He is the greatest of all time, he is a man with a killer instinct, he is a man with a never say die spirit. He is Michael Schumacher.
Michael Schumacher was born on January 3, 1969, to Rolf Schumacher, a bricklayer and his wife Elisabeth in the town of Hürth, Germany.
It is said the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world and this saying is aptly justified when we see that it was Michael’s parents that took him to the karting track at Kerpen-Horrem where he became the youngest member of the karting club at 4. He started in a kart constructed by his father from discarded parts. Michael won his first kart club championship at the age of 6.
The rules in Germany stated that the minimum age for getting a karting license was 14. In order to get around this Michael obtained a Luxembourg license, for which the minimum age was 12 and started his competitive career.
After obtaining his German license he won the German Junior Kart Championship and in 1985 Michael won the German championship and by 1987 he won the European championship while riding for the Eurokart dealer Adolf Neubert team.
Michael then quit school and began working as a mechanic but he soon gave up the job to become a full-time racing driver.
In 1989, Schumacher signed with Willi Weber's WTS Formula 3 team and went on to win the German Formula 3 series title the year after. At the end of the 1990 season, Schumacher moved into sports car racing, joining the Mercedes junior racing programme in the World Sports-Prototype Championship, driving for Sauber. This was regarded as an unusual career move as the norm was stepping up to Formula 3000.
Michael’s F1 career had a lucky start when Jordan's Formula One team found themselves minus a driver when Bertrand Gachot was involved in a road rage incident with a taxi driver and sentenced to six months' imprisonment. His Formula One debut came at The Belgian Grand Prix of 1991, qualifying an astonishing seventh, matching the team's season-best grid position and impressing the paddock. Unfortunately, Michael had to retire on the first lap from this race because of a clutch failure of his Jordan-Ford.
After some legal wrangling, Michael got out of his temporary contract with Jordan and he was immediately snapped up by Benetton. In 1992 Michael drove his Benetton to his first F1 victory, again at Spa. Over the next four seasons with Benetton, Michael would have great success. He won a further 18 races and two world championships.
The ‘94 season will forever be a dark page in the history of Formula One, most importantly because of the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger. Whatever the case may be, as a result, Schumacher was the first German F1 World Champion. Michael dedicated his title to Ayrton Senna. In 1995 Michael defended his title successfully and without controversy.
In 1996, Schumacher moved to Ferrari a year before his contract with Benetton expired. Ferrari had last won the Drivers' Championship in 1979 and the Constructors' Championship in 1983, but Schumacher began his time with Ferrari promisingly, claiming three wins in 1996 and five more in 1997.
Michael finished the 1998 season in second place after a hard-fought battle with Mika Häkkinen and saw his title chances for 1999 blown after he broke his leg during a crash at Silverstone when his rear brakes failed at the high-speed Stowe corner.
From then on Schumacher and Ferrari seemed unbeatable. Schumacher became Ferrari's first champion in 21 years in 2000 and then went on to win the World Championship for the next four consecutive years. In 2002 he won 11 times and finished on the podium in all 17 races. In 2003 he broke Juan Manuel Fangio’s record by winning his sixth F1 World Championship. In 2004 he won 13 of the 18 races to win his seventh championship.
In 2005 Schumacher took third place in the championship and in 2006 he came in second. At this time Schumacher was undoubtedly the most successful F1 driver in history and with 91 won races and seven World Championship titles, Schumacher decided it was time to retire. He would stay with Ferrari in a new role as a consultant.
However, Michael’s retirement would prove only to be a relatively short break when it was announced that he’d return as the driver for the new Mercedes GP team for the 2010 season. Michael was 41 years old when he made his return in F1 as a driver. Unfortunately, he wasn’t nearly as successful as he was in his glory days and Michael only made the podium once in his three-year comeback. He gave his best and said that, although not as successful as before, he’d enjoyed the second part of his career and that it was a good time to go. Michael retired from F1 for good after the 2012 season.
Unfortunately, Michael didn’t enjoy his permanent retirement for long when he sustained a very serious head injury while on a family skiing holiday in the French Alps. On 29 December 2013, while skiing with his 14-year-old son Mick, he crossed an unsecured off-piste area in Méribel, France, where he fell and hit his head on a rock. This accident left him in a medically induced coma for several months due to the severity of his brain injury.
His family has rarely spoken about the accident or Schumacher's condition since his accident but manager Sabine Kehm spoke on their behalf on the eve of the 2018 F1 season, stating that “the family really appreciates the empathy of the fans.”
The latest news at the time of this write up is Michael is "no longer bedridden" and he is actually living in his family home. Let's hope this is true and that his condition continues to improve in the future.
About the Author
Suposh Sharma, keenly follows Hockey, Athletics, and other Olympic sports. He also has a penchant for writing humour and is an avid traveller