It is believed that Michael Schumacher spent 2/3 of the race stuck in the 5th gear and finished second.
The problem occurred in the end of the lap 21 before the chicane where Michael was not able to switch down so he was to make his first pit.
Here is the first question:
How could Michael start from the pit using the 5th gear? Theoretically it is possible but practically...
He did it twice, by the way.
It is quite interesting to know something about the clutch construction on B194. Was it damping clutch or not? I think, Benetton used the sports clutch without dampers (as it was connected to semi-auto sequential gearbox)
There are also some more obvious moments:
Without the 6th gear Michael should have lacked about 15-25 mph of maximum speed.
Michael could not accelerate normally as 5th gear ratio differed from the 3rd gear ratio, didn't it?
The differential should have worked incorrectly in that situation, I believe.
On the other hand, it is considered that Michael's Ford Zetec was more suitable for that force-major situation as it is obvious that the engine with 8 cylinders has a wider range of optimal RPMs than V10 has.
After that he spent the whole race on a single gear.
The most striking is the fact:
the best lap using all 6 gears is 1.25.155 (lap 18)
the best lap using a single gear is 1.26.171 (lap 40)
Both lap-times are shown in the end of 1st and 2nd segment respectively.
I.e. we have the 1 second difference. How was it possible? What do the teams use gearboxes for if the difference between taut anf broken gearbox is just a second?
The explanation of that fact is quite vague. For example, it was said Michael used special tractions to reduce the lack of the pace. It seems very strange to me 'cause the only traction could help Michael - driving through the corners and chicanes
My own opinion is that Michael really had problems with his gearbox. But they were not permanent. The worst laps (about 1.30 and worse) could have been shown on the 5th gear really. But 1.26-1.28 times seem impossible to me.
There are also some questions that still have no answer:
1. When it became obvious Michael was in a trouble we saw a picture showing gear '5' and that Michael obviously slowed down. But about two laps later the situation improved (lap-time proved that) and Michael's telemetry was not shown till the end of the race. Why it happened so simultaneously? The most surprising for me was the fact that Michael was still able to race fast enough (1.26-1.28).
2. After the race it was said that Michael's telemetry was shown to some journalists who could not believe that. Another question: who were those guys who really saw that telemetry? 15 years passed but still we've got no information about those people.
3. The fact that when Michael was breaking before the chicane some sparkles of fire were visible which usually shows that the gears are switched down.
There are also some occasions when a racer has lost some gears:
a) Hill, Hungary'97 (got stuck in the 3rd gear and lost about 30 seconds on a single lap)
b) Montoya, Bahrain'04 (lost 7th gear and was losing about 2-3 seconds on every lap)
(if anyone remembers such events you are welcome)
(here are shown the track configurations)
(though this link is in Russian everyone can understand what is all about)
If anyone has got information about that event please write it down here
What interests me the most is that maybe any of you has some information about Benetton's gearbox, Ford Zetec engine and its mapping. I mean, pictures, photos, some technical details etc.
P.S. By the way, has anyone got any articles about Spain'94 (from AutoSport maybe)? It would be very interesting to know something new...