Touring car legend Bernd Schneider is celebrating his 47th birthday today.
So highly is he held in esteem in tin-top circles that few actually remember his unhappy two-and-a-bit-season stint in Formula 1, which preceded his move into touring cars.
If his tin-top exploits have been anything to go by, the Schneider could well have had the potential to become Germany’s first F1 champion instead of Michael Schumacher, but two dreadful seasons with the Zakspeed outfit in 1988-9 – where he qualified for just nine races – put paid to any ambitions he had of staying in F1 for the long-term.
Schneider deputised for Alex Caffi twice with Footwork in 1990, but a DNQ in the second event at Jerez was the final nail in the coffin for his F1 career.
That triggered a move into touring cars, where he kicked off what was an almost two-decades association with Mercedes-Benz. He finally retired at the end of 2008 as Germany’s most successful touring car driver, with five national titles, along with the International Touring Car crown and the FIA GT Championship.
[Images via Bernd Schneider, F1 Nostalgia, F1 Rejects, Motorsport.com]