Schumacher's story


1996 Position: 3rd. Points: 59. Best Results: 3 wins - Spain, Belgium, Italy.

Schumacher's first year at Ferrari was only ever going to be developmental and so it was. Forging a partnership with Eddie Irvine, he helped Ferrari to second in the constructors' championship, although they finished a mammoth 95 points behind Williams and the all conquering pairing of Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve.

1997 Position: Disqualified from 2nd position. Points: 78. Best results: 5 wins - Monaco, Canada, France, Belgium, Japan.

Year two was a real chance. Schumacher took Williams golden boy Villeneuve on and almost pulled it off, but having taken the fight to the last race in Jerez, he infamously attempted to drive the Canadian off the track. He stalled and Villenueve went on to finish second and took the title. Schumacher was disqualified from the official season standings. Ferrari kept his points however and again took second, this time just 21 points behind Williams.

1998 Position: 2nd. Points: 86. Best results: 6 wins - Argentina, Canada, France, Britain, Hungary, Italy.

Schumacher came back from the doghouse determined to fulfill the prophecy of being Ferrari's first champion in 19 years. Again he brought the fight to the last race but Mika Hakkinen was unstoppable and claimed his first championship title. Schumacher would have to try again. Once more, Ferrari collected the runners-up prize, this time losing out to McLaren by 14 points.

1999 Position: 5th. Points: 44. Best results: 2 wins - San Marino, Monaco.

What should have been a real fighting chance turned into disaster. After clawing his way back into the fight following poor performances in a difficult car in the opening races, Schumacher went to the British Grand Prix looking to pose a real championship threat. That threat ended seconds after the start when he ploughed into the tyre wall at Stowe corner, breaking his left leg. He missed seven grands prix while recovering and the Ferrari challenge switched to Eddie Irvine. Irvine took it all the way but, even with Schumacher helping out in the last two races, couldn't do it and Hakkinen again took the title. Ferrari took the consolation prize of the constructors' title, beating McLaren by four points.

2000 Position: Champion. Points: 98. Best Results: 8 wins - Australia, Brazil, San Marino, Europe, Canada, Italy, USA, Japan.

Schumacher, armed with a car he calls the best he's ever driven, made a dream start, taking wins in Australia, Brazil and San Marino before the tough stuff really started. First the challenge came from David Coulthard with wins in Britain, Monaco and France, but the German insisted the real attack was still to come. Hakkinen, having started dreadfully, won in Spain and, as Ferrari slumped in mid-season, capitalised with wins in Spain, Austria, Hungary and Belgium. The game looked up for Schumacher, but back-to-back victories at Monza and Indianapolis saw him regain the championship advantage and two weeks later he wrapped up a historic title in Japan.