Senna v Scooby: How F1 drivers voted for their Race Car of the Century

We asked the F1 grid to choose their favourite with some surprising results

Jayson Fong

In the end it came down to a two-car race between cult heroes. In the red corner was the car many regard as the ultimate expression of 1980s simplicity and grace. In the blue corner an exhaust-popping 1990s off-road bruiser – with gold wheels. And ultimately it was the McLaren MP4/4 that pipped the Subaru Impreza into second-place in our poll of F1 drivers, asking them to choose their favourite car from our shortlist.

You’ll find the breakdown of who went for what overleaf. But the fact that the 1988 McLaren MP4/4 in which Ayrton Senna won his first title claimed a majority (eight out of the 18 drivers who responded) proves that 30 years on from his death Senna’s deification resonates with Gen Z as much as it does with preceding millennials.

That the Subaru Impreza WRC came second with five of the votes initially seemed flabbergasting. Until you remember that it was the car that made Colin McRae a video-game hero among this most sim-savvy cohort of drivers. Although one had a very good reason of his own: his dad scored World Rally wins in a Scooby!

There was a surprising and refreshing lack of on-brand loyalty (although one Ferrari driver stuck to the script and opted for the 166). And as for the current world champion, surely he chose the Red Bull. Nope! Instead, he turned to the weapon in which his ally Dr Marko scorched to Le Mans glory in 1971.

As for the two outliers who chose the 1930s Merc and 1950s Jag, well, we’ve all known car nuts who are old before their time. But wait, was one currying favour with his engine supplier? Such a cynical thought!

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Max Verstappen smile

Max Verstappen 
Porsche 917 

Valtteri Bottas headshot

Valtteri Bottas 
McLaren MP4/4 

Lando Norris Headshot

Lando Norris
Subaru Impreza WRC

George Russell headshot

George Russell
McLaren MP4/4 

Alex-Albon headshot

Alex Albon
Subaru Impreza WRC

Charles Leclerc headshot

Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 166 MM

Daniel Ricciardo headshot

Daniel Ricciardo 
Subaru Impreza WRC

Pierre Gasly headshot

Pierre Gasly
McLaren MP4/4 

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso
McLaren MP4/4 

Lance Stroll headshot

Lance Stroll 
McLaren MP4/4 

Kevin Magnussen headshot

Kevin Magnussen
McLaren MP4/4 

Carlos Sainz headshot

Carlos Sainz
Subaru Impreza WRC

Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda
Jaguar D-type

Zhou Guanyu headshot

Zhou Guanyu
McLaren MP4/4 

Nico Hulkenberg headshot

Nico Hülkenberg
McLaren MP4/4

Esteban Ocon headshot

Esteban Ocon 
Subaru Impreza WRC

Oscar Piastri headshot

Oscar Piastri 
Red Bull RB9

Logan Sargeant headshot

Logan Sargeant
Mercedes-Benz W154

Standings – 2024 F1 World Championship