Michael Schumacher is one of the most recognizable names in the world of motor racing, and the most successful Formula One driver of all time. The German legend has an unprecedented back catalog of achievements, honors, and awards, and is considered to be single-handedly responsible for turning Formula One into a globally popular sport, with loads of TV money and endorsement deals.
Though he has been retired sometime now and has endured a tragic few years, Schumacher is still a name that resonates with many in the sporting world. He was arguably the first Formula One driver to really transcend the sport, and become an icon of the sporting world in general. Here is our look at the life and career of Michael Schumacher – welcome to a legend!
Michael Schumacher was born Hurth, West Germany, in 1969. As a child, Schumacher had a keen interest in cars and the way things worked. He and his younger brother Ralf (who would also become a professional Formula 1 driver). The brothers had early success and talent at karting as children, before joining Formula Three, where Michael tasted his first title success. After this, he entered the World Sportscar Championship with Mercedes. In 1991 he turned heads with his debut race for the Jordan Formula One team and was quickly signed by the now-defunct Benetton.
Starting out in Formula One
After starting well, and showcasing his talent for Benetton, Schumacher finished third and fourth in his first two full seasons in Formula One. In 1994, he made headlines when he beat Damon Hill by a single point to claim the FIA Formula One World Championship, in one of the closest fought races ever. The following year history repeated itself, with Schumacher scooping his second title, and beating Hill again, only this time by a greater margin. It seemed as though Schumacher would go on to cement a dynasty with Benetton, and secure more titles, but it’s funny how things turn out.
Ferrari and breaking records
Schumacher completed the move to Ferrari after his second World Championship title, in a move that surprised a lot of people. It was even more surprising given the problems the Ferrari team encountered. Ferrari had not won a title since 1979, and it would be a full five years before Schumacher would capture another title. Many speculated that Schumacher had fallen out with the Benetton team, triggering his departure. However, the move turned out to be one of the most dominant and successful any sport has ever seen. Beginning in 2000, Schumacher scooped his third World Championship (1st for Ferrari), and went on to win four more consecutive titles, cementing his legend as the most successful driver in Formula One history.
Schumacher retired in 2006, a couple of seasons after his heroic feat, and left the sport an icon. Formula One racing had forever been changed by the German legend and his achievements on the track. After hanging up his helmet, Michael became an adviser, and tester for Ferrari, before returning to the sport in 2010, with the newly-formed Mercedes team. Though the 41-year-old did not taste anymore glory, he did help establish Mercedes as a future dominant force in the sport. Following a skiing accident in 2013, Schumacher received a brain injury and was placed in an induced coma for six months. Upon his release from hospital, he moved home and receives continued treatment and rehabilitation.
Michael Schumacher is one of the leading names in the sport, and he is most definitely a guy who transformed Formula One as a spectacle. The most successful and recognizable name in the world of motor racing, Schumacher’s career achievements are unlikely to ever be matched again.