Michael Schumacher Season: Benetton 1994–1995 World Championships

Michael Schumacher won six of the first seven races and was leading the Spanish Grand Prix, before a gearbox failure left him stuck in fifth gear for most of the race. Schumacher somehow managed to still finish the race in second place.


Following the San Marino Grand Prix, the Benetton, Ferrari and McLaren teams were investigated on suspicion of breaking the FIA-imposed ban on electronic aids. Benetton and McLaren initially refused to hand over their source code for investigation. The Benetton software was deemed to be a form of "launch control" that would have allowed Schumacher to make perfect starts, which was explicitly outlawed by the regulations. However, there was no evidence to suggest that this software was actually used. Both teams were fined $100,000 for their initial refusal to cooperate.

At the British Grand Prix, Schumacher was given a penalty for overtaking Hill on the formation lap. He and Benetton then ignored the penalty and the subsequent black flag, and he was disqualified and later given a two-race ban. Benetton blamed the incident on a communication error. Schumacher was also disqualified after winning the Belgian Grand Prix after his car was found to have illegal wear on its skid block.

Damon Hill was able to close the points gap because of these mishaps, and Schumacher led by only a single point going into the final race in Australia. On lap 36, Schumacher hit the guardrail on the outside of the track while leading. Hill attempted to pass, but as Schumacher's car returned to the track there was a collision on the corner causing them both to retire. Schumacher won the Drivers' Championship, as a result of the accident, and became the firs German in history to win the championship.

In 1995, Schumacher successfully defended his title with Benetton, which now had the same Renault engine as Williams. Schumacher earned 33 more points than second-placed Damon Hill. With the help of his teammate Johnny Herbert, the pair took Benetton to its first Constructors' Championship which broke the dominance of McLaren and Williams. Schumacher also became the youngest two-time World Champion in Formula One history.

Schumacher won 9 of the 17 races, and finished on the podium 11 times. Only once did he qualify worse than fourth; at the Belgian Grand Prix, he qualified 16th, and still went on to win the race. That season he and rival Damon Hill crashed several times, and a move by Hill took them both out of the British Grand Prix , and again at the Italian Grand Prix.