Date:Tuesday December 13 2011
Did Michael Schumacher cheat his way to his first Formula One World Championship with Benetton?
That's the claim that has been made by then team-mate Jos Verstappen.
The 1994 Formula One World Championship will always be looked upon as a tragic season for the sport.
The deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at Imola will never be forgotten, while the Drivers championship was decided under controversial circumstances when Schumacher deliberately collided with title rival Damon Hill after the German had already made a mistake around the Adelaide track.
That collision forced the retirement of both drivers and Schumacher claimed his first of seven Formula One World Championships.
However according to then team-mate Jos Verstappen, Schumacher was only in the position to win the World title following the use of a number of illegal aids.
The Dutch driver who went on to win the Le Mans 24 Hour race in the LMP2 class strongly believes that he did not race the same car as Schumacher.
Schumacher won nine of the fourteen races that he took part in that season, with the Australian season finale, being his only retirement. [however he was later disqualified from the Belgian Grand Prix victory and he was also banned from two races after his disqualification after the British Grand Prix.]
Schumacher's team-mates Jos Verstappen retired from six of the ten races he started [with two third place finishes], JJ Lehto retired from three of his six races [sixth was his best finish] while Johnny Herbert ended the season with two retirements.
Verstappen believes that Schumacher not only had an illegal advantage over the other cars, but also his team-mates.
'People think I'm looking for an excuse, I just know that his car was different to my car. I kept thinking: this can't be done! I braked at the limit and went as hard as possible into the corners. Schumacher was able to do things and not to me. There was something wrong.' he told NuSport as quoted by Sky Sports.
'There were electronic aids. They will never admit it, but I am convinced, I later asked Flavio Briatore, who had brought me to Benetton and was then the team manager. He said, 'Let's not talk about it.' So I know enough now.'
'Michael depends on the car just like everybody else. To some people he is God. That bit is disappearing. He is not superman - he never was.
'When we went karting he never beat me. I know the reason why he beat me at Benetton.'
During the first three races of the Formula One season, Ayrton Senna [who had moved to Williams that season] grew suspicious that the Benetton car was illegal.
Schumacher was enjoying fast starts away from the grid and had also gained an advantage over Senna during the first Grand Prix of the season in Brazil when the Benetton pit-crew were able to fuel Schumacher's car faster than the Williams team could fuel Senna's car.
Benetton were later in the season found guilty of cheating by the FIA after an investigation into a pit-stop fire at the German Grand Prix that involved Verstappen.
The FIA deemed Benetton's fuel valve illegal as it was without a fuel filter, which enabled them to pump fuel into the car 12.5% faster than the legal fuel valve that was used by other teams.
However as the equipment was supplied by Intertechnique, Benetton received no punishment.
After Senna's retirement on the first lap of the second race of the season at the Pacific Grand Prix in Japan, Senna stood and watched the race from beside the track attempting to hear any suspicious noises that suggested traction control was being used illegally, Senna returned to the Williams pit suspicious that the Benetton car was indeed illegal.
Benetton, along with Ferrari and McLaren were later investigated by the FIA on suspicion of breaking the FIA-imposed ban on electronic aids.
Ferrari supplied the required information immediately and no further action was taken, while Benetton and McLaren initially refused to help with the investigation and were fined $100,000 for their initial refusal to cooperate.
When the FIA investigation concluded, both teams were found to have hidden functionality in their software, the McLaren software aided the gearbox program [that allowed automatic shifts] and was deemed legal, however the Benetton software included the ability to improve traction, which was illegal as drivers gained a benefit from such things as fast starts, but with no evidence that it had been used in a race, Benetton avoided further penalties and fines.
Date:Tuesday December 13 2011
Vettel dedicates victory to Bianchi (Wednesday July 29 2015)
Vital talking point: Hungary - Merc stalling? (Tuesday July 28 2015)
Blog: Hungarian GP Report (Monday July 27 2015)
2015 Hungary GP - Race (Sunday July 26 2015)
Blog: Hungaroring Qualifying (Saturday July 25 2015)
2015 Hungary GP - Qualifying (Saturday July 25 2015)
2015 Hungary GP - FP3 (Saturday July 25 2015)
2015 - Hungary GP - FP2 (Friday July 24 2015)
2015 - Hungary GP - FP1 (Friday July 24 2015)
They will continue to race hard for Bianchi (Thursday July 23 2015)
Drivers mourn at Bianchi's funeral (Wednesday July 22 2015)
Blog: Hungaroring Preview (Tuesday July 21 2015)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 10 (Tuesday July 21 2015)
Who will win in Hungary? (Tuesday July 21 2015)
Sad day for the sport and the team says Lowdon (Monday July 20 2015)
Chilton dedicates win to Bianchi (Monday July 20 2015)
Jules Bianchi dies aged 25 (Saturday July 18 2015)
Will Germans back Hockenheim race? (Friday July 17 2015)
McLaren trying to unlock potential (Thursday July 16 2015)
Red Bull lack patience (Wednesday July 15 2015)
Bianchi's father 'less optimistic' over recovery (Tuesday July 14 2015)
Blog: What has happened to the Strategy Group? (Monday July 13 2015)
Button's future up in the air (Friday July 10 2015)
Hamilton wants more control (Thursday July 9 2015)
Mercedes to power Red Bull Racing? (Wednesday July 8 2015)
Vital talking point - Did Williams get it wrong? (Tuesday July 7 2015)
Blog: British GP Report (Tuesday July 7 2015)
Records fall for Hamilton (Monday July 6 2015)
Vital talking point: Hamilton's pit, was it luck? (Monday July 6 2015)
2015 - British GP - Race result (Sunday July 5 2015)
Blog: Silverstone Qualifying (Sunday July 5 2015)
2015 - British GP - Qualifying (Saturday July 4 2015)
2015 - British GP - FP3 (Saturday July 4 2015)
2015 - British GP - FP2 (Friday July 3 2015)
2015 - British GP - FP1 (Friday July 3 2015)
Yet more gimmicks from F1 Strategy Group (Friday July 3 2015)
Hamilton calls for better trophies (Thursday July 2 2015)
Blog: Silverstone Preview (Wednesday July 1 2015)
Formula E cannot compare with F1 says Horner (Wednesday July 1 2015)
Pirelli to request more F1 tests (Tuesday June 30 2015)
2015 Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 9 (Tuesday June 30 2015)
Who will win the British Grand Prix? (Tuesday June 30 2015)
New contract for Horner (Monday June 29 2015)
F1 teams are all talk says Todt (Monday June 29 2015)
Formula 1 v Formula E (Monday June 29 2015)
Positive test for McLaren (Friday June 26 2015)
Mosley praise for Ecclestone (Thursday June 25 2015)
Mercedes remain on top in second test (Thursday June 25 2015)
Miami Dolphins owner to buy a stake in F1 (Wednesday June 24 2015)
Red Bull to sack Horner? (Wednesday June 24 2015)
Rain hampers running on first test day (Wednesday June 24 2015)
Ferrari to hand Red Bull a lifeline? (Tuesday June 23 2015)
Angry Mateschitz (Tuesday June 23 2015)
Vital talking point: Austria - ah, erm, err (Monday June 22 2015)
Blog: Austrian GP Report (Sunday June 21 2015)
2015 Austrian GP - Race (Sunday June 21 2015)
Blog: Red Bull Ring Qualifying (Saturday June 20 2015)
Four drivers hit with penalties (Saturday June 20 2015)
2015 Austrian GP - Qualifying (Saturday June 20 2015)
2015 Austrian GP - FP3 (Saturday June 20 2015)
2015 Austrian GP - FP2 (Friday June 19 2015)
2015 Austrian GP - FP1 (Friday June 19 2015)
Italian Grand Prix to alternate? (Thursday June 18 2015)
Will Michelin return to Formula One? (Thursday June 18 2015)
Blog: Red Bull Ring Preview (Wednesday June 17 2015)
2015 Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 8 (Tuesday June 16 2015)
Who will win in Austria? (Tuesday June 16 2015)
Hulkenberg wins Le Mans (Monday June 15 2015)
Head knighted (Monday June 15 2015)
Boullier calls for engine regulation change (Friday June 12 2015)
F1 holds new talks over New Jersey race (Thursday June 11 2015)
F1 regulations too complex for Ferrari chairman (Wednesday June 10 2015)
Grosjean apology for Stevens (Wednesday June 10 2015)
Rosberg & Vettel not good for F1 says Bernie (Wednesday June 10 2015)
Renault quit threat very real (Tuesday June 9 2015)
Blog: Canadian GP Report (Tuesday June 9 2015)
Vital talking point: Can it get worse for McLaren? (Monday June 8 2015)
2015 - Canada - Race (Sunday June 7 2015)
Blog: Montreal Qualifying (Sunday June 7 2015)
Grid penalty brings further pain for Vettel (Sunday June 7 2015)
2015 - Canada - Qualifying (Sunday June 7 2015)
2015 - Canada - FP3 (Sunday June 7 2015)
Why customer cars are not against F1ís DNA (Saturday June 6 2015)
2015 - Canada - FP2 (Friday June 5 2015)
2015 - Canada - FP1 (Friday June 5 2015)
Verstappen under fire (Friday June 5 2015)
Manor Marussia sign Fabio Leimer (Thursday June 4 2015)
Blog: Montreal Preview (Wednesday June 3 2015)
Manor Marussia make key appointments (Wednesday June 3 2015)
Ferrari and Honda set for engine upgrades (Tuesday June 2 2015)
2015 Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 7 (Monday June 1 2015)
Who will in Canada? (Monday June 1 2015)
F1 seeks new team for 2016 and beyond (Friday May 29 2015)
Extra homework for Kimi (Friday May 29 2015)
Verstappen penalised for Monaco crash (Thursday May 28 2015)
HSE to take no action over de Villota crash (Wednesday May 27 2015)
Vital talking point - First points for McLaren (Wednesday May 27 2015)
Mature Hamilton attempts to deflect blame (Tuesday May 26 2015)
Wolff attempts to defend the indefensible (Tuesday May 26 2015)
Vital talking point - Monaco - Mercedes Blunder (Tuesday May 26 2015)
|7.||Push The Button||461|