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Schumacher's weight at the beginning of 1995 season, how the media saw it - long read


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#1 D.M.N.

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 14:31

I was just browsing through my Michael Schumacher: The Whole Story book, when I came across this interesting section (pg. 157 onwards). Events surround the first race weekend in Brazil 1995.

On the Thursday at Interlagos the drivers were weighed. In previous years the car had to be a minimum of 515kg, but under one of those rule changes the car and driver must now be a minimum of 595kg. This seemed straightforward and worked like this: the cars would be weighed again during the season but the drivers' weights from this Thursday taken as a constant - because they wouldn't vary much - and added. No point in weighing the drivers the whole time. Schumacher was 77kg, which seemed mildly curious because at the beginning of 1994 he'd been 69. (A kilogram is 2.2lb, so he'd put on over a stone.) Whatever, a man could clearly gain that over 12 months, as many of us know to our cost.

In Friday first qualifying he was sixth and pushing hard. In a corner he felt 'a little movement' from the car and in the next corner he had no steering at all. He missed the apex and the Benetton flowed onto the grass. He reacted instinctively - so instinctively that subsequently he wasn't quite sure what he'd done - and changed down, making the car slew to strike a tyre wall, backwards. The tyre wall shattered and scattered. Schumacher, shaken, said he wouldn't race unless the cause of the problem could be discovered and cured. It was, but only after much consternation at anticipating Schumacher v Hill minus Schumacher.

In second qualifying Schumacher went quickest, but not quick enough to dislodge Hill who'd taken provisional pole on the Friday. Schumacher led the race until he pitted on lap 18, ceding the lead to Hill, but on lap 30 Hill's gearbox seized and he spun off. Schumacher pitted a second time, ceding the lead to Coulthard, but regained it when Coulthard pitted, and never lost it. He beat Coulthard by some eight seconds. Nothing unusual, another Schumacher win. He'd set off any minute for a relaxing break on the coast.

Before that he was weighed again (a spot check) and the scales said 71.5kg. This would cause an eruption, although not before a different eruption. Five hours after the race - Schumacher long departed, and Coulthard too - the FIA announced that Elf fuel samples taken from the Benetton and Williams did not match the fuel samples previously submitted for approval. Schumacher and Coulthard were stripped of their points pending appeals by the teams. While Formula One tried to ingest this, word emerged of what the scales said and a ringing question was born that anyone who has even dieted found fascinating. How could Schumacher be 77kg on Thursday and 71.5kg on Sunday? Without the Sunday check, 77 would of been added to the car during the season rather than 71.5. Patrick Head, the Williams designer, estimated that pulling 5.5kg less meant around 14 seconds gained over a race.

Many mischievous theories were put forward but Heiner Bickinger, Schumacher's PR countered. 'First of all he had a couple of days off before Brazil. He went to the Club Med and they have a pretty good French cuisine. He likes to eat and he likes to eat good. Therefore when he arrived at the racetrack he had one or two more kilos than usual. Secondly he didn't have his race helmet when he was on the scales, because that didn't arrive until Friday - but that's only a few hundred grams. He drank between two to three litres of water, and you can translate one litre of water to one kilo of weight, as part of his fitness programme. That was coupled with some salt tablets to keep the water in the body and make the blood thin. He's naturally losing between one and two kilos during the race, and if you watched I think you saw that the car wasn't very good at all compared to the Williams and Ferrari. He had to work a lot harder than the other drivers.'

Schumacher said, 'I certainly did not go to the toilet before the weigh-in.' Surely billion-dollar Grand Prix racing hadn't come to this?

[Bit skipped about Argentina; Benetton-Ferrari row]

At Imola, Mosley gave a Press Conference and admonished Schumacher. 'I think it is unfortunate that the World Champion gets involved about how much he may or may not weigh at any time on a race weekend. It reflects poorly on the sport and shows a lack of adult attitude. It's not extraordinary that someone should put on a stone over a year, particularly as weight no longer matters and they've been doing a lot of training and so on. What is extraordinary is that he should lose it in three days. It was a pity that it became a matter for public discussion, whether he drank a heavy amount of water, didn't go to the loo or had a heavy helmet. It is just a pity he didn't take care that it didn't happen.' Schumacher struck back at that. During the weekend he met Mosley. 'I told him that in future it might be good if he had a word with me before [he said such things] so he can judge from the facts.'


I laughed when I first seen it, but I guess there's a point to it that maybe the media took it out of hand. At the same point, I wonder if Schumacher would of been less successful then if he hadn't of lost so much weight during the race.

I also wonder how much todays drivers lose typically during the race. Anyway, an interesting section nevertheless.

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#2 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 14:35

Yeah I remember this, and nothing even close to a proper explanation.

#3 kNt

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 14:42

With such a system anybody not drinking extra water, putting on more weight etc. would be stupid.

Over a longer time period like a month or something much larger differences are thinkable.

#4 marchi-91

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 14:57

Quiet easy actually. Michael gulp down huge amounts of water on thursday and a few salt tablets. 77kg. Go for 2 hour bike ride on thursday after weighing. loss of 2 kilos. 75kg, Friday practise, 1 kg of water. 74 kg. Saturday practise and quali 1 kg. 73. sunday race. 2 kg. 71 kg.

There is no rocket science behind it. its possible. You just drink massive loads of water.

#5 TheD2JBug

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 15:56

And just like any other exploit of a loophole in a rule.

OK untill closed.

Non-Story

#6 DarthWillie

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 16:44

Originally posted by marchi-91
Quiet easy actually. Michael gulp down huge amounts of water on thursday and a few salt tablets. 77kg. Go for 2 hour bike ride on thursday after weighing. loss of 2 kilos. 75kg, Friday practise, 1 kg of water. 74 kg. Saturday practise and quali 1 kg. 73. sunday race. 2 kg. 71 kg.

There is no rocket science behind it. its possible. You just drink massive loads of water.


Or you just put a couple of kilo's of lead in your helmet ;)

#7 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 16:57

Or if you don't eat and drink for three days to replace what you've lost. Which seems to be the theory.

#8 Galko877

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 17:02

Isn't it what boxers do all the time - only the other way around (they weight in on Friday with the required weight then gain 5-10 kilos or so over a day by Saturday night) ?

As far as I'm concerned Schumacher has only been clever here - like Michelin has been with their tryes in 2003... Until a loophole is there people can use it for their advantage.

#9 Bos

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 17:20

It's not that hard to do if you try. In high school the lightweight men's rowing weight limit was 66kg/145lbs. I rowed with guys who were easily 155 during training, who would lean it off to under 150 at the end of the year and jog with garbage bags on until they were 145.

I knew a guy in the 72kg/158lbs category who weighed 180lbs when they weighed him two weeks before the race. He popped supplement and vitamin pills and drank water for 2 weeks and made weight.

Lol, I'm just thinking to myself how much women would kill to get these results in two weeks.

#10 Mika Mika

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 17:49

Come on surely thats not healthy... Mayber he had 3 KG shoes.. and lead panties...

#11 Mika Mika

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 17:51

Mosley gave a Press Conference, Schumacher... had a heavy helmet.


HeHeHe

#12 Bos

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 17:57

About the heavier shoes and helmet: there is a guy who takes care of the podium finishers from after the drivers get out of the car to when they get weighed. He's the guy who keeps hustling the drivers towards the podium. I always thought that he was a bit of a tight-a** who didn't want to waste TV time. Then i realized how easy it would be for someone to stick a piece of ballast in Lewis suit whenever he high-fived the team.

Maybe they weren't so clever back then and drivers got away with a VERY HEAVY shoes and overalls? I don't know how stringent they were back then, I'm just thinking out loud.

#13 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 17:59

No, that's the Paddock General, Pasquale. He's not there to make sure people aren't cheating but to keep the flow of the schedule in order. I think it's a bit heavy handed in times. The opposite end of the spectrum is the endless milling about in a MotoGP parc ferme, but I think F1 could let people unwind a bit.

#14 TheD2JBug

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 18:47

Originally posted by Galko877
Isn't it what boxers do all the time - only the other way around (they weight in on Friday with the required weight then gain 5-10 kilos or so over a day by Saturday night) ?

As far as I'm concerned Schumacher has only been clever here - like Michelin has been with their tryes in 2003... Until a loophole is there people can use it for their advantage.


Yep . Exactly the same thing in reverse ... it's prevalant in MMA now. There aren't too many guys that walk around at their fighting weight , usually at least 15lb more.

#15 airwise

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 18:50

Back then wouldn't he have used the F1 Plan?

#16 TheD2JBug

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 18:50

Originally posted by DarthWillie


Or you just put a couple of kilo's of lead in your helmet ;)


easier to just drink the water . And legal too.

#17 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 18:58

Every kg is equal to roughly an entire litre of water. You don't just drink 5l and put on 5kg. You piss all day. To have a 5.5kg difference over three days is either fooling the scales or having the sort of illness that would hospitalise you.

#18 DarthWillie

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 19:20

Originally posted by TheD2JBug


easier to just drink the water . And legal too.


Drinking 5 liters of water : I couldn't do it in 1 day, it's not healty, that's for sure.

#19 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 19:25

Hell boxers do it all the time, only in reverse. The stuff they do is so dangerous they moved the weigh-ins back to 24 hrs before the fight.

Jockeys used to eat tape worms, high school wrestlers work out in rubber suits. I agree with the sentiment that anyone not doing the same was dumb.

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#20 giacomo

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 19:26

I don't think that he would have been able to drink more than two litres before the weight check. Five litres is absurd.

And losing the remaining 3.5 kgs over a couple of days is no problem imo.
Don't know about the physique of others, but my own weight always wavers between 77 and 82 kgs, and changes of 2-3 kgs are pretty normal, even over a couple of days.

#21 kar

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 19:47

I've got that book - highly recommend it to anyone who is a Schumacher fan, and even those who aren't as it's largely apolitical.

But very detailed all the same.

#22 Kenaltgr

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 19:54

He cheated again, and got away with it again. Nothing new after the what he got away with throughout 1994. Funny part was Hill was leading the race easily and would have won until his gearbox broke.

#23 TheD2JBug

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 20:04

Originally posted by Kenaltgr
He cheated again, and got away with it again. Nothing new after the what he got away with throughout 1994. Funny part was Hill was leading the race easily and would have won until his gearbox broke.


Record skipping. Cutting weight (or the reverse) is legal.

#24 holiday

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 20:40

Originally posted by D.M.N.
At Imola, Mosley gave a Press Conference and admonished Schumacher. 'I think it is unfortunate that the World Champion gets involved about how much he may or may not weigh at any time on a race weekend. It reflects poorly on the sport and shows a lack of adult attitude. It's not extraordinary that someone should put on a stone over a year, particularly as weight no longer matters and they've been doing a lot of training and so on. What is extraordinary is that he should lose it in three days. It was a pity that it became a matter for public discussion, whether he drank a heavy amount of water, didn't go to the loo or had a heavy helmet. It is just a pity he didn't take care that it didn't happen.' Schumacher struck back at that. During the weekend he met Mosley. 'I told him that in future it might be good if he had a word with me before [he said such things] so he can judge from the facts.'


If Max had been only one tenth as scrupulous about the public repercussion of his own behaviour, he would have resigned month ago.

#25 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 20:51

Oh shut up already.

#26 bobqzzi

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 02:00

What Maxx should have said is "It is unfortunate that FIA rulesmakers are so stupid that they made a regulation with such an incredibly obvious, gigantic loophole. It is not extraordinary that unintended effects sometimes result from new rules, but it is a pity we didn't even spend a minute to think about blantently evident consequences of such a stupid procedure. Thanks to Michael for pointing it out to us."

#27 Mika Mika

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 05:55

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Every kg is equal to roughly an entire litre of water. You don't just drink 5l and put on 5kg. You piss all day. To have a 5.5kg difference over three days is either fooling the scales or having the sort of illness that would hospitalise you.


I think if you drank 5L of water you'd make yourself pretty ill. Maybe the Michael just needed a monster dreadnought of a poo?

#28 IMHO

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 06:51

5 liters of liquid?
That's about 10 or 11 pints.
Never had a problem with that amount of beer so water should be ok.
Not as much fun, but ok.

#29 Gemini

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 07:38

Back in college times, when I was dumber than my dog, I made a bet that I will drink ten 0,5 liter beers in an hour.

I had not have a sip of liquid for 12 hours before, ate few salty chips 15 before, and I gulped that 10 beers in 44 minutes*. Then I was urinating like a race horse for another hour. I can tell you I had hardly got even drunk as liquid just flashed through my body. I was 90kg then, so not a small boy but not a gladiator neither. :cool:

I can see nothing impossible to absorb 3 liters of liquid above your standard weight for moment of weight, and loose 3 liters of liquid from your standard weight during hard exercise in heat. so there is 6 kg variance in total

* my record lasted only 5 weeks :lol:

#30 Perigee

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 09:13

Originally posted by Kenaltgr
He cheated again, and got away with it again. Nothing new after the what he got away with throughout 1994. Funny part was Hill was leading the race easily and would have won until his gearbox broke.

Well, you have just highlighted that you see something that is legal as *illegal* when Schumacher does it, thus invalidating this, and quite possibly every other, argument you unsuccessfully try and make.

Thanks for pointing yourself out so we all know your somewhat skewed view of the world. :kiss:

Originally posted by IMHO
5 liters of liquid?
That's about 10 or 11 pints.
Never had a problem with that amount of beer so water should be ok.
Not as much fun, but ok.


5 litres = 8.7987663 Imperial pints

http://www.google.co... in pints&meta=

#31 SevenTwoSeven

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 09:12

Interesting.

I dug out an old magazine - "The official BBC sports magazine - GRAND PRIX 95" (£3.50) for a take on what was going on and being reported at the time. It does get a mention, but its hardly looked at in depth. Of more importance seems 'fatty' Nigel Mansells demise in the Mclaren - its all Mansells past it, and so on, with a tiny amount of 'the cars a load of garbage' and how Damon hill seemingly did everything he could NOT to win the title that year.

The bit about Schumacher is a little piece by 'Mark Fogarty' who ive never heard of, and i quote :-

"The incredible shrinking schumacher"

"Fatties all around the world had cause for celebration when they heard of MS's miracle weight loss at the Brazilian GP. Between the official pre season weigh-in on the thursday and a suprise post race check, MS shed almost a stone.

More than a few eyebrows were raised when MS initially tipped the scales at 77kg, which was 8 kilos over his '94 fighting weight. He attributed his new fulsome physique to muscles developed by intensive training. The tubby teuton was given the benefit of the doubt until he was weighed again after his win. Suddenly, he was 5.5kg - about 12lb - lighter.

There were dark mutterings that MS had added ballast at the weigh-in to exploit the new combined car/driver minimum weight limit of 595kg. In response, MS's publicist claimed his extra mass was caused by having drunk 3 litres of water (3kg), an unusually large meal the night before (1kg) and a standard helmet (pictured above, it says) instead of his lightweight version (0.5kg), which hadnt arrived from his supplier, with general inactivity in the pre race days accounting for the remaining kilo.

His spokesman said the pounds were purged by natural bodily functions, excercise, high energy/low calorie food, wearing his normal helmet and sweat loss during the race. As a result, MS's racing weight was revised to 71.5kg and random post race weight checks were adopted."

And that appears to be it. Theres an in depth interview with the 'tubby teuton' later in the magazine and its not mentioned once, which is by the same journo, Mark Fogarty.

Interesting read all these years later the magazine was, though, despite its BBC lightweightness...!

#32 FonzCam

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 10:16

Originally posted by Perigee



5 litres = 8.7987663 Imperial pints

http://www.google.co... in pints&meta=


Or 10.5668821 US Pints

http://www.google.co...nG=Search&meta=

or 11.7647059 in parts of Australia where a 'pint' of beer is 425ml

#33 Frans

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 12:26

oh that old cheat!

#34 Juan Kerr

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 19:37

Originally posted by TheD2JBug


Record skipping. Cutting weight (or the reverse) is legal.

Politically correct way of saying 'cheating'.
The rules are there for a reason and it help show the true driving talent he acted against the spirit of the rule and acted against the spirit of determining who is the best. I'm the biggest Schumacher fan in the world but fair is fair and that is the same as wearing running shoes with some sorta of mechanical device to make you run faster.

#35 TheD2JBug

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 11:38

I'd like to see Frans and kenaltgr troll the cheat on Michelin or Mclaren or anyone else.

Why is it 'clever' or 'innovative' when someone else exploits a loophole , yet 'cheating' when MS did it?

#36 Kalmake

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 12:34

I recall Mika Salo explaining how he took all the possible gear (helmet restaints which he would never use for one) to the pre-season weigh-in. Can't remember which year that was.

When the rule is like that you should expect any serious driver to weigh much less after weigh-in.

#37 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 12:55

Because they're idiots, don't give them any extra oxygen.

#38 D.M.N.

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 15:17

Well now 14 years on we've got 3kg in a few days! http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/77552

How does he do it? lol.

#39 SeanValen

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 15:22

Well now 14 years on we've got 3kg in a few days! http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/77552

How does he do it? lol.



He's had a good foundation to work on and previous experience in getting into shape, because most of us haven't needed to train like he has in his life,. he's gotten used to the punishments of a f1 car, the only think or worry are injuries, and apart from the broken leg in 1999, his neck injury some months ago is the only problem it seems to being 100%, but from what it looks like, he's determined to work around it.

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#40 Orin

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 15:28

Drinking 5 liters of water : I couldn't do it in 1 day, it's not healty, that's for sure.


Leah Betts died after consuming 3L of water http://news.bbc.co.u.../uk/4440438.stm

I struggle to believe Schumacher drank 5L.


#41 Dragonfly

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 15:29

Hell boxers do it all the time, only in reverse. The stuff they do is so dangerous they moved the weigh-ins back to 24 hrs before the fight.

Jockeys used to eat tape worms, high school wrestlers work out in rubber suits. I agree with the sentiment that anyone not doing the same was dumb.

Weight lifters do it too.

#42 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 23:02

Weight lifters do it too.


Good point. Pretty much any sport with weight classes. So pretty much all fighters are going to do it--judo, MMA, etc. Olympic weight lifters, power lifters.

The key is how long you have between weigh in and event time.

#43 kar

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 08:49

It completely makes sense, Schumacher was taking the piss. He loaded up his body as much as possible for the weigh in, water food, wastes etc can easily add up to many kilos.

For example, I lose about 3 kilos during a game of ice hockey - maybe more. I drink like a whale before a match and with a belly of pasta if you weigh me before the game and after it, there's quite a difference.

In a professional athlete that different might be even more marked, particularly in a hot confined space.

Schumacher gamed the system no doubt. But it's hardly likely he had to go to the lengths of putting lead in his pockets or something.

Leah Betts died after consuming 3L of water http://news.bbc.co.u.../uk/4440438.stm

I struggle to believe Schumacher drank 5L.


I go through about 4 litres the day of a game myself no problem at all. I don't think it is a stretch in the slightest to imagine Schumacher going through 5 sitting in a roasting cockpit for a couple hours.

Edited by kar, 05 August 2009 - 08:51.


#44 roadie

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 09:39

I think the story about MS's latest weight loss is a bit rich.

Great story about in '94 though.

#45 wdh

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:32

3kg of REAL weight loss is absurd. Just another bit of chest-beating exaggeration for the fanboys.

One can gain or lose quite a bit, very quickly, by gaining/losing fluids.
But that illusory weight change is VERY temporary. And whether gaining or losing, its performance-impairing.



There's an old Cambridge University tradition called The Kings Street Run.
Basic idea is 8 (UK) pints of beer (in different pubs, so movement required) without pissing or puking.
For every P, an additional pint must be taken to qualify as a finisher.
It is by no means an easy challenge.
Now, 8 UK pints being about 4.5 litres or kg, I'd say that putting on 5kg by drinking that much water (from a non-dehydrated-to-impairment start) would itself be an outstanding athletic achievement, stretching credibility (and gullibility) to the extreme.

#46 big x

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:22

It completely makes sense, Schumacher was taking the piss. He loaded up his body as much as possible for the weigh in, water food, wastes etc can easily add up to many kilos.

For example, I lose about 3 kilos during a game of ice hockey - maybe more. I drink like a whale before a match and with a belly of pasta if you weigh me before the game and after it, there's quite a difference.

In a professional athlete that different might be even more marked, particularly in a hot confined space.

Schumacher gamed the system no doubt. But it's hardly likely he had to go to the lengths of putting lead in his pockets or something.



I go through about 4 litres the day of a game myself no problem at all. I don't think it is a stretch in the slightest to imagine Schumacher going through 5 sitting in a roasting cockpit for a couple hours.


I think you should read this...

http://www.scientifi...-water-can-kill

#47 Orin

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:34

I go through about 4 litres the day of a game myself no problem at all. I don't think it is a stretch in the slightest to imagine Schumacher going through 5 sitting in a roasting cockpit for a couple hours.


But could he have consumed 5L before the weigh-in? The thing about drinking 8-11 pints is that you don't hold it all in, you go to the loo a lot - it doesn't contribute to body weight if you pee it out. Could he really have consumed 5L of liquids without peeing? That sounds improbable, and potentially dangerous. Cheating at the weigh-in sounds more likely, F1 was famous for such monkey business before it decided to go corporate.

#48 Schumacher Forever

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:39

Thank you for bringing up this story. It only increases my admiration of Schumacher and his incredible dedication to his work. Suggesting that there's some sort of foul play involved is ridiculous. It's not the way Schumacher operated. :up:

#49 potmotr

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:44

The 5 litre question is an interesting one.

When you start drinking, the liquid passes into your bladder and is absorbed mainly by the bladder wall.

After a while the bladder wall can absorb no more liquid, so it starts building up in your bladder proper.

Because of this absorption in the bladder wall, it can be quite some time before you first need to urinate.

But once you've done this and emptied you bladder, liquid will continue to be released from you bladder wall, meaning you have to urinate more frequently.

You may have noticed this when drinking your first few pints. You'll hold on for ages before the never ending trip to the men's begins...

Anyway, because of this bladder absorption is it possible to retain plenty of liquid.

Add this to not having a poo for a few days, and having a a massive feed. That could see a person's weight spike up three or four kilograms I reckon.

Edited by potmotr, 05 August 2009 - 11:45.


#50 Frans

Frans
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Posted 05 August 2009 - 12:01

even I cannot shit away 5 kilos a day!

Suggesting that there's some sort of foul play involved is ridiculous. It's not the way Schumacher operated.


Hahaha, and then knowing people laugh at me because I suggest that Aliens could excist!!! :lol: Hhahaha, thanks man, you made my day, and almost pissed myself! :) :up: