Ralf Schumacher

Ralf Schumacher

30/6/1975

German Formula One racing driver curently with the Toyota team. He won the Japanese Formula Nippon Championship in 1996. Made his Formula One debut in 1997.

Ralf Schumacher was born in Hürth-Hermulheim near Cologne. He is a German Formula One racing driver for the Toyota team. He is the younger brother of seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher and has been one of the top runners in the sport, especially in his BMW Williams F1 Team days.

He started racing at age three on his parents' go-kart track in their hometown of Kerpen. In 1995, he finished third in the German Formula 3 championship, and then won the Japanese Formula Nippon championship (ex Japanese F3000) Championship in 1996 with two race wins.

Ralf made his Formula One debut in 1997 with the Jordan team and finished on the podium in just his third race, at Argentina. However Ralf retired in more than half his races that season and ended up behind team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella. The following season Jordan was powered by Honda and proved capable of race wins when Ralf followed team mate Damon Hill to second place in Belgium. In the knowledge that a deal had been done with BMW in 1999 he changed to the Williams team and scored three podium finishes and sixth in the World Drivers Championship with the underpowered Supertec engine. However Heinz-Harald Frentzen who replaced him at Jordan scored two wins and four podiums that year.

The 2000 season was considered by many a bit of a disappointment for Ralf. Running the powerful new BMW engine, he was expected to compete for wins, but despite only four mechanical failures and being the senior driver in the team, he was only able to match the three podium finishes of the previous year. In 2001, however, he broke through with his first three Grand Prix wins at Imola, Montreal and Hockenheim. In 2002, he won the Malaysian Grand Prix but finished the championship behind team mate Juan-Pablo Montoya, and in 2003, he won the European Grand Prix (at the Nürburgring) and the French Grand Prix, helping, along with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya the Williams team finish second in the Constructors Championship in 2002 and 2003.

On June 20, 2004, Ralf was seriously injured in a serious accident at the United States Grand Prix. The acceleration was measured at 78 g (765 m/s²), one of the most severe in all of motor racing history, resulting in a concussion as well as two minor fractures to his spinal column.

In 2005, Ralf transferred to the Toyota team. In the first 12 races of the season he performed worse than team mate Jarno Trulli, however in Spa he was able to challenge for the lead most of the race and ended up setting the fastest lap. Toyota team brought "b" version of TF105 car to 3 last races of the season which allowed Ralf to take pole position in Japan, and finish China GP in the brilliant third position a week later. This modified version of the car secured 6th position in Drivers Championship for Ralf, 2 points ahead of his team mate Jarno Trulli.

Ralf remains with Toyota for 2006, however the team has been off the pace in early races, although he did finish 8th in Malaysia. At the third race of the season in Australia he finished a strong 3rd, in a race where several drivers made mistakes he managed to keep the car on the road and set solidly fast laps, and a penalty for speeding in the pitlane did not appear to harm his result.

wikipedia.org

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