Former F1 driver and triple World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart believes the fundamental concept of a good driver and a good car hasn’t changed in the past 70 years of F1. Stewart thinks that the primary concept of driving a race car is the same, irrespective of the era. The Brit believes there is no difference between Lewis Hamilton and Ayrton Senna in that regard.
The winning “formula” in Formula one, ultimately comes down to a combination of two factors. A talented racer driving for a competitive team. It’s a combination that isn’t the easiest to discover but can produce some extraordinary results when paired together. Some fans often write off Lewis Hamilton’s dominance in the sport as a result of an amazing car. That is true to a certain extent but one must also factor in that Mercedes is what it is today because of Hamilton.
Senna and Hamilton are undoubtedly one of the greatest drivers in the sport. However, it’s impossible to compare the two due to the monumental gap in a generation. Senna was part of an era that would seem almost obsolete in today’s day and age of modern F1. Over time the challenges have changed but the underlying principle has stayed the same.
A hardcore racer pushing his car to the absolute limit. This is what F1 was, is, and will always be about. The fundamental principle of the sport is unchanged in its 70 years of existence. When asked about this, Stewart replied affirmatively. Speaking to the F1 Nation podcast, Jackie said:
“I think it’s exactly the same, I don’t think there’s any difference from Lewis Hamilton to the days of Senna and before that the Jim Clark’s and the Fangios”
“The same animals existed”
The “ultimate F1 GOAT” debate is one that cannot be settled. Every era of the sport had a different icon and different driver who made F1 a spectacle at the time. Trying to pinpoint differences between F1 drivers of two completely different eras and generations is a fool’s errand at best. The only commonality between all great drivers in F1 is the hunger and ability to push like everything’s on the line.