DRIVER vs CAR - which one wins the championship?

Formula One is the greatest story of synergy between a car, its driver and the team. Right from the time when the car was invented, racing and speed were thrills that possessed every individual who had ever been a fan. And the urge to push an automobile to its maximum limit is what drove a few individuals to make and drive monstrous machines blasting past at 300 kph. Formula One is all about those individuals and their cars.

But over the years, along with the technological advancement that the world raced ahead with, the sport that symbolises speed also headed down that lane. And it had to inevitably, because ‘improvisation’ and ‘speed’ are the only two lifelines of F1.

But this advancement added to the advantage of the cars. Today, F1 is known as a sport in which the winner is the one who has the best equipment rather than the driver with the most innate skill.
The billion dollar self-governed pinnacle of motorsport, Formula 1, is a sport that has been heavily influenced by high technology. But it has never undermined a driver’s skill. Because, all said and done,  to build the best piece of technology and hand it to one’s team’s control, it requires a skilled driver behind a wheel to drive it.

Translating Plato’s quote to F1 language, “the measure of a driver is what he does with a great car”
Take for instance, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel during the 2012 season. None of them had the best car on the grid, in fact, the McLaren MP4-27 was the quickest all over the world. Alonso’s season started out very well with three wins and podium finishes on several other occasions. His car wasn’t the fastest. It was possibly the slowest car Ferrari ever produced! But Fernando, his aggressive and ‘never give up’ nature combined with the skills he has acquired over the years drove him through the podium finish beating rest of the field.

Sebastian Vettel, who has been under constant comment of “being a good driver in the greatest car” showed not just what it is to be a great driver but also what makes one, a champion.
Vettel was 60-odd points adrift of Fernando before the summer break. But that didn’t throw him off track at any point in time, because only after the month of silence did he show his true potential by winning four races on the trot in Asia with utter dominance.
But his skill was shown only when he drove all the way from the back of the pack to finish third in Abu Dhabi. Sensational overtakes and classy, clean drive is what made Vettel more superior than the car he drove.

The car is merely the pen that writes a poem, but the driver is the brains or rather the creativity behind the car who writes the best poem.

Monaco is one such track that doesn’t need great equipment to win a race. It’s the ability of the driver to control the race from his cockpit (which includes not crashing into the barriers), his concentration, and alertness that will determine whether he’s a winner or not.
Albeit the driver being a vital component of a race, it’s not all about driving skills. It’s about the whole package, which includes major factors like having the right mentality, being psychologically mature and balanced, having the right support and group of people around you, and about how good the car is.

The last decade of champions won in either the best or second-best car in the field.
Vettel in RB6/7/8, Button in the Brawn1, Hamilton in the Mercedes, Raikkonen in the F2007, Alonso in the Renaults and, of course, Schumacher in the unstoppable Ferraris. So there is no denying that the car does play a major role in deciding the winner.

But there are drivers like Pastor Maldonado and Nico Rosberg last year, who drove the car flamboyantly, despite not having great equipment.
Sergio Perez also finds a place in that list. F1 is about all about driver’s skill shared with good machinery, which again falls into the hands of drivers to perform well in a small team for them to move into a good team.

 If a driver has checked both of them, he wins.


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