German Formula One racing driver Michael Schumacher was born 3 January 1969. Schumacher is a seven-time World Champion and is widely regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time.He holds many of Formula One’s driver records, including most championships, race victories, fastest laps, pole positions, points scored and most races won in a single season – 13 in 2004. In 2002 he became the only driver in Formula One history to finish in the top three in every race of a season and then also broke the record for most consecutive podium finishes. According to the official Formula One website he is “statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen”. A poll of 217 Formula One drivers conducted by the British magazine Autosport in 2009 named Schumacher the second-greatest F1 driver of all time, behind Ayrton Senna.
After beginning with karting, Schumacher won German drivers’ championships in Formula König and Formula Three before joining Mercedes in the World Sportscar Championship. After one Mercedes-funded race for the Jordan Formula One team, Schumacher signed as a driver for the Benetton Formula One team in 1991. After winning consecutive championships with Benetton in 1994/5, Schumacher moved to Ferrari in 1996 and won another five consecutive drivers’ titles with them from 2000 to 2004. Schumacher retired from Formula One driving in 2006 staying with Ferrari as an advisor. Schumacher agreed to return for Ferrari part-way through 2009, as cover for the badly injured Felipe Massa, but was prevented by a neck injury. He later signed a three-year contract to drive for the new Mercedes GP team starting in 2010.
His career has not been without controversy, including being twice involved in collisions in the final race of a season that determined the outcome of the world championship, with Damon Hill in 1994 in Adelaide, and with Jacques Villeneuve in 1997 in Jerez. Off the track Schumacher is an ambassador for UNESCO and a spokesman for driver safety. He has been involved in numerous humanitarian efforts throughout his life and donated tens of millions of dollars to charity. Michael and his younger brother Ralf Schumacher are the only brothers to win races in Formula One, and they were the first brothers to finish 1st and 2nd in the same race, in Montreal in 2001. The two brothers repeated this achievement in four more races (the 2001 French Grand Prix, the 2002 Brazilian Grand Prix, the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix and the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix).
In 2009 the German press reported a possible return to Formula One by Schumacher which was confirmed by Mercedes in December. Schumacher’s return completing their line-up. Schumacher signed a three year contract, with Mercedes who were thought to want 22-year-old German driver Sebastian Vettel as a long term replacement afterwards. Schumacher’s surprise re-entry to the sport was compared to Niki Lauda’s return in 1982 aged 33 and Nigel Mansell’s return in 1994 at age 41. Schumacher turned 41 on 3 January 2010 and his prospects with Mercedes were compared with the record set by the oldest F1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio who was 46 when he won his fifth championship.
Schumacher’s finished sixth in the first race of the 2010 season at the Bahrain Grand Prix in the Mercedes MGP W01. A fortnight later at the Australian Grand Prix Schumacher, after running as high as third on the opening lap, was caught up in a tangle between Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button at the start and had to pit for a new front wing. He came from the back to finish in the points in tenth position after spending 20 laps behind Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari. In the Malaysian Grand Prix Schumacher retired early in the race. Schumacher qualified 9th in the Chinese Grand Prix and finished 10th .” Despite this Many respected former Formula One drivers including former rival Damon Hill, warned “you should never write Schumacher off.” Some suggested that Schumacher may be having car trouble. For the first European race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix, Mercedes upgraded their car with revised aerodynamics and a longer wheelbase. Schumacher finishing fourth after defending his position from reigning world champion Jenson Button. At the Monaco Grand Prix Schumacher qualified seventh and finished sixth after passing Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. However he was penalised 20 seconds after the race by the race stewards dropping him to 12th and thus out of the points. The FIA subsequently outlined plans to clarify the regulations and Mercedes GP dropped their plans to appeal.
Schumacher’s 2010 season ended with a first lap crash at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In Turkey Schumacher finished fourth which was his best race finish since his return. However 2 races later at the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Schumacher finished a lowly 15th – his lowest recorded finish in his career. In Hungary, Schumacher finished outside the points in eleventh, but was found guilty of dangerous driving at 180 mph (290 km/h) while unsuccessfully defending tenth position against Rubens Barrichello. As a result he was demoted ten places on the grid for the following race, the Belgian Grand Prix, where he finished seventh, despite starting 21st after his grid penalty.In the Italian Grand Prix, Schumacher missed out on the top ten in qualifying but managed to finish ninth. A fortnight later at the Singapore Grand Prix, Schumacher finished 13th after the Sauber of Nick Heidfeld collided with him on Lap 36, knocking Heidfeld out of the race. At the Japanese Grand Prix, Schumacher finished sixth. At the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Schumacher was involved in a major accident on the first lap, which occurred after Schumacher was spun around by his teammate Nico Rosberg. As Schumacher was trying to maneuver his car back around, Vitantonio Liuzzi’s Force India ploughed into his Mercedes head-on, barely missing his head.Nobody was hurt in the crash, but Schumacher said the crash had been “frightening.”It was the first session since his début season in 1991 that Schumacher finished without a win, pole position, podium or fastest lap. He finished the season 9th with 72 points.At a 2011 meeting in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, Fernando Alonso, the second most successful Formula One driver still racing, said of Schumacher: “He will be always super class; if the car is right, he will be a contender that we will fear most.
During the 2011 season Schumacher retired at the Australian Grand Prix, finished ninth place at the Malaysian Grand Prix to score his team’s only points. Schumacher qualified 14th in China, but he worked his way up to 8th place during the race. He added more points with sixth place in Spain, and at the Canadian Grand Prix, Schumacher finished in fourth position after being passed by both Jenson Button, who went on to win the race, and Mark Webber, by the use of the DRS. In Valencia, he crashed into the side of Vitaly Petrov’s Renault while exiting the pit lane, breaking his own front wing, meaning he had to pit again the following lap. This incident left him outside of the points, and eventually finished 17th. In Britain Schumacher locked his front tyres while running behind Kamui Kobayashi, attempted to take avoiding action, and again broke his front wing spinning Kobayashi 180 degrees. As well as pitting to replace the wing, Schumacher served a 10 second stop-go penalty for the incident. Although working his way up to ninth, Schumacher was unhappy with the result and described the Kobayashi incident as his misjudgement. He finished eighth at his home race in Germany, and retired in Hungary with gearbox failure.
Schumacher marked the 20th anniversary of his Formula One début at the 2011 Belgian Grand Prix. He set the fastest time in the first free practice session, but after a wheel came loose in qualifying, he had start last on the grid. Despite this, Schumacher put in a very strong performance, ending the race in fifth place and ahead of his team mate Rosberg. Schumacher continued his run of form at the Italian Grand Prix, qualifying eighth and finishing fifth. This race saw a notable duel with Lewis Hamilton for fourth place. Schumacher defended expertly against Hamilton’s faster car, but was also criticised for leaving insufficient overtaking space. After a retirement in Singapore due to contact with Sergio Pérez, Schumacher finished in sixth place at the Japanese Grand Prix, having led three laps during the race, the first time he had led a race since the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix.In doing so, he became the oldest driver to lead a race since Jack Brabham in 1970. In Korea, Schumacher started the race from twelfth, and was well within the points scoring positions when he was hit from behind by Vitaly Petrov, forcing both drivers to retire. In India, Schumacher struggled in qualifying and qualified twelfth, although he moved up to eleventh after Petrov was given a five-place grid penalty for the incident in Korea; Schumacher blamed his lack of pace on tyre vibrations he experienced on his final run. After making up three places on the opening lap, Schumacher remained in the top ten for the entire race, eventually finishing fifth, ahead of team-mate Rosberg after overtaking him during the final round of pit-stops. At the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Schumacher qualified eighth and had moved up to sixth after a few corners. He was ahead of Rosberg, and the pair battled over the position for the remainder of the first lap. Rosberg’s overtake eventually meant that he finished in sixth and Schumacher in seventh. Schumacher finished the season with a fifteenth place at the season finale at the Brazilian Grand Prix, following a collision early in the race with Bruno Senna which had forced him to pit for repairs. Schumacher finished the season in eighth place in the Drivers’ Championship standings with 76 points; his best result was fourth place at the Canadian Grand Prix.Schumacher drove for Mercedes AMG in the 2012 Formula One season, alongside Nico Rosberg.
At the Australian Grand Prix, Schumacher qualified in fourth place. He moved up to third place at the start of the race, which he held until he suffered a terminal gearbox failure on lap 11. In Malaysia, Schumacher qualified third, but only managed to collect one point after being hit from behind on the first lap of the race by Romain Grosjean in wet conditions. Schumacher started on the front row in China after a grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton; he occupied the front row of the grid with his team-mate Nico Rosberg – who scored the first pole position of his career – but a mechanic’s error during the first pit-stop forced Schumacher to retire after 13 laps due to a loose wheel. Schumacher suffered a defective DRS mechanism in qualifying in Bahrain, which was compounded by a grid penalty for a gearbox replacement. He started 23rd on the grid, and finished in 10th position. Schumacher had his third retirement of the season in Barcelona, receiving a five-place grid penalty for Monaco after causing a collision with Bruno Senna. Schumacher was fastest in qualifying in Monaco; however, owing to the penalty for his incident in Barcelona, he started sixth on the grid. At the start of the race, Schumacher was hit by Romain Grosjean as he attempted to move down the outside, dropping to eighth, before retiring from seventh position late in the race due to falling fuel pressure.
At the Canadian Grand Prix, a miscalculation from the team during qualifying prevented him from undertaking his second flying lap, and he qualified in ninth position as a result. He retired from the race after his second pit stop because of a jammed DRS flap. In the European Grand Prix, Schumacher qualified twelfth, although his time was only 0.28 seconds slower than the fastest time in the second part of qualifying. He finished third in the race, gaining his first podium finish since his comeback. At the age of 43 years and 173 days, he became the oldest driver to achieve a podium since Jack Brabham’s second place finish at the 1970 British Grand Prix.He set the fastest lap in a Grand Prix for the 77th time in his career at Hockenheim on 22 July. At the Belgian Grand Prix Schumacher became the second Formula One driver to race in his 300th Grand Prix after his ex-Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello achieved this feat. He wore a commemorative platinum leaf helmet on track during the weekend and was seen donning a special platinum-coloured cap during media appearances. He finished the race in 7th place. On 28 September 2012, it was announced that Lewis Hamilton would replace Schumacher at Mercedes for the 2013 season onwards, having signed a three-year deal to partner Nico Rosberg at the team. It was reported by Ross Brawn and other sources within Mercedes that Schumacher’s indecision about his future led the team to pursue Hamilton. On 4 October 2012, Schumacher announced he would retire for a second time at the conclusion of the season. The following week he was quoted as saying: “There were times in the past few months in which I didn’t want to deal with Formula One or prepare for the next Grand Prix.”On 25 November 2012 he competed in his last Grand Prix in Brazil. After a hard race he managed to finish 7th therefore ending up in 13th place in the drivers’ championship.