New Delhi: As the Rome was not build in a day the legends are also not made in a day. It takes a lifetime of achievements and unrelenting determination to gain that height. Legends, in any sport, are the stalwarts who are revered and looked upon for inspiration by the players as well as masses.

In motorsports too, legends are always there to instill inspiration in young drivers who dream of becoming Schumachers or Fangios one day. Lets peep into the glorious journey of the racing legends who have inspired and will keep on inspiring ….

Michael Schumacher

Active years: 1991– 2006, 2010-; Teams: Jordan-Ford, Benetton-Ford, Ferrari, Mercedes GP; Races: 285(284 starts); World titles: 7 (1994-1994, 2000-2004); Race Wins: 91; Podiums: 154; Pole positions: 68; Fastest laps: 76

The name Schumacher became the synonym for speed across languages and age group. Whenever a youngster is seen speeding on a vehicle people often says don’t try to become Schumacher and slow down.

Over the last decade if there is one name Formula One came to be associated with, it has to be Michael Schumacher. Schumacher is widely regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time. He holds many records, including most championships, race victories, fastest laps, pole positions, points scored and most races won in a single season – 13 in 2004.

In 2002 he became the only driver in F1 history to finish in the top three in every race of a season and then also broke the record for most consecutive podium finishes. According to the official F1 website he is "statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen".

In 2000 he became Ferrari's first F1 champion in 21 years. Living life on the edge, he has often been accused of overstepping the mark with much talked about run-ins with Damon Hill in 1994 and Jacques Villeneuve in 1997.

Fernando Alonso

Active years: 2001–To date; Teams: Minardi, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari; Races: 175(174 starts); World titles: 2 (2005-2006); Race Wins: 27; Podiums: 71; Pole positions: 20; Fastest laps: 19

Fernando Alonso ended the five-year domination of Schumacher and Ferrari in F1 by becoming first and only Spaniard to win the world title. On September 25, 2005, he became the youngest F1 driver to win World Driver's Championship title at the age of 24 years and 58 days. After winning back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, Alonso stamped his class among the current crop of drivers.

In 2003, during his first year as full race driver for Renault, Alonso had become the youngest to grab pole in F1 at the Malaysian GP. Later in the year, he became the youngest to win a race at the Hungarian GP.

Fernando has a smooth driving style marked by the intelligence of both his technical approach and in dealing with traffic and other competitors. Talent was abundant in this Spaniard but after his average debut for Minardi in 2001, Alonso’s big break came when he was offered a test driver’s role with Renault in 2002. And the Spaniard impressed team boss Flavio Briatore with not just his talent but also his work ethic. The Spaniard drove a whopping 1642 test laps for Renault that year and next year he replaced Jenson Button as a driver in the team.

Ayrton Senna

Active years: 1984-1994; Teams: Toleman, Lotus, McLaren, Williams; Races: 162 (161 starts); World titles: 3 (1988, 1990, 1991); Wins: 41; Podiums: 80; Pole positions: 65; Fastest laps: 19

The Brazilian is widely regarded as the greatest F1 driver of all time, those who saw him driving vow that he was the greatest F1 driver the world has ever produced. Ayrton Senna, a name that symbolises everything the sport stands for was ‘The genius of F1 racing’.  Till 2006, he was the record holder for maximum number of pole positions in F1, 65, while his driving techniques in wet conditions are legendary. Senna was unbeatable if it is rains.

Senna's greatest legacy, sadly, was the fallout of his tragic death in 1994 at the San Marino GP in Imola, Italy. That race weekend saw two fatalities - Austrian Roland Ratzenberger during qualifying and Senna during the actual race. An estimated three million people lined the streets of his hometown of São Paulo to offer him their salute. After his death it was found out that he had donated around USD 400 million dollars for children's charities.

He will be remembered as a great driver and a greater person indeed.

Alain Prost:

Active years: 1980-1991, 1993; Teams: McLaren, Renault, Ferrari, Williams; Races: 202 (199 starts); World titles: 4 (1985, 1986, 1989, 1993); Wins: 51; Podiums: 106; Pole positions: 33; Fastest laps: 41

A smooth operator behind the wheels, Prost was always a calculating person. He did not believe in sheer speed and depended on his calculation to win races. His intellectual approach to racing earned him the nickname 'The Professor'.

He began a race conservatively, taking it easy on the brakes and tires and then making a late charge. He won four world titles and a world record for the maximum number of Grand Prix wins from 1987 to 2001. He participated in 200 races and won record 51 out of them. He grabbed pole position 33 times at start on the grid during his career.

His bitter rivalry with Senna captured headlines right through the years they competed against each other, first as rivals and then as teammates in McLaren in 1988 and 1989. Initially Prost thought of becoming a gym instructor or to take soccer as career. But he discovered his passion for racing with karting at the age of 14. In 1974 he left school to become a full-time racer.

Jack Brabham:

Active years: 1955-1970; Teams: Cooper, Rob Walker Racing Team and Brabham; Races: 128(126 starts); World titles: 3(1959, 1960, 1966); Wins: 14; Podiums: 31; Pole positions: 13; Fastest laps: 12

Jack Brabham holds the distinction of being the only driver to become champion in a car of his own make. He became first F1 driver to receive a knighthood. Before he signed up for F1,

Brabham was a Royal Australian Air Force flight mechanic who also ran a small engineering workshop. He started racing midget cars in 1948 and success took him to the United Kingdom to further his racing career.

At the Cooper Car racing team, he put his racing and engineering skills to full use and won the world titles in 1959 and 1960. In 1962, he established his own racing team, Brabham, with fellow Australian Ron Tauranac, which became the largest manufacturer of customer racing cars in the world in the 1960s.

Brabham is, today, the oldest surviving F1 champion and is settled in Australia where he runs a farm among other business interests.

Juan Manuel Fangio

Active years: 1950-1951, 1953-1958; Teams: Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes, Ferrari; Races: 52(51 starts); World titles: 5(1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957); Wins: 24; Podiums: 35; Pole positions: 29; Fastest laps: 23

They don’t make them like Juan Manuel Fangio anymore. The ‘master’, as he was popularly known, He dominated the first decade of Formula 1 racing winning the driver's title five times, and in the way making a record which stood for 46 years. And he won these titles with four different teams.

Racing at a time when safety was not important for the drivers’ and with almost no protective equipment, Fangio possessed some of the greatest innate driving abilities that his or any other age had seen. In 1958 he abruptly retired, saying, “It’s finished.” He passed away on July 17, 1995 at the age of 84. He is yet remembers by the Argentinians as one of their greatest sportsmen.

Jackie Stewart

Active years: 1965 – 1973; Teams: BRM, Tyrrell; Races: 100 (99 starts); World titles: 3 (1969, 1971, 1973); Race Wins: 27; Podiums: 43; Pole positions: 17; Fastest laps: 15

Sir John Young Stewart popular as as Jackie Stewart and nicknamed The Flying Scotsman. He is well known in the United States as a color commentator of racing television broadcasts. He changed the way F1 racing developed. He lived up to his reputation on the track - his greatness sealed not just by the three F1 World titles he won.

After a bad crash at Spa-Francorchamps in 1966, Stewart campaigned vocally for better safety measures like full-faced helmets for drivers and safety belts and the results of his efforts made the track a better and safer place for drivers. Safety in races is his legacy. Drivers learnt professionalism from him and he also played a spectacular role in exploiting Formula One racing's commercial potential and business. Due to his efforts and hard work fo F1, Jackie became hugely popular and became a multi-millionaire even before he retired.

Niki Lauda

Active years: (1971-1979, 1982-1985); Teams: March, BRM, Ferrari, Brabham, McLaren; Races: 177(171 starts); World titles: 3 (1975, 1977, 1984); Race Wins: 25; Podiums: 54; Pole positions: 24; Fastest laps: 24

The most courageous racing stars, Niki Lauda, bought his way into Formula One racing and very nearly paid for it with his life. Almost dead after an appalling accident, his astonishingly quick return to the cockpit was called the most courageous comeback in sporting history. After winning two championships he got bored and left the sport, only to return again and win another.

Niki took to racing against his family's wishes. At the 1976 German Grand Prix at Nurburgring, Lauda's Ferrari burst into flames and he was trapped in the wreckage. Lauda suffered severe burns to his head and inhaled toxic gases that damaged his lungs. He is never seen without a red cap which he wears to hide the scars. The 62-year-old Lauda has sold his cap for 1.2 million euros to an advertiser.

Mika Häkkinen

Active years: (1991-2001); Teams: Lotus, McLaren; Races: 165(161 starts); World titles: 2 (1998, 1999); Race Wins: 20; Podiums: 51; Pole positions: 26; Fastest laps: 25

One Finn or the Flying Finn stood between Schumacher and his all-conquering run during the second half of the 90s. Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher said Häkkinen is the man he respected the most during his F1 career.

Finland has produced countless great drivers with motorsport being more a religion than a sport in the Scandinavian country. Mika was introduced to racing while he was five, his parents hired a kart for him to race at a neighbourhood go-kart track. By 1986, Hakinnen had won five national karting championships and had already started a successful open-wheel racing career with support from the great Keke Rosberg, the original Flying Finn, who helped him get sponsors back in 1982.

(Tarun Sharda/JPN)