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#OMP50 Episode 5: At legend Michael Schumacher’s side

Without Ayrton Senna, Formula 1 found its new leader in Michael Schumacher. He became OMP’s new testimonial from 1996, when the German driver, a fresh two-time world champion, kicked off his adventure with Ferrari. Michael and his manager, Willi Weber, were convinced by OMP following a first meeting at the 1995 Italian Grand Prix, when all the paddock was talking about Schumacher’s future team change. Michael’s racewear choice was not based on economic factors, but instead by the quality of the products. Compromises couldn’t be made. That was why a precise condition was set: if something did not satisfy Michael, the contract would be terminated.

The first suit, produced at the end of 1995 for its maiden test at the Fiorano circuit, was completely white. From there, and until the end of 2006, Michael only used suits and gloves made in Ronco Scrivia, putting safety, comfort and reliability ahead of any financial consideration. Michael wore the OMP fireproof clothing during all his 71 victories at the wheel of the red car, and the five consecutive world titles he claimed between 2000 and 2004. A feat that is still unmatched in F1 history.

OMP stood by Michael’s side in every need, even when it looked impossible to complete the task. One example? On the eve of the traditional Monza tests that preceded the Italian Grand Prix, Michael, notoriously meticulous, spotted a problem with the seam of his trousers. The company was closed for the summer break, but when the strongest driver in Formula 1 was calling, it was necessary to be ready. A parcel arrived from Maranello and within a couple of minutes everything was sorted out. The suit was sent off again to the track, where Michael drove with the highest comfort as usual.

Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher; two different personalities, but so close in their quest for perfection. With their feedback, they allowed OMP to make huge technological strides. Both wanted soft collars in jersey, and not in fabric, having a strong sensitivity that led them to immediately notice a badly placed label, or an imperfect seam. The fastenings at the wrists and ankles had to be very soft, with wide elastic bands, all seams had to be flat and riveted, especially where the body was directly touching the seat. Some differences between the two drivers were in the balaclavas: standard for the Brazilian, slimmer for the German. And then, the gloves. Michael did not ask for the outer seams like Senna, but for him the leather covering almost completely disappeared, replaced by fireproof rubber at the points of contact between the hands and the steering wheel. The rest was made of Nomex.

To win so much and for so many years, every detail had to be perfect. And OMP was happy to accept the challenge every season, every race, continuing to write legendary pages of motorsport.

Stories of races, drivers, and passion.