In the context of the current news coverage of Schumi (hoping he gets well), spanish newspaper El Pais has just published an article written by Joan Villadelprat, team manager at Benetton at the time.
This is the whole article: http://deportes.elpais.com/deportes/201 ... 35020.html
And this the most relevant bit:
The important bits are that after a few laps he lost 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th gear, and (explicitly said) has only 2 gears, 2nd and 5th available. He literally says "the rest of the race with only two gears". And that the italian press didn't believe it so he (Joan Viladelprat) showed them the telemetry.El Pais wrote: Y en España ocurrió algo increíble. A las pocas vueltas tuvo un problema con la caja de cambios y tuvo que correr el resto de la prueba con solo dos velocidades, la segunda y la quinta. No podía utilizar ni la primera, ni la tercera, ni la cuarta, ni la sexta. Y aún así fue capaz de concluir en segunda posición por detrás de Damon Hill. La prensa italiana se mostraba tan incrédula que les invité a que vinieran al taller y les mostré la telemetría para que vieran que no les estábamos mintiendo.
I can no longer see the videos posted here, but I guess this means that between laps 21 and 40, and when he made his only 1 second slower time, he had 2nd and 5th gears available. Then I guess from lap 41 he only had 5th, and that the subtlety got conveniently cut out in the editorial room? That is, assuming that the video really proves he was in 5th only for whole laps, would it be plausible that a broken gearbox also had a broken telemetry sensor?
Edit: No broken telemetry sensor. This lap
seems to be indeed in 5th gear only, but it is a 1:32 lap (look for the "Renault Laguna" signs just at the 0:04 mark and then again at the 1:36 mark.
And just for context, you can see Hill passing Shumi at the 1:25. Was Michael leading at the time?