Many perceived Michael Schumacher as a very ambitious and sometimes arrogant Formula 1 driver during his active time.
But this accusation of arrogance is now refuted by someone who has witnessed the rise of the seven-time world champion in the pit lanes up close. Alan Permane joined the Benetton team in the late 1980s as a test electronics technician in Formula 1 and later worked as a race engineer. Today the Briton is sports director for the Renault F1 team.
First big successes
Benetton was the team that really got Schumacher’s successful career rolling. In 1992 he clinched his first GP victory and celebrated his first two world championship titles in 1994 and 1995.
In the official Formula 1 podcast “Beyond The Grid”, the 53-year-old Brit now gives interesting insights into the collaboration with the exceptional German racing driver.
If he has achieved a good result at a Grand Prix, he has worked out a bonus system for his mechanics and engineers and paid for it himself out of pocket. “It wasn’t much, but if he got a good result we got a little bonus.”
«He had an eye on everyone»
Permane is particularly impressed by Schumi’s way of working and the way people deal with them. “You can also talk to people who were responsible for other things at the time, be it PR, the press or marketing. You all speak very warmly of him. He was just extremely professional. I’m sure it was a horrific thing for a lot of drivers to do this stuff, but Michael was brilliant at it. He was an all-rounder and had an eye on everyone. ” (sst)