After the British Grand Prix Mick Schumacher had the honour of driving the beautiful Jordan 191 Formula 1 car at Silverstone – the very car in which his father Michael Schumacher made his F1 debut. And ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the Haas rookie explained the strong emotions he felt while at the wheel.
The V8-engined Jordan 191 was the car in which Michael had his first shot at F1, at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix, and Mick drove the car for a Sky Sports F1 feature, days after finishing 18th for Haas in the British GP.
“Driving-wise, unfortunately I didn’t have a seat in it, only a bit of foam, I was sliding around a lot – especially every braking I was sliding so far down I couldn’t see the track anymore – so after every braking I had to push myself back up to see something,” said the 22-year-old.
“But the emotions, and feeling and knowing that my dad raced this car as his first race car, is very special.”
The young Haas racer also remarked that this was his first time driving an F1 car with an H-pattern gearbox – as FIA single-seaters feature paddle-shift gears – and how difficult it was adjusting to shifting, and seeing over the high-monocoque. He recalled enjoying a visceral, satisfying experience at the wheel of the 191.
“To begin with, I’ve never driven an H-pattern race car before,” he said. “So I was sitting in the car, trying to figure out where the gears were and everything. And yes, it’s crazy to think about how far out you sit in that car, the shoulders were just popping out of the side of the monocoque, and the front is very high and it you slide down or whatever you don’t see much, but it was very nice.
“Just pure racing, you can see everything… with the engine; nowadays with the battery and the hybrid era and stuff a lot of things are covered, so you don’t really see the engine unless it’s taken apart, but in that car you actually see how the fuel runs into the engine and it’s yes – it’s very good,” Schumacher added.
Along with his father’s championship-winning Benetton B194, Ferrari F2004 and F2002, Mick now has enviable experience of driving a quartet of legendary F1 machinery. But how do they compare to the Jordan 191?
“It’s probably, as most people would think, it’s actually the closest in terms of how the car is to the ’94 Benetton – very little amount of buttons on the steering wheel. It feels like a go-kart, the .
“You have tyres, you have an engine, you have a chassis and that’s it. Already when I drove the 2002 and 2004 Ferrari, you know, the amount of changes you can take on that steering wheel, the traction control and all those things, paddle shift, that’s very different to the ’91 car,” he added, on the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.