Thursday, 25 August 2011

Quotes From Schumi's F1 Debut

20 years ago the seven time World Champion started his Formula One career at the Belgian GP. It's fascinating to take a look at some of the reactions at how special a driver this unknown German was appearing to be.

At the Jordan Silverstone test when Schumacher first drove a Formula One car.

After Schumacher goes out the first time in a Formula 1 car, lapping at an incredible speed, team manager Trevor Foster calls him in and says to marketing director Ian Philips "We must slow the guy. See that you get Eddie on the phone and tell him that we have a madman or a superstar in your car"

Eddie Jordan being phoned with team manager Trevor Foster stating "I'm not sure what's going on. Did they alter the track this morning? His times are ridiculously fast."

Eddie Jordan further elaborating on the team talking to him on the phone. Jordan team: "The guy is a rocket" with Eddie responding "Check it out with Silverstone Syd(Syd Herbert). Maybe you have made a mistake in the route."

"Everything in order" comes back in reply. "There was a narrow section of the course, called 'The Loop'. John Watson was unbeatable there. Schumacher has in that sector immediately set a new fastest time."

Gary Anderson: "He only did about 20 laps, but his fastest lap was as good as we'd ever done at that circuit,"

Schumacher on his Silverstone test "I have a feeling I was not even on the limit"

At the Belgian Grand Prix

Team mate Andrea de Cesaris: "I said to my engineer: 'This guy's got guts'. I realised straight away that he wasn't just some newcomer, this guy could really drive. Now it's easy to say that he was really bloody quick, but Spa is no picnic. It's one of the toughest tracks, very quick, long and extremely challenging.

"In short, it's unforgiving and I expected the rookie to struggle there. I'd never met him before we arrived at the circuit. Straight away he was as quick as me. My engineer, Gary Anderson, came to me and said: 'Look, Michael is taking Blanchimont flat and you're not. You have to take this corner flat'. For me it was a very demanding weekend!"

Trevor Foster: "Michael, in the sessions, was never out of the top eight. I pulled him in at one point to ask him 'Are you sure you're not going over the limit?' His tone was just so calm: 'It's OK, don't worry, I'm on the limit but I'm not over it'. He was totally relaxed and took everything in his stride."

Talking about the post qualifying debrief to ESPN, Foster: "Andrea went into great detail about how, when he entered Blanchimont, the rear of the car would get very nervous, and there was a bump there where they'd resurfaced it. It would make the car unstable, which is why he wasn't able to take it flat.

"Andrea gave this long and detailed explanation, and at the end I asked Michael 'Is it the same for you?' Michael said: 'Well, it was for the first three laps but after that I just took it flat. If you keep your foot planted it stabilizes the car and away you go'."

Eddie Jordan "Michael went into the fourth row. The first time in Spa. It was incredible"

Unfortunately it all ended with Schmacher in the first lap because of a clutch failure. With his slower team mate as high as 2nd in the race it is highly possible Schmacher could have won his debut race but for the clutch. To make matters worse for Eddie Jordan, Schmacher was immediately snapped up by Benetton with him sending Jordan a hand written fax.

'Dear Eddie,
I'm sorry but I am unable to take up your offer of a drive.
Yours sincerely,

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