Thursday, 11 october 2018, 10:28 , by Matthew Scott
Former Benetton chief Flavio Briatore says nobody at the team was convinced Michael Schumacher was worth signing before he brought him to the squad. Schumacher joined Benetton after debuting in F1 with Jordan and won two world titles with the team in 1994 and 1995 before moving to Ferrari.
Having impressed in qualifying on his F1 debut at Spa in 1991, Schumacher won his maiden grand prix back in Belgium a year later, having switched to Benetton.
Schumacher won 19 of Benetton's 27 grand prix victories as his union with the likes of Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne brought success to the Enstone team before all three moved on to even greater success at Maranello.
The German great was signed on the basis of one race – ending the 1991 season with Benetton after his Spa debut – but Briatore says history almost went a different way.
"No one was convinced of Michael," Briatore told 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg on his podcast.
"[They said:] 'He's not good, he's too young, he's too this and that.'
"But I was so sure everyone said: 'Yes, then sign him!'
"I sent him the contract and we signed at three or four in the morning."
Schumacher's seven world titles and 91 grand prix wins are records that have stood long since his retirement from the sport and Briatore outlined the key attributes behind his glittering career.
"Michael never complained," Briatore said. "If there was a problem with the car, he tried to solve it.
"Other drivers would have said the car is shit."