Michael Bartels

Born:
8th March 1968 (Age 51)
Plettenberg, North Rhine-Westphalia
Nationality:
German
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Michael Bartels is a footnote in the history of the original Lotus Formula 1 team but is perhaps better known, in the German press at least, as Steffi Graf’s partner before she married André Agassi.

The simple facts of Bartels’ Grand Prix career do not do justice to a multiple GT champion who happened to take an F1 opportunity that would only ever end in disappointment. He entered four GPs during 1991 but never qualified.

Championship winner in the junior categories

The son of double European Hillclimb Champion Willi Bartels, Michael Bartels won the 1986 German Formula Ford 1600 Championship in his first season out of karts. Formula Ford 2000 and German Formula 3 followed – culminating in fourth in the 1989 F3 Championship with a Malte Bongers Motorsport Reynard 893-Volkswagen. That was a vintage year for the series and Bartels won three times against a field that included Karl Wendlinger, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Michael Schumacher.

Formula 1 and F3000

His first Formula 3000 season with Cobra Motorsport’s Reynard 90D-Cosworth was a disappointment however – only scoring a point at the final round when sixth at Nogaro. He began 1991 in the category but substituted with Team Lotus in F1 when Johnny Herbert was committed to a previous contract. Bartels was entered in a Lotus 102B-Judd for four GPs but failed to qualify on each occasion.

With F1 ambitions dented, Bartels continued in F3000 for two more seasons and was fourth in 1992 with a Crypton Engineering Reynard 92D-Cosworth – second at Pau, Hockenheim and Nürburgring his best finishes in the category. But a move to Pacific Racing for 1993 was not so successful despite pole position at Enna-Pergusa and another podium at Silverstone.

Success in touring cars and endurance racing

Bartels raced an Alfa Romeo in DTM for three years from 1994 and won the privateer title at the first attempt. His Alfa Romeo 155 scored a double victory at Diepholz in 1995 but further success was confined to the 2000cc super touring category. His Audi A4 Quattro won Macau’s 1999 Guia Race before successive victories in the Nürburgring 24 Hours for Porsche and Chrysler.

His best was yet to come however – Bartels establishing himself as a leading GT driver and, eventually, team owner during the 2000s with the Vitaphone Racing Team. His debut season for the team in 2004 was sharing a Saleen-Ford with Uwe Alzen and yielded four victories. The team switched to the then controversial Maserati MC12 and the combination was rewarded with victory in the Spa 24 Hours three times and the FIA GT title in 2006, 2008 and 2009 with regular co-driver Andrea Bertolini.

Bartels had matched Karl Wendlinger’s record 15 victories in the FIA GT Championship when that was replaced by the new World GT1 series for 2010. A change of name and format did not change a thing. The Bartels/Bertolini Maserati MC12 regularly finished in the points, won twice and they ended 2010 as GT1 world champions.

Having spent a year in the Blancpain GT3 series, Bartels returned for the final year of the GT1 World Championship in 2012 with a BMW Z4. Some of Bartels’ speed may have gone, but he and Yelmer Buurman won twice at the Slovakiaring. They only lost the title by a point after rival Markus Winkelhock crashed into Buurman during the Donington Park finale.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2012 FIA GT1 World Championship
Vita4One Racing Team
2 0 2 2 5th 144
2011 Blancpain Endurance Series
Vita4One Racing Team
1 0 1 1 13th 37
2010 FIA GT1 World Championship
Vitaphone Racing Team
2 0 2 2 1st 138
2009 FIA GT Championship
Vitaphone Racing Team
2 0 2 2 1st 57
2008 FIA GT Championship
Vitaphone Racing Team
2 0 2 2 1st 70
2007 FIA GT Championship
Vitaphone Racing
1 0 1 1 10th 45
2006 FIA GT Championship
Bartels Motorsport
3 1 3 3 1st 71
2005 FIA GT Championship
Bartels Motorsport
2 1 2 2 2nd 74
2004 FIA GT Championship
Konrad Motorsport
3 0 3 3 10th 44
2002 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Team Holzer
10 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 1
2001 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Team Holzer
10 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 8
2000 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Team Phoenix
16 (2) 0 2 0
0% win rate
7th 87
1998 FIA GT Championship 13th 14
1996 International Touring Car Series
JAS Motorsport
Alfa Corse
23 (3) 0 0 0
0% win rate
22nd 16
1995 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Euroteam
12 2 2 2
17% win rate
10th 48
1995 International Touring Car Series
Euroteam
6 (4) 1 0 0
0% win rate
0
1994 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Schubel Engineering
18 0 1 0
0% win rate
15th 23
1993 FIA International F3000 Championship
Pacific Racing
7 1 1 0
0% win rate
11th 4
1992 FIA International F3000 Championship
Crypton Engineering
10 0 4 0
0% win rate
4th 25
1991 F1 World Championship
Team Lotus
0 (4) 0 0 0 0
1991 FIA International F3000 Championship
First Racing
GA Motorsport
3 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1990 FIA International F3000 Championship
Cobra International
11 0 0 0
0% win rate
22nd 1
1990 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
1 0 0 0 0
1989 European F3 Cup
Malte Bongers Motorsport
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1988 European F3 Cup
Malte Bongers Motorsport
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1987 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft 1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0