Schumacher takes to the stage

© Cahier Archive

© Cahier Archive

It's 25 years ago to the day that Michael Schumacher made his first appearance in Formula One, driving for Jordan at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix.

Schumacher was sitting in for Betrand Gachot, who had been jailed for assaulting a London taxi driver the previous year. His team-mate Andrea de Cesaris was meant to show Schumacher the circuit but was held up with contract negotiations, so Schumacher learned the track on his own by cycling around the track on a fold-up bike he had brought with him.

He impressed the paddock by out-qualifying his team mate, lining up in seventh place on the starting grid which matched the team's season-best starting position of the season. Unfortunately the race did not go so well, and Schumacher retired on the first lap of the race with clutch problems.

Benetton quickly swooped on Schumacher, and despite an agreement in principle between Jordan and Schumacher's Mercedes management that should have see the German driver racing for the Irish team for the rest of the 1991 season, he instead switched teams in time for the next Grand Prix at Monza, and would go on to claim two world titles with the squad in 1994 and 1995.