Formula 1 and Michael Schumacher will always be synonyms
Seven times world champion (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) speaks for itself – the most times anyone has won the F1 world racing drivers’ championship. Accused by some of pushing the rules of motor sport to the limit, taking out other drivers, accused by others of not having stood up for the sport in the Great Grand Prix Fiasco in the USA in 2005, Schumacher nevertheless is the most successful Formula One racing driver in history after a 15-year career.
Michael Schumacher was much criticised in the Great Grand Prix Fiasco in the USA in 2005, when seven teams using Michelin tyres were prohibited from racing due to safety concerns – yet his Ferrari, using Bridgestone, was able to compete; he went on to win the race but did not take a stand to defend his fellow competitors and the sport. Michael Schumacher was also criticised for taking out racing drivers as he marched to victory over victory, yet his supporters would argue that to win, a driver has to be competitive. His performance in his last race at Interlagos, Brazil, Sunday 22nd October 2006, was a classic example of this determination. After his engine failure in Japan more or less gave Fernando Alonso the championship, he needed to win, with Alonso out of the points, after both drivers had won seven Grand Prix in the 2005/6 season.
Starting in tenth position due to a fuel-pressure problem in the qualyfiers, Schumacher stormed up to fourth place, finishing behind Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa, winning on his home turf, Fernando Alonso (Renault), Button (Honda) and ahead of Raikkonen (McLaren-Mercedes), Fisichella (Renault), Rubens Barrichello (Honda) and Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren-Mercedes) in the points.
“The outstanding racing driver since the Second World War” (Lauda)
“Michael brought Ferrari from 21 years of not winning a workld title to being champions many times” (Jackie Stewart)
These statements reflect the great respect for this competitive German driver – yet his modesty off the track and his considerable work for charity has won him many friends outside motor racing – he was the largest single contributor to the Asian Tsunami relief fund with 9.4 million USD.
Michael Schumacher retires from the track to spend more time with his wife of 11 years, Corinna and his two children. However, despite having stated he wishes to disappear from the public eye, a man as talented as this will surely show up again.