Michael Schumacher is one of the most recognised sports personalities in the history of Formula One. He holds a great portion of all Formula One records, including most victories, most championship points and a record seven World Drivers Championship Titles making him statistically the greatest driver of all times as well as one of the most respected figures in world sports.
Michael Schumacher was born on the third of January 1969 to Rolf and Elisabeth Schumacher. The family move to the town of Kerpin-Manheim, a working class town near Cologne, Germany. It was there that the family became involved with karting. Michael, only four at the time was given a kart powered by an old lawn-mower engine by his father. From so humble a beginning was a World Champion's career launched. Karting became a family obsession fed by the resourcefulness of the elder Schumacher and the spirit of young Michael. Rolf Schumacher's mechanical ability led him to work part-time repairing other go-karts at the local track. In 1980 he travelled to Nivelles, Belgium for the World Karting Championship and saw a driver that impressed him deeply, that driver was Ayrton Senna. Michael was soon making a name for himself and in 1984 he won the German Junior Championship. The European championship came his way in 1987.
While Schumacher experienced unprecedented success on the track, he was also—through a combination of winner’s purses and endorsements—one of the best-paid athletes in the history of sport. His annual income was estimated at $100 million at the peak of his career. Schumacher was also known for his charitable efforts. He was named special ambassador for UNESCO in 2002 and made headlines for his $10 million donation to the relief effort for the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.
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 from 29 December 2013 until 16 June 2014. He left the hospital in Grenoble for further rehabilitation at the University Hospital (CHUV) in Lausanne.On 9 September 2014, Schumacher was brought back to his home for further rehabilitation. In November 2014, Schumacher was reported to be paralyzed and wheelchair-bound as a result of the accident.
Michael Schumacher seemed destined to become a racing driver from an early age, with his father building him his first kart when he was 4. He joined the local karting club soon after and won his first club championship aged 6. The young driver’s skills did not go unnoticed in his home town and several local businesses began to sponsor Michael in order for him to pursue his expensive dream of becoming a racing driver.
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.
His debut drive for Jordan at Spa in 1991 rocked the F1 establishment. Here was a little-known driver from the Mercedes sports car team qualifying seventh on the grid at one of the most respected circuits on the calendar.
We quickly learned that Schumacher’s driving genius and controversy were never far apart. Flavio Briatore pounced to prise Schumacher out of his Jordan deal and got him into a Benetton for the next race.
The following year Schumacher successfully interrupted the dominant Williams team’s stranglehold on success with an opportunistic win at the track where he made his debut. An off-track excursion gave him the opportunity to observe the state of his team mate’s tyres as the damp track dried. Schumacher made a plucky call to switch to slick tyres earlier than his rivals, and his driving skill took care of the rest.
Michael Schumacher, Benetton-Ford B194, Spa-Francorchamps, 1994
But in 1994 the way became clear for Schumacher to lay waste to the F1 history books. Most of the recent champions had retired or were retiring. Three races into the season Ayrton Senna was killed at Imola. By the end of the year Schumacher had won nine of the 16 races.
But his Benetton team were repeatedly accused of cheating. The FIA found evidence of an illegal traction control system on the car.
Schumacher was disqualified from the British Grand Prix after overtaking Damon Hill on the formation lap, and was banned from a further two races for failing to heed the black flag to begin with. And at Spa he was stripped of a win for a technical infringement.
His second title in 1995 was achieved with less controversy and more displays of driving greatness. The season got off to a slow start but once Schumacher got into his stride the wins came thick and fast.
Hill was simply out-classed – the pair clashed twice on-track at Silverstone and Monza. In wet conditions at Spa and the Nurburgring Schumacher produced virtuouso drivers, leading many to conclude that in Schumacher a new F1 great had been found.
Having conquered F1 with Benetton, Schumacher resolved to do it all over again with Ferrari. It took five years to bring the driver's title home to the Scuderia, with a few near-misses on the way.
With Benetton ally Ross Brawn rejoining him for 1997 Schumacher was ready for another crack at the title. He persistently took points off rival Jacques Villeneuve despite his Williams often enjoying a considerable performance advantage. When rain fell at Monaco and Spa Schumacher was untouchable.
In 1998 Schumacher faced a stronger opponent in the form of his old F3 rival Mika Hakkinen. Equipped with a fearsomely fast McLaren, Hakkinen began the year with a pair of wins.
Schumacher’s 1999 championship bud ended when his right-rear brake failed on the Hangar straight at Silverstone on the first lap of the race. His car hurtled off the track at Stowe, plunging head-on into the barrier. He suffered a broken leg.
Ferrari’s wait for their next drivers’ champion finally ended in 2000. Now partnered by Rubens Barrichello, Schumacher won the first three races of the year leaving Hakkinen with a lot of catching-up to do.
At the middle part of the season it looked as though Schumacher was going to be denied again. First-lap crashes in Austria and Germany handed golden opportunities to McLaren. And at Spa Hakkinen triumphed in gripping battle with his Ferrari nemesis. Schumacher’s attempts to fend off Hakkinen’s attacks by pushing him onto the grass at 200mph drew fierce criticism from many – not least his rival.
But that race marked a turning point in the season. Schumacher came back stronger and won the final four races, putting the title beyond Hakkinen’s grasp. He wouldn’t let go of the trophy for five years.
The first half of the 2000s in Formula 1 was the story of total dominance by Ferrari and Schumacher – whether in terms of driving brilliance, technical innovation, reliability – or politics.
Schumacher redefined the terms of domination in Formula 1. He won nine races in 2001, then 11 in 2002. No cars were able to rival the Ferraris – and it was clear from events at Austria in 2001 and 2002 – where Barrichello was twice ordered to pull over and let Schumacher past – that Ferrari were not interested in pairing him with any kind of serious rival.
The 2003 season proved much more closely matched as Schumacher came under pressure from the likes of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya.
But late in the season a controversial change in the rules forced Michelin – rival to Ferrari’s tyre supplier Bridgestone – to change the construction of their tyres. After that decision Ferrari won the next eight races in a row, and Schumacher collected title number six.
In 2004 Schumacher pushed Ferrari’s devastation of the F1 competition to new heights. He won 12 of the first 13 races, and might have won the one that got away in Monaco but for a collision with Montoya.
Once his seventh championship title was wrapped up Schumacher had an oddly uneven end to the season. He suffered a serious crash in testing at Monza, was all at sea at the new Shanghai circuit, and had a grid penalty in Brazil after crashing in practice and damaging his engine. This proved a foretate of a difficult 2005.
What finally brought the Schumacher domination of F1 to an end was not the arrival of a new opponent but a change in the technical rules. In 2005 tyre changes during the race were banned, forcing both tyre companies to build harder compounds. Michelin mastered the technology while Bridgestone struggled.
Schumacher won just once all year, the farcical United States Grand Prix where only the six Bridgestone-shod runners competed – those being the Ferraris plus the throroughly uncompetitive Jordans and Minardis.
The tyre rules were changed back for 2006 and Ferrari were back on form. But Schumacher faced a tough rival in the shape of new world champion Fernando Alonso.
This was as closely-matched a championship battle as has ever been fought. While Alonso managed four wins on the trot Schumacher hit back with a hat-trick of victories in the middle of the season.
He narrowly lost the championship but signed off with a majestic drive against the odds to finish fourth at Interlagos after a puncture. It seemed a fitting conclusion to a great career – but it turned out this was not the end.
In 2009 it briefly looked as though Schumacher was going to make a surprise comeback after Felipe Massa was injured at the Hungaroring. But Schumacher had damaged his neck in a motor cycle racing accident earlier in the year, and after testing an F1 car discovered he could not return to the cockpit after all.
Having whetted his appetite for a comeback, Schumacher later confirmed he would be racing in F1 again – but not for Ferrari. Instead he joined the new Mercedes team in 2010.
Three years away from the cockpit seemed to have dulled Schumacher’s edge on his return. Throughout the season he was comfortably handled by team mate Nico Rosberg.
At times his driving looked distinctly desperate, particularly at the Hungaroring, where he was censured for almost pushing Rubens Barrichello into the pit wall as the pair battled for position.
Schumacher stuck with it and the situation seemed to be improving towards the end of the season, achieving fourth place in the rain at Korea.
Schumacher’s second season with Mercedes was a mixed bag – glimpses of his old form, albeit compromised by consistently poor qualifying and a string of race collisions, mostly involving Vitaly Petrov.
When Schumacher had the car at the front of the field he was at his best, scrapping with the Red Bulls and McLarens in Canada, and resisting Lewis Hamilton for lap after lap at Monza.
He ended the year behind Rosberg again, but much closer than he had been in 2010.
The third year of Schumacher’s comeback got off to a promising start as the W03 proved immediately competitive. But he retired while running in a strong position in the first race and an error by his team in the pits ended his race in China, while Rosberg headed to victory.
Unreliability cost Schumacher on several other occasions, mostly in the early part of the season when the car was at its best. But he also made mistakes, such as when he drove into the rear of Bruno Senna’s car during the Spanish Grand Prix.
His grid penalty for the collision cost him what would have been pole position in Monaco. However in Valencia it finally came right and Schumacher finally returned to the podium, finishing third.
That would be his final visit. Unsure whether he wished to continue in F1, Mercedes moved to sign Lewis Hamilton for 2013 leaving Schumacher to make a widely-anticipated return to retirement. He signed off with a final points finish in Brazil, symbolically pulling over for Sebastian Vettel as his countryman and successor headed to his third world championship.
"I feel like a kid with a new toy ... a child before Christmas".
"Commenting about his youthful look before his comeback in 2010: Somehow I have managed to delay looking old. In reality I have good genes".
Grand Prix Drivers' Association (past president)
Michael Schumacher is closely associated with UNESCO and has been named a UNESCO Champion for Sport in 2002. UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values.
Schumacher is closely associated with Red Cross that works for providing relief to victims of disasters and helping people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.
Michael raises millions for charity. He is an active voluenteer for UNICEF that ensures better health and education to the children all over the world. The organization works over 150 countries, for humanitarian relief organization providing children with health care and immunizations, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.
Quotes from others about the person
"Michael Schumacher is the definition of racing greatness".
"While we enjoy practice let's take a moment to say keep fighting Michael and always in our minds".
"My heart is still breaking for Michael Schumacher!!!"”
Sport & Clubs
Soccer, tennis, swimming, skiing
Schumacher's younger brother Ralf was a Formula one driver until the end of 2007. Their stepbrother Sebastian Stahl has also been competing as a race car driver. In August 1995, Michael married Corinna Betsch. They have two children, Gina-Maria (born in 1997) and Mick (born in 1999). He has always been very protective of his private life and is known to dislike the celebrity spotlight, preferring a simple life. The faimly currently lives near Gland, Switzerland. Their home is a 650m² mansion with its own underground garage and petrol station, situated on a private beach on Lake geneva. The family has two dogs - one stray that Corinna fell in love with in Brazil, and an Australian Shepherd named "Ed" whose entrance to the family made headlines.
2014 Won - Millenium (Being in the process of r2014 Won - Millenium (Being in the process of recovery from this fatal accident nearly one year earlier, Michael Schumacher was not present at the awards ceremony. His manager Sabine Kehm accepted the award on his behalf.)
-2011: "Legend of Sports" in Germany
-2011: Citizen of honour of Spa (Belgium)
-2010: Knighthood in the Legion of Honour
-2010: GQ Sportsman of the Year
-2007: Prince of Asturias Award for Sport
-2007: German TV Prize in the Special Awards Category
-2006: Freedom of the City of Maranello
-2004: World Sports Personality of the Year
-2004: German Sports Personality of the Year
-2004: 'Champion of Champions' (L'Equipe)
-2004: Sports Personality of the Century (ZDF)
-2003: Honorary Ambassador for the Republic of San Marino
-2003: European Sports Personality of the Year
-2003: 'Champion of Champions' (L'Equipe)
-2002: World Sports Personality of the Year
-2002: 'Champion of Sports' (Unesco)
-2002: European Sports Personality of the Year
-2001: World Sport Award
-2001: Freedom of the City of Modena
-2001: European Sports Personality of the Year
-2001: 'Champion of Champions' (L'Equipe)
-1997: Silver Laurel Award
-1997: Golden Lion Award (RTL)
1997 Won - Best Sports Liveact (For the Formula1997 Won - Best Sports Liveact (For the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco)
-1994: AvD Sports Award
-1993: Golden Steering Wheel Award (Bild am Sonntag newspaper)