Ferrari F1 team boss Mattia Binotto remembered 1996 when Michael Schumacher from Benetton came to Ferrari and imposed his impressive work ethic on the entire team that led them to incredible success at the start of the new millennium.
Schumacher arrived at Ferrari as a two-time world champion with Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and Ross Brawn came with him and Rory Bryne, while Jean Todt had joined the team from Peugeot's sports car program even earlier.
Schumacher arrived at Ferrari in November 1995, and at the first test in Fioran he immediately left an impression on the entire team, including the then young engineer Binotto. “I still remember the first test on the Fioran,” Binotto told ‘Beyond the Grid’.
"He never managed to get through the first turn on the track properly." Schumacher was slower than drivers who had previously tested on the Fioran, including Jean Alesi, Gerhard Berger, and test driver Nicola Larini.
"I remember that after the first test he immediately asked Jean Todt to change that bandage, he didn't want to see him again." "Yes, we changed that turn because it was not representative of the World Cup.
That was the point. " "Since then, the Fiorano has had a different configuration." Binotto said that Schumacher moved the start of the first meeting of the day to 8 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. as had been the case until then.
“We arrived at the track around 8:20, Michael was already there waiting for us. He looked at his watch and asked us where we were. ”
Schumacher changed Ferrari's habit of driving the first laps at 9 a.m.
and then discussing the test program that day - he scheduled a meeting at 8 p.m., which became a new practice on the team. "Since Michael came, we've had our first meeting every day at 8 in the morning." “In the last hour of the day, we would go out on the track with little fuel, about 10 kg, and simulate the qualifying round.
So the next day you would read in the Italian news that Michael Schumacher is the fastest for Ferrari. He asked us why we were doing it. ” "He insisted that we drive with 50 kg of fuel all day, that was another big change for us, that approach."
"By the way, he drove the fastest lap with 50 kg of fuel." “He was a hard worker and a leader. Powerful, fast driver. And he taught us how to do business. ”