Michel Schumacher, Formula 1’s most successful driver announced his retirement after winning the Italian Grand Prix yesterday. He will now retire after the end of the season. The remaining 3 races will be his last 3 races as an F1 driver.
From being a go-kart champ at the age of 6 to being a world champion 7 times, Schumacher has broken all kinds of records in the F1 history. The numbers speak for themselves:
- 7 Titles (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
- 68 pole positions
- 90 grand prix wins
- 1354 career points
- 75 fastest laps
- 13 Wins in a season (13 wins out of 18 races in 2004)
With 3 races to go and just 2 points separating Schumi and Alonso, these numbers are set to improve. Will Schumi be able to grab his 8th title? Only time will tell. Alonso is clearly struggling with his cars setup off late. I won’t be surprised if Schumi overtakes him in this season’s championship. Millions of fans all around the world will be hoping and praying for this to happen. It will be the best sendoff to a legend who has made a huge impact on the world of motor sport.
The turning point of his career was his first ever race in F1. Racing for Jordan, he finished 7th in his first race. The Benetton team singed him for the very next race! He then went on to win the 1994 and 1995 world championship under Benetton.
He has been instrumental in catapulting Ferrari’s fame on the F1 tracks. Since the time he joined not-so successful Ferrari team in 1996, he has won 5 titles under this team and made them the most competitive teams in F1. The scarlet-red color has almost become a cult on the F1 tracks. Any track on the F1 calendar now has a sea of red in the spectator stands supporting the team and Schumi.
The German driver has been noted throughout his career for his ability to produce fast laps at crucial moments in a race and for his abilities in the wet, earning him the title “Regenmeister” (rain master). One example of this talent was the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix, where Schumacher took his first victory for Ferrari in dominant fashion, despite the fact that his car was notably inferior to the Williams cars. At one point, Schumacher was pulling away by several seconds per lap in the torrential downpour. Another notable win was the 2001 Malaysian Grand Prix, where Schumacher took intermediate tires while everybody else took full wet tires after a monsoon hit half the track. Within a handful of laps Schumacher had charged from 11th place to the lead, eventually taking a dominant win.
Schumi has been known to be a ruthless driver around the F1 circuit. He has won very few friends on the track because of this. But lets face it, F1 is a very competitive world and nothing comes easy.
Schumi’s biggest plus point of recent times has been the 2004 season where he won 13 out of the 18 races in the season. His biggest low point was however when there were ‘team orders’ by Ferrari was at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix where the team ordered Barrichello, who was leading the race, to move over for Schumacher to take the win.
At the end of 2006, Ferrari will define Schumacher’s new position within the reorganized Ferrari team, following his retirement.
Schumi will be definitely leaving a huge void in motorsport after his retirement. Everyone will surely miss him!
Follow this link to know all about Michael Schumacher, the Legend.