Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill, Adelaide, 1994

Schumacher’s first title tainted by clash with Hill

1994 Australian Grand Prix flashbackPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Overshadowed by tragedy and tainted by controversy, the 1994 world championship nonetheless produced the first title-deciding season finale in eight years.

The final two races were held within a week of each other. Damon Hill stunned Michael Schumacher by taking victory from him at a waterlogged Suzuka, leaving the pair separated by a single point as they arrived at Adelaide.

The first half of the Australian Grand Prix provided a thrilling continuation of their Suzuka battle. But the championship was doomed to take a final and deeply acrimonious twist.

1994 Australian Grand Prix qualifying

Hill’s opening gambit for the crucial weekend ahead was a surprising one. He complained to the press that he felt undervalued by his Williams team: “I don’t feel like driving my nuts off for the sort of money you pay someone with no experience.”

It was an unfortunate comment to make on what turned out to be the first occasion that Hill was out-qualified by his team mate since Ayrton Senna had occupied the other Williams.

Nigel Mansell pipped Schumacher to provisional pole position on Friday by 18 thousandths of a second, and the Benetton driver crashed heavily trying to beat the 1992 champion’s time.

Heading into the quick chicane at the start of the lap, which had been renamed after Senna, Schumacher’s car spun heavily into the barriers. Earlier he had complained the race organisers had not done enough to comply with the drivers’ request for the kerbs to be lowered at the corner on safety grounds.

Several other drivers were caught out by the tricky Adelaide track. Johnny Herbert, partnering Schumacher for the second time at Benetton, spun and was almost collected by Mansell. Gerhard Berger, struggling with an ill-handling Ferrari, skidded into a gravel trap at turn five, the 90-degree left-hander leading onto Flinders Street.

Rain on Saturday meant Friday’s qualifying times set the grid. This meant a final disappointment for the Pacific team, as Bertrand Gachot again came close to dragging the unloved PR01 into the race for the first time since round seven. The tiny team had been fortunate to make it to Adelaide at all, as problems with their transport arrangements in Japan meant they missed their flight to Australia.

Gachot’s woes handed reprieves to Domenico Schiatarella, who made his return to Simtek, and Jean-Denis Deletraz, who had replaced Erik Comas at Larrousse. The French team was now seriously short of funds and this would mark their final race.

Sadly, the same was also true for the original Lotus team. The former constructors’ champions, which had begun racing under Colin Chapman’s stewardship in 1958, had gone into administration after the Italian Grand Prix and would not emerge.

1994 Australian Grand Prix grid

Row 1 1. Nigel Mansell 1’16.179
Williams-Renault
2. Michael Schumacher 1’16.197
Benetton-Ford
Row 2 3. Damon Hill 1’16.830
Williams-Renault
4. Mika Hakkinen 1’16.992
McLaren-Peugeot
Row 3 5. Rubens Barrichello 1’17.537
Jordan-Hart
6. Eddie Irvine 1’17.667
Jordan-Hart
Row 4 7. Johnny Herbert 1’17.727
Benetton-Ford
8. Jean Alesi 1’17.801
Ferrari
Row 5 9. Martin Brundle 1’17.950
McLaren-Peugeot
10. Heinz-Harald Frentzen 1’17.962
Sauber-Mercedes
Row 6 11. Gerhard Berger 1’18.070
Ferrari
12. Olivier Panis 1’18.072
Ligier-Renault
Row 7 13. Mark Blundell 1’18.237
Tyrrell-Yamaha
14. Alessandro Zanardi 1’18.331
Lotus-Mugen-Honda
Row 8 15. Ukyo Katayama 1’18.411
Tyrrell-Yamaha
16. Michele Alboreto 1’18.755
Minardi-Ford
Row 9 17. JJ Lehto 1’18.806
Sauber-Mercedes
18. Pierluigi Martini 1’18.957
Minardi-Ford
Row 10 19. Christian Fittipaldi 1’19.061
Footwork-Ford
20. Franck Lagorce 1’19.153
Ligier-Renault
Row 11 21. Gianni Morbidelli 1’19.610
Footwork-Ford
22. Mika Salo 1’19.844
Lotus-Mugen-Honda
Row 12 23. Hideki Noda 1’20.145
Larrousse-Ford
24. David Brabham 1’20.442
Simtek-Ford
Row 13 25. Jean-Denis Deletraz 1’22.422
Larrousse-Ford
26. Domenico Schiattarella 1’22.529
Simtek-Ford

Not qualified

Paul Belmondo, Pacific-Ilmor – 1’24.087
Bertrand Gachot, Pacific-Ilmor – 7’40.317

1994 Australian Grand Prix

The 1994 season had not been a memorable one for racing action, but the Australian Grand Prix put that right from the start.

Mansell spun his wheels when the green light shone and Schumacher was immediately through into the lead, followed by Hill. Mansell then took to the kerb at turn five and was passed by Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello.

Schumacher, who had trimmed his wing level back before the start out of concern he might be outgunned on the straight, shot into a two second lead by the end of lap one. But Hill wasn’t letting him get away, and pulled back half a second the next time by.

That set the scene for an absorbing tussle between the two. On the short 3.7 kilometre track with a full grid of 26 cars the backmarkers came thick and fast – especially the woeful Deletraz, who went a lap down on the tenth tour. The Williams filled Schumacher’s mirrors, Hill coming within touching distance of the Benetton and locking his wheels as they braked hard for the hairpin at the end of Dequetteville terrace.

The pair were setting a fierce pace. By lap 17 Hakkinen’s McLaren was almost half a minute behind. The reason for that became clear when Schumacher and Hill appeared in their pits together for their first of three pit stops on the next lap – and left in the same order.

By lap 21 Mansell had regained third place. His earlier pass on Barrichello was reversed by the Jordan driver, but Mansell later got by. Barrichello had an off-track moment and slipped back, then picked up a stop-go penalty for pit-lane speeding.

Next Mansell arrived on Hakkinen’s tail. Again he passed the McLaren but ran too deep and had to surrender the position. But Hakkinen soon succumbed, out-braking himself and letting Mansell through. The constructors’ championship was increasingly swinging in Williams’ favour: Herbert had spun early on, then dropped out with a loss of hydraulic pressure.

Jean Alesi also had a spin in his Ferrari, and by lap 28 he had joined Barrichello and Hakkinen in a three-way fight for fourth place. Barrichello got onto the kerb at Brewery Bend and was passed by Hakkinen, but a fired-up Alesi swerved between the pair of them, brilliantly passing Hakkinen at the hairpin.

The title rivals collide

As the leaders neared their second pit stops, Schumacher cranked up the pace in an effort to draw clear of Hill. Aided by an unco-operative Heinz-Harald Frentzen – who delayed Schumacher a lot but Hill even more – Schumacher’s lead was up to 2.8 seconds by lap 34.

Hill took almost a second out of that on the next lap, however, and as they began lap 36 Schumacher was beginning to feel the pressure again. Finally, as he reached turn five, he overstepped the mark.

“I got caught out on a bump when the car stepped out and went sideways, but I caught it,” he explained later. “Then I had to go on the white line and I had to use the run-off area. I went over the grass, touched the wall, but continued.”

The Benetton’s right-rear wheel made the heaviest impact with the barrier and showed signs of damage as he slewed back onto the track. Hill arrived on the scene fractionally too late to know Schumacher’s car was wounded.

“I didn’t see him hit the wall,” said Hill. “I saw him coming back across the grass, and onto the track. I thought ‘hello, you’ve slipped up there’, but of course I thought his car was OK.”

Hill seized what he thought would be his only chance to attack. Approaching the next right-hand turn Hill looked to the left but Schumacher swung across to the racing line. Hill came off the brakes, swung right and touched the throttle, committing his FW16B to the inside.

Schumacher turned in sharply and in that moment Hill believed his rival knew exactly where he was. Hill turned in tighter, the Williams clambering onto the kerb on the inside, but there was no avoiding the contact. First the Benetton’s sidepod hit Hill’s front wheel, then Schumacher’s rear wheel dealt it another blow.

Schumacher’s B194 sprang up onto two wheels and for an alarming moment it seemed it would flip over, but it came down on all four wheels and stopped against a barrier. Hill kept going, but only as far as the pits, where Williams discovered his front-left suspension arm was damage. it would take several laps to replace, meaning the championship was lost.

Back at turn five, Schumacher waited and watched anxiously to discover if he would be champion. “I was waiting and looking for Nigel passing the first time, the second time, the third time without seeing Damon. Then my first hopes came up that it’s still going to happen. And then I heard it over the speaker. A tremendous feeling.”

Mansell beats Berger for win

Both championships were decided in that moment, but there was still a race to be settled. Berger held the lead following his last pit stop but on lap 64 he went off at Brewery Bend, handing Mansell the lead. They remained in that order until the chequered flag, Mansell taking his 31st and final F1 win.

Hakkinen’s pursuit of team mate Martin Brundle for third place ended when his brakes failed, causing a spectacular accident at the end of Dequetteville Terrace. Barrichello moved up to fourth ahead of Olivier Panis – the fifth place for Ligier moving them up to sixth in the constructors’ championship at Tyrrell and Sauber’s expense.

Alesi recovered to claim the final point from Frenzten. The Sauber driver had held Berger up for several laps, mistaking him for the other Ferrari which he was racing with. When he realised his mistake Frentzen made way for Berger – but inadvertently gave Alesi the chance to pass him as well.

Neither Lotus driver finished the team’s final race. Mika Salo was the last of the pair still running, but dropped out on the 49th lap with an electrical problem.

Alessandro Zanardi went over the Senna chicane early in the race when his throttle stuck, and after an attempt to repair it in the pits failed he retired. The team later noticed the rear wing mounts on his car were cracked. When shown the damage Zanardi thought back to Lamy’s accident in testing at Silverstone, imagined the same thing happening on Dequetteville Terrace, and realised how lucky he’d been.

1994 Australian Grand Prix result

Pos. # Driver Team Laps Time/ Gap / Reason
1 2 Nigel Mansell Williams/Renault 81 1:47’51.480
2 28 Gerhard Berger Ferrari 81 2.511
3 8 Martin Brundle McLaren/Peugeot 81 52.487
4 14 Rubens Barrichello Jordan/Hart 81 1’10.530
5 26 Olivier Panis Ligier/Renault 80 1 lap
6 27 Jean Alesi Ferrari 80 1 lap
7 30 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber/Mercedes 80 1 lap
8 9 Christian Fittipaldi Footwork/Ford 80 1 lap
9 23 Pierluigi Martini Minardi/Ford 79 2 laps
10 29 JJ Lehto Sauber/Mercedes 79 2 laps
11 25 Franck Lagorce Ligier/Renault 79 2 laps
12 7 Mika Hakkinen McLaren/Peugeot 76 Accident
24 Michele Alboreto Minardi/Ford 69 Suspension
4 Mark Blundell Tyrrell/Yamaha 66 Accident
20 Jean-Denis Deletraz Larrousse/Ford 56 Gearbox
11 Mika Salo Lotus/Mugen-Honda 49 Electrical
31 David Brabham Simtek/Ford 49 Engine
12 Alessandro Zanardi Lotus/Mugen-Honda 40 Throttle
5 Michael Schumacher Benetton/Ford 35 Accident
0 Damon Hill Williams/Renault 35 Accident
32 Domenico Schiattarella Simtek/Ford 21 Gearbox
3 Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell/Yamaha 19 Accident
19 Hideki Noda Larrousse/Ford 18 Oil leak
10 Gianni Morbidelli Footwork/Ford 17 Oil leak
15 Eddie Irvine Jordan/Hart 15 Accident
6 Johnny Herbert Benetton/Ford 13 Gearbox

1994 final drivers’ championship points

“Schumacher is a ruthless, brutal driver who’d do anything to win,” was Bernie Ecclestone’s verdict on the collision. “If he can live with what he did, that’s it.”

It wasn’t until Hill was shown the video of Schumacher’s mistake afterwards that he realised how close he’d come to being champion. The FIA also reviewed the video along with amateur footage of the collision, but decided against taking action.

Williams, feeling the shadow of Senna’s death upon them, decided against lodging a protest. But according to Patrick Head, this was not because they believed Schumacher was innocent.

“We at Williams were already 100% certain that Michael was guilty of foul play,” Head told F1 Racing in 2006. “He was about to drive his stricken Benetton up the slip-road when he spotted Damon’s Williams about to pass him and abruptly veered across the track to prevent that happening.”

It was the third time in six seasons that the championship had been decided by a collision between the two protagonists. Alain Prost had won the 1989 title after colliding with Ayrton Senna at Suzuka, and 12 months later Senna had done the same to Prost.

Schumacher and Benetton had fallen foul of the FIA several times already in 1994 under suspicion of using launch control, for overtaking on the formation lap and failing to obey instructions to serve a stop-go penalty and obey a black flag, for tampering with their refuelling rig and for causing excessive plank wear. This time the FIA stayed its hand.

This did not dissuade many from holding the view Schumacher had taken Hill out deliberately. While Prost and Senna had been driving healthy cars at the moment of their accidents, the damage Schumacher suffered suggested that he had made a spur-of-the-moment decision to chop across Hill, enduring that neither finished the race and Schumacher would be champion.

Incredibly, these suspicions were borne out three years later when, in similar circumstances, Schumacher collided with Jacques Villeneuve in an attempt to stop the Williams driver winning the championship. On that occasion Schumacher was not successful, and the FIA punished him by exclusion from the championship. Not since then has a drivers’ championship been settled by the two contenders colliding.

Max Mosley, the FIA president at the time, later said that under modern rules Schumacher would have been stripped of the 1994 title.

But beneath the acrimony over how the championship was decided lay a deeper sadness: a sense that the true competition of 1994 was lost the moment Senna’s car struck the barrier at Tamburello.

Despite the trauma of losing their lead driver, Williams recovered to win the constructors’ championship. But designer Adrian Newey believed Imola had taken away the best chance of one of their drivers taking the championship.

“There were a couple of silly little aerodynamic problems which we were getting on top of by Imola, so it’s even more of a tragedy,” he said. “We were on the edge of sorting it out, and had Ayrton survived, he’d have won the title without a problem.”

It was a view Schumacher was generous enough to endorse in his moment of triumph. “For me, it was always clear that I wasn’t going to win the championship, and Ayrton was going to win the championship,” he said.

“But he hasn’t been there for the last races. And I’d like to take this championship and give it to him. Because he is the driver who should have earned it. He had the best car, he was the best driver, and that’s my feelings about him.”

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/1994drivercolours.csv

Brazil Pacific San Marino Monaco Spain Canada France Britain Germany Hungary Belgium Italy Portugal Europe Japan Australia
Michael Schumacher 10 20 30 40 46 56 66 66 66 76 76 76 76 86 92 92
Damon Hill 6 6 7 7 17 23 29 39 39 45 55 65 75 81 91 91
Gerhard Berger 0 6 6 10 10 13 17 17 27 27 27 33 33 35 35 41
Mika Hakkinen 0 0 4 4 4 4 4 8 8 8 14 18 22 26 26 26
Jean Alesi 4 4 4 6 9 13 13 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 23 24
Rubens Barrichello 3 7 7 7 7 7 7 10 10 10 10 13 16 16 16 19
Martin Brundle 0 0 0 6 6 6 6 6 6 9 9 11 12 12 12 16
David Coulthard 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 4 4 4 7 8 14 14 14 14
Nigel Mansell 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 13
Jos Verstappen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 8 10 10 10 10
Olivier Panis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 9
Mark Blundell 0 0 0 0 4 4 4 4 4 6 8 8 8 8 8 8
Heinz-Harald Frentzen 0 2 2 2 2 2 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 7 7
Nicola Larini 0 0 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
Christian Fittipaldi 0 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
Eddie Irvine 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 6 6
Ukyo Katayama 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Eric Bernard 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Karl Wendlinger 1 1 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Andrea de Cesaris 0 0 0 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Pierluigi Martini 0 0 0 0 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Gianni Morbidelli 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3
Erik Comas 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Michele Alboreto 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
JJ Lehto 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

1994 final constructors’ championship points

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/1994teamcolours.csv

Brazil Pacific San Marino Monaco Spain Canada France Britain Germany Hungary Belgium Italy Portugal Europe Japan Australia
Williams 6 6 7 7 17 25 31 43 43 49 62 73 89 95 108 118
Benetton 10 20 30 40 46 57 67 67 67 81 85 85 87 97 103 103
Ferrari 4 10 16 22 25 32 36 42 52 52 52 58 58 60 64 71
McLaren 0 0 4 10 10 10 10 14 14 17 23 29 34 38 38 42
Jordan 3 7 7 10 11 11 11 14 14 14 14 17 20 23 25 28
Ligier 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 11 11 11 11 11 11 13
Tyrrell 2 2 4 4 8 8 8 9 9 11 13 13 13 13 13 13
Sauber 1 3 6 6 6 6 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 12 12
Footwork 0 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 9
Minardi 0 0 0 1 3 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Larrousse 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

Image © WilliamsF1, Williams/LAT

69 comments on “Schumacher’s first title tainted by clash with Hill”

  1. … and at the end Nigel Mansell wins :) Just a perfect day !

  2. “But beneath the acrimony over how the championship was decided lay a deeper sadness: a sense that the true competition of 1994 was lost the moment Senna’s car struck the barrier at Tamburello.”

    More than twenty years have now passed since that time. An entire generation, basically. With Max Verstappen next year, we will have someone who was not even alive when Senna passed away driving a F1 car in action. We, as a F1 community, should really use this article that closes out the season of 1994 as the final act of Senna worship and end the illusion of Senna winning 1994 and god knows how many titles he supposedly would have won after that. We should move on to repent for our father’s sins and start building statues of Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost whereever we can.

    1. +1

      Btw, I admire your bravery

    2. @klon I know that it can get boring or tedious to remember the same feats every time, but legends live only in memory and remembrance. Otherwise, he’d be gone completely.

    3. Well said!

    4. People still like to whitewash f1 with senna’s memory, to the exclusion of almost every other driver. He was a great driver with extremely questionable driving ethics. Schumacher is still hated by many for exactly the same sort of cynical behaviour senna engaged in regularly.

      1. Very true and well said. People use senna to discredit prost’s talents, they use schumacher to do the same to hakkinen and to some extent use vettel/alonso. All the great champions have to have a selfishness, almost greed to win. To use an American phrase “Either win it or bin it.” They only see an outcome that ends in their favor. i.e Lauda, Senna, Schumacher, Vettel.

        1. “Either win it or bin it” as a phrase sounds distinctly English. The garbage or trash is where an American puts waste or something that needs thrown out. A bin is where we would store something away.

          “Checkers or wreckers” is probably the best American NASCAR version of that phrase. :P

          Hopefully we won’t see Hamilton or Rosberg trying add their name to your list above in the next race.

          1. “Rubbing is racing” “Go big or go home” “In it to win it”

      2. @hairs – Excellent points regarding Senna and Schumacher.

        Jim Clark to me is still the epitome of what a race car driver should be. There are few drivers who have ever approached his talents and fewer still who did not have some question marks attached to their achievements. I do not remember Clark ever resorting to dodgy tactics to win titles or races. Hard to say the same about some of the other greats. If Clark made a mistake or caused a wreck he acknowledged it, apologized and meant it.

        This race and other incidents are the reasons I can’t rate Schumacher as highly as Clark as a race driver. Schumacher’s talents were immense, his achievements statistically greater, but did he really need the less seemly aspects and incidents of his career to win as much as he did?

        1. @bullmello

          Superb post, I totally agree with what you say. For the same reasons, I have immense respect for drivers such as Stirling Moss and, more recently Mika Hakkinen. These are guys to whom sportsmanship is more important to winning at any cost.

          1. @paulguitar – And it’s not as if these guys mentioned would not battle it out wheel to wheel lap after lap fighting to win. They just did it fairly.

  3. I was 10 years old. I watched it with my father and older brother (not live) and I remember the crash. I refreshed my memory years later via Internet and slightly changed my opinion about Schumy not noticing Hill’s presence, however, Schumacher is still my childhood hero (Mansell was my first fave driver, though).

    1. I was 7, my Dad drove us to a BBQ on the other side of Melbourne to watch it, a not-so uncommon occurance when there’s a major sporting event on in Australia. It was my first exposure to Formula One (besides Microprose Grand Prix and Nigel Mansell’s game) and I remember Senna’s tragedy was still fresh in everyone’s mind, often being brought up in the tone of “if only Senna was there.”

      When the race started however the atmosphere was electric and it was extremely exciting until the incident. “Dirty”, “dodgy”, “dog” were a few of the adjectives I remember hearing between less G rated words. And then pretty much everyone lost interest after that, more or less a precursor to Schumacher’s future career…

      I was happy Mansell won at least. He was the driver I was following (again, because of his game) although I was thoroughly confused to be honest as to the difference between formula one and champ/indy cars/cart as I thought he was an indy car driver… Turns out that was valid confusion.

      Anyway, nice to bring up the memories and do a bit of googling about it all. Thanks for the article.

  4. I remember very well watching that race after staying up all night. What a sense of deflation when Schuey pulled the swerve. A mighty talent, but that’s no way to win.

    1. It’s the champions way @paulguitar . The FIA let it go to avoid the noise. The FIA changing its stance on clashes they would have had to answer to calls of favoritism and the many penalties that Benneton faced and more importantly, answer to the events of the past, in 1994 as it’s rightfully pointed out in the article above, they thought it would be too costly to F1 to do such. HOwever in 1997 Schumi clashed with Villeneuve but Jacques won anyway. Several years past the 94 events the FIA saw this incident as the perfect moment to set a precedent. Ferrari and Schumi lost the championship anyway, they wouldn’t have nothing to argue, unless the FIA was to strip them of the prize money, but smart FIA only wanted to dissuade last race clashes, and they have succeeded. I don’t believe in Mosley. F1 won’t ever take away the championship from the track to the lawyers room.

  5. Mansell's_Stache
    13th November 2014, 16:15

    Ugh. Rather depressing contrasting the grid from 1994 to the current grid. I mean, look at it. 26 cars. Myriad constructors and engine manufacturers. F1 is in a sad, sad state comparatively. Despite this, I still love it and will continue to watch. Anyhoo…

    1. Well, 3 teams promptly went bust, including one much fabled name in Lotus, and the next successor that tried to join (Forti) also didn’t make it very far.

      However, the next big operations that joined (after a hatchet job by Mastercard) became successful and are now Red Bull, with refreshed Tyrrell being Mercedes. Hint hint, VW Group!

    2. Although in 1994 it was just as sad a state of affairs having come from 39 cars in 1989 to 28 in 1994, the deaths of Ratzenberger and Senna and the refueling relegating almost all passing into the pits.

  6. I remember this one very well. This was the moment I lost respect of Schumacher as a Race Driver.
    I know that this would have most likely never happened if it were not for the Race bans since I think he would have had a big enough gap then. But the way he acted….
    He did not deserve that Title.
    In 1997 he got finally caught when he did the same to Villeneuve in Jerez.
    As much as I dislike him as a Driver, I hope he recovers as much as possible.

    1. @us-brian

      Agreed. The sad thing was, he was so talented that he just didn’t need to pull the stunts.

      Despite the bad behaviour on track, he seems a very decent human-being and I am sure we are all still willing him on.

      1. Yes,seconded! He seems like a very decent human off the track but a shameless cheat on it. Also spoilt F1 for many years by winning championships in the most cynical way (no team mate,bottomless pit of cash,custom made Bridgestones etc..). Hope he recovers though.

  7. Get better soon Schumi, but man he was a dirty driver seriously i always say he is number 1 with 7 WC but he defo should had this title stripped. I pray Hamilton does not do this in Abu Dhabi even though Ros completely deserves it to happen

    1. I don’t think Lewis would do that, he only wants to win fair and square. Of course, he has had that chance denied to him several times this year, but I still think he wants to race cleanly.

  8. Despite all of schumacher’s dirty deeds on track, where i really had respect for him was that he always had reverence for senna. Especially after his death. These comments show that.

    It was a view Schumacher was generous enough to endorse in his moment of triumph. “For me, it was always clear that I wasn’t going to win the championship, and Ayrton was going to win the championship,” he said.

    “But he hasn’t been there for the last races. And I’d like to take this championship and give it to him. Because he is the driver who should have earned it. He had the best car, he was the best driver, and that’s my feelings about him.”

    “I had one hero…..his name was Ayrton Senna” Michael Schumacher

    I can’t believe it’s been 20 years now. Like most, i only wish that we would have been able to see the epic battles that would have developed between Schumacher, Senna , and Hill in the years to come.

    1. @jasonryan Indeed.. if Senna took 1994, 1995 and inevitably 1996, Schumi would be close in 1997, before Senna’s inevitable retirement when the rules changed. I imagine that Senna would have slowed enough by 1997 to be comparable to Villeneuve, so that could be when Schumi finally might have beaten him (if he didn’t try to ram him that is!).

      The situation is comparable to Fangio/Moss… Moss was faster from 1956 (like Schumacher from 1995) as Fangio slowed, but Fangio placed himself in the best cars, thus cementing his legacy. Moss was then unlucky in 1958, like Schumi in 1999.

    2. If the FIA had acted sooner and brought Senna to heel maybe MSC would now be a six time WDC without a blemish (Monaco aside) to his name.

  9. Michael Brown (@)
    13th November 2014, 17:43

    After going over this incident and viewing discussion and analyses, I’ve concluded that this collision is a racing incident. Schumacher desperately moved to take the racing line and Hill dove into a gap that was closing fast. I think both drivers are to blame for their desperate actions in that corner, but no driver is more at fault as to receive a penalty.

    1. Agreed. I would even say that it was a bit of a dive bomb by Hill. Kind of like the one he did at Silverstone in 1995. Basically trying to make a move to late.
      Funny thing is, when we see those types of incidents on street circuits, the blame is always on the guy trying to pass. (Perez on Raikkonen, Monaco 2013. Webber on Hamilton, Singapore 2010.)
      I guess people see this one differently because Schumacher won the title.

      1. Hamilton was trying to pass Webber and was widely blamed, though there was no suggestion that hew was trying to take out Webber!

        1. Of course and that’s exactly my point. I’m not saying that Hill (or any other driver in my example) was trying to take him out. I’m saying that it was a very clumsy attempt to overtake.

    2. Schuey didn’t give room and Hill was indeed too hasty but as was in 1989 and 1990, failing to avoid contact would grant one driver the championship as you say @philippe. That fact, unfortunately trumps the fact that the clash was an incident as @lite992 and phillipe say. I salute for stating the facts rather than cynically pointing the finger. Where I disagree with you is when I say Schuey knew he wasn’t giving space, he knew he was blocking the road, I think Michael moved conscientiously, but in my view it isn’t anyones fault because I think it was Hill who put himself in that situation, he could’ve have been more patient and take him on the next corner, regardless of the Benetton having damage or not. It will always remain unclear whether Michael was just trying to make the apex or if it was Hill who went too tight in, those are the facts, racing incident.

    3. @lite992 Schumacher clearly turned in early, the only possible reason being to take out his rival.

      1. @lockup Are you saying that it was Hamilton’s fault (he was in front and Rosberg tried to pass) at Les Combes in Spa this year? Those two incidents look pretty similar to me. I would call it a racing incident in both cases though.

        1. Wat @thorpedo? In Adelaide Schumi doing 20mph blocked the left then the right, turning in early to collide with Hill just as he did again in Jerez to JV.

          In Spa Hamilton was on the line and the inside, when Rosberg having failed to get round the outside deliberately steered hard right into his wheel as the screenshot shows here…

          http://www1.skysports.com/f1/report/24096/9441022/nico-rosbergs-simmering-anger-with-lewis-hamilton-spills-over-at-spa-and-

          The two incidents have nothing in common, except I suppose Rosberg despicably emulating a cheating legend as he did at Monaco.

          1. @lockup He was going for a racing line just like Hamilton. It was just Hill’s lack of talent as he apparently wasn’t able to anticipate the racing line of the car ahead.

            Regarding the “deliberate steering from Rosberg”-Have you ever heard of steering corrections that are needed to control that massive torque transmitted to the rear wheels?

            If I would want to disable my teammate or anybody else from posting his fast lap I would have parked my car on the track.

          2. @lockup If you really believe that Rosberg did that (Spa) deliberately you must agree that Rosberg has to win this title. Can you imagine the amount of talent needed to damage your rival’s rear tyre while only damaging your front wing endplate? That’s precision!

        2. @thorpedo Have you looked at the screenshot in the article I linked? Rosberg was turning right, so any correction would have been steering left, but by that time the car was in-line anyway. Look at the picture, really. It’s *hard* right, 90 degrees. That’s why Brundle used that frame.

          Hill was no great talent I agree. But Schumi turned in early, because Hill was there. As he did to JV in Jerez.

          1. @lockup After looking at the photo I do agree it couldn’t have been a correction. However, Rosberg compromised his racing line in order to pass and at the moment that screenshot was taken he was respecting the track limits. Note that it was a really slight touch. Had it been intentionally, he would have probably swerved into Hamilton much more agressively.

          2. But @thorpedo he *did* swerve into Hamilton aggressively, that’s what the screenshot shows. It’s the maximum steering as he can easily do. It was only momentary, but on an F1 car that’s enough.

          3. @lockup Look at where the apex of the next corner is and you will see my point.

          4. Lol @thorpedo something tells me we’re not going to see eye to eye on this :)

            The apex of the next corner is not available to him, and even if it were he’d need at most half that lock.

          5. Probably not @lockup :)

            Half that lock if he was on racing line but he wasn’t. If he really wanted to crash into Hamilton he would probably aim for his sidepod like Hill did in Adelaide.

          6. I think not @thorpedo the tyre was the obvious target. He was too late for the sidepod and the tyre is much more vulnerable.

            The FW endplate is a nice big instrument that gives a fair bit of leeway, and he only has to include the outer sidewall with it. Then he himself loses maybe 15-20 seconds and worst case is 2nd place which is where he is anyway, while the guy with the rear puncture is 3+ miles from the pits and has to smash up his floor to get back without being lapped.

            Add in 10s of predictable timid stewarding a la Monaco/Adelaide – job done :(

          7. @lockup That is way too much assuming and total lack of facts. How could anyone know what was going through Rosberg’s head at that moment. He could have just gone straight and then had Hamilton at next corner. Risking with front wing damage can easily lead to Alonso’s scenario in Malaysia last year.

            But of course, when Lewis is going head-through-the-wall and acting in a arrogant manner, he is a true champion, same goes for Senna. When Schumi or Rosberg do sth, they are immediately accused of unsportsmanship. I guess nationality explaines everything.

          8. Well @thorpedo I didn’t like Senna. I did really like Rosberg and I was loving the story of the two boyhood friends ending up in F1 and teammates. I really thought they’d go through the season as friends and defy the naysayers.

            It took me days to accept Monaco. I read the Motor Sport writeup and the comments below where Mark Hughes said he’d been told by team people that Warwick had not seen all the data by any means, and that the tyre load data showed Rosberg could have made the corner. I saw the Sky midweek report and the damning video. The weekend before last I heard Brundle say he was now sure it was deliberate. I try to think of a legitimate reason why Rosberg chose to run first.

            I look at Spa and Rosberg steering hard right into Hamilton’s tyre when the track calls for him to be steering only slightly right at most. Wing endplate versus rear puncture at that distance from the pits is an easy calculation. Rosberg admitting it had been ‘to make a point’. And a lateral impact generally doesn’t break the pylons like Alonso’s longitudinal one into Vettel.

            It has nothing to do with nationalism, just evidence. Rosberg is international anyway. And Schumi turned in early.

          9. Fair enough, @lockup.

            I guess we’ll never really know for sure. However, run down from Casino is very, very bumpy and lockups do happen. Rosberg went for another lap in order to improve and he knew he could afford to risk as he set a very good banker lap. He apparently risked too much. It’s really unfair to blaim him. He has always performed very well in Monaco, way better than Hamilton.

            Again, steering slightly right for someone who is on the racing line, which follows (usually) shortest trajectory between two corners. Rosberg was off line, thus using more agressive steering angle.

            Of course it has to do with nationality; Rosberg is German (no less German than Lewis is English, given his Carribean ethnicity) and so is Schumi. If British fans were laughing and cheering when Michael broke his leg, it’s pretty clear they would go very far to trash someone who is beating British “talents”.

          10. Well you shouldn’t suggest my opinion is nationalism @thorpedo. I’ve presented my reasons for it, and they’re strictly evidential. Of course it was an absolute disgrace for some fans to cheer Schumi’s broken leg. But it would be pretty disgraceful for you to include me among that number, just because I hold an unwelcome view of other events.

            Afaic I do know for sure about Rosberg, sorry. That’s what the evidence says. And he ran first. Why? There’s only one explanation. From that point of view it was premeditated, and so actually worse than Rascassegate. Huge pity, but there we are; and he backed it up with Spa just as Schumi backed up Adelaide with Jerez.

          11. It is nationalism, 100%. You don’t like drivers and teams that are beating British. I admit I might be slightly biased and I think you should too.

            There is no evidence, it is just speculation. We don’t even have any telemetry data.

            If and again IF (I strongly doubt it) Rosberg did that on purpose he should be considered real champion. He acted like a real champion, he was arrogant and greedy. If, again. When Lewis is arrogant and greedy it is his virtue and essential part of a champion’s personality. I accept the same “apology” for Rosberg.

  10. What you guys don’t realize is that there was at one time a really good in car cam video of the incident. The fact is that Schumacher had already damaged his car, and had pulled up on the curb, where a yellow was displayed. He was stationary, and looking into his mirror for what one can only assume to be for Hill. He then pulled back out onto the track and made sure that Hill didn’t get by. Now, before anyone gets upset know this, all great drivers have a period of mental laps, including Schumacher, especially when he was younger. I take nothing away from his accomplishments, and probably would fail to find that 10 second video. But unless I am dilusional it did, does exist someplace, and it proves the accident to be intentional.

    1. If I am reading the article correctly Schumacher was +-2 seconds ahead of Hill when the incident occurred. Your version makes it sound as if he was +-10 seconds ahead.

  11. Totally deliberate from Schumacher, more flagrant in my opinion than Suzuka ’89 even. Just a pity he wasn’t thrown out of the ’94 season as he was for ’97. Schumacher was a better driver than these moments of madness. Shameful.

    1. So, Senna should have been thrown out of the 1990 season as well?

      1. He was going for a gap. You could not call him a race driver anymore if he didn’t go for that gap.

        1. Oh please. He speared into Prost in the first corner. As usual it’s the double standard with F1 fans. And media.
          Wich reminds me. On the Motorsport Magazine podcast, two years ago I think, they were talking about Schuamcher and Senna. One said: “Micheal couldn’t understand why it was ok for Senna to crash into other drivers to win, but if he does it, it’s not ok.”
          And everyone on the show was like: “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.”
          I was thinking: “Well, please tell us. Because I don’t why one driver is allowed to do whaterver he wants and the other gets crap for doing the same.”

          1. Just being sarcastic. Senna was a tool and got what he deserved, no doubt about it.

        2. Michael Brown (@)
          15th November 2014, 18:38

          Looks to me like Hill went for a gap and it didn’t work our in his favour

      2. @philippe Yes. provided Prost was frown out of 1989 as well. That would be fair

  12. I think this is generally very underrated race. First part had the battle of Schumacher/Hill, while Berger used great tactics to move up to the lead. Mistake allowed Mansell through but he didn’t give up.

    Australian Grand Prix TV directing was also one of the best when the local personnel took care of each race. Close-ups ad so on. Though I also remember that they send incidents happening like they just caught it live though it actually was taped.

  13. I’m STILL furious over that crash

    1. Talent won that season, pretty simple. Totally deserving. I’m STILL happy about that season. Hill was just another over-rated British whiner. Get well soon Schumi!

      1. @thorpedo

        Schuey certainly was the best driver that year, but that does no excuse driving into your rival to win the title. Brilliant driver, dodgy integrity.

        1. @paulguitar I think it was Hill driving into Schumi as he was the driver behind. Schumi was a deserving champion fair and square.

          1. @thorpedo

            Nobody thought he was innocent at the time!

  14. I don’t get how people can say the two are in the same boat (Senna and Schumi) I mean Michael did a cowardly kamikaze last resort move on multiple occasions. Senna did his actions as some sort of revenge which is bad and emotionally irrational but he never drove an already destroyed car into the line of a competitor who was going to win, he wasn’t that desperate and to this day I still don’t understand why Michael was as well. I think Michael displayed the paragon of a competitor who was the sorest of losers and winners really.

  15. Watched it over and over and my thoughts now are the same as they were at the time… deliberate.

    But while at the time I was a hopping mad Damon Hill fan kid, now I don’t care. That whole season was a complete disaster and is better forgotten. Would hate to live through a 1994-level year in the social media age…

  16. and the moment my real aversion towards Schumacher started I guess ;-) #godamonhill !

  17. always thought that Schumacher meant to collide with Hill, frustrated that his car hit the wall seconds before, and he hadn’t kept his racing line on the curve, he tightened the opening in front of Damon Hill deliberately, perhaps any other driver would do the same

  18. Schumacher was the best driver in 1994, but like Hill said in an interview: The champion isn’t the best driver, it’s about the driver that gets the title.

    In that sense, even if Hill benefitted heavily from the harsh punishment that Schumacher had, he still should have been champion. The 2 race ban was harsh, but under all the cheating Benneton had that year, it was deserved.

    Colliding a car that isn’t going to finish a race to win the championship is dirty. Schumacher shouldn’t have been champion that time. He is one of the greatest of all time, perhaps even the greatest. But that doesn’t mean he should have the 1994 title. To me, Schumacher is a 6 time world champion and Hill a 2 time world champion.

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