Strategy perfect: How Michael Schumacher has beaten the Renaults on their home ground

Britain´s Ross Brawn, former Arrows and than at the TWR Jaguar sports cars before becoming Michael Schumacher´s comrade at Benetton, sure is the best stragegist in modern Grand Prix Racing. Watching Fernando Alonso leading in his Renault from pole position until his second pit stop in lap 31, Brawn made Schumacher switch from the regular three pit stop strategy up to a four one before the half time of the race. That was the decisive fact for the German sixtimes world champion to win his 79th Grand Prix, as in Montreal for the seventh time in Magny Cours in the heart of France. For the Renaults remained the positions two and four, a good result for the French national team celebrating their 25th anniversary of their first victory in the modern era: Jean Pierre Jabouille had won in Dijon in 1979 with the 1.5 litre turbocharged wing car Renault RE 10.

Fernando Alonso made a textbook start and in the the last lap, in the last bend, his team mate Jarno Trulli lying on a fine third place, had not payed attention to Rubens Barrichello close behind him - the second Ferrari was able to pass.

McLaren Mercedes had brought their MP4/19B, that is in fact a nearly complete new car, to France after intensive testing in Spanish Jerez of about 3000 kilometres. David Coulthard had scored grid position three, both the Silver Arrows drivers finished in the points in a race with only two retirements. Also as at McLaren, the current Renault R24 had been the model for the modifications of the Williams BMW FW26. But in contrast to Silver, White and Blue had not have the time for testing making the set up of the car a real difficult task. Juan Pablo Montoya had had a high speed crash at Friday morning´s free practice session and in the race the Colombian left the track twotimes, but scored one point for finishing eighth. Marc Gené, the team´s test driver, replacing Ralf Schumacher, had said as his aim to finish in the points, but he came home only tenth position. A few days after returning to his Austrian home at Hallwang near Salzburg Ralf Schumacher had gone to a sports clininc at German Bad Nauheim, a small town near Frankfurt, that is famous for ice hockey. There the surgeons found out, that the 11th and 12th breast vertebra is broken, a thing, that only can be seen, when the cracks in the bone are filled with blood after a few days after the accident. No doubt, it would have been much better the doctors at the Methodist Hospital of Indianapolis had made him stay there for some more weeks. So Ralf has to make a break of 8 or even 12 weeks for recovery before returning to the business.

Max Mosley announced his retirement from the presidency of the F.I.A., but instead now becoming a reasonable man, he still is insisting on his foolish reform plans.

Of course, Michael Schumacher´s mid-race strategy swith was no spontanious decision. The four pits stops had been discussed and calculated as an alternative strategy for the case of Alonso´s Renault being difficult to be controlled otherwise - the original idea had come from Luca Baldisserri. The 4th July 2004 had been a great day for German sport. In Switzerland´s Bern Germany had become soccer world champion for the first time and at French Reims Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling had scored a one-two victory at the return of Mercedes-Benz after World War II in their streamline versions of the famous W196s. Exactly fifty years later Michael Schumacher also won the French Grand Prix in an impressive manner. Some hours later in Lisboa great outsider Greece beat Portugal by 1 - 0 in the final of the European Soccer Cup, their coach is German Otto Rehagel.

Jutta Schmitt




Starting Grid

1 F Alonso 1:13.698

2 M Schumacher 1:13.917

3 D Coulthard 1:13.987

4 J Button 1:13.995

5 J Trulli 1:14.070

6 JP Montoya 1:14.172

7 T Sato 1:14.240

8 M Gene 1:14.275

9 K Raikkonen 1:14.346

10 R Barrichello 1:14.478

11 C da Matta 1:14.553

12 M Webber 1:14.798

13 C Klien 1:15.065

14 O Panis 1:15.130

15 G Fisichella 1:16.177

16 F Massa 1:16.200

17 N Heidfeld 1:17.462

18 G Pantano 1:17.462

19 G Bruni 1:17.913

20 Z Baumgartner 1:18.247



Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France 2004, Circuit Nevers Magny Cours, 70 Laps á 4.411 km = 308.586 km, Weather: Air 28°C Track 44°C Humidity 30%

1 M Schumacher 1:30:18.13

2 F Alonso +8.329

3 R Barrichello +31.622

4 J Trulli +32.082

5 J Button +32.484

6 D Coulthard +35.520

7 K Raikkonen +36.230

8 JP Montoya +43.419

9 M Webber +52.394

10 M Gene +58.166

11 C Klien +1 Lap

12 G Fisichella +1

13 F Massa +1

14 C da Matta +1

15 O Panis +2 Laps

16 N Heidfeld +2

17 G Pantano +3

18 G Bruni* +5

* retired (gearbox) but classified



Z Baumgartner, Lap 32: Spin

T Sato, 16: Engine


Fastest Lap

M Schumacher 1:15.377 (Lap 32)


Worldchampionship Standings


1 M Schumacher 90

2 R Barrichello 68

3 J Button 48

4 J Trulli 46

5 F Alonso 33

6 JP Montoya 25

7 T Sato 14

8 R Schumacher 12

9 D Coulthard 12

10 G Fisichella 10

11 K Raikkonen 10

12 F Massa 5

13 O Panis 5

14 C da Matta 3

15 M Webber 3

16 N Heidfeld 3

17 T Glock 2

18 Z Baumgartner 1



1 Ferrari 158

2 Renault 79

3 BAR Honda 62

4 Williams BMW 37

5 McLaren Mercedes 22

6 Sauber Petronas 15

7 Toyota 8

8 Jordan Ford 5

9 Jaguar Cosworth 3

10 Minardi Cosworth 1



The Schlegelmilch images on this page are brought to you by kind permission of Schlegelmilch Photography.


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Fernando Alonso (Renault R24)


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Marc Gené (Williams BMW FW26)


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren Mercedes MP4/19B)


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Christian Klien (Jaguar Cosworth R5)


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Jenson Button (BAR Honda 006)



Additional photos ©, graphics by project * 2000


© 2004 by researchracing


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