Introduction: An approach
I’ve spent quite a bit of time considering this because when I began to think about the content of this article I found myself strangely sanguine and with a neutral attitude, open mind and blank piece of paper. I have no agenda to say Fangio is great, Schumacher had it easy, Vettel is too young – and even as I write this introduction I do not know the conclusions that will ensue.
Usually, as a writer you pen your introduction last because its like a movie trailer for what is coming, and when you begin to write you’re not sure exactly what you will end up with. So this is an interesting experiment for me to have written an open-minded introduction now and in 5-7 days time when this piece is finished and published I will have formed some definite opinions.
Those 2 para’s were written 2 days ago and now I think I’m going to publish a series of consultation documents maybe 2 or 3 parts, because I would like this article to be co-written by thejudge13 readers. A collaborative work that carries therefore great breadth of source and as such has more persuasive force. You’ve heard how the camel came into being? A committee attempting to design a horse. So I will have final editorial privileges.
What is greatness in a wider sense
One element of greatness should be the ability to influence. There’s an article on Wikipedia called ‘The 100’ and it summarises the findings of a fairly famous book written in 1978 called The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Michael H Hart.
The top 10 are Mohammed, Isaac Newtin, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Confucius, the Apostle Paul, Cai Lun (invented paper), Johannes Gutenberg (invented printing press) Christopher Columbus, Alber Einstein. Okay so no F1 drivers there then.
These people all had influence in the moment and influence beyond their time – which then shaped the course of human history. I’m not sure we’ll find an F1 driver who shaped the course of human history, but I believe to be considered great anyone should have maybe influence in the moment but certainly influence beyond the time of the F1 driver’s racing career.
I think we should allow projected views of current drivers influences if we need to not to exclude certain favourites people may have today – but the measure of influence I believe is important.
The list of above people are mostly 1 of a kind – in that I mean only 1 inventor of paper etc… In sport the ‘greatest ever’ debates have rage for years and of course the competitors are usually from the same sport.
Many great athletes are legendary for the brutal discipline of their practice routines. In basketball, Michael Jordan practiced intensely beyond the already punishing team practices. (Had Jordan possessed some mammoth natural gift specifically for basketball, it seems unlikely he’d have been cut from his high school team.)
Tiger Woods is a textbook example of what the research shows. Because his father introduced him to golf at an extremely early age – 18 months – and encouraged him to practice intensively, Woods had racked up at least 15 years of practice by the time he became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, at age 18. Also in line with the findings, he has never stopped trying to improve, devoting many hours a day to conditioning and practice, even remaking his swing twice because that’s what it took to get even better.
The evidence, scientific as well as anecdotal, seems overwhelmingly in favor of deliberate practice as the source of great performance. Just one problem: How do you practice business? Many elements of business, in fact, are directly practicable. Presenting, negotiating, delivering evaluations, deciphering financial statements – you can practice them all.
Over to you
I was going to continue but I think we should try together to develop the interpretive grid for greatness, specifically sporting greatness in a defined field – eventually the defined the field of F1.
You may agree with my above or not. If I’m wrong no worries – its a starter to get the discussion going
I know many of you will have drivers you wish to promote, but let’s try and do this bottom up. So for now comments including driver names at this time will not be considered.
What are the characteristics you feel are important to define sporting, even F1 greatness. we’ll then develop things further once we have some consensus on the criterea.