|Born||3 January 1969|
Hürth, West Germany
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Years Active||1991-2006, 2010-2012|
|Team(s)||Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, Mercedes|
|First Grand Prix||1991 Belgian Grand Prix|
|Entries||308 (306 starts)|
|Drivers' Championships||7 (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)|
|Final Grand Prix||2012 Brazilian Grand Prix|
Michael Schumacher (born 3 January 1969) is a German retired racing driver. He is a seven-time Formula One World Champion and is widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time. He was named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year twice. He won two titles with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 before moving to Ferrari where he drove for eleven years. His time with Ferrari yielded five consecutive titles between 2000 and 2004. Schumacher retired from Formula One driving in 2006, before returning on a permanent basis from 2010 with the Mercedes team before retiring for a second time at the conclusion of the 2012 season. In December 2013, Schumacher suffered a serious head injury while skiing. He was airlifted to a hospital and placed in a medically induced coma, having suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was in the coma for six months from 29 December 2013 until 16 June 2014. On 9 September 2014, Schumacher was relocated to his home where he continues to receive medical treatment and rehabilitation privately.
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. 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 with 53 points, three points behind runner-up Patrese.
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.
At 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. Schumacher's ability, combined with the improving reliability of Ferrari, enabled him to end the season putting up a challenge to eventual race and championship winner Damon Hill at Suzuka.
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, and after winning five races at Monaco, Canada, France, Belgium and Japan 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, hitting Villeneuve with his front right tyre, however he retired from the race. Villeneuve went on to finish and scored four points to take the championship. Schumacher was punished for unsportsmanlike conduct for the collision and was disqualified from the Drivers' Championship.
Retirement at FerrariEdit
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. 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.
At the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix 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 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.
Return to Formula OneEdit
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 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.
After Formula OneEdit
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. When Jos Verstappen was his team-mate, Schumacher added four red diagonal strokes over the visor to differentiate his helmet from his team-mate. After Schumacher joined Ferrari a prancing horse was added on the back. From the 2000 Monaco Grand Prix, in order to differentiate his colours from his new teammate Rubens Barrichello, Schumacher changed the upper blue colour and some of the white areas to red.
Since 2004, the helmet sported a white diagonal line with two white vertical lines in the zone of the German Flag colours (originally to accommodate sponsor AMD). Schumacher kept using red-coloured helmet at Mercedes. A Chinese dragon illustration and a Chinese character "力" ("power") are inscribed in back of the helmet.
Complete Formula One resultsEdit
(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.