Jordan-Ford 191 Formula 1 (1991)

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‘Schumacher was available this weekend, he had no other commitments. I’ve seen him in Formula 3 and I have this, well the team has this attitude, to give youth a chance. We think it’s a progressive way to see what the potential of Schumacher is for the future’ ~ Eddie Jordan - 1991 F1 coverage  

The car driven by Michael Schumacher at his Formula 1 debut


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In 1990, the Irish businessman Eddie Jordan graduated from Formula 3000 to the Founder and Principal of the eponymous Jordan-Ford Formula 1 Team.

In the beginning of 1991, their first car was unveiled, announced as the Jordan 911. An ingeniously simple and well resolved design by Gary Anderson, the car was achingly elegant and attractive from the exterior with the minimalist bodylines tapering towards the vast venturi tunnel diffuser and multi-element rear wing. Underneath the lightweight bodywork, the car featured a 6-speed, H-pattern manual gearbox and Ford 3.5L HB4 V8 in the rear, and a monoshock pushrod suspension setup at the front.

The bare carbon fibre test car (with JORDAN 911 in yellow block capitals down the side) quickly caught the attention of lawyers from Stuttgart; and Jordan were swiftly persuaded to rename their debut ‘911’ to ‘191’.

After a shaky start, with tight funding and a failure to pre-qualify at the season opener, Jordan-Ford appeared to be nothing more than any of the other fleeting ‘garagisti-esque’ teams; but by the second race the team qualified in the top 10 and crossed the line in 4th and 5th - and did not look back, ending the season 5th out of the 18 entered constructors.

Inarguably a success, the Jordan 191 thrust the team and Michael Schumacher into the limelight. To this day, it is widely considered as one of the most beautiful and iconic Formula One cars to ever be produced.

Jordan 191 Chassis 6 (/6) was completed in June 1991, and was first used by Andrea de Cesaris in the Hungarian Grand Prix where he climbed from 16th on the grid to a very respectable 7th place.

The car, along with /4 (the spare ‘T-Car’) and /5 (what was meant to be Bertrand Gachot’s car) were transported to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for the hallowed 1991 Belgian grand prix.

In place of Betrand Gachot, who was unable to race at his home grand prix due to being incarcerated in HMP Brixton, was a up-and-coming 22 year old German driver named Michael Schumacher – who was racing for Sauber at the time in the World Sportscar Championship.

Shrewdly, Michael Schumacher’s manager, Willi Weber, convinced both Eddie Jordan and Mercedes-Sauber to allow Schumacher to race, assuring them that the young German knew the circuit well, despite Schumacher having never been to the track in his life! So, with contribution from Sauber to Michael’s race fees, as well as stated support from Eddie Jordan, Schumacher drove in place of Gachot for the weekend.

‘Schumacher was available this weekend, he had no other commitments. I’ve seen him in Formula 3 and I have this, well the team has this attitude, to give youth a chance. We think it’s a progressive way to see what the potential of Schumacher is for the future’ ~ Eddie Jordan - 1991 F1 coverage

After pre-qualifying, the Friday practice session commenced and Schumacher immediately – on a circuit that he had never driven before – went 0.7 seconds faster than his Spa-veteran teammate. De Cesaris swapped into /4 to troubleshoot why he was not competitive, and shortly after, /5 developed a water leak so was garaged for the rest of the day. Schumacher was left to drive this exact car (/6) for the remainder of the Friday sessions in the same livery the car is displayed with now. This has been confirmed in a letter by Trevor Foster; team manager and race engineer at Jordan for the 1991 season (please see images).

Schumacher finished the day 8th fastest, in a car and on a circuit he had never driven before; an astonishing feat that captivated fans worldwide.

On Saturday, the drivers swapped back to their assigned cars and qualified 7th and 11th, again shifting media focus away from a dubious CS-gas incident and towards the on-track matters of the young German beating the Italian veteran.

Unfortunately, Schumacher covered much less distance in /5 in his debut race than he had hoped. After being quoted before the race that all he was wanted just “To finish the race” ; he unfortunately ground to a halt before the end of the Kemmel Straight on lap 1, after a hard launch destroyed the clutch. Meanwhile, De Cesaris, in this very car, was running second behind Ayrton Senna and gaining, before also suffering a mechanical issue and being forced to retire just 3 laps before the chequered flag and painfully close to a maiden win for the Jordan team in their debut F1 year.

Although the team did not achieve the headline results on the Sunday, the performance of the team and in particular the young Michael Schumacher made enough of an impact to cement both Eddie Jordan and Michael Schumacher in F1 history.

The rest of the season was highly impressive for a low budget team in their debut year, and the full racing record for Jordan-Ford 191/6 in the 1991 World Championship season is understood to be as follows:

  • 11th August 1991 – Hungarian GP, Hungaroring – Andrea de Cesaris – q.17th – 7th
  • 25th August 1991 – Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps – Andrea de Cesaris (practiced by Michael Schumacher) – q.11th – Classified 13th (engine failure)
  • 8th September 1991 – Italian GP, Monza – spare car for Andrea de Cesaris/Roberto Moreno
  • 22nd September 1991 – Portuguese GP, Estoril – spare car for de Cesaris/Moreno
  • 29th September 1991 – Spanish GP, Barcelona – spare car for de Cesaris/Alessandro Zanardi (practised by Zanardi)
  • 20th October 1991 – Japanese GP, Suzuka – spare car for de Cesaris/Zanardi
  • 3rd November 1991 – Australian GP, Adelaide – spare car for de Cesaris/Alessandro Zanardi (practised by Zanardi)

The Jordan team went on to become Midland, Spyker, Force India, Racing Point, and is now Aston Martin. Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher was immediately snapped up by Benetton and raced for them the following week in Italy in Roberto Moreno’s seat, who swapped into the Jordan before being replaced by Alex Zanardi. Schumacher went on to win his first race just one year later at Spa, with Benetton, in 1992; and the world championship in 1994 and 1995. Then, with Scuderia Ferrari, he became more successful than any other Formula 1 driver before him, with a total of 91 wins and seven world championships.

In August 2021, Sky Sports F1 reunited Mick Schumacher with this very car, /6, affording him the opportunity to drive the car around Silverstone. This drive came almost 30 years to the day since Michael Schumacher first tested the Jordan 191 at Silverstone ahead of the Spa 1991 Grand Prix. Mick remarked '“he emotions, and feeling and knowing that my dad raced this car as his first race car, is very special.”

This is the unrepeatable opportunity to purchase a significant part of Formula one history and the genesis of Michael Schumacher’s racing legacy. A total of seven 191 chassis were completed - and only two can lay claim to being driven by Michael Schumacher. The car is available to view at our showrooms by appointment only.

  • One of Two Jordan 191 Driven by Seven Time World Champion, Michael Schumacher
  • Corroborated in a letter by Trevor Foster, Team Manager and Race Engineer at Jordan for the 1991 season
  • One of Seven Jordan 191 Produced
  • Driven by Mick Schumacher and Karun Chandhok at Silverstone for Sky Sports F1
  • Noted by The Telegraph, Goodwood Road & Racing, and Autosport as the best looking Formula 1 car of all time
  • 6-speed, H-pattern manual gearbox
  • 650bhp @ 14,000rpm

Jordan 191/6 - The 1991 F1 Debut of Michael Schumacher

Mick Schumacher drives Michael Schumacher's debut F1 car! | A lap of Silverstone in the Jordan 191

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