A calculation officially released by F1 on Tuesday (18) showed that Ayrton Senna is the fastest driver in the category in the last four decades. Through an algorithm, based mainly on the comparison of qualifying times between teammates, Amazon Web Services (AWS) in partnership with F1 Insights released a list with the Brazilian driver in the first place among 142 drivers.
Right behind Senna in the data results are Michael Schumacher with a time of 0s114 above the Brazilian and Lewis Hamilton is third on the list with 0s275 of his track idol.
“It’s important to note this pure speed is the only element of the vast driver armoury we are analysing here, to showcase the quickest drivers ever, which is very exciting,” said Rob Smedley, who is F1’s Director of Data Systems and was an engineer for Felipe Massa at Ferrari and Williams.
The list also includes drivers that make up the current F1 grid in the top 10. Max Verstappen, current F1 runner-up in 2020, is fourth on the list and monegasque Charles Leclerc is seventh and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is 10th. Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso is fifth, while Nico Rosberg, champion of the 2016 season, is close behind in sixth place. Senna’s main opponent at the peak of the Brazilian’s career, Alain Prost is 20th on the list.
The ranking also takes into account the direct comparison of quick laps between teammates, diminishing the importance of the performance of the car and the team in its time to be able to build a comparison between drivers of different generations, analyzing mainly the gross speed of each one. Differences in F1 rules and regulations have also been reduced by the Fastest Driver algorithm.
“Within the team environment this type of modelling is used to make key decisions on driver choices. As drivers are more often than not the most expensive asset of the team it is important that the selection process is as robust as possible. A process such as this therefore would be deployed by the F1 team’s strategists in order to present the most objective and evidence-based selection possible”, added Smedley.
Check the list with the top 5 and their time differences:
1. Ayrton Senna
2. Michael Schumacher + 0,114s
3. Lewis Hamilton + 0,275 s
4. Max Verstappen + 0,280 s
5. Fernando Alonso + 0,309 s