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Netflix's 'Schumacher': When Michael's F1 helmet survived after driven over by tank

The Schuberth RF 1.5 was made of multi-layered carbon fiber and the material was twice as strong as the standard lid
Michael Schumacher in 2004 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Michael Schumacher in 2004 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

One of the topics that Michael Schumacher fans will hope to be explored in the upcoming Netflix documentary 'Schumacher' will be the story of his helmet that was in one piece even after a tank rolled on it, quite literally. The story behind the Schuberth RF 1.5 is a rather interesting one.

The Netflix docu will release this September and follows the racing days of Schumacher while also shedding light on his childhood, climbing the Formula One rank, his championship racing DNA, family life, and the tragic 2013 accident that saw him step back from racing. 


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Moto GP World Champion Valentino Rossi talks with Michael Schumacher prior to the 2004 Australian Grand Prix which is round one of the FIA Formula One World Championship, on March 7, 2004, at the Albert Park Circuit, Melbourne, Australia (Getty Images)

For those unaware, Michael Schumacher's Schuberth helmet in 2004 was a prototype lightweight carbon piece of equipment, the first of its kind developed by Schuberth. And the jaw-dropping fact was that you could roll a tank over on it, and it would stay intact. It might cost have cost 15 thousand quid, but what it does was guarantee him safety from head injuries in case things went full-tilt south. That though wasn't enough for the racing legend. "It is 100 percent better in shock absorption and strength,' said Schumacher. according to auto123. 'But the [extra] weight still bothers me and we need to work on that."

The RF 1.5 was made of multi-layered carbon fiber and the material was twice as strong as the standard lid. The news in 2004 was that Schumacher's then-teammate, David Coulthard might even wear the helmet. That though would be a bit of a redesign for Coulthard as his head was about 15% bigger and squarer than Schumacher's. Talking to The Mirror, development manager, Oliver Schimpf has said it was the safest helmet money could buy. 

There was ample discussion about the helmet on Reddit as well with one of the users sharing an image of how the helmet surviving the test. While the image couldn't be verified, its thread did lead to a lot of talking points about Schumacher's attention to detail and his utmost importance to safety while racing. The thread also stated that the double carbon protection feature that was incorporated played a key role in minimizing the consequences of an accident suffered by his former team-mate Felipe Massa at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009 when he was struck by a steel spring.

The official synopsis reads: "Fully supported by Michael Schumacher’s family, SCHUMACHER features rare interviews and previously undisclosed archival footage and draws a very sensitive yet critical portrait of the seven-time World Champion. The documentary explores the many facets that made and define this complex athlete and accompanies him on his meteoric rise in this challenging and dangerous sport, which is followed by millions worldwide."

'Schumacher' premieres on September 15 on Netflix.