Ralf Schumacher

Country: 
Full Name: 
Ralf Schumacher
Birth Date: 
29 June, 1975
Birth Place: 
Hürth-Hermülheim, Germany
Driver Status: 
Former
Driver Height: 
180cm
Driver Weight: 
73kg
175
Races
6
Wins
6
Poles
0
Titles

Ralf Schumacher Biography

Ralf Schumacher F1 Career Overview

Armed with the fabled ‘Schumacher’ name, Ralf proved racing ability ran through the family by reaching the pinnacle of the sport in 1997 and spending 11 seasons in the top flight, achieving six victories in the process.

As his brother Michael was steamrolling his way to the 1994 and 1995 F1 World Championships, Ralf Schumacher - six years his junior - began his rapid ascent through the junior ranks finishing runner-up in the 1995 German F3 Championship and the Macau Grand Prix before clinching the Japanese-based Formula Nippon series.

Making his F1 debut with Jordan in 1997, Schumacher went on to endure a successful six year stint with Wiliams before concluding his career with three seasons at Toyota.

Post-F1 he competed with Mercedes in the DTM series with moderate success. Ralf’s son David Schumacher will compete in the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Championship.

Ralf Schumacher F1 Career - Team-by-Team

Jordan: 1997-1998

Following his Formula Nippon success, Schumacher echoed his brother by making his F1 bow with Jordan in 1997. Though the Peugeot-powered car proved unreliable in the early stages of the season, Schumacher was a podium winner in only his third start, even if he didn’t endear himself to Jordan bosses by colliding with Giancarlo Fisichella en route to the rostrum. 

Points were a regular occurrence during the mid-part of the season to secure 11th in the overall standings but Schumacher didn’t have the measure of an impressive Fisichella, who shone in the sister car having only started a handful of races the previous year with minnows Minardi.

Retained for 1998, the now Mugen-Honda powered Jordan 198 struggled during the early stages of the year in both in the hands of Schumacher and new team-mate Damon Hill, the German only scoring the team’s first points of the year during Round 9 at Silverstone

Thereafter results came thick and fast and Schumacher scored in five of the final eight rounds including a second place finish in the high attrition Belgian Grand Prix, a race he could have won but for a team order from boss Eddie Jordan to hang back from Hill to ensure a historic 1-2 for the team. A podium at the following round in Monza assured him tenth overall.

Williams: 1999-2004

Swapping seats with Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Schumacher joined Williams for 1999 which while not as competitive in with ageing Supertec engines (updated from the previous year’s Mecachrome units, which in turn were based on the 1997 title-winning factory Renault engines) showed solid form. 

With Schumacher proving Williams’ only point-scorer of the year, he impressed with podiums at Albert Park, Silverstone and Nurburgring, earning him sixth in the overall standings. 

Staying for Williams’ new era with incoming engine suppliers BMW, Schumacher gave a hint of what was to come by scoring a podium on the partnership’s maiden outing in Australia, repeating the feat at Spa and Monza - where the BMW’s impressive top speed performance was demonstrated - taking him to fifth in the final classification.

With precocious new team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya alongside him for 2001, Schumacher stamped his mark with a maiden victory at Imola and won again at the high-speed Gilles Villeneuve Circuit before delighting BMW bosses with success at the German Grand Prix for what would be the final race to be held on the long configuration of the Hockenheimring.

He ended the year fourth overall, earning him another three-year stay at Williams-BMW, which he used to score a victory in 2001 at Sepang and twice in 2002 - again on home soil at the Nurburgring and Magny-Cours - to secure fourth and fifth overall respectively.

Schumacher’s final season with Williams was blighted by a high-speed crash at Indianapolis at the fastest part of the circuit, an incident that left him with a spinal fracture and concussion. He missed the majority of the year but returned in the closing stages to notch up a final podium for Williams at Suzuka.

Toyota: 2006-2007

Joining the overhauled Toyota factory effort alongside fellow newcomer Jarno Trulli, the experienced pair lifted the Japanese team to the upper echelons of the grid for the first time. Though Schumacher stepped on the podium twice - compared to Trulli’s three early in the year - points in all but five of the 19 races allowed him to finish ahead in sixth overall.

For 2006, the TF106 wasn’t the desired step forward expected and save for a podium during round three in Australia points’ finishes were otherwise sporadic.

Things didn’t improve much in 2007 and Schumacher troubled the points on only three occasions, leading Toyota to retain Trulli and replace Schumacher with countryman Timo Glock.

Ralf Schumacher - Beyond F1

Following the conclusion of his F1 career, Ralf Schumacher followed in the footsteps of fellow F1 exiles Mika Hakkinen, Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen before him to join the DTM, where he would spend the next five seasons with Mercedes.

Success was fleeting though with Schumacher only finding notable success in 2011 with a pair of podiums - including a best of second at Spielberg - taking him to a best overall of eighth.