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Motoring Top Stories

New theory emerges on the Most Controversial F1 season and Schumacher's maiden World Championship

Sportskeeda logo Sportskeeda 11/02/2019

The 1994 F1 season was the first ever title win for the German © Getty The 1994 F1 season was the first ever title win for the German Michael Schumacher, it actually needn't even be highlighted, is arguably the most famous name in the realm of motor-racing.

To any layman, the German driver and his standing in the top echelons of motor-racing is akin to remembering Michael Jackson's standing in pop music or say, the great Ali's to Boxing.

Schumacher's greatness in the sport stems from a very simple statistic.

This, make no mistake, is a mind-boggling one at that.

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Which other driver has won 7 world championships? Some call him the greatest driver to have sat behind an F1 car.

Others remember the German as the 'Red Baron' of the sport.

But the lavish praise his feats have garnered and the sport has afforded him notwithstanding, there has been a controversy surrounding Michael that refuses to shy away.

The purist may not have to be reminded about it.

Michael Schumacher © AAP Image Michael Schumacher It's the 1994 Formula 1 season and Michael Schumacher.

This is now that part of the sport's bygone era that can be revisited with sepia-tinted glasses of nostalgia.

But implicit in this part is a controversy surrounding 'Schumi'.

And whether or not Michael Schumacher cheated on his way to claiming first title triumph concerns this matter.

But here's an undisputed fact. There was no dearth of drama in Formula 1 in 1994 anyways.

The 1994 season anyways was a year made somber by the unfortunate events that took place at Imola, where the sport lost a man considered the 'greatest', even more so than Schumacher: Ayrton Senna.

But the Schumacher 1994 saga- the criticism being that Michael cheated on his way to winning is very first F1 title (there were six more to follow later)- is a facet about the sporting legend that refuses to die down.

Interestingly, the late Brazilian- perhaps the most daring driver ever (not to mention, an all time-legend)- believed that Benetton, Schumacher's team had resorted to traction control to minimize wheel-spin under hard acceleration.

The claim levelled by the sport's finest driver on the grid at that time came as a shocker and directly drew Michael's team and the man under the scanner.

This is for the simple reason that what Benetton, as alleged by Senna were doing, was illegal and had been outlawed before the year's start.

Here is what popular news portals have shared in lines with the currently trending Schumacher saga:

“Senna himself was convinced that there was something different about Schumacher’s car,” former Williams team manager Ian Harrison told Autosport in 2014."

But hold that thought. Even if some may think that Senna, a fiery character himself may have taken this one a bit too far, let it be known that he wasn't the only one who thought like this.

Former F1 driver Joe Verstappen, who happened to be Michael's teammate in 1994 F1 season had claimed that the German had been using banned electronic driving aids.

So who is saying the truth and what really is the truth?

A new theory currently floating about has it that Michael Schumacher's name has been cleared from this controversy, in the sense that it absolves him fully as per some former F1 figures.

A just-published book – 1994: The Untold Story of a Tragic and Controversial Season, floats the idea that Schumacher’s technique of braking with his left foot could have fooled Senna into thinking the Benetton was illegal.

Left-foot braking was new to Formula One in 1994, but Schumacher was quick to adapt and telemetry traces from later in his career showed how he used his right foot to maintain 10-15 per cent throttle even while braking with his left foot.

This method kept the car stable and allowed the aerodynamics to work more efficiently.

So that said, could it be that it was Schumacher's driving technique that Senna may have taken in a wrong way and thus the claim about the German's 'illegal driving style?'

Here's what one must take into account before giving a verdict.

The rules at that time were such that they required the prevention of the use of the traction control but actually the existence of the software that may have been able to implement it.

So what are your thoughts on this one!

Pictures: Michael Schumacher: Life and career in pictures

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