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Engineer betrayed: Schumacher paid mechanical bonuses

Alan Permane once worked with young Michael Schumacher at Benetton. Now the former engineer boasts of working with the seven-time World Champion and reveals an exciting detail about the team dynamics of that time.

Michael was one of those all-knowing early on”, Renault sports director Alan Permane says. Since 1989 Permane has been working in Enstone with the former Benetton and today’s Renault team. He saw some great drivers like Nelson Piquet, Gerhard Berger or Fernando Alonso.

But one of them impressed him particularly: Schumacher. Above all, his working methods and his dealings with the employees have remained a positive memory for him.” I was working on his car at the time, and he was very good to all of us,”says the engineer in the podcast”Beyond The Grid”.

Schumacher had even introduced a small bonus system for the mechanics and engineers on his car, which he paid for out of his own pocket. It wasn’t much, but if he got a good result, then he paid us a little bonus,”Permane remembers.”I’m sorry. He had an eye on everyone there.”

In the eyes of the public Schumacher at the time was considered ambitious and sometimes even arrogant, but those who worked closely with him had a different picture of him:”You can also talk to people who were responsible for other things at the time, be it PR, press or marketing. They all speak very cordially of him,”says Permane.

“He was just extremely professional. I’m sure for a lot of drivers it was a horror to do this stuff, but Michael was brilliant at it. He was a connoisseur.”