Former Scuderia Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali pinpointed Michael Schumacher’s attention to detail and relationship with his engineering team as crucial elements in the German great’s Formula 1 success, highlighting the broken leg he suffered in 1999 as proof of the point.
Michael was effectively ruled out of title contention in 1999 after breaking his leg in a crash at Silverstone, with Mika Hakkinen going on to hold off Eddie Irvine to secure back-to-back championships. While Schumacher’s attention to detail is famed, Domenicali says his refusal to blame the team – even when it caused him serious injury – was key to his success.
“He was an incredible guy in that position when he was a world champion for so many years for us in Ferrari,” Domenicali told Nico Rosberg on the world champion’s ‘Beyond Victory’ podcast. “In frame-by-frame, the analysis on how he could improve his performance, so the team, the engineers can improve the performance of the car. He was the one who made [decisions] with the engineers, [using] the switches, trying to exploit the maximum performance in brake balance, in driving mode in all the settings – and now there are so many. This is something that we need to bring home, and the other thing that is very important for the team perspective, he never ever accused the team for any problem that he had. And he could have had the chance to do it. I remember 1999 when he had a problem in Silverstone, when he crashed and broke his leg, it was a problem unfortunately that a bolt was not tight enough on the brakes. But you never heard anything negative and [heard Schumacher] say ‘the team did a mistake’. So that’s something that you bring home and you will have all the troops, all the people that will fight even stronger for you in that situation.” – Former Scuderia Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali concluded.