|Formula One World Championship career|
|Teams||Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari|
|Races||250 (248 starts)|
|Championships||7 (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)|
|First race||1991 Belgian Grand Prix|
|First win||1992 Belgian Grand Prix|
|Last win||2006 Chinese Grand Prix|
|Last race||2006 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|2006 position||2nd (121 pts)|
Michael Schumacher (German pronunciation: De-Michael-Schumacher.ogg ˈmɪçaʔeːl ˈʃuːmaχɐ; ) (born January 3, 1969, in Hürth-Hermülheim, Germany) is a former Formula One driver, seven-time world champion, and current advisor and occasional test driver for Ferrari. According to the official Formula One website, he is "statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen". He is the only German to win the Formula One World championship, and is credited with popularising Formula One in Germany. In a 2006 FIA survey, Michael Schumacher was voted the most popular driver among Formula One fans.
After winning two championships with Benetton, Michael Schumacher moved to Scuderia Ferrari in 1996 and won five consecutive drivers' titles with them from 2000–2004. Schumacher holds many records in Formula One, including most drivers' championships, race victories, fastest laps, pole positions, points scored and most races won in a single season. Schumacher is the only Formula One driver to have an entire season of podium finishes, a feat he accomplished in 2002. His driving sometimes created controversy: he was twice involved in collisions that determined the outcome of the world championship, most notably his disqualification from the 1997 championship for causing a collision with Jacques Villeneuve. After the 2006 Formula One season Schumacher retired from race driving.
Off the track, Schumacher is an ambassador for UNESCO and a spokesman for driver safety. He has been involved in numerous humanitarian efforts throughout his life and donated tens of millions of dollars to charity. He is the elder brother of former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, currently racing in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM). They stand as the only brothers in F1 history to have both won races and scoring the first ever 1-2 finish in Formula One.
- 1 Early years
- 2 Formula One career
- 3 Honours
- 4 Retirement
- 5 Controversy
- 6 Family and off-track life
- 7 Racing record
- 8 Books
- 9 References and notes
- 10 External links
Schumacher was born in Hürth Hermülheim, to Rolf, a bricklayer, and Elisabeth. When Schumacher was four, his father modified his pedal kart by adding a small motorcycle engine. After Schumacher crashed it into a lamp post in Kerpen, his parents took him to the local karting track at Kerpen-Horrem where he became the youngest member of the karting club. His father soon built him a proper kart from discarded parts and at the age of six Schumacher won his first club championship. To support his son's racing, Rolf Schumacher took on a second job renting and repairing karts at the circuit, while his wife worked at the track's canteen stand. Despite the extra income, when Schumacher needed a new engine costing 800 DM (400 €) his parents were unable to afford it, but their son was able to continue racing through support offered by several local businessmen.
In Germany the regulations require the driver to be at least 14 years old in order to obtain a kart license. To get around this, Schumacher obtained a license in Luxembourg in 1981, at the age of 12.
In 1983 he obtained his German license and the year after he won the German Junior Kart Championship. From 1984, Schumacher won numerous German and European kart championships. He joined Eurokart dealer Adolf Neubert in 1985. By 1987 he was the German and European kart champion, at which point he withdrew from school and began working as a mechanic. In 1988 Schumacher made his first step into single-seat car racing by racing in the German Formula Ford and Formula König series, winning the latter.
In 1989 Michael signed with Willi Weber's WTS Formula 3 team. For the next two years, funded by Weber, he competed in the German Formula 3 series, winning the title in 1990. Towards the end of 1990, along with his Formula 3 rivals Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger, he joined the Mercedes junior racing programme in the World Sports-Prototype Championship. This was an unusual move for a young driver: most of Schumacher's contemporaries would instead compete in Formula 3000 on their way to Formula One. However, Weber advised Schumacher that exposure to professional press conferences and driving powerful cars in long distance races would help his career. He gained victory at the season finale at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in a Sauber-Mercedes C11 and finished fifth in the drivers' championship. He continued with the team in the 1991 World Sportscar Championship season, winning again at the final race of the season at Autopolis in Japan with a Sauber-Mercedes-Benz C291, leading to a ninth place finish in the drivers championship. In 1991 he competed in one race in the Japanese Formula 3000 Championship, finishing second.
Formula One career
Schumacher was noted throughout his career for his ability to produce fast laps at crucial moments in a race, to push his car to the very limit for sustained periods. Motor sport author Christopher Hilton observed in 2003 that "A measure of a driver's capabilities is his performance in wet races, because the most delicate car control and sensitivity are needed," and noted that like other great drivers, Schumacher's record in wet conditions shows very few mistakes: up to the end of the 2003 season, Schumacher won 17 of the 30 races in wet conditions he contested. Some of Schumacher's best performances occurred in such conditions, earning him the title "Regenkönig" (rain king) or "Regenmeister" (rain master). He is known as "the Red Baron", due to his red Ferrari and in reference to the German Manfred von Richthofen, the famous flying ace of World War I. Schumacher's nicknames include "Schumi", "Schuey" and "Schu". Schumacher is often credited with popularising Formula One in Germany, where it was formerly considered a fringe sport. In 2006, three of the top ten drivers were German, more than any other nationality and more than have ever been present in Formula One history. Younger German drivers, such as Sebastian Vettel, feel Schumacher was key in their becoming Formula One drivers. In the latter part of his Formula One career, and as one of the senior drivers, Schumacher was the president of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association.
Schumacher made his Formula One debut with the Jordan-Ford team at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix, driving car number 32 as a replacement for the imprisoned Bertrand Gachot. Schumacher, still a contracted Mercedes driver, was signed by Eddie Jordan after Mercedes paid Jordan $150,000 for his début. The week before the race, Schumacher impressed Jordan designer Gary Anderson and team manager Trevor Foster during a test drive at Silverstone. His manager Willi Weber assured Jordan that Schumacher knew the challenging Spa track well, although in fact he had only see it as a spectator. During the race weekend, team-mate Andrea de Cesaris was meant to show Schumacher the circuit but was held up with contract negotiations. Schumacher then learned the track on his own, by cycling around the track on a fold-up bike he had brought with him. He impressed the paddock by qualifying seventh in this race, his first in Formula One. This matched the team's season-best grid position, and out-qualified 11-year veteran de Cesaris. Motorsport journalist Joe Saward reported that after qualifying "clumps of German journalists were talking about 'the best talent since Stefan Bellof'". Schumacher retired on the first lap of the race with clutch problems.
After his debut, and despite Jordan's signed agreement in principle with Schumacher's Mercedes management for the remainder of the season, Schumacher was signed by Benetton-Ford for the following race. Jordan applied for an injunction in the UK courts to prevent Schumacher driving for Benetton, but lost the case as they had not yet signed a contract. Schumacher finished the 1991 Formula One Season with four points in six races. His best finish was fifth in his second race, the Italian Grand Prix, in which he finished ahead of his team-mate and three-time World Champion Nelson Piquet.
At the start of the 1992 Formula One season the Sauber team, planning their Formula One debut with Mercedes backing for the following year, invoked a clause in Schumacher's contract which stated that if Mercedes entered Formula One, Schumacher would drive for them. It was eventually agreed that Schumacher would stay with Benetton, Peter Sauber said that "[Schumacher] didn't want to drive for us. Why would I have forced him?". The year was dominated by the Williams of Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese, featuring powerful Renault engines, semi-automatic gearboxes and active suspension to control the car's ride height. In the 'conventional' Benetton B192 Schumacher took his place on the podium for the first time, after finishing third in the 1992 Mexican Grand Prix. He went on to take his first victory at the 1992 Belgian Grand Prix, in a wet race at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, which by 2003 he would call "far and away my favourite track". He finished third in the Drivers' Championship in 1992 with 53 points, three points behind runner-up Patrese.
The Williams of Damon Hill and Alain Prost also dominated the 1993 season. Benetton introduced their own active suspension and traction control early in the season, last of the frontrunning teams to do so. Schumacher's teammate was Riccardo Patrese, who was in his last year in F1. Schumacher won one race, the Portuguese Grand Prix where he beat Prost, and had nine podium finishes, but retired in seven of the other 15 races. He finished the season in fourth, with 52 points.
1994–1995: World Championship years
The 1994 season was Schumacher's first Drivers' Championship. The season, however, was marred by the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger during the San Marino Grand Prix and by allegations that several teams, including Schumacher's Benetton team, broke the sport's technical regulations.
Schumacher won six of the first seven races and was leading the Spanish Grand Prix, before a gearbox failure left him stuck in fifth gear. Schumacher finished the race in second. Following the San Marino Grand Prix, the Benetton, Ferrari and McLaren teams were investigated on suspicion of breaking the FIA-imposed ban on electronic aids. Benetton and McLaren initially refused to hand over their source code for investigation. When they did so, the FIA discovered hidden functionality in both teams' software, but no evidence that it had been used in a race. Both teams were fined $100,000 for their initial refusal to cooperate. However, the McLaren software, which was a gearbox program that allowed automatic shifts, was deemed legal. By contrast, the Benetton software was deemed to be a form of 'launch control' which would have allowed Schumacher to make perfect starts, which was explicitly outlawed by the regulations.  At the British Grand Prix, Schumacher was penalised for overtaking on the formation lap. He then ignored the penalty and the subsequent black flag, which indicates that the driver must immediately return to the pits, for which he was disqualified and later given a two-race ban. Benetton blamed the incident on a communication error between the stewards and the team. Schumacher was also disqualified after winning the Belgian Grand Prix after his car was found to have illegal wear on its skidblock, a measure used after the accidents at Imola to limit downforce and hence cornering speed. Benetton protested that the skidblock had been damaged when Schumacher spun over a kerb, but the FIA rejected their appeal. These incidents helped Damon Hill close the points gap, with Schumacher leading by a single point going into the final race in Australia. On lap 36 of the race Schumacher ran off the track while leading from Hill. After rejoining at a reduced speed, he collided with Hill as Hill attempted to pass him, and crashed out of the race. The damage he caused to Hill's car forced him to retire. As neither he nor Hill scored, Schumacher won the championship, the first German to do so.
In 1995 Schumacher successfully defended his title with Benetton. He now had the same Renault engine as Williams. He accumulated 33 more points than second-placed Damon Hill. With team-mate Johnny Herbert, he took Benetton to its first Constructors' Championship and became the youngest two-time world champion in Formula One history.
The season was marred by several collisions with Hill, in particular an overtaking manoeuvre by Hill took them both out of the British Grand Prix on lap 45 and again on lap 23 of the Italian Grand Prix . Schumacher won nine of the 17 races, and finished on the podium 11 times. Only once did he qualify worse than fourth; at the 1995 Belgian Grand Prix, he qualified 16th, but went on to win the race. After Schumacher left Benetton at the end of the year, the team won only one more race before being bought by Renault in 2000.
In 1996, Schumacher joined Scuderia Ferrari S.p.A., a team which had last won the Drivers' Championship with Jody Scheckter in 1979 and which had not won the Constructors' Cup since 1983 with drivers René Arnoux and Patrick Tambay at the wheel. He left Benetton a year before his contract with them expired; he later cited the team's damaging actions in 1994 as his reason for opting out of his deal. A year later, ex-Benetton employees Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn, who had been Technical Director at Benetton since 1991 , and who was one of the key members behind Schumacher's title successes with the team in 1994 and 1995, decided to join Schumacher at Ferrari. This increased Schumacher's motivation to build a more experienced and potentially championship-winning team around him.
Ferrari had previously come close to the championship in 1982 and 1990. The team had suffered a disastrous downturn in the early 1990s, partially as their famous V12 engine was no longer competitive against the smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient V10s of their competitors. Various drivers, notably Alain Prost, had given the vehicles labels such as "truck", "pig", and "accident waiting to happen". The poor performance of the Ferrari pit crews was considered a running joke. At the end of 1995, though the team had improved into a solid competitor, it was still considered inferior to front-running teams such as Benetton and Williams. Schumacher declared the Ferrari 412T good enough to win the championship.
Schumacher, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, and Jean Todt (hired in 1993), have been credited as turning this once struggling team into the most successful team in Formula One history. Three-time World Champion Jackie Stewart believes the transformation of the Ferrari team was Schumacher's greatest feat. Eddie Irvine also joined the team, moving from Jordan.
|"It was not a race. It was a demonstration of brilliance."|
—Stirling Moss about Schumacher at the 1996 Spanish GP
Schumacher finished third in the Drivers' Championship in 1996, and helped Ferrari to second place in the constructors' championship ahead of his old team Benetton. He won three races, more than the team's total tally for the period from 1991 to 1995. During the initial part of the 1996 season, the car had had reliability trouble and Schumacher did not finish 6 of the 16 races. He took his first win for Ferrari at the Spanish Grand Prix, where he lapped the entire field up to third place in the wet. In the French Grand Prix Schumacher qualified in pole position, but suffered engine failure on the race's formation lap. However at Spa-Francorchamps, Schumacher used well-timed pit-stops to fend off the Williams' Jacques Villeneuve. Following that, at Monza, Schumacher won in front of the tifosi. Schumacher's ability, combined with the improving reliability of Ferrari, enabled him to end the season, putting up a challenge to eventual race and championship winner Damon Hill at Suzuka.
Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve vied for the title in 1997. Villeneuve, driving the superior Williams FW19, led the championship in the early part of the season. However, by mid-season, Schumacher had taken the Championship lead, winning five races, and entered the season's final Grand Prix with a one-point advantage. During the race, held at Jerez, Schumacher and Villeneuve collided as Villeneuve passed his rival. Schumacher retired from the race and Villeneuve scored four points to take the championship. Schumacher was held to be at fault for the collision and was disqualified from the Drivers' Championship.
In 1998, Finnish driver Mika Häkkinen became Schumacher's main title competition. Häkkinen won the first two races of the season, gaining a 16 point advantage over Schumacher. With the Ferrari improving significantly in the second half of the season, Schumacher won six races and had five other podium finishes. Ferrari took a 1–2 finish at the Italian Grand Prix, which tied Schumacher with Häkkinen for the lead of the Drivers' Championship with 80 points, but Häkkinen won the Championship by winning the final two races. There were two controversies; at the British Grand Prix Schumacher was leading on the last lap when he turned into the pit lane, crossed the start finish line and stopped for a ten second stop go penalty. There was some doubt whether this counted as serving the penalty, but the win stood. At Spa, Schumacher was leading the race by 40 seconds in heavy spray, but collided with David Coulthard's McLaren when the Scot, a lap down, slowed in very poor visibility to let Schumacher past. After both cars returned to the pits, Schumacher rushed to McLaren's garage and accused Coulthard of trying to kill him.Later in 2003 David Coulthard admitted it was his mistake after he was involved in a similar incident in the European Grand Prix, this time he shunted the back of the backmarker just like Michael did in 1998.
Schumacher's efforts helped Ferrari win the Constructors title in 1999. He lost his chance to win the Drivers' Championship at the British Grand Prix: At the high-speed Stowe Corner, his car's rear brake failed, sending him off the track and resulting in a broken leg. During his long absence, he was replaced by Finnish driver Mika Salo. After missing six races, he made his return at the inaugural Malaysian Grand Prix, qualifying in the pole position by almost a second. He then assumed the role of second driver, assisting team mate Eddie Irvine's bid to win the Drivers' Championship for Ferrari. In the last race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix, Häkkinen won his second consecutive title. Schumacher would later say that Häkkinen was the opponent he respected the most.
2000–2004: World Championship years
Schumacher won his third World Championship in 2000 after a year-long battle with Häkkinen. Schumacher won the first three races of the season and five of the first eight. Mid-way through the year, Schumacher's chances suffered with three consecutive non-finishes, allowing Häkkinen to close the gap in the standings. Häkkinen then took another two victories, before Schumacher won at the Italian Grand Prix. At the post race press conference, after equalling the number of wins (41) won by his idol, Ayrton Senna, Schumacher broke into tears. The championship fight would come down to the penultimate race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix. Starting from pole position, Schumacher had the early lead, but soon lost it to Häkkinen. After his second pit-stop, however, Schumacher came out ahead of Häkkinen and went on to win the race and the championship.
In 2001, Schumacher took his fourth drivers' title. Four other drivers won races, but none sustained a season-long challenge for the championship. Schumacher scored a record-tying nine wins and clinched the world championship with four races yet to run. He finished the championship with 123 points, 58 ahead of runner-up Coulthard. Season highlights included the Canadian Grand Prix, where Schumacher finished 2nd to his brother Ralf, thus scoring the first ever 1–2 finish by brothers in Formula One; and the Belgian Grand Prix in which Schumacher scored his 52nd career win, breaking Alain Prost's record for most career wins.
In 2002, Schumacher used the Ferrari F2002 to retain his Drivers' Championship. There was again some controversy however at the Austrian Grand Prix, where his teammate, Rubens Barrichello was leading but in the final metres of the race, under orders, slowed to allow Schumacher to win the race. The crowd broke into outrageous boos at the result and Schumacher tried to make amends by placing Barrichello at the top step of the podium. Oddly enough, at the United States Grand Prix later that year, Schumacher dominated the race and as he was set to do a side by side finish with Barrichello, he slowed down too much and accidentally allowed Barrichello to take the victory. In winning the Drivers' Championship he equalled the record set by Juan Manuel Fangio of five world championships. Ferrari won 15 out of 17 races, and Schumacher won the title with six races remaining in the season. Schumacher broke his own record, shared with Nigel Mansell, of nine race wins in a season, by winning eleven times and finishing every race on the podium. He finished with 144 points, a record-breaking 67 points ahead of the runner-up, his teammate Rubens Barrichello. This pair finished 9 of the 17 races in the first two places.
Schumacher broke Juan Manuel Fangio's record of five World Drivers' Championships by winning the drivers' title for the sixth time in 2003, a closely contested season. The biggest competition came once again from the McLaren Mercedes and Williams BMW teams. In the first race, Schumacher ran off track, and in the following two, was involved in collisions. He fell 16 points behind Kimi Räikkönen. Schumacher won the San Marino Grand Prix and the next two races, and closed within two points of Räikkönen. Aside from Schumacher's victory in Canada, and Barrichello's victory in Britain, the mid-season was dominated by Williams drivers Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya, who each claimed two victories. After the Hungarian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher led Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Räikkönen by only one and two points, respectively. Ahead of the next race, the FIA announced changes to the way tyre widths were to be measured: this forced Michelin, supplier to Williams and McLaren among others, to rapidly redesign their tyres before the Italian Grand Prix. Schumacher, running on Bridgestone tyres, won the next two races. After Montoya was penalised in the United States Grand Prix, only Schumacher and Räikkönen remained in contention for the title. At the final round, the Japanese Grand Prix, Schumacher needed only one point whilst Räikkönen needed to win. By finishing the race in eighth place, Schumacher took one point and assured his sixth World Drivers' title, ending the season two points ahead of Räikkönen.
In 2004, Schumacher won a record twelve of the first thirteen races of the season, only failing to finish in Monaco after an accident with Juan Pablo Montoya during a safety car period when he briefly locked his car's brakes. He clinched a record seventh drivers' title at the Belgian Grand Prix. He finished that season with a record 148 points, 34 points ahead of the runner-up, teammate Rubens Barrichello, and set a new record of 13 race wins out of a possible 18, surpassing his previous best of 11 wins from the 2002 season.
In 2005 Schumacher's sole win came at the United States Grand Prix. Prior to that race, the Michelin tyres, used by most teams, were found to have significant safety issues. When no compromise between the teams and the FIA could be reached, all but the six drivers using Bridgestone tyres dropped out of the race after the formation lap. However, rule changes for the 2005 season required tyres to last an entire race, tipping the overall advantage to teams using Michelins over teams such as Ferrari that relied on Bridgestone tyres. The rule changes were partly in an effort to dent Ferrari's dominance and make the series more interesting. Less than half-way through the season, Schumacher said "I don't think I can count myself in this battle any more. It was like trying to fight with a blunted weapon.... If your weapons are weak you don't have a chance." The most notable moment of the season for Schumacher was his battle with Fernando Alonso in San Marino, where he started 13th and finished only 0.2 seconds behind the Spanish driver. Schumacher retired in six of the 19 races. He finished the season in third with 62 points, less than half the points of world champion Alonso.
2006 became the last season of Schumacher's racing career. After three races, Schumacher had 11 points and was already 17 points behind Alonso. He won the following two races, his first wins in 18 months, not including the boycotted 2005 United States Grand Prix. Schumacher was stripped of pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix and started the race at the back of the grid. This was due to him stopping his car and blocking part of the circuit while Alonso was on his qualifying lap; he still managed to work his way up to 5th place on the notoriously cramped Monaco circuit. By the Canadian Grand Prix, the ninth race of the season, he was 25 points behind Alonso, and the three wins that followed helped him reduce his disadvantage to 11. His win at Hockenheim was the last home win for a German as of 2008. After his victories in Italy (in which Alonso had an engine failure) and China, in which Alonso had tyre problems, Schumacher led in the championship standings for the first time during the season. Although he and Alonso had the same point total, Schumacher was in front because he had won more races.
The Japanese Grand Prix was led by Schumacher with only 16 laps to go, when, for the first time since the 2000 French Grand Prix, Schumacher's car suffered engine failure. Alonso won the race, which gave him a ten point championship lead. With only one race left in the season, Schumacher could only win the championship if he won the season finale and Alonso scored no points.
Before the Brazilian Grand Prix, the last race of his career, Schumacher conceded the title to Alonso. In pre-race ceremonies, football legend Pelé presented a trophy to Schumacher for his years of dedication to Formula One. During the race's qualifying session, Schumacher had the best time of all drivers through the first two sessions; but a fuel pressure problem prevented him from completing a single lap during the third session, forcing him to start the race in tenth position. Early in the race Schumacher moved up to sixth place. However, in overtaking Alonso's teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella, Schumacher experienced a tyre puncture caused by the front wing of Fisichella's car. Schumacher pitted and consequently fell to 19th place, 70 seconds behind teammate and race leader Felipe Massa. Schumacher recovered and overtook both Fisichella and Räikkönen to secure fourth place. His performance was classified in the press as "heroic", an "utterly breath-taking drive", and a "performance that ... sums up his career".
Schumacher in conjunction with Schuberth helped develop the first lightweight carbon helmet. In 2004, a prototype was publicly tested by being driven over by a tank; it survived intact. The helmet keeps the driver cool by funneling directed airflow through fifty holes.
Schumacher's helmet sports the colours of the German flag and his sponsor's decals. On the top is a blue circle with white astroids. After Schumacher joined Ferrari, a prancing horse was added on the back. In 2000 in order to differentiate his colours from new teammate Rubens Barrichello, Schumacher changed the upper blue colour and some of the white areas to red. In his final Grand Prix race, Schumacher wore a special helmet that included the names of his ninety-one Grand Prix victories.
Schumacher has been honoured many times during his career. In April 2002, for his contributions to sport and his contributions in raising awareness of child education, he was named as one of the UNESCO Champions for sport, joining the other eight which include Pelé, Serhiy Bubka and Justine Henin. He won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award twice, in 2002 and 2004 for his performances in the 2001 and 2003 seasons respectively. He has also received nominations for the 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 awards. No-one has been nominated more times than Schumacher in the award's seven-year history.
In honour of Schumacher's racing career and his efforts to improve safety and the sport, he was awarded an FIA Gold Medal for Motor Sport in 2006. In 2007, in recognition of his contribution to Formula One racing, the Nürburgring racing track renamed turns 8 and 9 (the Audi and Shell Kurves) as the Schumacher S, and a month later he presented A1 Team Germany with the A1 World Cup at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport 2007 awards ceremony. He was nominated for the Prince of Asturias Award for Sport for 2007, which he won both for sporting prowess and for his humanitarian record.
While Schumacher was on the podium after winning the 2006 Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari issued a press release stating that he would retire from racing at the end of the 2006 season. Schumacher confirmed his retirement. The press release stated that Schumacher would continue working for Ferrari. It was revealed on October 29, 2006 that Ferrari wanted Schumacher to act as assistant to the newly appointed CEO Jean Todt. This would involve selecting the team's future drivers. After Schumacher's announcement, leading Formula One figures such as Niki Lauda and David Coulthard hailed Schumacher as the greatest all-round racing driver in the history of Formula One. The tifosi and the Italian press, who did not always take to Schumacher's relatively cold public persona, displayed an affectionate response after he announced his retirement.
Advisor for Ferrari
During the 2007 Formula One season Schumacher acted as Ferrari's advisor and Jean Todt's 'super assistant'. He attended several Grands Prix during the season. Schumacher drove the Ferrari F2007 for the first time on October 24 at Ferrari's home track in Fiorano, Italy. He ran no more than five laps and no lap times were recorded. A Ferrari spokesman said the short drive was done for the Fiat board of directors, who were holding their meeting in Maranello.
On November 13, 2007 Schumacher, who had not driven a Formula One car since he had retired a year earlier, undertook a formal test session for the first time aboard the F2007. He returned in December, to continue helping Ferrari with their development program at Jerez circuit. He focused on testing electronics and tyres for the 2008 Formula One season.
2008: Car development
In 2007, former Ferrari top manager Ross Brawn said that Schumacher is very likely and also happy to continue testing in 2008. Michael Schumacher later explained his role further, saying that he will "deal with the development of the car inside Gestione Sportiva", and as part of that, will drive the car, but not too often.
He is quoted as saying that riding a Ducati was the most exhilarating thing he has done, the second most being sky diving.
During his long career Schumacher has been involved in several incidents, which have caused considerable controversy. Schumacher has been vilified in the British media for his involvement in title-deciding collisions in 1994 and 1997. German and Italian newspapers widely condemned his actions in 1997.The 1994 incident was viewed by the FIA as a racing incident, and brought no sanction; whereas the 1997 incident saw Schumacher disqualified from the championship standings.
Championship deciding collisions
Going into the 1994 Australian Grand Prix, the final race of the 1994 season, Schumacher led Damon Hill by a single point in the Drivers' Championship. Schumacher led the race from the beginning with Hill closely following him. On lap 35, Schumacher went off track, hitting a wall with his right side wheels. It is unknown whether Schumacher's car was damaged, as he returned to the track at reduced speed but still leading the race. At the next corner, when Hill attempted a pass on the inside while Schumacher was turning into the corner, Schumacher and Hill collided. Schumacher's car was tipped up onto two wheels and eliminated on the spot. Hill pitted immediately and retired from the race with irreparable damage. As neither driver scored Schumacher took the title.
Opinion is divided over the incident. British Formula One journalist and author Alan Henry has written that Schumacher was blamed by "many F1 insiders" for the incident, however British Formula One commentator Murray Walker believes it was not a deliberate move. The race stewards judged it a racing accident and took no action against either driver.
At the 1997 European Grand Prix at Jerez, the last race of the season, Schumacher led another driver, this time Williams' Jacques Villeneuve, by one point in the Drivers' Championship. Although Schumacher and Villeneuve had set the same time during qualifying, the Canadian driver started the race in pole position due to his being the first to set the time. By the first corner of the race, Schumacher was ahead of Villeneuve. On lap 48, Villeneuve passed Schumacher at the Dry Sac Corner. As he did so, Schumacher turned into the Williams, the right-front wheel of Schumacher's Ferrari hitting the left side pod of Villeneuve's car. Schumacher retired from the race immediately while Villeneuve was able to finish the race in the third place, taking four points and so becoming the World Champion.
Two weeks after the race, Schumacher was excluded from the results for the season after a FIA disciplinary hearing disqualified him, finding that his "manoeuvre was an instinctive reaction and although deliberate not made with malice or premeditation. It was a serious error." This made him the only driver in the history of the sport, as of 2008[update] to be disqualified from a World Championship. Schumacher accepted the decision and admitted having made a mistake.
Two laps from the finish of the 1998 British Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher was leading the race when he was issued a stop-and-go penalty for overtaking a lapped car (Alexander Wurz) under a yellow flag. This penalty involves going into the pit lane and stopping for 10 seconds. But as the penalty was given with fewer than 12 laps remaining, and since it was issued as a handwritten note, the Ferrari team was confused as to whether the penalty was a stop and go penalty or merely a penalty of 10 seconds to be added to Schumacher's race time. The rules state that a driver must serve his penalty within three laps of the penalty being issued, and on the third lap after receiving the penalty, Schumacher turned into the pit lane to serve his penalty. However, this happened to be the last lap of the race, and Ferrari's pit box was located after the start/finish line, meaning that Schumacher finished the race before serving the penalty. The stewards initially resolved that problem by adding 10 seconds to Schumacher's race time, then later rescinded the penalty completely. In the same season, after a race-ending collision whilst trying to lap David Coulthard in heavy spray during the Belgian Grand Prix, Schumacher stormed into the McLaren garage and accused Coulthard of trying to kill him. Coulthard recanted some 5 years later after an incident caused him to suffer a similar accident
Historically, team orders had always been permitted in Formula One. During Schumacher's tenure at Ferrari, the team often employed team orders to benefit one of their drivers over the other. Usually Schumacher, as team leader, benefited. The notable exception came in the 1999 season in which he played a supporting role for Eddie Irvine. After missing part of the season with a broken leg, his return from this injury was at the second last race of the season, the Malaysian Grand Prix, where he supported Irvine's victory.
At the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, Schumacher's teammate, Rubens Barrichello, took pole and led the race from the start. In the final metres of the race, the Brazilian driver, under orders from Ferrari, slowed his car to make way for Schumacher to pass and win the race. This angered fans who were watching the race and it was claimed that the team's actions showed a lack of sportsmanship and respect to the spectators, with many claiming that Schumacher did not need to be "gifted" wins in only the 6th race of the season, particularly given that he had already won 4 of the previous 5 grand prix, and that Barrichello had dominated the race weekend up to that point. At the podium ceremony, Schumacher pushed Barrichello onto the top step, and for this disturbance, the Ferrari team incurred a US$1 million fine. Later in the season at the end of the 2002 United States Grand Prix, Schumacher slowed down within sight of the finishing line, meaning that Barrichello took the win by 0.011 seconds, the 2nd closest margin in F1 history. Nobody, including Barrichello, appeared to know why Schumacher lifted, and Schumacher's own explanation varied between it being him "returning the favour" for Austria (now that Schumacher's title was secure), or trying to engineer a dead-heat, a feat derided as near-impossible in a sport where timings are taken to within a thousandth of a second. The FIA subsequently banned "Team orders which interfere with the race result".
Although Schumacher took the pole position during the qualifying for the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix, there was controversy near the end of the session. Schumacher stopped his car in the Rascasse corner, partially blocking the circuit, while his main contender for the season title, Fernando Alonso, was on his qualifying lap. Schumacher stated that he simply locked up the wheels going into the corner and that the car then stalled while he attempted to reverse out. Alonso believed he would have been on pole if the incident had not happened. Schumacher was later stripped of pole position by the race stewards and started the race at the back of the grid.
Family and off-track life
Schumacher's younger brother Ralf was a Formula One driver until the end of 2007. Their stepbrother Sebastian Stahl has also been competing as a race car driver. In August 1995, Michael married Corinna Betsch. They have two children, Gina-Maria (born in 1997) and Mick (born in 1999). He has always been very protective of his private life and is known to dislike the celebrity spotlight, preferring a simple life. The family currently lives near Gland, Switzerland. Their home is a 650 m² mansion with its own underground garage and petrol station, situated on a private beach on Lake Geneva. The family has two dogs - one stray that Corinna fell in love with in Brazil, and an Australian Shepherd named "Ed" whose entrance to the family made headlines. Schumacher personally drove a taxi through the Bavarian town of Coburg after collecting the dog, enabling the family to catch their return flight to Switzerland. Both Schumacher and the taxi driver were reprimanded by local police.
In 2005 Eurobusiness magazine identified Schumacher as the world's first billionaire athlete. His 2004 salary was reported to be around US$80 million. Forbes magazine ranked him 17th in their "The World's Most Powerful Celebrities" list. A significant share of his income came from advertising. For example, Deutsche Vermögensberatung paid him $8 million over three years from 1999 for wearing a 10 by 8 centimetre advertisement on his post-race cap. The deal was extended until 2010. He donated $10 million for aid after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. His donation surpassed that of any other sports person, most sports leagues, many worldwide corporations and even some countries.Schumacher's bodyguard Burkhard Cramer was killed in the tsunami along with his two sons.
One of his main hobbies is horse riding, and he plays football for his local team FC Echichens. He has appeared in several football charity games and organised games between Formula One drivers.
Schumacher is a special ambassador to UNESCO and has donated 1.5 million Euros to the organization. Additionally, he paid for the construction of a school for poor children and for area improvements in Dakar, Senegal. He supports a hospital for child victims of war in Sarajevo, which specialises in caring for amputees. In Lima, Peru he funded the "Palace for the Poor", a centre for helping homeless street children obtain an education, clothing, food, medical attention, and shelter. He stated his interest in these various efforts was piqued both by his love for children and the fact that these causes had received little attention. While an exact figure for the amount of money he has donated throughout his life is unknown, it is known that in his last four years as a driver, he donated at least $50 million.
Since his participation in a FIA European road safety campaign, as part of his punishment after the collision at the 1997 European Grand Prix, Schumacher has continued to support other campaigns, such as Make Roads Safe, which is led by the FIA Foundation and calls on G8 countries and the UN to recognise global road deaths as a major global health issue.
In 2008, Schumacher was the figurehead of an advertising campaign by Bacardi to raise awareness about responsible drinking, with a focus on communicating an international message 'drinking and driving don't mix'. He featured in an advertising campaign for television, cinema and online media, supported by consumer engagements, public relations and digital media across the world.
Also in 2008 it was revealed that he was a donor to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park of Bill Clinton. He donated at least 5,000,000 Dollars but no more than 10,000,000 Dollars.
Complete Formula One results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
* Schumacher was disqualified from the 1997 WDC due to dangerous driving in the European Grand Prix, where he caused an avoidable accident with Villeneuve. His points tally would have placed him in second place in that year's standings.
Formula One records
|1||Championship titles||7 (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)|
|2||Consecutive titles||5 (2000–2004)|
|4||Consecutive wins||7 (2004, Europe–Hungary)|
|5||Wins with one team||72 (Ferrari)|
|6||Wins at same GP||8 (France)|
|7||Wins at different GPs||22|
|8||Longest Time between first and last wins||14 years, 1 month and 2 days|
|10||Podiums (Top 3)||154|
|11||Consecutive podium finishes||19 (US 2001–Japan 2002)|
|13||Consecutive points finishes||24 (Hungary 2001–Malaysia 2003)|
|14||Laps leading||4741 (22,155 km)|
|16||Front row starts||115|
|18||Doubles (Pole and win)||40|
|19||Perfect Score (Pole, fastest lap and win)||22|
|21||Most points in a season for a runner-up||121 (2006)|
|22||Most wins in a season for a runner-up||7 (2006)|
|23||Wins at Indianapolis (any racing class)||5|
|24||Wins at Monza (Formula One)||5|
|25||Wins in a season||13 (2004)|
|26||Fastest laps in a season||10 (2004)|
|27||Points scored in a season||148 (2004)|
|28||Podium finishes in a season||17 (100%) (2002)|
|29||Championship won with most races left||6 (2002)|
|30||Consecutive years with a win||15 (1992–2006)|
|31||Consecutive days as champion||1813 (from 8 October 2000 until 25 September 2005)|
^ Record shared with Alberto Ascari (1952 Belgian GP–1953 Argentine GP). Some sources credit Ascari with nine consecutive wins, disregarding the 1953 Indianapolis 500 race, in which Ascari did not compete. The American race formed part of the world championship, but was not run to the same regulations as the other races and was very rarely attended by world championship drivers.
- Allen, James (1999). Michael Schumacher : Driven to Extremes. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-81214-9.
- Allen, James (2007). Edge of Greatness. Headline. ISBN 978-0-7553-1678-6.
- Collings, Timothy (2004). The Piranha Club. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-7535-0965-2.
- Collings, Timothy (2005). Team Schumacher. Highdown. ISBN 1-905156-03-0.
- Domenjoz, Luc (2002). Michael Schumacher : Rise of a genius. Parragon. ISBN 0-75259-228-9.
- Henry, Alan (ed.) (1992). Autocourse 1992 - 93. Hazleton Publishing. ISBN 0-905138-96-1.
- Henry, Alan (1996). Wheel to Wheel: Great Duels of Formula One Racing. Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated. ISBN 0-7538-0522-7.
- Hilton, Christopher (2003). Michael Schumacher : The greatest of all. Haynes. ISBN 1-84425-044-X.
- Hilton, Christopher (2006). Michael Schumacher : The Whole Story. Haynes. ISBN 1-844250-08-3.
- Kehm, Sabine (2003). Michael Schumacher. Driving Force. Random House. ISBN 0-091894-352.
- Matchett, Steve (1995). Life in the Fast Lane: The Story of the Benetton Grand Prix Year. ISBN 0-297-81610-1.
- Matchett, Steve (1999). The Mechanic's Tale: Life in the Pit Lanes of Formula One. ISBN 0-7603-0754-7.
- Williams, Richard (1999). The Death of Ayrton Senna. Bloomsbury. ISBN 0-747544-956.
References and notes
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- Jochen Rindt, who was born in Germany, won the Formula One World Championship under the Austrian flag.
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- Schumacher slips up in Superbike race www.itv-f1.com Retrieved 5 July 2008
- Motorcycle Sport and leisure magazine, Nov 2008 (interview with Randy Mamola)
- Molinaro, John F. (12 September 2006). "Top 10 Michael Schumacher Moments". CBC Sports. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/indepth/10-schumacher-momments.html. Retrieved on 3 November 2006.
- "The lost honor of Michael Schumacher". GrandPrix.com. 3 November 1997. http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns01331.html. Retrieved on 24 October 2006.
- Kopu, Ville; Nottmeier, Jan. "Schumacher 500: Has the King Lost His Crown?". AutoSport. http://atlasf1.autosport.com/98/ger/schum.html. Retrieved on 24 October 2006.
- Henry, Alan. Wheel to Wheel: Great Duels of Formula One Racing. Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated. pp. 117. ISBN 0-7538-0522-7.
- "Now we are 76...: Murray Walker". www.grandprix.com. 18 October 1999. http://www.grandprix.com/ft/ft00341.html. Retrieved on 30 November 2007.
- "CALLING TIME ON A CAREER". itv-f1.com. http://www.itv-f1.com/Feature.aspx?Type=James_Allen&PO_ID=37290. Retrieved on 15 December 2007.
- "Schumacher loses championship runner-up crown". BBC News. 11 November 1997. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/29895.stm. Retrieved on 24 October 2006.
- "British Grand Prix Review". AutoSport. http://atlasf1.autosport.com/98/bri/burley.html. Retrieved on 24 October 2006.
- "Grand Prix Results: Malaysian GP, 1999". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1. http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr645.html. Retrieved on 31 January 2009.
- "Record fine for Turks". Reuters. http://www.eurosport.co.uk/formula1/sport_sto967344.shtml. Retrieved on 24 October 2006.
- Wade, Stephen (28 October 2002). "Formula One closes door on team orders". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/motor/formula1/2002-10-28-changes_x.htm. Retrieved on 28 October 2006.
- FIA (28 October 2002). F1 Commission declaration. Press release. http://www.fia.com/gate?action=retrievePage&locale=en_GB&PageID=331368089&printer=on. Retrieved on 30 October 2006.
- "Schumacher is stripped of pole". The Official Formula 1 Website. 27 May 2006. http://formula1.com/race/news/4430/757.html. Retrieved on 24 October 2006.
- "Post-qualifying press conference - Monaco". The Official Formula 1 Website. 27 May 2006. http://www.formula1.com/race/news/4428/757.html. Retrieved on 24 October 2006.
- "Schumacher half-brother looking for racing action". Granprix.com. 20 November 2001. http://grandprix.com/ns/ns05169.html. Retrieved on 19 December 2008.
- Holt, Sarah (22 October 2006). "Who is the real Schumacher?". BBC Sport. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/6047606.stm. Retrieved on 22 October 2006.
- "Schuey vrooms into £30m home". The Sun. 30 November 2007. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article526160.ece. Retrieved on 3 November 2008.
- "Taxi for Schumacher". BBC Sport. 2007-12-12. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/7139910.stm. Retrieved on 12 December 2007.
- "Police fuming over Schumacher's taxi race". AFP. 2007-12-15. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5htQcoA4DHAjxSpEcWPxeQYQbSNjA. Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
- Reid, Angus (11 July 2006). "Sports: How Big Is Too Big?". Mediacheck (thetyee.ca). http://thetyee.ca/Mediacheck/2006/07/11/TrendWatch/. Retrieved on 24 October 2006. Forbes magazine has not yet included him on its billionaires list. More recently other sources have estimated his net worth in 2006 somewhat lower, www.f1i.com reports that it 'surpassed $800M'. "Retired Schu to earn $26 m in 2007 - report". www.f1i.com. September 18, 2006. http://www.f1i.com/content/view/5215/32/. Retrieved on 23 January 2007. )
- "The Celebrity 100". Forbes.com. 2005. http://forbes.com/lists/2005/53/Rank_1.html. Retrieved on 25 October 2006.
- "MOT: Schumacher slaps $11.9 m price on his head". AAP Sports News. 11 November 1999. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-24009938.html. Retrieved on 24 October 2006.
- "Schumacher's sponsor extends contract". F1Racing.net. 31 August 2005. http://f1racing.net/en/news.php?newsID=96638. Retrieved on 24 October 2006.
- "Schumacher donates $10 m relief aid". CNN.com. 4 January 2005. http://edition.cnn.com/2005/SPORT/01/04/tsunami.relief/index.html. Retrieved on 24 October 2006.
- McAllister, Mike (11 November 2005). "My Sportsman: Michael Schumacher". 2005 Sportsman of the Year. SI.com. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/magazine/specials/sportsman/2005/11/11/michael.schumacher/index.html. Retrieved on 25 October 2006.
- "Schumi urged to lace up his boots". Wheels24. 25 October 2006. http://www.wheels24.co.za/Wheels24/NewsPics/0,,1369-1375_2020222,00.html. Retrieved on 1 November 2006.
- "FIFA Fair Play: Playing for a better world". FIFA.com. 16 December 2004. http://www.fifa.com/en/fairplay/index/0,1255,104749,00.html?articleid=104749. Retrieved on 25 October 2006.
- "Thoughts on Schumacher". BBC Sport. 10 September 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/5330382.stm. Retrieved on 25 October 2006.
- "Michael Schumacher, a UNESCO champion". UNESCO. 2002. http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=6691&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html. Retrieved on 25 October 2006.
- "Schumacher puts the brakes on drink-driving". The Guardian. 2008-07-04. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jul/04/advertising.formulaone. Retrieved on 30 January 2009.
- "Clinton Foundation Donors". Wall Street Journal. 18 December 2008. http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/st_clintondonor_20081218.html. Retrieved on 18 December 2008.
- "Michael Schumacher". The Formula One Database. www.f1db.com. 2006. http://www.f1db.com/f1/page/Michael_Schumacher. Retrieved on 25 October 2006.
- All race and championship results (1991 - 2006) are taken from the Official Formula 1 Website. 1991 Season review onwards. www.formula1.com. Retrieved 23 May 2007
All race and championship results (1991 - 2006) are taken from the Official Formula 1 Website. 1991 Season review onwards. www.formula1.com. Retrieved 23 May 2007
- Michael Schumacher's official website
- Cartcenter and Museum
- Cartteam Kaiser-Schumacher-Muchow
- Formula1.com Profile
- Career statistics
- Michael Schumacher Profile and Statistics on F1db
- Michael Schumacher career statistics
- News Articles about Michael Schumacher
- Michael Schumacher at the Internet Movie Database
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||Racing driver, Formula 1 driver, 7 times world champion|
|DATE OF BIRTH||January 3, 1969|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Hürth Hermülheim, Germany|
|DATE OF DEATH|
|PLACE OF DEATH|