- Telemtry graph comparison of throttle, speed, and steering angle between Schumacher and Herbert

This is Why Schumacher is The Best F1 Driver

Looking at data to explain Schumacher's Talent

With Michael Schumacher's recent fantastic news that he is no longer bedridden, I figured it would be a great opportunity to share one of my absolute favourite videos about him. I stumbled across this video last year and immediately bookmarked it. It includes bits from interviews with various F1 drivers, including Schumacher himself and team mate Johnny Herbert. But my favourite part of the video is when they compare telemetry between Schumacher and Herbert.

The telemetry clearly explains where Schumacher is saving (lap) time and how exactly his talent and skills translate to better (and ultimately faster) driving. His talent is even more impressive when you consider the lack of active throttle mapping in modern F1 cars and the myriad of improvements made to driveability. Watch below to see for yourself.

What I love about this video is that I found Jonathan's Palmer analysis of Schumacher's telemetry to be absolutely true when applied to my driving on track.

SPOILER ALERT: It is often quicker to gently reduce throttle input earlier in corner entry to set up for the turn instead of going wide open throttle (WOT) as late as possible. This is even far more true for road cars than F1 cars because road cars have softer suspensions with much longer delay between your input and the car's response due to time for suspension to settle after weight transfer. It took me a little while to figure out on my own and wish I had seen the video earlier. In my own track car; a 2012 Mustang Boss 302, it was most apparent through the first corner on the track following the front straight. My section time was always quicker when I reduced throttle input earlier rather than going WOT until the very last moment possible.

What about you? Can you relate to what the telemetry data shows about Schumacher's driving? Let me know below!

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Comments (29)

  • Yes, but the way Schmacher drove seemed cold, and calculated. Senna, on the other hand, drove with emotion, and that makes him the more entertaining driver by far.

      2 years ago
  • Senna was the best and didn't need use a illegal car

      2 years ago
    • Senna was probably my favourite driver of all time. Driving and character were like none.

        2 years ago
    • Senna may well have been the best, but every F1 car he drove was in some way illegal because every F1 car ever made has been in some way illegal. That is the nature of the sport.

        2 years ago
  • Schumacher could win in cars that had no business winning, and he did so quite often. Senna could, Alonso could, that's what made them special. Until Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, or whoever can do that..they'll never knock Schumacher off the No.1 spot.

      2 years ago
  • It is difficult to comprehend the Schumacher phenomenon after so many years, if you haven't followed F-1 back then. Before him, it took many-many years of struggle to have a chance at a top team. Some had shortcuts like a world champion and/or wealthy and benevolent father, or mortgaged their house (Mansell) or life (Lauda) to fund themselves.

    Seeing such a young nobody (son of a poor track-technician, aged only 22 years, that just seemed impossible!), and even more: he drove in a newcomer team beating the living legend Senna who scrupulously dumped champion teams in the hope of a technological advantage, many thought this just cant be possible.

    Below somebody mentioned "cheating", here I have to stress, the there is NO proof of cheating with traction control. The traction control was simply a wishfoul thinking, as his driving was hard to explain.

    While there were open championships finales, whereby he was often only up caught by the penalties, that were unnecessarily harsh, basically to promote an open ending.

    Nevertheless, Schumacher's advantage grew considerably when ha finally had the best car (Ferrari years).

      2 years ago
  • Schumacher was a different class to everyone else of his era, ok when he was at Merc things didn't go so well but he was past his prime. Best of all time? Nobody will ever know. People question his sportsmanship, he was no saint but neither was Senna ( which people seem to forget ). Glad to hear he is making some sort of recovery at last, fingers crossed for him.

      2 years ago