The Jordan 191 which Michael Schumacher used to announce himself to the world is now up for sale.
Chassis no 6, which the seven-time Formula 1 world champion used to outpace his vastly more experienced team-mate Andrea de Cesaris in his very first practice at Spa-Francorchamps in 1991, could now be yours – for £1.25m.
Historic car dealer Speedmaster Cars are selling the car, with its owner James Hanson saying: “This car boggles the mind.”
After Bertrand Gachot notoriously found himself in jail after an altercation with a London taxi driver, Jordan was left one driver down for the ’91 Belgian GP.
Mercedes proffered a young Schumacher (with payment of course) to the Silverstone team, and the then-sportscar driver immediately found himself at home in the emerald green pocket rocket.
Schumacher with team manager Trevor Foster pre-race in Belgium
Grand Prix Photo
Speaking to Motor Sport about the 191 last year, both team boss Eddie Jordan and shakedown driver John Watson illuminated what made the car so pliable.
“It was just so easy to drive,” Jordan said. “Easy to drive, very beautiful and quick straight away – often a good sign!”
“You can tell within about two feet of leaving the pitlane, whether a car is friendly or unfriendly,” agreed Watson. “There’s just an inherent message that you pick up through your body, your hands, your feet. That car gave you what you needed.”
“It wants to be driven fast, it’s involving to drive”
The Jordan team took three cars (chassis nos4, 5 and 6) to Spa. Schumacher had never driven the 191 before, but it mattered not.
Using car no5, he immediately went faster than De Cesaris. The Italian suspected something must have been wrong, and therefore changed from no6 to no4, which was the spare.
The young German took over De Cesaris’ rejected no6, to set the eighth fastest time for FP1. The more experienced driver couldn’t better his young team-mate’s time. Schumacher had arrived.
The same happened in qualifying, with the Kerpen kid going seventh fastest, while De Cesaris — now back in car no6 — set a time good enough only for 11th.
“Schumacher’s uninhibited performance was one of the highlights of the two days of practice and qualifying,” Denis Jenkinson wrote in Motor Sport, already referring to Schumacher as the ‘wonder-boy’. “His eighth place in the qualifying times (promoted to seventh later) was the sort of thing that made one sit up and take notice and personally prompted me to journey out to the far end of the circuit to get an idea of how it was achieved.
“Here was a man making the car do what he wanted, when he wanted it, not hanging on to see what the car wanted to do, and this was on a 120mph blind downhill left-hander.”