“The first time somebody spoke to me about Michael Schumacher, I won’t forget, was one of the guards in jail” The unusual incident that led to the debut of 7 times world champion Michael Schumacher

Janmeyjay Shukla
|Published 23/01/2022

Gachot recalls the shocking events that led to Schumacher debut in the Beyond the Grid Podcast which also resulted in his arrest.

Michael Schumacher went on to become one of Formula One’s most successful drivers with 7 world titles, 91 victories statistically behind Lewis Hamilton.

None of this would have occurred if Jordan’s Bertrand Gachot had not been arrested for assaulting a driver a year ago before the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix.

From meeting Eddie Jordan to the prison guards

Speaking to the Beyond the Grid podcast, Gachot explained the incident that resulted in his jail time:

“December 1990. I was in London and I was driving my girlfriend’s car. A was a French car, and basically, I had tear gas because in France tear gas is considered the perfect means of defense, it doesn’t escalate,” he said.

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“When I got into Hyde Park Corner, I was going to a meeting at the Carlton Towers with Eddie Jordan.”

Eddie was a few cars behind me and we were on the phone. We had a dispute. He wanted to cut the line in and I didn’t want to let him in because I was stupid.”

Describing the situation, Gachot added: “Eventually he came in and I pushed him because he tried to break test me. I said brake test me one more time and I push the guy.

“I pushed him with my car to say I wasn’t happy. There was no damage. It was bumper to bumper when I parked the car because we were stopped in traffic.

“Just gave him a nudge and the guy came out of the car and opened my door and said he wanted to kill me and all this.”

I didn’t have a worse idea than to use the tear gas and spray him with that and say go away. I didn’t know it was considered a weapon in the UK.”

“The new guy they have hired is so good” – Prison guard informing Galot about Michael Schumacher debut in prison

Schumacher performed admirably on his maiden weekend, qualifying seventh despite a mechanical problem that ended his race early.

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Asked how much he knew about the German before his debut, Gachot said: “I didn’t know.

“The first time somebody spoke to me about Michael Schumacher, I won’t forget, was one of the guards in jail. They said ‘the new guy they have hired is so good, they don’t need you anymore so you can stay here.”

“The guard would come to me, every time he would open the door he would make the noise of a Formula 1. I swear.”

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About the author
Janmeyjay Shukla

Janmeyjay Shukla

Janmeyjay Shukla is an artist who contributes his expressions through words as an F1 writer and editor at The SportsRush. He is an F1 historian who has been watching the sport since he was a baby. Passed on from generation to generation, he has seen the prime of Michael Schumacher to the rise of Max Verstappen. A Mercedes fan from the days of the Brawn GP era, the sport runs in his blood. Besides Formula One, Janmeyjay is a Marketing Head and a musician who loves to sing and play Rock & Pop songs on guitar. His love for sports will never die as he is a loyal Liverpool Football Club fan as well!

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