German ace Michael Schumacher is widely recognised as being the world's best ever racing driver. Michael is a 7 times F1 World Champion and now races for the Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team.
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In 1995 Michael became the (at that time) youngest double Formula 1 World Champion (1994 and 1995 seasons) ever. He is also the 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 World Champion. This phenomenal record speaks for itself. His sixth title in 2003 beat Juan Manuel Fangio's long standing record of five championships from the 1950s! Schuey announced his retirement from F1 racing at the end of the 2006 season and was retained in a consultancy role by Ferrari. However, from 2010 Michael sensationally returned to F1 racing, by signing a 3 year contract to race for the Mercedes GP team.
Michael's last championship title in 2004 was secured before the season end, taking his total number of titles to 7. Memorably, he did this by finishing 2nd at Spa in Belgium, in Ferrari's 700th race, to accumulate enough points to seal the deal.
Michael also holds the F1 records for: most career wins (91), most wins in a season, most career pole positions, most points during a season (148 in 2004), most consecutive world championships (5), most consecutive race wins (2004), most podium finishes (154), most laps leading, most fastest laps (76), plus several others!
Michael was at one point the highest paid racing driver in the world and second highest earning sportsman in the world, earning a reported $80 million US in 2004 ($40m of which was his salary from Ferrari). Whilst they were both racing in F1, his younger brother Ralf was the 3rd highest paid driver in Formula 1 in 1999 and whose pay after the 2000 season was raised to US$15.5 million.
Schuey is again retired from F1 racing
At the Japanese GP in October 2012, Schuey announced that he would retire from F1 racing for the second time, at the end of 2012. While his time in F1 driving for Mercedes yielded a podium finish and a fastest qualification lap at Monaco, the lack of competitiveness of the Mercedes car unfortunately failed to live up to expectations.
"During the past month, I was not sure if I still had the motivation and energy which is necessary to go on. It is not my style to do something that I'm not 100% feeling for."
"With today's decision, I feel released from those doubts. In the end, my ambition to fight for victories and the pleasure of driving is nourished by competitiveness."
"It is without doubt that we did not achieve our goals to develop a world championship fighting car, but it is also very clear that I can still be very happy with about my overall achievements in the whole time of my career."
Schuey showed excellent racecraft at 2011 Italian GP
Michael held off the faster McLaren of Hamilton for over 20 laps.
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Schuey reminded us all of his superb racecraft and also how exciting wheel to wheel F1 racing can be (particularly before DRS and its easy and essentially skilless overtaking was introduced into F1).
Schuey passed a sleeping Hamilton after the safety car restart and maintained his position ahead of the McLaren for a number of laps. Demonstrating his experience, knowledge of the Monza circuit and excellent racecraft, he took lines and placed his car perfectly to prevent an overtake by Hamilton.
FIA regulations state a driver can move once to defend his position - and this is what Schuey did - then retaking the racing line into corners. The legitamteness of his moves is clearly demonstrated as he received no penalty or call to the stewards.
The complaints from Hamilton on his team radio smack of "gaming" to try to induce the (listening) stewards into penalising Schumacher, since Hamilton could not find a way past him on the track. For a racing driver who likes to compare himself to Senna, this is embarassing.
What we saw was close racing between two different generations of driver, something Schuey and Hamilton fans alike have been waiting to see since Schuey's return. The question - what would have happened if these two had been racing in the same era? Perhaps the tussle at Monza is one of the best indications we will ever see. Although Hamilton likes to see himself as an aggressive driver and tough overtaker in the mould of Senna, he was clearly bettered by Michael. His moaning on the radio only weakens the image he tries to portray.
It will probably come as no surprise to those who watched the BBC TV feed that Martin Brundle and David Coulthard pounced on the opportunity to criticise Michael. Rather than marvel at an exciting wheel to wheel battle (one of the most interesting we have seen for a long time in F1), their focus was on looking for fault in Michael's driving. Perhaps if they had driven harder (something both Hamilton and Schumacher do) they might have gotten closer to a world championship? Brundle even went and asked Charlie Whiting if the stewards can propose a penalty without waiting for the FIA to suggest an investigation. Coulthard even pulled out the FIA regulations manual mid-race and started reading it aloud (asking co-commentator Brundle to keep his eye on the track while he was reading)! The sour grapes from these two drivers who were throughly bettered by Schuey during their time racing against him never seem to go away. He can only hope neither are never invited to be the fourth steward while he is racing (the outcome would be inevitable, as it was when Damon Hill was in that position at Monaco 2010).
Schuey rejoined F1 over 2010-12 with Mercedes GP
Michael will don a racing suit again in F1 in 2010.
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Michael returned to F1 to race for the Mercedes GP Petronas team over 2010-12, having signed a three year contract with them. Nico Rosberg was his team mate. The move saw Michael reunited with Ross Brawn, who he worked with to win all of his world titles.
It marked the first time recent champions Hamilton and Vettel raced against the legend.
When announcing his return at the end of 2009 Schuey made the following comment, "I have decided to return to Formula One. Mercedes GP and I agreed on teaming up for the coming 3 seasons. And to be honest, I'm already super excited by the prospect to be back in a F1 cockpit.
I don't want to deny at all that the idea of a German F1 team extremely tempts me. I guess every German driver would feel this way. And of course it plays a major role that I again can work together with Ross at Mercedes GP. Above all, however, my old hunger for racing is back. In Abu Dhabi, when Ross asked me if I could imagine returning to F1, I felt that I wasn't ready for it. But only two weeks later, when he called me once again, I realized that my old passion was returning. Suddenly I was on fire again. For me, the imagination to be back in a F1 car and to compete for the world championships is exciting and extremely inspiring.
To put it simply: I'm totally fired up for next year!"
Team mate Rosberg commeted, "It is fantastic that Michael is returning to Formula One and will be my team-mate at MERCEDES GP PETRONAS. It’s a great challenge for me to be up against one of the best drivers of all time."
Michael made the following comments on the annoucement of his return:
Schuey's neck injury prevented 2009 F1 comeback
Michael remained relegated to the pit wall.
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Michael was forced had to cancel his planned F1 racing return at Ferrari in 2009 due to neck injuries he sustained earlier in the year racing motorcycles.
A disappointed Eddie Jordan, who gave Michael his first F1 drive in a Jordan car, questioned why Michael ever risked such an injury saying, "What was he thinking with the bikes, he had rocks in his head."
Interviewed by the BBC, Jordan questioned, "What he was doing on it, I don't know - thats his business" and continued "his idea, in racing that motorcyle, was that he would be in a positon perhaps at 40 years of age to come back and race Superbikes. I mean what was he thinking of, is he out of his mind, this was just insanity...with the tyre contact on the road that they currently have in motorcycles, this was a step too far in my opinion."
"Yesterday evening, I had to inform Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo and Team Principal Stefano Domenicali that unfortunately I'm not able to step in for Felipe. I really tried everything to make that temporary comeback possible, however, much to my regret it didn't work out. Unfortunately we did not manage to get a grip on the pain in the neck which occurred after the private F1-day in Mugello, even if medically or therapeutically we tried everything possible.
The consequences of the injuries caused by the bike-accident in February, fractures in the area of head and neck, unfortunately have turned out to be still too severe. That is why my neck cannot stand the extreme stresses caused by Formula 1 yet. This are the clear results of the examinations we did on the course of the past two weeks and the final examination yesterday afternoon. As there were no improvements after the day in Mugello, I decided at short notice on Sunday to do that thorough examination already yesterday.
I am disappointed to the core. I am awfully sorry for the guys of Ferrari and for all the fans which crossed fingers for me. I can only repeat that I tried everything that was within my power. All I can do now is to keep my fingers crossed for the whole team for the coming races."
Schuey's preparation for racing comeback began
Schuey tested in the Ferrari F2007
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Following time in Fiat's static simulator in Turin, on Friday 31 July 2009 Michael completed 67 laps of the Mugello track in the F2007 Ferrari. The car was Kimi Raikonnen's former title winning car.
Schuey comented, "It's a great thing getting back on the track with an F1 even if this was a car from 2007 from the F1 Clienti department with slicks usually used in GP2 and obviously there is no real point of reference."
"Although those cars are not current or last year's ones, I simply like to drive as much as possible, so this is a good option. The next weeks will be totally on preparation then."
"After a couple of laps I was able to drive constant lap times and I'm happy with the performance."
"Now we've got to see how my body and the muscles respond in the next days."
The 2009 rules preventing in season testing mean that Michael would not able to test the current F60 Ferrari F1 car prior to Friday practice in Valencia. Ferrari submitted an application to the other teams and the FIA asking if they would allow Schuey an exemption to test the car for one day before this date, which was subsequently blocked.
In the meantime, an application was made by the German Motor Sport Federation (Deutscher Motor Sport Bund) for Schuey's new FIA Superlicence. Schuey's old licence expired at the end of 2006. This was expected to be granted as a formality, as he had competed in 15 grands prix within the past 3 years. A spokeswoman for the FIA confirmed, "Under normal circumstances Michael Schumacher should get a superlicense".
Schuey's planned F1 return - driving for Ferrari in 09
A sight we thought we might see again.
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In the summer of 2009, Michael announced plans to return to driving an F1 car in races for the first time since his retirement at the end of the 2006 season. He agreed to step in on a temporary basis from the European GP 2009 - to replace injured driver Felipe Massa. Indications were that Massa would not be able to return to racing that season, which could have meant Schuey competing in the final seven races of the 2009 season. His plan to step back into the cockpit was confirmed on Wednesday 29 July by both Ferrari and Schuey himself.
As the most successful F1 driver ever, Michael was sure to make a big impact on his return. Although he had not had the benefit of extensive testing of the car that season, and his fitness levels may not have been at the level of when he was competing - he had the advantage of not having raced the first half of the season so would be less fatigued than the rest of the field. Fortunately the summer recess meant the next race is not until 23rd August, allowing him time to prepare more fully, familiarise with the car and increase his physical fitness levels. Whilst the Valencia street circuit was not on the calendar when Schuey last raced he previously proved a quick learner of new circuits.
A return to racing by Schuey is something his fans could only have dreamed of - let alone in a Ferrari. It goes without saying that Massa was wished a full recovery from his unfortunate accident.
I was meeting this afternoon with Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari Team Principal) and Luca di Montezemolo (Ferrari President) and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe. Though it is true that the chapter Formula 1 has been closed for me since long and completely, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I am I also very much look forward to facing this challenge."
Michael hired as a consultant to Ferrari
Michael watches the action from the pit wall as a consultant.
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Michael's role is to lend his experience to help in many areas, including with race and road car development and advicsing the F1 team. In this role he attends some races.
Other key names also changed positions in Ferrari when Schuey retired as an F1 driver. Technical Director Ross Brawn took a sabbatical and later joined the Honda team as Team Principal. Team Principal Jean Todt saw out one more season and then moved up the ladder to become CEO of Ferrari (a position he then resigned in March 08).
2000 Championship celebrations
The third championship that finally broke a 4 year dry spell!
Click for pics and info
F1 books worth checking out
Inside the Mind of the Grand Prix Driver
Find out what makes them tick. Schuey is covered along with other drivers past and present.
The Mechanic's Tale: Life in the Pit-Lanes of Formula One
A former F1 mechanic offers an inside look at life in the pit crew, from his beginnings through to time at Ferrari and BMW, and later success with Benetton. Includes eyewitness accounts of drivers such as Schumacher, Mansell, Prost, and Senna.
The Chariot Makers: Assembling the Perfect Formula 1 Car
An F1 team insider shares a detailed examination of racing car design, from chassis to suspension and gearboxes. A great read for those interested in the technical aspects of the world's most advanced racing cars.
Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley control F1. This book tells how they bent the world's biggest corporations and made their fortunes along the way.
Formula One Racing for Dummies
Not for dummies at all! This great book details how to identify race strategies, understand latest rules, and appreciate a modern F1 car's design. Also great for someone new to F1.
Fan articles for mSchumacher.com
In the 2000 season, the year Michael first won the title with Ferrari, mSchumacher.com invited articles from devoted fans. The best are hosted on the site in this section.
Free Webmail @mschumacher.com
Here at mschumacher.com you devoted fans can get an exclusive firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address! What better way is there to show your support? There are no charges whatsoever. The service works via a webmail interface. Click here for more info or to sign up.
Poll results - L'Oreal Elvive TV advert:
This poll was taken on this site in July 2000 - when the advert originally aired. The question asked was: "Do you find Michael's shampoo advert embarassing?"
Seemed that a significant majority weren't too keen on Schuey's role as a shampoo salesman. Someone else obviously agreed, as the ads only ran for a short time before being pulled from TV! The Times reported that Schuey had demanded his real voice be reinstated on the advert, replacing the one with the dubbed false German accent. Click here for the video (external link).
Other F1 Driver Sites
Once you've checked out all the info on Schumi, why not head over and check out one of Michael's greatest rivals - Mika Hakkinen at hakkinen.com.
Do you own a website?
Feel free to link to this site at http://www.mschumacher.com and even if you don't, tell a friend about this site!
Autograph requests/Messages to Michael
Unfortunately we are unable to provide autographs from Michael. The contact address for Michael's management is:
Weber Management GmbH
+49 (0)711 72646-0
They may be able to assist you, please contact them for such enquiries.