Formula 1

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Germany Ralf Schumacher

Races: 182
Podiums: 27
Career Points: 329

1997Ireland B&H Total Jordan Peugeot Jordan 33 Peugeot A14 3.0 V10 197 
1998Ireland Benson and Hedges Jordan Jordan 34 Mugen-Honda MF-301 HC Jordan 198 
1999United Kingdom Winfield Williams Williams 35 Supertec FB01 FW21 
2000United Kingdom BMW WilliamsF1 Team Williams 36 BMW E41 Williams FW22 
2001United Kingdom BMW WilliamsF1 Team Williams   BMW P80 Williams FW23 
2002United Kingdom BMW WilliamsF1 Team Williams 92 BMW P82 Williams FW24 
2003United Kingdom BMW WilliamsF1 Team Williams 144 BMW P83 Williams FW25 
2004United Kingdom BMW WilliamsF1 Team Williams 88 BMW P84 Williams FW26 
2005Japan Panasonic Toyota Racing Toyota 88 Toyota RVX-05 Toyota TF105 
2006Japan Panasonic Toyota Racing Toyota 35 Toyota RVX-06 2.4 V8 Toyota TF106 
2007Japan Panasonic Toyota Racing Toyota 13 Toyota RVX-07 Toyota TF107 

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Ralf Schumacher: Worthy of Coming Out of the Shadows

By Jeremy McMullen
Page: 1 2 next >>
Mention the name 'Schumacher' and one nearly forgets there were two racing at the same time. So dominant was the one that the other seemed destined to remain in the shadows. However, on his day, Ralf Schumacher could do more than hold his own against his sibling rival. There would be times that Michael would have to say his brother was better.

By the time Ralf was making a name for himself around his native Germany karting, his brother Michael was already a double World Champion. Already there were questions as to whether or not the younger brother was as faster, or faster; could he show up his brother, or, would prove a bust? Pressure on drivers mounts as they ascend the racing ladder. Ralf would have enormous pressure before he even had to prove himself. This meant Ralf had to prove himself many times over at every stage.

Born in Hurth in 1975, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of what was then West Germany, there would be very little indication of the name Ralf would have to make for himself just twenty years on. However, as he started to take part in kart racing, something his brother Michael had done, the comparisons and the yardsticks were to be inevitable.

And, despite not having that hyper-focus for which his brother would become famous, Ralf would give every indication that he was just as capable. After finishing runner-up in the national karting series, Ralf would move up to the German Formula Three championship in 1994.

At just twenty years of age, Ralf would go on to finish 3rd in his inaugural season in Formula Three. He would finish behind other drivers Jorg Muller and Alex Wurz and would begin really attracting attention. If he could have an even more successful season the following year then it was figured he was cut from the same mold and not a driver to be overlooked. Schumacher would have some within Formula One raising their eyebrows as he would go on to finish runner-up in Formula Three in 1995. In addition, Ralf would go on to win the Macau Grand Prix, a race his brother had also won. They were brothers. That was obvious. But there were indications they were even more alike than that and that made many mouths water.

Michael had been a part of the Mercedes development program during the late 1980s. Then, when the opportunity presented itself, he would be given the chance to drive for Eddie Jordan at Spa. It would be such an impressive debut that Benetton would sign the driver to a Formula One contract. Mercedes had lost a star for the future. Mercedes supplied the engines that powered the McLaren Formula One team. And, following the runner-up performance by the younger brother in Formula Three, it was determined that this was one Schumacher that was not to be allowed to get away. Therefore, Ralf would earn a test drive with McLaren in late 1996. At that point in time, the German was en route to the championship in the Japanese Formula 3000 series. Ralf would come and take part in the test and would thorough confuse those within the McLaren team.

Ralf had come to the test and had done everything that was asked of him, and that was the problem. He did nothing that would give the impression that he had the hunger and the drive to be a double World Champion like his brother. He was quick, but not as quick as everyone longed and expected. Those within McLaren would be left wondering if they had unrealistic expectations. By the time they had come to a decision Ralf would be signed by Jordan. He was going to come into Formula One through the very same door as his brother. The similarities would continue.
2007Toyota TF107Toyota RVX-07
2006Toyota TF106Toyota RVX-06 2.4 V8
2005Toyota TF105Toyota RVX-05
2004Williams FW26BMW P84
2003Williams FW25BMW P83
2002Williams FW24BMW P82
2001Williams FW23BMW P80
2000Williams FW22BMW E41
1999FW21Supertec FB01
1998Jordan 198Mugen-Honda MF-301 HC
1997197Peugeot A14 3.0 V10

Eddie Jordan had one Schumacher taken right out from underneath him. Determining the younger brother to be his second chance, Jordan would jump at the chance to hire the young driver. Unlike his older brother, Ralf would have a contract for more than one race. Eddie would be sold on Ralf without him having even really setting foot inside one of his cars.

Ralf had graduated from carts in 1992 at the age of just 17. Only five years on and he would find himself in Formula One with a competitive team. Signing with the Jordan team, Ralf would be behind the wheel of the 197.

Powered by a Peugeot V10, the 197 gave Jordan a chance of seriously challenging the four major teams of that time. Designed by Gary Anderson, the car would be quick, but would be somewhat unreliable. This would be demonstrated by Schumacher's six retirements out of the first seven races of the season. Despite his early struggles, Schumacher would demonstrate raw pace. And, at the Argentine Grand Prix, just the third race of his Formula One career, Ralf would overcome a battle with his teammate to finish 3rd. This, in its own right, would be impressive. However, when considering the fact Fisichella held him up, it was clear there was a great deal of potential there. Now the Formula One fraternity had to look out for two Schumachers.

Ralf would continue to demonstrate his quality, and, in 1998, Jordan would gain the use of Mugen-Honda engines. Feelings at the start of the season were that the Mugen couldn't last. However, at the Belgian Grand Prix toward the end of the season, it would be the two Jordans running first and second.

Damon Hill had joined the team in 1998. The 1996 World Champion would not necessarily be the fastest driver with the team. In fact, Ralf would frequently out-qualify him. However, Hill knew how to collect the points and keep a car on the track. And, in the latter-stages of a rain-soaked Belgian Grand Prix, the World Champion would be barely holding onto his car, let alone the lead. Behind him, Schumacher was much stronger. He was much quicker and coming closer and closer to attempting a pass for what would be his first victory. However, the conditions would dictate Eddie pass along the order that Ralf would hold station and help ensure Jordan not only secured its first victory, but a one-two on top of it all.

This decision would not sit well with the German and would only confirm what he had been feeling all along. In fact, the decision would be much more impactful than it had appeared. Michael had already bowed out in the terrible rain after a run-in with David Coulthard's stricken McLaren. And, while Hill would spend most of the race toward the front of the field, Ralf would climb up from an 8th place starting position and would be, by far, the faster of the two Jordans coming into the final laps of the race.

TF107  TF107  TF106  TF106  TF105  TF105  FW26  FW26  FW25  FW25  FW24  FW24  FW23  FW23  
FW22  FW22  198  
Hill's presence within the team had made life difficult for Schumacher and the way the Belgian Grand Prix played out made it more than obvious. He believed he could find a better opportunity with some other team. There was one team that could only offer promises, and even those were a stretch. Still, it was an opportunity not to be missed. The timing would be near perfect.

Damon Hill had earned his World Championship while driving for the Williams team in 1996. Ralf's brother had earned his two World Championships while battling with Hill and his Williams. Frank Williams was a well respected name within Formula One. The 1998 season had seen the team struggle having lost its Renault engines. Still, if there was one team that could offer success and deliver it was Williams. Therefore, it would seem only fitting that Ralf would join the very team against whom his older brother had had so many titanic battles. Joining Schumacher was not just looking for greener pastures with better opportunities. He was stepping out from his brother's shadow, telling the world he would be his own man. What he may not have realized at the time (but what everyone hoped) is that his move would set up an opportunity for the world to see two brothers go at it with rather equal circumstances.

The first season with Williams would be a difficult time as the team would be forced to make due with Supertec engines. However, Williams would be intimately involved in a sportscar project with BWM and the Formula One team would be a huge beneficiary of the partnership. Heading into the 2000 season, Williams would have BMW engines powering their FW22. What's more, Schumacher would be the elder member of the team as a young Jenson Button earned the drive in the second Williams. This meant Ralf would be front and center in the battle with his brother at Ferrari.

Germany Drivers  F1 Drivers From Germany 
Kurt Adolff
Kurt Karl-Heinrich Ahrens, Jr.
Michael Bartels
Edgar Barth
Erwin Bauer
Karl-Günther Bechem
Stefan Bellof
Adolf Brudes
Christian Danner
Ludwig Fischer
Theodor Fitzau
Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Timo Glock
Helm Glöckler
Dora Greifzu
Hubert Hahne
Willi Heeks
Nick Lars Heidfeld
Theo Helfrich
Hans Herrmann
Hans Heyer
Nicolas 'Nico' Hulkenberg
Oswald Karch
Willi Kauhsen
Hans Klenk
Karl Kling
Ernst Klodwig
Willi Krakau
Rudolf Krause
Kurt Kuhnke
Hermann Lang
Ernst Loof
Andre Lotterer
Jochen Richard Mass
Harry Erich Merkel
Gerhard Karl Mitter
Hans Müller-Perschl
Helmut Niedermayr
Josef Peters
Paul Pietsch
Fritz Riess
Nico Erik Rosberg
Bernd Schneider
Rudolf Schoeller
Michael Schumacher
Ralf Schumacher
Wolfgang Seidel
Günther Seiffert
Rolf Johann Stommelen
Hans Stuck
Hans-Joachim Stuck
Adrian Sutil
Anton 'Toni' Ulmen
Sebastian Vettel
Wolfgang von Trips
Pascal Wehrlein
Volker Weidler
Hans Wiedmer
Manfred Winkelhock
Markus Winkelhock
The FW22, with its new 3.0-liter BMW V10 engines showed a great deal of promise. Schumacher would finish the Australian Grand Prix, the first round of the season, on the podium. Another point-paying result in Brazil suggested he could steal one from his brother here and there. Many detractors believed Williams would struggle with the new BMW engines, and there would be some teething issues. However, the biggest struggle the team would face over the course of the season would be just not having the pace. This would all change in a big way the following season with the introduction of the FW23.

The Williams FW23 would help the famed team regain a place of prominence within Formula One. McLaren stumbled with their latest car and the partnership between Williams and BMW was really beginning to come into its own. The team would also get a boost with a very talented driver lineup that headlined Ralf Schumacher but that also boasted of the talented Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya.

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Formula One World Drivers' Champions
1950 G. Farina
1951 J. Fangio
1952 A. Ascari
1953 A. Ascari
1954 J. Fangio
1955 J. Fangio
1956 J. Fangio
1957 J. Fangio
1958 M. Hawthorn
1959 S. Brabham
1960 S. Brabham
1961 P. Hill, Jr
1962 N. Hill
1963 J. Clark, Jr.
1964 J. Surtees
1965 J. Clark, Jr.
1966 S. Brabham
1967 D. Hulme
1968 N. Hill
1969 S. Stewart
1970 K. Rindt
1971 S. Stewart
1972 E. Fittipaldi
1973 S. Stewart
1974 E. Fittipaldi
1975 A. Lauda
1976 J. Hunt
1977 A. Lauda
1978 M. Andretti
1979 J. Scheckter
1980 A. Jones
1981 N. Piquet
1982 K. Rosberg
1983 N. Piquet
1984 A. Lauda
1985 A. Prost
1986 A. Prost
1987 N. Piquet
1988 A. Senna
1989 A. Prost
1990 A. Senna
1991 A. Senna
1992 N. Mansell
1993 A. Prost
1994 M. Schumacher
1995 M. Schumacher
1996 D. Hill
1997 J. Villeneuve
1998 M. Hakkinen
1999 M. Hakkinen
2000 M. Schumacher
2001 M. Schumacher
2002 M. Schumacher
2003 M. Schumacher
2004 M. Schumacher
2005 F. Alonso
2006 F. Alonso
2007 K. Raikkonen
2008 L. Hamilton
2009 J. Button
2010 S. Vettel
2011 S. Vettel
2012 S. Vettel
2013 S. Vettel
2014 L. Hamilton
2015 L. Hamilton
2016 N. Rosberg
2017 L. Hamilton
2018 L. Hamilton
2019 L. Hamilton

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