Michael Schumacher’s ‘party trick’ recalled as F1 icon lifts lid on boozy celebrations

Jamie Woodhouse
Michael Schumacher in street clothes at the 2011 Italian Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher, wearing street clothes, in the Formula 1 paddock.

While relentless in his pursuit of on-track success, Michael Schumacher sure knew how to celebrate it, Johnny Herbert offering insight into the seven-time World Champion’s shirt-ripping antics.

Schumacher sits atop the Formula 1 mountain alongside Lewis Hamilton as the only seven-time Champions, Schumacher collecting his first two crowns with Benetton, before his iconic Ferrari stint which yielded five World titles.

Schumacher was one of the fiercest competitors on the track, but former F1 driver Herbert, who raced in the series through much of the ’90s up until 2000, has shed some light on how Schumacher went about celebrating his success.

No button shirt is safe around Michael Schumacher

Herbert said the “social” side of F1 life was better in his days, with Adelaide being the scene for the big parties, as the season traditionally came to a close at the Adelaide Street Circuit.

And Schumacher’s signature move was to rip someone’s shirt open and send the button flying.

“The social side was better in my day,” Herbert told Lucky Block.

“The big one we had was in Adelaide after the last race. Everyone went to the same bar or club. Michael would get quite drunk early on. His party trick was to go up to someone and rip their shirt apart with buttons popping everywhere. You knew it was coming!”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Michael Schumacher: The six biggest controversial moments of his F1 career

Michael Schumacher’s 10 iconic Formula 1 grand prix victories

Expanding on why he believes the social side in F1 was better when he was racing, Herbert suggested the presence of social media in modern Formula 1 has had a major impact on how the drivers can enjoy their time away from the track.

Now, with eyes and ears all over, he says fun must be “more controlled behind closed doors”.

“It was an easier thing to do back then,” Herbert continued. “Adelaide was the main blow out.

“What has changed is the advent of social media. It has changed everything. You can’t go anywhere without being papped. They still have fun now but it has to be more controlled behind closed doors.”

For the current F1 drivers, their season celebrations in recent years have taken the form of a post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix meal, but while all 20 attended in 2022 to wish four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel a happy retirement, only 11 showed up for the F1 2023 gathering.

Read next: Max Verstappen’s F1 seasons ranked: Will F1 2023 campaign ever be topped?