|Born||3 January 1969|
Hürth, West Germany
|Spouse(s)||Corinna Schumacher (m. 1995)|
|Relatives||Ralf Schumacher (brother) |
Gina-Maria Schumacher (daughter)
Mick Schumacher (son)
David Schumacher (nephew)
Sebastian Stahl (step-brother)
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Active years||1991–2006, 2010–2012|
|Teams||Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, Mercedes|
|Entries||308 (306 starts)|
|Championships||7 (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)|
|First entry||1991 Belgian Grand Prix|
|First win||1992 Belgian Grand Prix|
|Last win||2006 Chinese Grand Prix|
|Last entry||2012 Brazilian Grand Prix|
Michael Schumacher (//; German: [ˈmɪçaːʔeːl ˈʃuːmaxɐ] (listen); born 3 January 1969) is a German former racing driver who competed in Formula One for Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes. Schumacher has a joint-record seven World Drivers' Championship titles and, at the time of his retirement from the sport in 2012, he held the records for the most wins (91), pole positions (68) and podium finishes (155)—which have since been broken by Lewis Hamilton—while he maintains the records for the most fastest laps (77) and the most races won in a single season (with Sebastian Vettel) (13), amongst others.
After beginning his racing career in karting, Schumacher enjoyed success in several junior single-seater series. After a one-off Formula One appearance with Jordan at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix, Schumacher was signed by Benetton for the rest of the 1991 season. He won his first and second drivers' titles consecutively in 1994 and 1995, twice finishing ahead of runner-up Damon Hill. Schumacher moved to Ferrari in 1996, with whom he won five consecutive titles from 2000 to 2004, including unprecedented sixth and seventh titles, breaking several records. After finishing third in 2005 and second in 2006, Schumacher retired from the sport, though he later made a brief return with Mercedes from 2010 to 2012.
Over his career, Schumacher was involved in several controversial racing incidents. Twice, he was involved in collisions in the final race of a season that decided the title, first with Hill at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix and later with Jacques Villeneuve at the 1997 European Grand Prix. Schumacher and his younger brother, Ralf, are the only siblings to win races in Formula One and the first siblings to finish first and second in the same race, a feat they repeated in four subsequent races. Schumacher was noted for pushing his car to the limit for sustained periods during races and a pioneering fitness regimen.
An ambassador for UNESCO, Schumacher has been involved in humanitarian projects and has donated tens of millions of dollars to charity. In December 2013, Schumacher suffered a severe brain injury in a skiing accident. He was placed in a medically induced coma until June 2014. He left hospital in Grenoble for further rehabilitation at the University Hospital of Lausanne, before being relocated to his home to receive medical treatment and rehabilitation privately in September 2014.
Schumacher was born in Hürth, North Rhine-Westphalia, in Germany, on 3 January 1969, to Rolf Schumacher, a bricklayer, and his wife Elisabeth. When Schumacher was four, his father modified his pedal kart by adding a small motorcycle engine. When Schumacher crashed it into a lamp post in Kerpen, his parents took him to the karting track at Kerpen-Horrem, where he became the youngest member of the karting club. His father soon built him a 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, while his wife worked at the track's canteen. Nevertheless, when Michael needed a new engine costing 800 DM, his parents were unable to afford it; he was able to continue racing with support from local businessmen.
In 1983, he obtained his German license, a year after he won the German Junior Kart Championship. From 1984 on, Schumacher won many German and European kart championships. He joined Eurokart dealer Adolf Neubert in 1985 and by 1987 he was the German and European kart champion, then he quit school and began working as a mechanic. In 1988 he made his first step into single-seat car racing by participating in the German Formula Ford and Formula König series, winning the latter.
In 1989, Schumacher signed with Willi Weber's WTS Formula Three team. Funded by Weber, he competed in the German Formula 3 series, winning the title in 1990. He also won the Macau Grand Prix in 1990 under controversial circumstances. He placed second behind Mika Häkkinen in the first heat, three seconds behind. At the start of the second heat, he overtook Häkkinen, who only had to finish within three seconds of Schumacher to clinch the overall win. In the closing laps, Schumacher made a mistake, allowing Häkkinen to attempt to overtake. Michael changed his line immediately before Häkkinen did the same as the latter moved to overtake, and Häkkinen crashed into the back of Schumacher's car. While Häkkinen's race was ended, Schumacher cruised to victory without a rear wing.
At 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 unusual for a young driver: most of Schumacher's contemporaries would compete in Formula 3000 on the way to Formula One. However, Weber advised Schumacher that being exposed to professional press conferences and driving powerful cars in long-distance races would help his career. In the 1990 World Sportscar Championship season, Schumacher won the season finale at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in a Sauber–Mercedes C11, and finished fifth in the drivers' championship despite only driving in three of the nine races. 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. He also competed at Le Mans during that season, finishing fifth in a car shared with Karl Wendlinger and Fritz Kreutzpointner. 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 and to push his car to the very limit for sustained periods. He was also noted for his pioneering fitness regime and ability to galvanise teams around him. Motorsport 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 nicknames "Regenkönig" (rain king) or "Regenmeister" (rain master), even in the non-German-language media. He is known as "the Red Baron", because of his red Ferrari and in reference to the German Manfred von Richthofen, the famous flying ace of World War I. Schumacher's nicknames also include "Schumi", "Schuey" and "Schu".
Schumacher is often credited with popularising Formula One in Germany, where it was formerly considered a fringe sport. When Schumacher retired 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, felt 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. In a 2006 FIA survey, Michael Schumacher was voted the most popular driver of the season among Formula One fans. In 2020, Schumacher was voted the most influential person in F1 history.
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 debut.
Belgian Grand Prix debut
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 seen it as a spectator. During the race weekend, teammate 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. 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.
Following his Belgian Grand Prix debut, and despite an agreement in principle between Jordan and Schumacher's Mercedes management that would see the German race for the Irish team for the remainder of the season, Schumacher was engaged 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 final contract.
Schumacher finished the 1991 season with four points out of six races. His best finish was fifth in his second race, the Italian Grand Prix, in which he finished ahead of his teammate and three-time World Champion Nelson Piquet.
At the start of the 1992 season the Sauber team, planning their Formula One debut with Mercedes backing for the following year, invoked a clause in Schumacher's contract that 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, finishing third in the Mexican Grand Prix. He went on to take his first victory at the 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 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 (witnessed by Schumacher, who was directly behind in second position) and Roland Ratzenberger during the San Marino Grand Prix, and by allegations that several teams, but most particularly 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 place. 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" that would have allowed Schumacher to make perfect starts, which was explicitly outlawed by the regulations. However, there was no evidence to suggest that this software was actually used.
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 because of the pattern of wear and damage visible on the block.
These incidents helped Damon Hill close the points gap, and Schumacher led by a single point going into the final race in Australia. On lap 36 Schumacher hit the guardrail on the outside of the track while leading. Hill attempted to pass, but as Schumacher's car returned to the track there was a collision on the corner causing them both to retire. As a result, Schumacher won a very controversial championship, the first German to do so (Jochen Rindt raced under the Austrian flag). At the FIA conference after the race, the new World Champion dedicated his title to Ayrton Senna.
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 teammate 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 Belgian Grand Prix, he qualified 16th, but nevertheless went on to win the race.
In 1996, Schumacher joined Ferrari, a team that had last won the Drivers' Championship in 1979 and the Constructors' Championship in 1983, for a salary of $60 million over two years. 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 Benetton employees Rory Byrne (designer) and Ross Brawn (Technical Director) joined Ferrari.
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 its famous V12 engine was no longer competitive against the smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient V10s of its competitors. Various drivers, notably Alain Prost, had given the vehicles labels such as "truck", "pig", and "accident waiting to happen". Furthermore, 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. During winter testing, Schumacher first drove a Ferrari, their 1995 Ferrari 412 T2, and was two seconds faster than former regulars Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger had been.
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. Early in the 1996 season the car had reliability trouble and Schumacher did not finish six 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. Having taken the lead on lap 19, he consistently lapped five seconds faster than the rest of the field in the difficult conditions. 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 Williams's Jacques Villeneuve. Following that, at Monza, Schumacher won in front of the tifosi.
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. Towards the end of the race, held at Jerez, Schumacher's Ferrari developed a coolant leak and loss of performance indicating he may not finish the race. As Villeneuve approached to pass his rival, Schumacher attempted to provoke an accident, but got the short end of the stick, retiring from the race. Villeneuve went on and scored four points to take the championship. Schumacher was punished for unsportsmanlike conduct 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. Schumacher then won in Argentina and, with the Ferrari improving significantly in the second half of the season, Schumacher took six victories and had five other podium finishes. Ferrari took a 1–2 finish at the French Grand Prix, the first Ferrari 1–2 finish since 1990, and 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, because he had crossed the finish line when he came into the pit lane, the win was valid. 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 (Coulthard's car was repairable, but Schumacher's car had lost an entire wheel and was forced to retire), Schumacher leaped out of his car and headed to McLaren's garage in an infuriated manner and accused Coulthard of trying to kill him. Coulthard admitted five years later that the accident had been his mistake.
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 98-day 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 pole position by almost a second. He then assumed the role of second driver, assisting teammate 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
During this period Schumacher won more races and championships than any other driver in the history of the sport. 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. Midway 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 lost the lead to Häkkinen at the start. 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 second 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 team orders, slowed down to allow Schumacher to win the race. The crowd broke into outraged boos at the result and Schumacher tried to make amends by allowing Barrichello to stand on the top step of the podium. At the United States Grand Prix later that year, Schumacher dominated the race and was set for a close finish with Barrichello. At the end he slowed down to create a formation finish with Barrichello, but slowed too much allowing 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, which is still the earliest point in the season for a driver to be crowned World Champion. Schumacher broke his own record, shared with Nigel Mansell, of nine race wins in a season, by winning 11 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 nine 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 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 12 of the first 13 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.
2005–2006: decline, resurgence and retirement
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. The most notable moment of the early 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. Less than halfway 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." Schumacher's sole win in 2005 came at the United States Grand Prix. Before that race, the Michelin tyres 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. Schumacher retired in six of the 19 races. He finished the season in third with 62 points, fewer than half the points of World Champion Alonso.
2006 became the last season of Schumacher's Ferrari career. After three races, Schumacher had just 11 points and was already 17 points behind Alonso. He won the following two races. His pole position at San Marino was his 66th, breaking Ayrton Senna's 12-year-old record.
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 his 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 fifth place on the notoriously cramped Monaco circuit. By the Canadian Grand Prix, the ninth race of the season, Schumacher was 25 points behind Alonso, but he then won the following three races to reduce his disadvantage to 11. 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 an engine failure. Alonso won the race, giving himself 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, Schumacher admitted defeat and 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 one of the quickest times during the first session and was fastest in the second session; 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".
2007–2009: retirement at Ferrari
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 29 October 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.
2007: Ferrari advisor
Schumacher attended several Grands Prix during the season. He drove the Ferrari F2007 for the first time on 24 October 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.
During the 2007 season, Schumacher acted as Ferrari's adviser and Jean Todt's 'super assistant'. On 13 November 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 2007 to continue helping Ferrari with their development programme at Jerez circuit. He focused on testing electronics and tyres for the 2008 Formula One season.
2008: Ferrari road car development
In 2007, former Ferrari top manager Ross Brawn said that Schumacher was very likely and also happy to continue testing in 2008; Schumacher later explained his role further saying that he would "deal with the development of the car inside Gestione Sportiva" and as part of that "I'd like to drive, but not too often".
During 2008 Schumacher also competed in motorcycle racing in the IDM Superbike-series, but stated that he had no intention of a second competitive career in this sport. He was quoted as saying that riding a Ducati was the most exhilarating thing he had done in his life, the second most being sky diving.
2009: planned Massa substitution
In his capacity as racing advisor to Ferrari, Schumacher was present in Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix when Ferrari driver Felipe Massa was seriously injured after being struck by a suspension spring during qualifying. As it became clear that Massa would be unable to compete in the next race at Valencia, Schumacher was chosen as a replacement for the Brazilian driver and on 29 July 2009, Ferrari announced that they planned to draft in Schumacher for the European Grand Prix and subsequent Grands Prix until Massa was able to race again. Schumacher tested in a modified F2007 to prepare himself as he had been unable to test the 2009 car due to testing restrictions. Ferrari appealed for special permission for Schumacher to test in a 2009 spec car, but Williams, Red Bull and Toro Rosso were against this test. In the end, Schumacher was forced to call off his return due to the severity of the neck injury he had received in a motorcycle accident earlier in the year. Massa's place at Ferrari was instead filled by Luca Badoer and Giancarlo Fisichella.
In December 2009 it was announced that Schumacher would be returning to Formula One in the 2010 season alongside fellow German driver Nico Rosberg in the new Mercedes GP team. The new Mercedes team was their first majority involvement in an F1 team since 1955. Schumacher stated that his preparations to replace the injured Massa for Ferrari had initiated a renewed interest in F1, which, combined with the opportunity to fulfil a long-held ambition to drive for Mercedes and to be working again with team principal Ross Brawn, led Schumacher to accept the offer once he was passed fit. After a period of intensive training medical tests, it was confirmed that the neck injury that had prevented him driving for Ferrari the year before had fully healed. Schumacher signed a three-year contract, reportedly worth £20 million.
Schumacher's surprise return to F1 was compared to Niki Lauda's in 1982 at age 33 and Nigel Mansell's return in 1994 at age 41. Schumacher turned 41 in January 2010 and his prospects with Mercedes were compared with the record set by the oldest F1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio who was 46 when he won his fifth championship.
2010: return from retirement
Schumacher's first drive of the 2010 Mercedes car – the Mercedes MGP W01 – was at an official test in February 2010 in Valencia. He finished sixth in the first race of the season at the Bahrain Grand Prix. After the Malaysian race, former driver Stirling Moss suggested that Schumacher, who had finished behind his teammate in each of the first four qualifying sessions and races, might be "past it". Many other respected former Formula One drivers thought otherwise, including former rival Damon Hill, who warned "you should never write Schumacher off". GrandPrix.com identified the inherent understeer of the Mercedes car, exacerbated by the narrower front tyres introduced for the 2010 season, as contributing to Schumacher's difficulties. Jenson Button would later claim that Mercedes's 2010 car was designed for him, and that their differing driving styles may have contributed to Schumacher's difficulties.
Mercedes upgraded their car for the Spanish Grand Prix where Schumacher finished fourth. At the Monaco Grand Prix Schumacher finished sixth after passing Ferrari's Fernando Alonso on the final corner of the race when the safety car returned to the pits. However, he was penalised 20 seconds after the race by the race stewards dropping him to 12th. The stewards judged the pass to be in breach of the FIA's sporting code. Mercedes's differing interpretation of the regulation would later lead to it being clarified by the FIA.
In Turkey, Schumacher qualified fifth, and finished fourth in the race, both his best results since his return. In European Grand Prix in Valencia, Schumacher finished 15th, the lowest recorded finish in his career. In Hungary, Schumacher finished outside the points in 11th, but was found guilty of dangerous driving at 180 mph (290 km/h) while unsuccessfully defending tenth position against Rubens Barrichello. As a result, he was demoted ten places on the grid for the following race, the Belgian Grand Prix, where he finished seventh despite starting 21st after his grid penalty.
At the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Schumacher was involved in a major accident on the first lap, which occurred after a spin. In recovering from the incident Vitantonio Liuzzi's car collided with Schumacher, barely missing his head. Nobody was hurt in the crash, but Schumacher said the crash had been "frightening".
He finished the season ninth with 72 points. Before, it had happened only in his début in 1991 that he finished without a win, pole position, podium or fastest lap.
Schumacher's first points of 2011 were scored in Malaysia; he later came sixth in Spain and had a strong race at the Canadian Grand Prix finishing fourth, after running as high as second in a wet race. Schumacher was passed late in the race by eventual winner Jenson Button.
Schumacher clashed with Vitaly Petrov in Valencia, and with Kamui Kobayashi in Britain, and marked the 20th anniversary of his Formula One début at the Belgian Grand Prix. Despite starting last in Belgium, Schumacher raced well and finished fifth. Schumacher again raced well in Italy, duelling with Lewis Hamilton for fourth place. The Japanese Grand Prix saw Schumacher lead three laps during the race, marking the first time he had led a race since 2006. In doing so, he became the oldest driver to lead a race since Jack Brabham in 1970.
At the Indian Grand Prix Schumacher started well and finished fifth after overtaking Rosberg at the end of the race. Schumacher diced again with Rosberg in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, battling over sixth position on the first lap. Schumacher finished the season in eighth place in the Drivers' Championship, with 76 points.
2012: final season
Schumacher was again partnered by Rosberg at Mercedes for the 2012 season. Schumacher retired from the inaugural race of the season Australian Grand Prix, and scored a point in the second round in Malaysia. In China Schumacher started on the front row alongside Rosberg on pole, but retired due to a loose wheel after a mechanic's error during a pit stop.
After causing a collision with Bruno Senna in Spain, Schumacher received a five-place grid penalty for the Monaco Grand Prix. Schumacher was fastest in qualifying in Monaco; but started sixth owing to his penalty. He later retired from seventh place in the race.
At the European Grand Prix, Schumacher finished third in the race, his only podium finish since his return to F1 with Mercedes. At the age of 43 years and 173 days, he became the oldest driver to achieve a podium since Jack Brabham's second-place finish at the 1970 British Grand Prix. Further records were set by Schumacher in Germany, where he set the fastest lap in a Grand Prix for the 77th time in his career, and in Belgium where he became the second driver in history to race in 300 Grands Prix.
Schumacher's indecision over his future plans in F1 led to him being replaced by Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for the 2013 season. In October 2012, Schumacher announced he would retire for a second time at the conclusion of the season. The following week he was quoted as saying: "There were times in the past few months in which I didn't want to deal with Formula One or prepare for the next Grand Prix." The season and his 21-year F1 career concluded with the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, in which Schumacher finished seventh. He placed 13th in the 2012 Drivers' Championship.
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 original helmet sported the colours of the German flag and his sponsor's decals. On the top was a blue circle with white astroids. From the 2000 Monaco Grand Prix, in order to differentiate his colours from his new teammate Rubens Barrichello (whose helmet was predominantly white with a blue circle on top and a red ellipsis surrounding the visor), Schumacher changed the upper blue colour and some of the white areas to red. For the Brazilian Grand Prix race of 2006 (at the time intended to be his final Grand Prix), he wore an all-red helmet that included the names of his ninety-one Grand Prix victories. For the 2011 Belgian Grand Prix, Schumacher's 20th anniversary in Formula One, he wore a commemorative gold-leafed helmet. The helmet, very similar to his current helmet, included the year of his début to the present, and the years of his seven World titles. For the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix, Schumacher's 300th Grand Prix appearance, he wore a special platinum-leafed helmet with a message of his achievement.
Schuberth helmet for the 2002 season (Ferrari); at the 2001 Malaysian Grand Prix, Schumacher switched his helmet from Bell to Schuberth, though there was a contract with Bell for the 2001 season. From the 2001 season, Schumacher continued to use the Schuberth helmet until his last race in Formula One.
Schumacher was honoured many times during his career. In 1992, the German Motor Sport Federation awarded him the ONS Cup, the highest accolade in German motorsport. In 1993, he won a Bambi Sports Award and was the first racing driver to receive the Golden Steering Wheel. In 1994, Schumacher gained his second ONS Cup and was voted European Sportsperson of the Year, by the International Sports Press Association. In 1995, he was named Autosport International Racing Driver of the Year, voted German Sportspersonality of the Year and honoured with a third ONS Cup. For his sports achievements and his commitment to road safety, Schumacher was awarded Germany's highest sporting accolade, the Silbernes Lorbeerblatt in 1997.
In 2001, Schumacher was granted honorary citizenship of Modena, for his sporting prowess and for helping to promote Modena. He was voted PAP European Sportsperson of the Year, named L'Équipe World Champion of champions and won a Gazzetta World Sports Award. Schumacher earned the Grands Prix de l'Académie des Sports and won Autosport's International Racing Driver of the Year. He was elected European Sportsperson of the Year, by the International Sports Press Association and received the Marca Leylenda Award.
In April 2002, for his contributions to sport and his contributions in raising awareness of child education, Schumacher was named as one of the UNESCO Champions for sport, joining the other eight, which include Pelé, Sergey Bubka and Justine Henin. Further, he was voted PAP European Sportsperson of the Year, named L'Équipe World Champion of champions, and won a Gazzetta World Sports Award. He was elected European Sportsperson of the Year, by the International Sports Press Association and received the DMSB Cup. He won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for his performance in the 2001 season. He also received nominations for the 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 awards. On 22 October 2002, Schumacher was honoured with the Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
In 2003, Schumacher won the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy and was voted PAP European Sportsperson of the Year. He was named L'Équipe World Champion of champions and appointed as an Ambassador of San Marino. He was selected European Sportsperson of the Year, by the International Sports Press Association.
In 2004, Schumacher was voted German Sportspersonality of the Year and named Germany's greatest sportsperson of the century, beating Birgit Fischer and Steffi Graf to the accolade. He won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for his performance in the 2003 season. He holds the distinction of being the only motorsport athlete to have won the award more than once.
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 the same year, Schumacher was made an honorary citizen of Maranello, for his contribution to Ferrari's success.
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.
In August 2012, Schumacher was made an honorary citizen of Spa, in recognition of his "services to the image of motorsports and for helping to make the Spa Francorchamps circuit world-famous".
On 13 November 2014, Schumacher was awarded the Millennium Trophy at the Bambi Awards.
Champions for Charity, a footballing event which brings together some of the world's leading athletes and celebrities for a charitable purpose, was created in 2016 to honor Michael Schumacher.
In January 2019, the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy held an exhibition to commemorate Schumacher's 50th birthday and that commenced on his birthday and spanned a few months "both as a celebration and a mark of gratitude to the most successful Prancing Horse driver ever".
On 18 December 2020, FIA President Jean Todt honoured Schumacher with the FIA President Award, in recognition of Schumacher's seven World Championships and the "inspiration his sporting and personal commitments brought to the world".
In 2020, the British magazine The Economist ranked champion drivers by the relative importance of car quality to driver skill. According to this ranking, Schumacher was the fifth best driver of all time, considering the relative statistical significance of Ferrari's contributions.
1994 Australian Grand Prix
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, but on lap 35 he went off track and hit the wall with his right side wheels, returning to the track at reduced speed, and with car damage, but still leading the race. At the next corner Hill attempted to pass on the inside, but Schumacher turned in sharply and they collided. Both cars were eliminated from the race and, as neither driver scored, Schumacher took the title. The race stewards judged it as a racing accident and took no action against either driver but public opinion is divided over the incident and Schumacher was vilified in the British media.
1997 European Grand Prix
At the 1997 European Grand Prix at Jerez, the last race of the season, Schumacher led Williams's Jacques Villeneuve by one point in the Drivers' Championship. As Villeneuve attempted to pass Schumacher at the Dry Sac corner on lap 48, Schumacher turned in and the right-front wheel of Schumacher's Ferrari hit the left sidepod of Villeneuve's car. Schumacher retired from the race as a result, but Villeneuve finished in third place, taking four points and so becoming the World Champion. The race stewards did not initially award any penalty, but two weeks after the race Schumacher was disqualified from the entire 1997 Drivers' Championship after an FIA disciplinary hearing found that his "manoeuvre was an instinctive reaction and although deliberate not made with malice or premeditation. It was a serious error." Schumacher accepted the decision and admitted having made a mistake. Schumacher's actions were widely condemned in British, German, and Italian newspapers. This made Schumacher the only driver in the history of the sport, as of 2020, to be disqualified from a Drivers' World Championship.
Historically, team orders have always been an accepted part of Formula One. However, in the final metres of the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, Schumacher's teammate, Rubens Barrichello, slowed his car under orders from Ferrari to allow Schumacher to pass and win the race. Although the switching of positions did not break any actual sporting or technical regulation, it angered fans and it was claimed that the team's actions showed a lack of sportsmanship and respect to the spectators. Many argued that Schumacher did not need to be "given" wins in only the sixth race of the season, particularly given that he had already won four of the previous five Grands 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, allowing Barrichello to win by 0.011 seconds, the second-closest margin in F1 history. Schumacher's 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", but the ban was lifted for the 2011 season because the ruling was difficult to enforce.
1991 430 km of Nürburgring
During his spell in Sauber, in the 1991 Sportscar World Championship, Schumacher was involved in a serious incident with Derek Warwick in that year's 430 km of Nürburgring. While trying to set his flying lap in qualifying, Schumacher encountered Warwick's Jaguar on a slow lap resulting in lost time for Schumacher. As retaliation for being in his way, Schumacher swerved the Sauber into Warwick's car, hitting the Jaguar's nose and front wheel. Enraged by the German's attitude, Warwick drove to the pits and chased a fleeing Schumacher on foot through the Sauber pits. He eventually caught up with Schumacher, and it took intervention from several mechanics and Schumacher's teammate Jochen Mass to prevent Warwick physically assaulting Schumacher.
1998 Canadian Grand Prix
The 1998 Canadian Grand Prix saw Schumacher accused of dangerous driving when his exit from the pit-lane forced Heinz-Harald Frentzen off the track and into retirement. Despite receiving a 10-second penalty, Schumacher recovered and won the race.
2010 Hungarian Grand Prix
Toward the end of the 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello attempted to pass Schumacher down the inside on the main straight. Schumacher closed the inside line to force Barrichello onto the outside, but Barrichello persisted on the inside at 180 mph (290 km/h) despite the close proximity of a concrete wall and Schumacher leaving him only inches to spare. Barrichello said "It is the most dangerous thing that I have been through", and "There is not a rule for that, but between ourselves we should take a line, stick to it and that's it." Schumacher said that "Obviously there was space enough to go through. We didn't touch, so I guess I just left enough space for him to come through." Ross Brawn said "at the end of the day he gave him enough space. You can argue that it was marginal, but it was just tough – tough racing." A range of ex-drivers and commentators were highly critical of Schumacher. Although there was no accident, the race steward, the same Derek Warwick of the 1991 Nürburgring incident, wanted to black flag Schumacher since that "would have shown a better example to our young drivers". The Hungaroring incident was ruled to be dangerous and Schumacher received a 10 place grid penalty for the next race. Schumacher accepted the decision, and apologised.
1994 cheating scandal
In 1994, suspicion of foul play by the Benetton team (who were eventually found to have been responsible for some technical violations over the course of the season) was said to have troubled Ayrton Senna that season. For example, in the words of his then teammate, Damon Hill, Senna had chosen to stay at the first corner of the Aida circuit following his retirement from the Pacific Grand Prix in Japan. After listening to Schumacher's Benetton B194 as it went past, Senna "concluded that there was, what he regarded, as unusual noises from the engine". The FIA subsequently issued a press release setting out action that it required teams to take before the German Grand Prix, given that various cars were found to have advanced engine management systems emulating launch and traction control.
1995 Brazilian Grand Prix
In 1995, Schumacher and Williams driver David Coulthard were disqualified for fuel irregularities, after a switch to Renault engines and Elf oils. On appeal, both drivers had their results and points reinstated, but both teams lost the points the results would normally have earned in the Constructors' Championship.
1998 British Grand Prix
Two laps from the finish of the 1998 British Grand Prix, Schumacher was leading the race when he was issued a stop-and-go penalty for overtaking a lapped car (Alexander Wurz) during the early moments of a Safety Car period. This penalty involves going into the pit lane and stopping for 10 seconds, and the rules state that a driver must serve his penalty within three laps of the penalty being issued. On the third lap after receiving the penalty, Schumacher turned into the pit lane to serve his penalty, but as this was the last lap of the race, and as Ferrari's pit box was located after the start/finish line, Schumacher technically 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 due to the irregularities in how the penalty had been issued.[failed verification]
2006 Monaco Grand Prix
During qualifying for the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix, Schumacher set the fastest time, but his car stopped in the Rascasse corner on the racing line, leaving the corner partially blocked, while his main contender for the season title, Fernando Alonso, was on his final 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, and Schumacher was stripped of pole position by the race stewards and started the race at the back of the grid.
2010 Monaco Grand Prix
At the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, the safety car was deployed after an accident involving Karun Chandhok and Jarno Trulli, and pulled into the pits on the last lap. Schumacher passed Alonso before the finish line. Mercedes held that "the combination of the race control messages 'Safety Car in this lap' and 'Track Clear' and the green flags and lights shown by the marshals after safety car line one indicated that the race was not finishing under the safety car and all drivers were free to race." However, an FIA investigation found Schumacher guilty of breaching Safety Car regulations and awarded him a 20-seconds penalty, which cost him six places.
Personal life and philanthropy
Schumacher's younger brother Ralf, his son Mick and his nephew David are also racing drivers. Ralf Schumacher competed in Formula One for ten years, starting from 1997 until the end of 2007. Their step-brother Sebastian Stahl has also been a racing driver. Mick became the third Schumacher to race in Formula One, having made his debut with Haas F1 Team in the 2021 season, nine years after his father retired from Formula One.
In August 1995, Michael married Corinna Betsch. They have two children, a daughter Gina-Marie, born 20 February 1997 and a son, Mick, born 22 March 1999. He has always been very protective of his private life and is known to dislike the celebrity spotlight. The family moved to a newly built mansion near Gland, Switzerland in 2007, covering an area of 650-square-metre (7,000 sq ft) with a private beach on Lake Geneva and featuring an underground garage and petrol station, with a vintage Shell fuel pump.
The family has two dogs – one stray that Corinna fell in love with in Brazil, and an Australian Shepherd named "Ed" whose arrival in the family made headlines. In fact, in 2007, Schumacher personally drove a taxi through the Bavarian town of Coburg to collect the dog and enable the family to make their return flight to Switzerland. Both Schumacher and the taxi driver were reprimanded by local police.
One of his main hobbies was horse riding, and he played football for his local team FC Echichens. He has appeared in several charity football games and organised games between Formula One drivers. He is a supporter of 1. FC Köln, his local football club where he grew up, citing Pierre Littbarski and Harald Schumacher as his idols.
Schumacher is a special ambassador to UNESCO and has donated 1.5 million euros to the organisation. 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. He even had a special vehicle brought to Sarajevo for children who had been mutilated by exploded mines. 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. He also once told F1 magazine that: "It's great if you can use your fame and the power your fame gives you to draw attention to things that really matter". For the 2002 and 2013 European flood disasters, Schumacher donated 1 million and 500,000 euros, respectively. 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. In 2008, it was revealed that he had donated between $5M and $10M to the Clinton Foundation.
Since his participation in an FIA European road safety campaign, as part of his punishment after the collision at the 1997 European Grand Prix, Schumacher 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.
On 21 June 2009, Schumacher appeared on the BBC's motoring programme Top Gear as The Stig. Presenter Jeremy Clarkson hinted later in the programme that Schumacher was not the regular Stig, which the BBC subsequently confirmed. Schumacher was there on that occasion because Ferrari would not allow anyone else to drive the unique black Ferrari FXX that was featured in the show.
Finance and sponsorship
In 2004 Forbes magazine listed him as the second highest paid athlete in the world. 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 its "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.
In 2010, his personal fortune was estimated at £515 million.
2013 skiing accident
On 29 December 2013, Schumacher was skiing with his then-14-year-old son Mick, descending the Combe de Saulire below the Dent de Burgin above Méribel in the French Alps. While crossing an unsecured off-piste area between Piste Chamois and Piste Mauduit, he fell and hit his head on a rock, sustaining a serious head injury despite wearing a ski helmet. According to his physicians, he would most likely have died if he had not been wearing a helmet. He was airlifted to Grenoble Hospital where he underwent two surgical interventions.
Schumacher was put into a medically induced coma because of traumatic brain injury. By March there were small encouraging signs, and in early April he was showing moments of consciousness as he was gradually withdrawn from the medically induced coma.
On 16 June 2014, after fully regaining consciousness, Schumacher left Grenoble Hospital for further rehabilitation at the University Hospital (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland. On 9 September 2014, Schumacher left CHUV and was brought back to his home for further rehabilitation. In November 2014, it was reported that Schumacher was "paralysed and in a wheelchair"; he "cannot speak and has memory problems". In a video interview released in May 2015, Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm said that his condition was slowly improving "considering the severeness of the injury he had".
In September 2016, Felix Damm, lawyer for Schumacher, told a German court that his client "cannot walk", in response to reports from December 2015 in German publication Die Bunte that he could "walk a couple of steps". In December 2016, Schumacher's manager stated that "Michael's health is not a public issue, and so we will continue to make no comment in that regard".
In July 2019, former Ferrari manager Jean Todt gave a brief update on Schumacher's health in a radio interview, saying that Schumacher was making "good progress" but also "struggles to communicate". Todt also said that Schumacher was able to watch Formula One races on television at his home in Switzerland.
In September 2019, Le Parisien reported that Schumacher had been admitted to the Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou in Paris for treatment by cardiovascular surgeon Philippe Menasché, described as a "pioneer in cell surgery". Following the treatment, which involved him receiving an anti-inflammatory stem cell perfusion, medical staff stated that Schumacher was "conscious".
Complete World Sportscar Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1990||Team Sauber Mercedes||C||Mercedes-Benz C11||Mercedes-Benz M119 5.0 V8 t||SUZ||MNZ||SIL
|1991||Team Sauber Mercedes||C1||Mercedes-Benz C291||Mercedes-Benz M291 3.5 F12||SUZ
|C2||Mercedes-Benz C11||Mercedes-Benz M119 5.0 V8 t||LMS
Complete Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft results
|1990||AMG Motorenbau GmbH||Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16 Evo II||ZOL
|1991||Zakspeed Racing||Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16 Evo II||ZOL
24 Hours of Le Mans results
|1991||Team Sauber Mercedes|| Karl Wendlinger
Complete Japanese Formula 3000 Championship results
|1991||Team LeMans||Ralt RT23||Mugen||SUZ||AUT||FUJ||MIN||SUZ||SUG
Complete Formula One results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
‡ Schumacher was disqualified from the 1997 World Drivers' Championship due to dangerous driving in the European Grand Prix, where he caused an avoidable accident with Jacques Villeneuve. His points tally would have placed him in second place in that year's standings.
† Driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as he completed over 90% of the race distance.
Formula One records
Schumacher holds the following records in Formula One:
- Record shared with Lewis Hamilton.
- Record shared with Sebastian Vettel (2013).
- Record shared with Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton, who took eight poles at the San Marino and at the Australian Grand Prix, respectively.
- Record shared with Lewis Hamilton at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
- Record shared with Lewis Hamilton.
- Record shared with Lewis Hamilton.
- Record shared with Sebastian Vettel (2011) and Lewis Hamilton (2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019), although Schumacher did so with fewer total races in the season (2002).
- Record shared with Ayrton Senna, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, who took seven consecutive podiums at the Hungarian Grand Prix (1986–1992), at the Japanese Grand Prix (2009–2015) and at the British Grand Prix (2014–2020), respectively.
- Record shared with Kimi Räikkönen (2005 and 2008).
- Record shared with Alberto Ascari (1952).
Books and films
- Allen, James (1999). Michael Schumacher: Driven to Extremes. Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0-553-81214-5.
- Allen, James (2007). Edge of Greatness. Headline. ISBN 978-0-7553-1678-6.
- Collings, Timothy (2004). The Piranha Club. Virgin Books. ISBN 978-0-7535-0965-4.
- Collings, Timothy (2005). Team Schumacher. Highdown. ISBN 978-1-905156-03-0.
- Domenjoz, Luc (2002). Michael Schumacher: Rise of a genius. Parragon. ISBN 978-0-7525-9228-2.
- Henry, Alan, ed. (1992). Autocourse 1992–93. Hazleton Publishing. ISBN 978-0-905138-96-1.
- Henry, Alan (1996). Wheel to Wheel: Great Duels of Formula One Racing. Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated. ISBN 978-0-7538-0522-0.
- Hilton, Christopher (2003). Michael Schumacher: The greatest of all. Haynes. ISBN 978-1-84425-044-8.
- Hilton, Christopher (2006). Michael Schumacher: The Whole Story. Haynes. ISBN 978-1-84425-008-0.
- Kehm, Sabine (2003). Michael Schumacher. Driving Force. Random House. ISBN 978-0-09-189435-1.
- Matchett, Steve (1995). Life in the Fast Lane: The Story of the Benetton Grand Prix Year. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-81610-2.
- Matchett, Steve (1999). The Mechanic's Tale: Life in the Pit Lanes of Formula One. Osceola, Wisconsin: MBI Pub. ISBN 978-0-7603-0754-0.
- Williams, Richard (1999). The Death of Ayrton Senna. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-0-7475-4495-1.
Schumacher had a voice role in the Disney/Pixar film Cars. His character is himself as a Ferrari F430 who visits Radiator Springs to get new tires from Luigi and Guido at the recommendation of Lightning McQueen. During arrival, Luigi and Guido both faint in excitement when they see him. The French film Asterix and Obelix at the Olympic Games features Schumacher in a cameo role as a chariot driver called Schumix.
A documentary film on Schumacher, Schumacher, directed by German filmmakers Michael Wech and Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns was slated to be released in December 2019. However, it was delayed due to producers needing more time to work through sensitive and previously unseen family footage.
References and notes
All race and championship results (1991–2006) are taken from the official Formula 1 website (Formula1.com).
- "UPI Almanac for Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019". United Press International. 3 January 2019. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
German racing champion Michael Schumacher in 1969 (age 50)
- Donaldson, Gerald. "Hall of Fame – World Champions: Michael Schumacher". Formula1.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
- Collings, Timothy (2005). Team Schumacher. Highdown. pp. 35–37. ISBN 978-1-905156-03-0.
- "The Beginning". mschumacher.com. 2006. Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2007.
- Domenjoz, Luc (2002). Michael Schumacher: Rise of a genius. Parragon. pp. 10–12, 170–171. ISBN 978-0-7525-9228-2.
- Kopu, Ville; Nottmeier, Jan (24 October 2006). "Schumacher 500: Has the King Lost His Crown?". autosport.com. Archived from the original on 7 October 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
- "Michael Schumacher – Master of the F1 Circuit". Auto Racing. Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2007.
- "Formula 1's Greatest Drivers: 2. Michael Schumacher". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. 10 December 2009. Archived from the original on 26 March 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
- Hamilton, Maurice (2020). Formula One: The Champions: 70 years of legendary F1 drivers. White Lion Publishing. pp. 166–175. ISBN 9781781319468.
- Hilton, Christopher (2003). Michael Schumacher: The greatest of all. Haynes. pp. 131–132. ISBN 978-1-84425-044-8. Hilton has defined a race in wet conditions as "all races where it rained – even if that was a shower".
- Hardcastle, Jonathon. "Michael Schumacher". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2007.
- "Schumacher races to victory". BBC Sport. 18 March 2001. Archived from the original on 12 August 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2006.
- "Alonso ahead of Schumi". News24. 21 October 2006. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
- Tremayne, David (22 October 2006). "Schuey exit promises many twists and turns". The Independent. UK. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
- "Schu brought down to earth". ITV. 11 October 2006. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2006.
- Sapa (11 September 2006). "The greatest driver of all time!". SuperWheels. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006. Retrieved 24 October 2006.
- Noble, Jonathan (25 September 2006). "Vettel sorry to see 'idol' Schumacher go". Autosport. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2006.
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- Official website
- Michael Schumacher career summary at DriverDB.com
- Michael Schumacher driver statistics at Racing-Reference
- Kartcenter and Museum
- Kartteam Kaiser-Schumacher-Muchow
- Formula1.com Profile
- Michael Schumacher career statistics
- News Articles about Michael Schumacher
- Michael Schumacher at IMDb