Calls for Michael Schumacher to have world title stripped

Legendary motorsport journalist Roger Benoit has called for Michael Schumacher’s 1994 World Championship to be stripped after his collision with Damon Hill. This would leave Lewis Hamilton as the only seven-time world champion in the sport.

Schumacher claimed his first two titles in 1994 and 1995 with Benetton, marking his maiden World Championship triumph by finishing first or second at every Grand Prix he took the chequered flag in. 

Four years without a title followed for Schumacher, including the 1997 championship in which he was disqualified, but the legendary German returned to title-winning form in style, taking five consecutive Drivers’ Championship trophies as he imprinted his dominance on the sport.

In an interview with Blick, Benoit was asked where Schumacher ranks among the all-time F1 greats. He responded by stating: “As a six-time world champion, he definitely belongs in the top 5.”

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When quizzed on why he said “six-time world champion” rather than seven, Benoit replied: “Of course, I know that he was world champion seven times. But the 1994 title should actually be taken away from him because he only won it because of his foul on Damon Hill.”

Benoit’s response refers to the 1994 season finale at the Adelaide Street Circuit in Australia. Heading into the race, Schumacher was leading the championship by a single point with Williams driver Hill looking to leapfrog the German at the final opportunity. 

Schumacher was leading until lap 36 when he hit the wall under his own steam, suffering damage to the right side of his car. Knowing that he wouldn’t hold onto the lead, he turned in on Hill as the Brit attempted to take the lead.

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The German driver was taken out of contention immediately thanks to the damage sustained in the crash and while Hill initially continued, his damage forced him to retire as well. With both drivers failing to score points, Schumacher held onto the World Championship.

The 1994 World Championship remains one of the most controversial in the sport’s history and if Benoit’s beliefs were turned into fact, Hamilton would stand alone at the top of the record books.

Britain’s best-ever driver already has more pole positions, podiums and race wins to his name than any other drier, but with the pair tied for seven World Championships, the coveted eighth title is the only record stopping Hamilton from being considered the undisputed greatest of all time.

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