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Ralf Schumacher

By Toyota Media
January 14 2006

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From his early days in karting Ralf Schumacher proved to be a talent and that became obvious when he moved to cars, paving the way for a long and successful career in Formula 1

His single-seater career showed all the signs of future stardom. He won the prestigious Macau Grand Prix Formula Three race in 1995, and then took the Formula Nippon title in Japan the following year.

He made his Formula 1 debut with Jordan in the 1997 Australian Grand Prix, which was also the first start for current team-mate Jarno Trulli. Incredibly, Ralf was on the podium in just his third Grand Prix when he finished third in Argentina, but that remained the best result of a tumultuous debut season.

In 1998 a difficult start to the campaign was rectified by mid-season changes to the car. He finished a close second to team-mate Damon Hill at Spa, and took third place at Monza.

A move to Williams in 1999 saw the start of what turned out to be a six-year stint with the team. In the first season with Supertec power Ralf proved to be something of a revelation as a consistent points gatherer, finishing in the top five no fewer than 11 times. The highlight was a second place at Monza.

In 2000 Williams began a new relationship with BMW. Ralf finished third in the new combo’s first race in Australia, and went on to score two more podiums in the first season on his way to fourth in the championship. At the following year’s San Marino GP Ralf scored the first win for both himself and BMW Williams, later adding two further successes in Canada and Hockenheim. Once again he finished fourth in the championship.

He repeated that result in 2002, but in a year dominated by Ferrari his only win came in the Malaysian GP. In 2003 he added two more wins to his growing CV at the Nurburgring and Magny-Cours, and this time finished fifth in the championship. After a difficult start to 2004 a heavy crash in the US GP sidelined him for much of the rest of the season. During his convalescence he was announced as a Toyota driver for 2005 and beyond.

He was passed fit to return to the last three races, making a point by qualifying and finishing second in Japan. He left the team at the end of 2004 having scored six wins and taken five pole positions. He had spent four years of his six years as team-mate to Juan Pablo Montoya, and overall the pair proved to be very evenly matched.

Inevitably it took Ralf sometime to find his feet in his new environment at Panasonic Toyota Racing, and Trulli often got the better of him in qualifying. However, he impressed the team with his tenacity in races. He finished fifth on his second outing in Malaysia, and was fourth in Bahrain. Fortunately another accident at Indianapolis, again a result of a tyre failure, was not as serious as the first. He bounced back to take his first Toyota podium with third place in Hungary.

At the last two races Ralf found the revised TF105B more suited to his driving style. He took a superb pole position in Japan, and picked up another third place in the season finale in China. In total he finished in the points 13 times in 18 starts, and took an encouraging sixth place in the World Championship.

The 2006 season proved to be less rewarding for Toyota, but Ralf scored an early third place after a superb drive in Australia. He finished in the points on six other occasions, including a fourth in France, to secure 10th place in the championship. He also qualified an excellent third in Japan. ."

GP debut:Australia 1997
GPs started:163
Wins:6
Pole positions:6
Points:324
Best championship
result:
:4th (2001 & 2002)
  
1991:German Junior Kart : 1st
1992:German Kart : 2nd
BMW ADAC Formula Junior, Norisring: 2nd
1993:BMW ADAC Formula Junior: 2nd
F3 Testing – Team WTS
1994:German F3: 3rd
1995:German F3: 2nd
F3 Macau Grand Prix: 1st
1996:All Nippon Japanese F3000: 1st(2 wins)
Japanese GT: 2nd (3 wins)
First F1 test – McLaren Mercedes

1997

:F1 – Jordan Peugeot: 11th
1998:F1 Jordan Mugen – Honda: 10th
1999:F1 – Williams: 6th
2000:F1 BMW Williams: 5th
2001:F1 BMW Williams: 4th (3 wins)
2002:F1 BMW Williams: 4th (1 wins)
2003:F1 BMW Williams: 5th (2 wins)
2004:F1 BMW Williams: 9th (12 races)
2005:F1 – Panasonic Toyota Racing: 6th (2 podiums, 1 pole)
2006:F1 - Panasonic Toyota Racing: 10th (1 podium)
2007:F1 - Panasonic Toyota Racing

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