Michael Schumacher was a Formula One racing driver that raced for Ferrari, Mercedes, Benetton, and Jordan. He holds the joint record for the most number of World Drivers’ Championship triumphs. At the time of his retirement from the sport in 2012, he held the record for the most victories, pole positions as well as podium finishes. The 2021 season would feature Michael Schumacher’s son Mick Schumacher make his debut in Formula One.
Born on 3 January 1969, at Hürth, North Rhine-Westphalia to Rolph Schumacher and his wife Elisabeth, Michael was just 4 when he enrolled to the karting track at Kerpen-Horrem. Schumacher started karting at an early age of 6 and became the German Junior Karting Champion in 1982. By 1987, Schumacher had graduated further and became the German as well as European karting champion.
Schumacher's younger brother Ralf, his son Mick and his nephew David are also racing drivers. Schumacher married his wife Corinna Betsch in 1995 and has two children.
On 29 December 2013, Michael Schumacher had a skiing accident when he fell and hit his head on a rock. Ever since there have been periodic updates with the most recent one in November 2020 where his condition was reported to continuously improving.
Schumacher has stepped into karts at an early age of 4 and started competing by the time he was 6. He had already become the European Karting champion by 1987 and was already looked at with interest by the Formula One paddock. After winning the Formula 3 title by beating Mika Hakkinen in 1989, Schumacher would become part of the Mercedes junior racing program in 1990. After spending a couple of years racing sportscars, Schumacher would find his way into Formula One in 1991 under fortuitous circumstances as Bertrand Gachot, Jordan’s racing driver would be unable to take part in the Belgian Grand Prix and Schumacher would fill in as a replacement.
Formula One Career
Schumacher would impress in his very first race in Formula One. In his very first race, Schumacher would qualify 7th on the grid and the German journalists around the paddock would call him the best German talent in Formula One since Stefan Bellof. In the race, however, Schumacher would retire on the very first lap with clutch problems.
Michael Schumacher was poached in the very next race by Benetton as the German had not signed a contract yet with Jordan. In the handful of races in 1991, Schumacher would score four points in six races.
The 1992 and 1993 seasons saw Schumacher announce himself to the world of Formula One. In 1992, in a field dominated by a far superior Williams, Schumacher would finish the season third in the standings behind the two Wiliams drivers and ahead of Ayrton Senna. In 1993, Schumacher would finish the season 4th in the standings with a win in Portugal ahead of Alain Prost.
The 1994 season was marred by the death of Ayrton Senna, Schumacher however in his Benetton was able to win 6 of the first 7 races before Benetton was fined for a technical infringement. The following races saw Michael Schumacher getting banned for 2 races for a black flag infringement, and then a further 1 race ban for too much wear on the skid blocks after his win at the Belgian Grand Prix was overturned.
All these incidents had brought Damon Hill right back into contention with Schumacher going into the last race of the season just one point ahead of Hill. The championship would be decided after a controversial collision between Schumacher and Hill took both the cars out of the race.
The 1995 season was a much more straightforward season for Schumacher. With no Senna or Prost on the grid, Schumacher was the undisputed best driver on the grid. He would win his second successive title with Benetton to become the youngest two-time world champion in the history of the sport.
Being a two-time world champion and a reigning world champion it came as a surprise to many when Michael Schumacher decided to shift bases to Ferrari, although a team with such a rich heritage in the sport but with nothing to show in terms of results in over a decade.
The partnership had more than humble beginnings as the car was just not a match for the all-conquering Williams. Schumacher would finish the season third in the standings in 1996. He would win 3 races during the season which equaled the team’s tally from the last 5 years. In 1997, the Schumacher, albeit in inferior machinery was able to take the fight to Jacques Villeneuve. Going into the last race of the season at Jerez, Schumacher had a one-point lead and would need to finish the race ahead of Villeneuve to win the championship. During the race, Schumacher would be again involved in an accident with Vllueneve where he would intentionally turn his car into his rival to force a collision. Schumacher would come off worse and retire on the spot while VIllueneve will suffer damage but will be able to continue and finish the race. Schumacher was disqualified from the 1997 championship for his actions while Villueneve would be crowned the World Champion.
The 1998 season saw Mclaren jump the grid in terms of competitiveness. Schumacher would start making inroads late into the season but the Mclaren was considerably faster machinery and Mika Hakkinen would win the title.
The 1999 season saw Michael Schumacher suffer a crash and break his leg in the process due to which he would go on to miss 6 races in the season. He would spend the season on the sidelines as Mika Hakkinen would pick up yet another title.
From 2000 onwards Schumacher embarked on a golden run where he would win 5 consecutive titles until 2004. He would see off Mika Hakkinen in a close battle in 2000. The 2001 season was more straightforward with Schumacher winning the title comfortably from David Coulthard. The 2002 season was one of the more dominant seasons Formula One history with Ferrari wrapping up both the titles with a few races to spare. The 2003 season would be a close contest between Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Kimi Raikkonen with Schumacher sneaking through in the last race of the season. The 2004 season was a mirror image of the 2002 season with Ferrari producing a car that was significantly quicker than the rest of the field.
Decline, Revival and Retirement(2005-2006)
The changes in regulations in 2005 would put Ferrari on the backfoot and Renault and Mclaren would steal the march. Schumacher in an uncompetitive car would be unable to fight for the championship and Fernando Alonso would be crowned World Champion.
The 2006 season would see a resurgence in form for Ferrari. After a slow start, Schumacher would reel in Fernando Alonso and his lead at the top. In the penultimate race of the season with Schumacher leading the championship, he would his first engine failure since 2000 that would put an end to his title hopes. Fernando Alonso would seal the title in the next race while Schumacher would call time on his career and retire.
Return from Retirement with Mercedes(2010-2012)
Schumacher would be lured out of retirement by Mercedes in 2010. He would partner Nico Rosberg in the first season of his return. The return would however not go as planned as Nico Rosberg would beat Michael Schumacher in all three seasons in the standings. Mercedes car was not capable of fighting for the championship at the time and Schumacher would spend the three years in the midfield. There were a few highlights during his time at Mercedes but the three years were largely uneventful for the German as he would finally call time on his career in 2012.
- The ONS Cup(1992,1994,1995)
- Bambi Sports Award(1993)
- Golden Steering Wheel(1993)
- Autosport International Racing Driver of the Year(1995,2000)
- ADAC Motor Sportsman of the Year(2000)
- UNESCO Champions for sport(2002)
- Lorenzo Bandini Trophy(2003)