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Who Is The Best Formula 1 Driver? An Economic Approach to Evaluating Talent


  • Reiner Eichenberger

    () (Department of Economics, University Freiburg, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland)

  • David Stadelmann

    (Department of Economics, University Freiburg, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland)


Who is the best formula 1 driver? Until today it was impossible to answer this question because the observable performance of a driver depends both on his talent and the quality of his cars. In this paper, we for the first time separate driver talent from car quality by econometrically analyzing data covering 57 years of Formula 1 racing. Our estimates also control for the number of drivers finishing, technical breakdowns and many other variables that influence race results. While Michael Schumacher is often believed to be the best driver, he is overtaken by Juan Manuel Fangio and Jim Clark.

Suggested Citation

  • Reiner Eichenberger & David Stadelmann, 2009. "Who Is The Best Formula 1 Driver? An Economic Approach to Evaluating Talent," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 389-406, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecanpo:v39:y:2009:i:3:p:389-406

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    Cited by:

    1. Enrietti, Aldo & Geuna, Aldo & Nava, Consuelo R. & Patrucco, Pier Paolo, 2019. "The birth and development of the Italian automotive industry (1894-2015) and the Turin car cluster," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201909, University of Turin.
    2. Bell Andrew & Smith James & Sabel Clive E. & Jones Kelvyn, 2016. "Formula for success: Multilevel modelling of Formula One Driver and Constructor performance, 1950–2014," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 99-112, June.
    3. Mourao, Paulo Reis, 2018. "Surviving in the shadows—An economic and empirical discussion about the survival of the non-winning F1 drivers," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 54-68.

    More about this item


    Sports Economics; Evaluating Talent; Superstars; Formula 1 Racing;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • L80 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - General
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General


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