TIL: Schumacher Helped a Rival During the 1996 Monaco GP

January 24, 2019 10:44 pm

David Coulthard has told the story of how he had to borrow a helmet from Michael Schumacher at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.

In a crazy race, Coulthard eventually finished second behind Olivier Panis, which saw 15 of the 22 drivers retire or not even start including Michael Schumacher.

Coulthard reveals how his helmets were misting up and the German helped without hesitation.

“In the warmup, I just couldn’t see, my helmet at the time did not have the double visor which helped with fogging,” David said on the Making of a Legend documentary.

“So I went to Michael and asked him if I could borrow a helmet which is a very unusual thing to do.”

Coulthard also reveals how Ron Dennis had also wanted to keep the helmet after the race so the pair came to a compromise.

David Coulthard

“I asked him if I could keep the helmet and it turns out Ron Dennis [McLaren chief at the time] had gone over to the helmet supplier and said he wanted the helmet.

“So what we agreed is we did a replica for Ron, I have told Ron since, that I have got the original helmet at my museum in Scotland and what he has is a replica,” added the Brit.

The helmet was really important for this race in particular because it was a wet race. Panis went on to take his only win in Formula One and was joined by Coulthard and Johnny Herbert on the podium.

A couple of years later though, Schumacher and Coulthard would be involved in a controversial incident. The Scot had been the trigger for a massive pile-up in Belgium and was involved in numerous other incidents.

All those shenanigans left him at the back of the pack while Michael Schumacher was romping away. But then, the Ferrari came up to lap Coulthard’s McLaren and the two collided. When they returned to the pits, an incensed Schumacher stormed to the McLaren pit and began to brawl with David.

Michael Schumacher
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