Jerez 1997: Why Michael Schumacher never apologized

( – While Michael Schumacher admitted his controversial “parking maneuver” in Monaco qualifying 2006 (“Rascassegate”) at least to Mark Webber, another dark spot in his career remains the subject of heated discussions: Jerez 1997. For the At that time, the world championship-decisive collision with Jacques Villeneuve was never publicly apologized for the two-time world champion.

Michael Schumacher, Jerez 1997

Michael Schumacher watches Villeneuve as he becomes world champion in 1997



Schumacher spoke very well about Jerez in 1997 in the narrowest circle. For example with his then manager Willi Weber. At the time, he was looking for a conversation with Schumacher “as his friend, not as a manager”, because it was “my duty”, as he reveals in an interview with ‘’ for the first time.

He said to Schumacher: “What got into you, what was that?” Recalls Weber. Back then, almost 78 years ago, the 78-year-old had a “confidential conversation” with his protégé, about which he would prefer not to “talk” in public. But between the lines he lets through that Schumacher’s controversial ram was at least not a mistake.

On the day of the race, on October 26, 1997, Weber, as he reveals in the interview, said to Schumacher: “If you ever do it again, please do it like Ayrton Senna with Alain Prost! And not so halfheartedly “So that” both are out, both can no longer continue “.

What Senna did well and Schumacher did less well …

Weber thus refers to the World Cup decision in 1990 when Ayrton Senna drove his last remaining title rival Alain Prost in a Ferrari at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka. Both retired and the World Cup decision was in Senna’s favor. In 1997, however, Villeneuve was able to continue, while Schumacher had to give up.

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In retrospect, Weber admits that the days after Jerez were “bad”: “Michael was in a condition that I have rarely seen. Between anger and despair. The need to apologize. To know he has one Made a huge mistake, and on the other hand anger when he does something that he didn’t do it right. “

Some fans and many critics still resent the fact that Schumacher never apologized publicly for the legendary ramming blow. Weber, who accompanied the seven-time world champion from 1989 to 2010 as a manager, thinks he knows why this step never happened: “There are a few things involved. For example, that Michael Steinbock is.”

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“Capricorn men, with whom I have had a great deal in my life, simply do not have the opportunity to first stand up and apologize. Because a Capricorn does not make any mistakes. […] If you think you made no mistake, and you make no mistake, you cannot apologize for it. As simple as that.”

By the way: Weber had produced World Cup caps for 1997 before Jerez, which of course he could never sell due to the unfortunate outcome. He himself kept some of the items in his private collection. The rest are still in a warehouse today. You could probably make a fortune on eBay today. “There are enough inquiries,” grins Weber.

Further highlights from the interview with Willi Weber about Michael Schumacher’s extraordinary career, in which he reveals one or the other previously undocumented secret, will be available on Friday (June 19) as a YouTube premiere on the channels and to see. Set up a reminder for 6:00 p.m. and don’t miss the video!

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