Michael Schumacher sits quietly in his temporary new home, a Jordan 191-Ford F1 car, at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 1991. The young Schumacher, then only 22 years old, had been driving Group C cars for Mercedes-Benz with noted success. It was with Mercedes funding that he was given the Jordan opportunity when a regular Jordan driver, Bernard Gachot, found himself in jail following a fight with a London taxi driver.
Schumacher amazed everyone at Spa when he qualified seventh with the then relatively uncompetitive Jordan, a far better result than would have been expected from Gachot and also almost a full second ahead of his far more experienced Jordan teammate Andrea de Cesaris. Schumacher’s race would last only part way around the first lap when the Jordan’s clutch failed, but he was even then on everyone’s list as a potential star talent, somewhat like the arrival of Max Verstappen in 2015.
The young German was quickly snapped up by Flavio Briatore for the Benetton family’s F1 team and appeared for Benetton at the Italian Grand Prix where he would finish fifth and ahead of his Benetton teammate, former F1 World Champion Nelson Piquet. Schumacher’s quick move from Jordan to Benetton was complicated by litigation which made no one look good, although Benetton prevailed.
This was the start of an F1 career which would result in a record seven World Championships and many other F1 driver records by the time Schumacher retired in 2012.
Photo by Nigel Snowdon – ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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