Verstappen “convinced” Schumacher used driver aids in 1994
December 7, 2011
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Jos Verstappen claims that Schumacher cheated en route to his first title
Former F1 driver Jos Verstappen has re-ignited the controversy over Michael Schumacher’s 1994 title success, after claiming that the German used illegal electronic driver aids.
In 1994, the FIA found that Schumacher’s Benneton did indeed contain illegal launch control protocol, which heavily assists a driver from a standing start on the grid. The software was hidden behind an ominously named “Option 13” setting.
However, the sporting organisation was unable to prove that the Benneton actually used this software, although the 1994 French Grand Prix start suggests otherwise.
Now, Verstappen – Schumacher’s teammate in 1994 – has restarted this debate. In an interview with Dutch sports magazine NUsport, he said :
"I know what happened when we were together at Benetton. People think that I’m
looking for excuses, but I know that his car was different from mine. I always
thought it was impossible. I braked at the limit and I went into the corners as
hard as it was possible. So how could Schumacher have done it? There was something
There were electronic driver aids. It was never mentioned, but I am convinced. I
know enough now. Like everyone else, Michael is dependent on his car. For most
people he was a god but he is not superman – in a kart he never beat me.
They [Benneton] 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." I know enough."
In 1994, Benneton were also embroiled in other controversies, such as illegaly removing a safety filter from their fuel rigs, speeding up pit stops. However, this also resulted in slightly fiery results, as Verstappen found out in Germany that year, as leaked fuel ignited and set his car ablaze.
Here is footage from the controversial start in France 1994: