- Michael Schumacher made his very first Ferrari test in 1995
- Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto reveals how Schumacher struggled to complete a turn on the track
- The team ended up making modifications on the track to suit the driving style of the German driver
Ferrari team manager Mattia Binotto saw how important Michael Schumacher is already to the Italian team, even as a newcomer.
Before becoming Ferrari’s most famous driver, Schumacher made his mark on Benetton. In 1996, the German icon officially joined the leading automotive and motorsport organization, but it was in 1995 that he made his first trials with the team.
In a conversation with “Beyond the gridâPodcast last month, Binotto vividly recalled how the seven-time world champion struggled on the track while present at Schumacher’s first try with Ferrari at Fiorino.
According to Binotto, the other riders at the time did well, but Schumacher just can’t seem to complete a corner in the very first corner.
In frustration, the new Ferrari star ended up asking the team to change the layout of the track.
âHe did his everything, very first test not in Estoril, but we did a few laps in Fiorano, before going to Estoril,â recounted Binotto. “The reason for doing the laps at Fiorano was primarily for the driver with the correct installation in the car, seat, steering wheel, etc.”
“I remember that very first test at Fiorano because he was not able to turn the very first corner of the track,” he continued. “So he wasn’t able to make that corner properly and he was slow around Fiorano. And then I remember after the first try he immediately asked Jean Todt, ‘the first corner has to be changed. . I don’t want to see him anymore. âAnd the layout of the track has changed since that time.
At Schumacher’s request, Binotto revealed that Ferrari must support the idea that said turn did not meet world championship standards.
“We changed the layout because the first corner was not representative of any corner in the world championship,” said the 51-year-old. “So that was the idea.”
Apparently, Ferrari didn’t make a mistake in staying loyal to Schumacher. Four years after joining the Italian Formula 1 team, âSchumiâ won five consecutive titles from 2000 to 2004 and became one of the greatest racing drivers of all time.
It was in 2020 that Mercedes finally broke Ferrari’s record with seven double world titles between 2014 and 2020 led by Schumacher’s only co-seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Some are convinced that Hamilton has already surpassed the greatness of Schumacher, including FIA President Jean Todt, who was Ferrari boss when the latter won five of his seven major titles.
“I think, and I’m sure I’ll be cited for that, the supremacy, the dominance of Mercedes and Lewis is greater than we had at the time with Ferrari and Michael,” Todt said recently. Motorsport.com.