Michael Schumacher is The Stig (sort of)

Top Gear has ‘revealed’ the identity of its mysterious Stig on the first episode of its new series.

And who was beneath the mask of the white-suited Stig? None other than seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher appeared on the show to drive the Ferrari FXX, a track-only car based on the Ferrari Enzo which he was involved in developing.

It’s likely that Schumacher only donned the Stig’s disguise as a one-off, and the speculation about who he really is will continue. The first, black-costumed Stig was former Andrea Moda F1 driver Perry McCarthy. The current (white) Stig is believed to be played by several people.

After years of suffering through Schumacher’s grindingly tedious press conference appearances it was great to see him in an environment where he showed a bit of personality. He even got a few laughs – Clarkson asked him “who was rubbish?” of his former F1 rivals to which Schumacher replied: “Ah, you know, my English isn’t so good…”

Clarkson, of course, got a couple of jabs in, adding later: “You have a desire to win – like when I’m playing chess with my son and when he’s not looking I nick his queen. Well, it is the same as running into Damon…”

Sadly, Schumacher wasn’t available to set a lap in the ‘Reasonably-priced Car’, which might have allowed some comparison with other F1 drivers to have taken on the challenge, such as Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell and Mark Webber.

But it’s great to see Schumacher in his retirement is game for a laugh.

Update: OK he did ‘do’ a lap, but allegedly got lost…

Read more: Lewis Hamilton matches Jenson Button on Top Gear

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92 comments on Michael Schumacher is The Stig (sort of)

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  1. TommyB said on 21st June 2009, 20:55

    Great gag and it’s funny the amount of people that believe he is actually the Stig. COME ON GUYS!!

  2. Spiffy said on 21st June 2009, 20:56

    I don’t believe it for a second, but it was still a brilliant surprise. Nice one, BBC.

  3. Katy said on 21st June 2009, 20:56

    I really wasn’t expecting that. Was a great suprise :) great interview too :)

  4. TommyB said on 21st June 2009, 21:07

    Haha the lap at the end was hilarious!

  5. Tom said on 21st June 2009, 21:09

    The lap at the end was the best.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st June 2009, 22:12

      Nice one Andy!

      • Seri said on 23rd June 2009, 1:19

        Well i was disappointed in the beginning when they said who was the stig… but it is not Michael Schumache already at the test drive he was not wearing the suit properly…but apart from that my guess is ferrari didn’t want the real stig to drive the FXX and only Michael Schumache was allowed so he acted like the stig…its not the first time a company didn’t let the real stig drive a car.

        • Spud said on 24th June 2009, 20:54

          Wasn’t it heikki Kovalainen that drove the Renault F1 car round the track in less than a minute??

          That was cool!

  6. Gem said on 21st June 2009, 21:40

    why did they get MS to pretend he is the stig or is he actually ?… I didn’t think for one minute he was but then I wondered why they would pretend he is?

    • Tom Watson said on 21st June 2009, 21:52

      Think it was more to fuel speculation, he did the lap in the fxx and tg probably decided they might as well give the viewers what they want; the stigs identity, only to backtrack and start the guessing all over again.

      Another reason may be to cast doubt on the widely rumoured identity of the stig being ben Collins and at times company test drivers like Luca badoer, as many have uttered stig, Schumacher and identity in the same sentence, the best way to continue the speculation would be to say it’s Schumacher.

      • Sush Meerkat said on 21st June 2009, 22:33

        it would make sense for it to be Ben Collins, he’s always part of the “back up” team they bring for races… you know the ones with all the Touring car racers and Ben Collins for some arbutrary reason.

    • kaine said on 22nd June 2009, 1:17

      Well it is an entertanment show… she they like to joke about things… and rember its F1 last race at silverstone today… mabie that has something to do with it.

    • Michael said on 22nd June 2009, 2:27

      TG is not all intended for hardcore prtrol heads its more an entrtainmnt programe infact you culd hate cars but love tg.Ben Collins is someone i had never heard of before i researched the stig.if Ben C was the stig there wuld be a big lead up,he wuld slowly take off the helmt (building up the exitment)and it wuld be some bloke no one recodnised or heard of,instintly killing the stigs legacy.What i think happend is tg where tyng to get MS for the star in the reasnbly priced car for a long time and when they got him he brought the FFX and at the last minute they decided to pass him off as the stig.All 3 TG presenters are good friends and know each other well,surly behind the scenes they are freinds with the stig,notce how Ms sounds kinda shy in the interview as if he dosnt personaly Know Jeramey at all.

      • Mussolini's pet cat said on 22nd June 2009, 10:06

        What are you on about??? Schuey was there to do the interview and drive the FFX, that’s all…. The whole ‘stig-being-schuey’ thing was a bit of fun. BTW, Did you know that the word gullable is the only english word that doesnt rhyme with anything.

        • Adrian said on 22nd June 2009, 13:01

          Did you know that the word gullable is the only english word that doesnt rhyme with anything.

          Did you know I almost replied to point out that “Orange” doesn’t rhyme with anything either…

          D’Oh!!

        • Tiomkin said on 22nd June 2009, 15:03

          Gullible rhymes with laughable, or any word ending with ..able, ible.

          Orange has no natural rhyme.

          • Bill said on 22nd June 2009, 21:41

            um, Tiomkin, do you know what gullable means??? Clearly not mate lol!!!!!

        • Matt F said on 22nd June 2009, 18:01

          What? He never said he believed Michael Schumacher was the stig once in his comment.

          He was infact commenting on why Schumacher couldn’t possibly be the stig, and how the Top Gear boys might have convinced Schumacher to pretend to be the stig.

          Read the the comment before coming to conclusions.

          • Matt F said on 22nd June 2009, 22:05

            Wait, ignore that, i think i’ve been caught out by the order comments appear after they’ve been posted.

            I thought you were replying to ‘Michael’, whereas i’m guessing you’re replying to someone else…

            Sorry if that’s the case. :)

  7. rampante said on 21st June 2009, 21:48

    do you really think the greatest F1 driver would do a weekly programme for the BBC. He is still far too busy for that, He played into the roll and he is not as dry as you may think, remember he is German and English is not even his 2nd language. He has made many and good comments in Italian on RAI coverage over the years.

    • I wazza I said on 21st June 2009, 22:23

      rampante he did f1 which he did every week nd he gave it up so he would have time to do a weekly programme for teh bbc pluse he doesnt do it every week it is all done at once cus at start of show it showed wats going to happen in this series nd if they hadnt done it before then they wouldnt know

    • Michael said on 22nd June 2009, 2:30

      Is it just me or does Ms look like Siveen Smiths (Nourbugring woman) twin

  8. jaes said on 21st June 2009, 22:02

    should have been revealed as james may !!!!

  9. Sush Meerkat said on 21st June 2009, 22:27

    Ferrari FXX, a track-only car based on the Ferrari Enzo which he was involved in developing.

    Its actually called an Enzo Ferrari, as opposed to Ferrari Enzo. Call it a Ferrari Enzo in front of the PR guys next time your with them to see the reaction you get.

  10. Patch said on 21st June 2009, 22:36

    Comon, they had a one of a kind ferrari, and MS was a ferrari F1 driver??

    its pretty obviously a putup job

    nicely done though

  11. Donald said on 21st June 2009, 22:38

    The reason he was on the show is because it was his FXX- he was gifted one from Ferrari and his is the only black one in existance.

  12. Snige said on 21st June 2009, 22:43

    also, many celebs that have gone round the track and commentated how nice he was and patient. Not something you’d imagine Shuey to be.

    Also, hasn’t the stig already posted a time in the F1 lap times? 1:44 or something like that?

    Oh and on the Top Gear website their is a video to watch Shuey talk about the Fxx. It’s not playing atm, but underneath it says “how many laps does shuey need before knowing the Top Gear track” Erm I think is he were the stig he’d know that by now!

  13. After seeing the car being presented, knowing Schumacher worked heavily with on it with the team… I thought it was a great way to leave it at the top of the boards with a very relaxed and comical interview with the man himself.

    So was it Schumacher who drove around the track or was it the Stig? I’d like to see one lap from each driver to compare the differences, in the FXX + Gumpert Apollo.

    Either way, what a bombshell to start the season off – well done

  14. I don’t think that Michael was ever the Stig. He was just there to drive the Ferrari and Ferrari probably said no to the real stig driving it. Best solution and best spin would say stick Michael in a Stig suit.

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