He is the son of Manfred Winkelhock, and nephew of Joachim Winkelhock, who both raced in F1 in the 1980's.
Midland Test Driver (2006)
Markus became Midland F1 test driver for the 2006 season, participating in Friday test sessions at a number of the Grand Prix weekends that year.
Debut & Spyker (2007)
Midland became Spyker in 2007, Markus remained test driver at the team. Christijan Albers left the team mid way through the season, after sponsorship money fell through. Markus stepped up, and took the vacant race seat for one grand prix, the European on the Nurburgring.
He struggled in qualifying, lapping nearly 1.5 seconds slower than his teammate who was also nearly 1.5 seconds off the pace of any other car.
The race started dry with the imminent threat of rain, he pitted on the formation lap for Wet tyres, although everyone else stayed out on the dry tyre. This was a gamble, but one that paid off. The rain came earlier - on the first lap - and was also much heavier than expected. Cars fell off the track everywhere, and everyone pitted for more suitable rubber.
Markus lead his debut grand prix (also his home grand prix), starting from the pit lane, he already had a lead of 33 seconds at the end of the second lap, and nearly 2 minutes on the 4th! However the ciaos continued with cars crashing off, and the race was stopped.
They started again behind the safety car, the Spyker team elected to restart on the wet tyres, although the track was drying, in the hope of more rain showers. He was soon overtaken, and unfortunately on 15 he was forced to retire with hydraulic problems.
Due to a lack sponsorship, this was his only F1 race, Sakon Yamamoto took the race seat for the rest of the season.
The incredible circumstances that Sunday in Germany, has credited Markus with all sorts of accolades. He is the only F1 driver to have started last and first on the grid in the same grand prix, the only driver to lead in all of the races competed in despite never finishing.
Since F1 Markus has driven in DTM.