So it all comes down to this: The final match-up in our epic search to find the Most Influential Person in F1 History. Over the past 8 days we’ve been through 30 head-to-head match ups, and now we have our two finalists. And what a pair of contenders they are.

    In the red corner the man who re-wrote the record books to become statistically the most successful driver of all time. In the blue corner, the man who ran the sport for 40-odd years, shaping it into the glittering global spectacle it is today…

    How the contenders made it to the final

    Both Michael Schumacher and Bernie Ecclestone have had to battle past four opponents to make it to this stage. Both have had easy match ups where they secured the majority of fan votes, but both have also just squeaked across the line on occasion.

    Schumacher’s route to the final

    • Beat Nika Lauda, 56% to 44%
    • Beat Ayrton Senna, 52% to 48%
    • Beat Juan Manuel Fangio, 72% to 28%
    • Beat Enzo Ferrari, 54% to 46%

    Ecclestone’s route to the final

    • Beat Herman Tilke, 89 % to 11%
    • Beat Ross Brawn, 58% to 42%
    • Beat Professor Sid Watkins, 72% to 28%
    • Beat Gordon Murray, 54% to 46%

    Why they’re influential

    Michael Schumacher, Grand Prix of Japan, Suzuka, 13 October 2002. (Photo by Paul-Henri Cahier/Getty

    Michael Schumacher (Drivers seed 2)

    • Was an inspiration to millions of racers around the world – including many on the current grid

    • Re-wrote F1 record books, becoming the first driver to match Fangio’s tally of five titles, before surpassing it and ultimately winning seven

    • Pioneering fitness regime and unrivalled attention to detail in preparation – forced others to follow his lead and adopt same professional, committed approach

    • Helped build ‘sleeping giant’ Ferrari into the ultimate winning machine, winning their first title in more than 20 years and captivating a new generation of fans in Italy, Germany and around the world

    KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - MARCH 27: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone looks on in the paddock after

    Bernie Ecclestone (Game changers seed 1)

    • Combined brilliant instincts and business acumen with superb negotiating skills to bring F1 onto the global commercial stage

    • Transformed F1 from a minority interest activity to the biggest sport on the planet, by negotiating the TV deals that commercially electrified it in the ‘70s and ‘80s and by taking F1 into new markets in the 1990s and 2000s

    • Transformed the presentation and professionalism of the whole sport, making it commercially irresistible. In doing so he helped make entities like McLaren, Williams and Red Bull the giants they became

    • Helped transform safety by enlisting the services of Professor Sid Watkins in the late ‘70s, who went on to transform trackside medical support

    Who gets your vote?

    Vote now!

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    The poll will be open for 24 hours, and we’ll reveal the winner on Wednesday May 13 – the 70th anniversary of the very first F1 race at Silverstone in 1950.

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