- August 25 down the years
Schumacher makes F1 debutWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
Michael Schumacher made his Formula One debut at the Belgian Grand Prix. He drove for Jordan after replacing Betrand Gachot, who had been jailed for assaulting a London taxi driver the year before. Schumacher immediately caught the world's attention by qualifying seventh, albeit 3.4 seconds off the pole time set by Ayrton Senna. In the race the clutch failed on the grid and he retired immediately while Senna led a McLaren one-two at the front of the field. However, Schumacher had made his mark on the sport and was immediately snapped up by Flavio Briatore to race for Benetton at the next event, much to the anger of Eddie Jordan.
Founder and team principal of Tyrrell Racing, Ken Tyrrell, passed away at his home in Surrey. Tyrrell cars were a mainstay of the F1 grid from 1970 to 1998, taking 23 wins before the team entry was sold to British American Tobacco for the start of the 1999 season. It went on to become BAR, then Honda and eventually relived its glory days under the Brawn name. Jackie Stewart, who took all three of his world championships with Tyrrell as the team principal said: "Ken was the most important person in my life outside my family. Without Ken Tyrrell, I would not be where I am today."
Sebastian Vettel became the youngest ever F1 driver as he made his debut for BMW Sauber during Friday practice for the Turkish Grand Prix. He immediately made an impact on the sport, setting the fastest time of the day with a 1:28.091 at just 19 years and 53 days old. However, he was also fined for exceeding the pit lane speed limit by 4.3km/h. He had to wait until 2007 to get his race debut with Toro Rosso and then won his first grand prix the next year for the same team.
Michael Schumacher took victory at the Belgian Grand Prix but only after a strategic cock-up cost Williams an easy win. Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill had locked out the front row and although Schumacher split the pair at the start Villeneuve had the faster car. However, a third of the way into the race the throttle on Jos Verstappen's Arrows pinned wide open and he crashed at 135mph. A safety car was called out and Williams radioed Villeneuve to come in, but somewhere over the vast expanse of the Spa circuit the message got lost and Villeneuve stayed out on track. As a result Schumacher took the lead and with Villeneuve concerned about some knocking noises from his Renault V10, he settled for second. After the race an elated Schumacher said: "I would not have bet anything for this to happen. There was no way I thought I could win this race. Spa is lucky for me."
McLaren took a dominant one-two victory at Zandvoort ahead of Ayrton Senna in a Lotus. Niki Lauda led home Alain Prost by just 0.232 seconds after the pair ran nose-to-tail for the last few laps. Senna had led at the start but lost out in the pit stops as the McLarens worked their way through the field. Alain Prost went on to win the title comfortably.