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How we determine Autosport’s High 50 drivers of the 12 months

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The very first thing to recollect is that it isn’t who we predict the 50 finest drivers are on the planet. It’s the 50 we predict have carried out finest in a selected season, our effort to focus on the standout drivers annually. We’ve completed different articles on the best ever…

PLUS: Who is the greatest of all time?

It’s additionally price noting that there’s in all probability not a single member of the Autosport workers who agrees with the place of each driver on the record. With so many correspondents protecting dozens of sequence, there need to be some robust selections and compromises made.

The place to begin is the highest 10 driver lists for the assorted championships. Until a driver does a number of sequence (similar to Sebastien Buemi), the order of the season evaluate picks have to be maintained within the High 50, even when a few of us want to change it. So, if Scott McLaughlin is forward of Pato O’Ward within the IndyCar rating, he must be within the High 50 as properly.

That consistency wasn’t the case within the early days of our High 50, which began in 2002, however has been corrected in more moderen occasions.

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PLUS: Top 50 the first 20 years: drivers of the century

One of many largest elements is, after all, rating the assorted sequence. Formulation 1 and the World Rally Championship are comparatively simple, given their positions on the pinnacle of their branches of the game. So the highest performers there are going to be excessive on the record. However making an attempt to position, for instance, F2 towards Australian Supercars or Tremendous Formulation/Tremendous GT is quite extra difficult.

The power and competitiveness of varied championships additionally varies from season to season, so we attempt to take that under consideration. Though the main sequence sit roughly in the identical order annually, there are modifications and tweaks. It could actually by no means be an actual or fastened pyramid.

After which there’s the query of the strongest drivers inside these. Is a dominant efficiency in a ‘weaker’ championship extra worthy than a slender success in a aggressive one? There isn’t any one reply, it relies on the context of every comparability yearly.

Underneath all this are loads of different elements. Did the driving force have a automobile benefit or drawback? Had been they struck by unreliability or issues exterior their management? How did they examine to their team-mate(s)? Had been they a rookie or a veteran of the sequence? Was there a standout efficiency from a driver that turned the results of a significant race?

Photograph by: David Rosenblum / NKP / Motorsport Images

Van Gisbergen’s beautiful win on his NASCAR Cup Sequence debut offers him a lift on this 12 months’s High 50 rankings

Drivers who needed to take care of the pressures of a title battle can get ‘bonus’ factors in comparison with these performing additional again. Then again, one-off races towards regulars additionally increase drivers, similar to Shane van Gisbergen profitable on his NASCAR Cup debut at Chicago in 2023.

There additionally must be a component of ‘creative licence’. We like to ensure numerous sequence are represented. It’s certainly extra fascinating to incorporate the driving force who wins each the World Rallycross and Excessive E titles quite than the eleventh, twelfth or thirteenth finest F1 driver. There are tons of {of professional} drivers working at a excessive degree all world wide, some in sequence that fly beneath the radar, so we like to pick some much less apparent candidates when the possibilities come up.

As soon as a listing of round 60-80 names has been constructed utilizing the above standards and a draft order established, it’s despatched across the Autosport staff for suggestions. Strategies of shifting drivers round or together with different names are fairly widespread, although deciding who must be eliminated to create space is often tougher. It’s a lot simpler to appoint who you assume ought to be added than argue who ought to be taken out…

Ultimately, after suggestions has been thought-about by the core panel placing the record collectively, a closing high 50 is established. That is then solely tweaked if there are late outcomes that change issues.

There are such a lot of elements to be thought-about and unknowns that no such record can ever be definitive. What we do try is to make it as goal as doable. It’s not Autosport’s record of favorite drivers or these we’d most wish to go down the pub with

Because of the size of the method, we’ve got to start out earlier than all sequence have been accomplished. That is usually wonderful however does generally create issues. For instance, Naoki Yamamoto’s costs to each the Tremendous Formulation and Tremendous GT crowns within the COVID-hit 2020 season got here so late he missed the record altogether!

There are such a lot of elements to be thought-about and unknowns that no such record can ever be definitive. What we do try is to make it as goal as doable. It’s not Autosport’s record of favorite drivers or these we’d most wish to go down the pub with.

Briefly, we take the method of placing the record collectively severely, however the outcome ought to be considered an fascinating snapshot, giving a wide range of drivers world wide credit score for a job properly completed.

Maybe Lewis Hamilton, Sebastien Ogier and your favorite will probably be increased subsequent 12 months…

Yamamoto was unlucky with Autosport's Top 50 in 2020 when the COVID-hit season disrupted the regular process

Photograph by: Masahide Kamio

Yamamoto was unfortunate with Autosport’s High 50 in 2020 when the COVID-hit season disrupted the common course of

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