on foxtel recently Pete. Many detailed camera angles and in car data logs showed the whole thing and left no doubt about the whole thing.
     
  16. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Not to be too cavalier, but would that be the same Fox TV channel that claims we never went to the moon?

    When I watched the race and read the articles thereafter (some of which I kept) it sure was always the same cause of death: Helmet punctured by the right front suspension.

    I also don't buy the cold tires theory. They've been going at it for already a few laps, those tires were warm by then. The breaking of the column seems to be the most likely cause, even Matchett hints at it in his book. Senna wouldn't just loose it in Tamburello, to simple a turn for him. And definitely not without even trying to correct the car's handling. He went straight, remember. He was a passenger as was Schumacher in 99.

    The Italian authorities were on the right track. Of course you shouldn't take a race team to court, but I think they were right in their suspicion of sloppy workmanship. Senna however knew about the changes to the column and accepted it.
     
  17. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
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    Back on topic, and off the accident tangent...

    I think you guys hit it pretty dead on: Senna is a great driver, but he wouldn't have brought a championship to Ferrari. He switched teams and honestly, wasn't big into team building. A few words that pretty much sums up his attitude is: "But... I am Senna." And that was said more than a few times. I really admire the guy to death and I'm quite a big fan, but Ferrari wouldn't be ready for him. Maybe now they would be - but that is post-team building and seeking expertise outside of Italy.

    One other tidbit of information on the Ferrari F1 teams - before Schumi came in and expertise was being found outside of Italy, to work in the F1 team as a factory worker, you just needed to sign up. You didn't need to be an 'expert' at suspension components to work on the crew, you just had to sign up. Strange, but that's how it was.
     
  18. Aircon

    Aircon Eight Time F1 World Champ
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    Believe what you like, but the data showed that the steering column clearly didn't break and that not only did senna move the steering wheel a little, there was resistence typical to the amount that would be expected. IF it had been broken, he'd have been able to spin it with no resistance. Also the in car video showed that he put in very little turn on the wheel. There was also footage from external sources showing that the bottom of the car was clearly sliding along the road...still not up to normal ride height...add a few bumps, and whoosh...off you go.
     
  19. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    That makes no sense to me. Why would Senna just sit there and not try and steer ... ?

    Pete
     
  20. Aircon

    Aircon Eight Time F1 World Champ
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    That's not what i said!! geezus. you guys just get an idea in your head and run with it, don't you? Of course he STEERED...but there was the usual SMALL input that you would expect. He wasn't sawing back and forth or swirling the wheel around. He was still "driving" if you know what I mean. The data logger showed how much input he put into the steering wheel and the FORCE required to do it...all of which was normal. Obviously, if the shaft broke he'd have turned the wheel MORE and there would have been NO resistance. Sorry...that's as well as I can explain it. It may not be great english, but it IS english.

    duh "why would Senna just sit there and not try to steer" indeed! *sigh*
     
  21. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Not to berate this too much, but it wasn't just us guys who got this idea. Pretty much everything I heard, read and saw about the accident points towards the broken column. And I have read a lot about it. To me this was about as important as the killing of JFK and just about as mysterious.

    Senna had only fractions to do something about it: From the turn in point at which he would felt the car to turn to the moment of impact it was what, maybe a second or two? So I wouldn't expect him to move much about that steering wheel anyway.

    However I am interested in that report, especially since I've never seen the in camera footage (maybe I haven't seen all that much after all...). Did this report ever come out on tape?
     
  22. Aircon

    Aircon Eight Time F1 World Champ
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    You are absolutely correct that the story everyone was told was that the steering column broke and that a part of the suspension went through his helmet. That's what was so fascinating about this documentary...it showed all the data and camera angles proving without doubt what really happened. I only found it by accident on television and don't remember the channel or the name of the programme now. It was a few months ago.
     
  23. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    :D ... okay I think my point has been lost a little. When you are in a car screeming at a wall you try and avoid that wall. Thus I would have expected HUGE steering wheel input as someone of Sennas skill tried to spin the car, etc. to make the impact more 'safe'. While Senna did not have much time, he is a professional racing driver and thus should not have panicked and just sat there ... even when I have had track accidents I have always worked hard to minimalised the damage to the car ...

    Anyway the data logger stated that everything was normal, so guess he did not try and avoid the wall ... and thus it all happened too fast even for Senna :(

    Note: I have never really believed the steering column breaking theory and always thought it was just a loose ... maybe due to cold tires, maybe due to the inherently inbalance problem that Williams had with that car ... add to that the pressure Senna was under to get some points on the board.

    Accidents happen and many of the fanatics have trouble believing that Senna lost control of the car ... one only has to go back to the race previously where he spun to be reminded that while he was a brilliant racing driver he also ocassional looses control just like ALL racing drivers that are pushing the limit.

    Pete
     
  24. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    He did struggle that short season and I would never doubt that he couldn't make a simple racing mistake. But a) Tamburello was really simple to drive and b) there is no reaction coming from him whatsoever.

    I agree he would have tried to get a sideways impact, but that wasn't possible. And since it doesn't look as if the car was airborne, but still had contact, I can only imagine a broken steering colum. And from what I read the team worked on that column very recently.
     

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