|Occupation:||Race Car Driver|
|Birth Day:||January 3, 1969|
|Birth Place:||Hurth, Germany|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
Schumacher clashed with Vitaly Petrov in Valencia, and with Kamui Kobayashi in Britain, and 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.
Ferrari had previously come close to the championship in 1982 and 1990. The team had suffered a disastrous downturn in the early 1990s, partially as its famous V12 engine was no longer competitive against the smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient V10s of its competitors. Various drivers, notably Alain Prost, had given the vehicles labels such as "truck", "pig", and "accident waiting to happen". Furthermore, the poor performance of the Ferrari pit crews was considered a running joke. At the end of 1995, though the team had improved into a solid competitor, it was still considered inferior to front-running teams such as Benetton and Williams. Schumacher declared the Ferrari 412T good enough to win the Championship.
Schumacher's surprise return to F1 was compared to Niki Lauda's in 1982 at age 33 and Nigel Mansell's return in 1994 at age 41. Schumacher turned 41 in 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.
In 1983, he obtained his German license, a year after he won the German Junior Kart Championship. From 1984 on, Schumacher won many German and European kart championships. 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. In 1988 he made his first step into single-seat car racing by participating in the German Formula Ford and Formula König series, winning the latter.
In 1989, Schumacher signed with Willi Weber's WTS Formula Three team. Funded by Weber, he competed in the German Formula 3 series, winning the title in 1990. He also won the Macau Grand Prix in 1990 under controversial circumstances. He placed second behind Mika Häkkinen in the first heat, three seconds behind. At the start of the second heat, he overtook Häkkinen, who only had to finish within three seconds of Schumacher to clinch the overall win. In the closing laps, Schumacher made a mistake, allowing Häkkinen to attempt to overtake. Schumacher blocked his competitor, who crashed into the back of his car. While Häkkinen spun and lost time, Schumacher cruised to victory without a rear wing.
At the end of 1990, along with his Formula 3 rivals Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger, he joined the Mercedes junior racing programme in the World Sports-Prototype Championship. This was unusual for a young driver: most of Schumacher's contemporaries would compete in Formula 3000 on the way to Formula One. However, Weber advised Schumacher that being exposed to professional press conferences and driving powerful cars in long-distance races would help his career. In the 1990 World Sportscar Championship season, Schumacher won the season finale at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in a Sauber–Mercedes C11, and finished fifth in the drivers' championship despite only driving in three of the nine races. He continued with the team in the 1991 World Sportscar Championship season, winning again at the final race of the season at Autopolis in Japan with a Sauber–Mercedes-Benz C291, leading to a ninth-place finish in the drivers' championship. He also competed at Le Mans during that season, finishing fifth in a car shared with Karl Wendlinger and Fritz Kreutzpointner. In 1991, he competed in one race in the Japanese Formula 3000 Championship, finishing second.
He finished the season ninth with 72 points. Before, it had happened only in his début in 1991 that he finished without a win, pole position, podium or fastest lap.
During his spell in Sauber, in the 1991 Sportscar World Championship, Schumacher was involved in a serious incident with Derek Warwick in that year's 430 km of Nürburgring. While trying to set his flying lap in qualifying, Schumacher encountered Warwick's Jaguar on a slow lap resulting in lost time for Schumacher. As retaliation for being in his way, Schumacher swerved the Sauber into Warwick's car, hitting the Jaguar's nose and front wheel. Enraged by the German's attitude, Warwick drove to the pits and chased a fleeing Schumacher on foot through the Sauber pits. He eventually caught up with Schumacher, and it took intervention from several mechanics and Schumacher's teammate Jochen Mass to prevent Warwick physically assaulting Schumacher.
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, Peter Sauber said that "[Schumacher] didn't want to drive for us. Why would I have forced him?". 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 in 1992 with 53 points, three points behind runner-up Patrese.
The 1994 season was Schumacher's first Drivers' Championship. The season, however, was marred by the deaths of Ayrton Senna (witnessed by Schumacher, who was directly behind in second position) and Roland Ratzenberger during the San Marino Grand Prix, and by allegations that several teams, but most particularly Schumacher's Benetton team, broke the sport's technical regulations.
In 1994, suspicion of foul play by the Benetton team (who were eventually found to have been responsible for some technical violations over the course of the season) was said to have troubled Ayrton Senna that season. For example, in the words of his then teammate, Damon Hill, Senna had chosen to stay at the first corner of the Aida circuit following his retirement from the Pacific Grand Prix. After listening to Schumacher's Benetton B194 as it went past, Senna "concluded that there was, what he regarded, as unusual noises from the engine". The FIA subsequently issued a press release setting out action that it required teams to take before the German Grand Prix, given that various cars were found to have advanced engine management systems emulating launch and traction control.
In 1995 Schumacher successfully defended his title with Benetton. He now had the same Renault engine as Williams. He accumulated 33 more points than second-placed Damon Hill. With teammate Johnny Herbert, he took Benetton to its first Constructors' Championship and became the youngest two-time World Champion in Formula One history.
In 1995, Schumacher and Williams driver David Coulthard were disqualified for fuel irregularities, after a switch to Renault engines and Elf oils. On appeal, both drivers had their results and points reinstated, but both teams lost the points the results would normally have earned in the Constructors' Championship.
In August 1995, Michael married Corinna Betsch. They have two children, a daughter Gina-Marie, born 20 February 1997 and a son Mick, born 22 March 1999. He has always been very protective of his private life and is known to dislike the celebrity spotlight. The family moved to a newly built mansion near Gland, Switzerland in 2007, covering an area of 650-square-metre (7,000 sq ft) with a private beach on Lake Geneva and featuring an underground garage and petrol station, with a vintage Shell fuel pump. On 19 January 2019, Michael's son Mick Schumacher was announced as a driver for the Ferrari Driver Academy.
In 1996, Schumacher joined Ferrari, a team that had last won the Drivers' Championship in 1979 and the Constructors' Championship in 1983, for a salary of $60 million over two years. He left Benetton a year before his contract with them expired; he later cited the team's damaging actions in 1994 as his reason for opting out of his deal. A year later Benetton employees Rory Byrne (designer) and Ross Brawn (Technical Director) joined Ferrari.
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. In 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.
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, winning five races, and 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, but got the short end of the stick, retiring from the race. Villeneuve went on and scored four points to take the championship. Schumacher was punished for unsportsmanlike conduct for the collision and was disqualified from the Drivers' Championship.
At the 1997 European Grand Prix at Jerez, the last race of the season, Schumacher led Williams's Jacques Villeneuve by one point in the Drivers' Championship. As Villeneuve attempted to pass Schumacher at the Dry Sac corner on lap 48, Schumacher turned in and the right-front wheel of Schumacher's Ferrari hit the left sidepod of Villeneuve's car. Schumacher retired from the race as a result, but Villeneuve finished in third place, taking four points and so becoming the World Champion. The race stewards did not initially award any penalty, but two weeks after the race Schumacher was disqualified from the entire 1997 Drivers' Championship after an FIA disciplinary hearing found that his "manoeuvre was an instinctive reaction and although deliberate not made with malice or premeditation. It was a serious error." Schumacher accepted the decision and admitted having made a mistake. Schumacher's actions were widely condemned in British, German, and Italian newspapers. This made Schumacher the only driver in the history of the sport, as of 2019, to be disqualified from a Drivers' World Championship.
In 1998, Finnish driver Mika Häkkinen became Schumacher's main title competition. Häkkinen won the first two races of the season, gaining a 16-point advantage over Schumacher. Schumacher then won in Argentina and, with the Ferrari improving significantly in the second half of the season, Schumacher took six victories and had five other podium finishes. Ferrari took a 1–2 finish at the French Grand Prix, the first Ferrari 1–2 finish since 1990, and the Italian Grand Prix, which tied Schumacher with Häkkinen for the lead of the Drivers' Championship with 80 points, but Häkkinen won the Championship by winning the final two races. There were two controversies; at the British Grand Prix Schumacher was leading on the last lap when he turned into the pit lane, crossed the start finish line and stopped for a ten-second stop go penalty. There was some doubt whether this counted as serving the penalty, but, because he had crossed the finish line when he came into the pit lane, the win was valid. At Spa, Schumacher was leading the race by 40 seconds in heavy spray, but collided with David Coulthard's McLaren when the Scot, a lap down, slowed in very poor visibility to let Schumacher past. After both cars returned to the pits, Schumacher leaped out of his car and headed to McLaren's garage in an infuriated manner and accused Coulthard of trying to kill him. Coulthard admitted five years later that the accident had been his mistake.
The 1998 Canadian Grand Prix saw Schumacher accused of dangerous driving when his exit from the pit-lane forced Heinz-Harald Frentzen off the track and into retirement. Despite receiving a 10-second penalty, Schumacher recovered and won the race.
Schumacher's efforts helped Ferrari win the Constructors' title in 1999. He lost his chance to win the Drivers' Championship at the British Grand Prix at the high-speed Stowe Corner; his car's rear brake failed, sending him off the track and resulting in a broken leg. During his 98-day absence, he was replaced by Finnish driver Mika Salo. After missing six races he made his return at the inaugural Malaysian Grand Prix, qualifying in pole position by almost a second. He then assumed the role of second driver, assisting teammate Eddie Irvine's bid to win the Drivers' Championship for Ferrari. In the last race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix, Häkkinen won his second consecutive title. Schumacher would later say that Häkkinen was the opponent he respected the most.
During this period Schumacher won more races and championships than any other driver in the history of the sport. Schumacher won his third World Championship in 2000 after a year-long battle with Häkkinen. Schumacher won the first three races of the season and five of the first eight. Midway through the year, Schumacher's chances suffered with three consecutive non-finishes, allowing Häkkinen to close the gap in the standings. Häkkinen then took another two victories, before Schumacher won at the Italian Grand Prix. At the post race press conference, after equalling the number of wins (41) won by his idol, Ayrton Senna, Schumacher broke into tears. The championship fight would come down to the penultimate race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix. Starting from pole position, Schumacher lost the lead to Häkkinen at the start. After his second pit-stop, however, Schumacher came out ahead of Häkkinen and went on to win the race and the championship.
In 2001, Schumacher took his fourth drivers' title. Four other drivers won races, but none sustained a season-long challenge for the championship. Schumacher scored a record-tying nine wins and clinched the World Championship with four races yet to run. He finished the championship with 123 points, 58 ahead of runner-up Coulthard. Season highlights included the Canadian Grand Prix, where Schumacher finished second to his brother Ralf, thus scoring the first ever 1–2 finish by brothers in Formula One; and the Belgian Grand Prix in which Schumacher scored his 52nd career win, breaking Alain Prost's record for most career wins.
In 2002, Schumacher used the Ferrari F2002 to retain his Drivers' Championship. There was again some controversy, however, at the Austrian Grand Prix, where his teammate, Rubens Barrichello was leading, but in the final metres of the race, under team orders, slowed down to allow Schumacher to win the race. The crowd broke into outraged boos at the result and Schumacher tried to make amends by allowing Barrichello to stand on the top step of the podium. At the United States Grand Prix later that year, Schumacher dominated the race and was set for a close finish with Barrichello. At the end he slowed down to create a formation finish with Barrichello, but slowed too much allowing Barrichello to take the victory. In winning the Drivers' Championship he equalled the record set by Juan Manuel Fangio of five World Championships. Ferrari won 15 out of 17 races, and Schumacher won the title with six races remaining in the season, which is still the earliest point in the season for a driver to be crowned World Champion. Schumacher broke his own record, shared with Nigel Mansell, of nine race wins in a season, by winning 11 times and finishing every race on the podium. He finished with 144 points, a record-breaking 67 points ahead of the runner-up, his teammate Rubens Barrichello. This pair finished nine of the 17 races in the first two places.
Schumacher was honoured many times during his career. In April 2002, for his contributions to sport and his contributions in raising awareness of child education, he was named as one of the UNESCO Champions for sport, joining the other eight, which include Pelé, Sergey Bubka and Justine Henin. He won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award twice, in 2002 and 2004 for his performances in the 2001 and 2003 seasons respectively. He also received nominations for the 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 awards. He shares the record for having the second-most nominations for the award with Roger Federer with six nominations, and is eclipsed only by Tiger Woods who has been nominated seven times. He holds the distinction of having the most nominations for a motorsport athlete, (Fernando Alonso has been nominated only twice, Sebastian Vettel three times, and Valentino Rossi five times) and being the only motorsport athlete to have won the award more than once.
Schumacher was noted throughout his career for his ability to produce fast laps at crucial moments in a race and to push his car to the very limit for sustained periods. He was also noted for his pioneering fitness regime and ability to galvanise teams around him. Motorsport author Christopher Hilton observed in 2003 that a "measure of a driver's capabilities is his performance in wet races, because the most delicate car control and sensitivity are needed", and noted that like other great drivers, Schumacher's record in wet conditions shows very few mistakes: up to the end of the 2003 season, Schumacher won 17 of the 30 races in wet conditions he contested. Some of Schumacher's best performances occurred in such conditions, earning him the nicknames "Regenkönig" (rain king) or "Regenmeister" (rain master), even in the non-German-language media. He is known as "the Red Baron", because of his red Ferrari and in reference to the German Manfred von Richthofen, the famous flying ace of World War I. Schumacher's nicknames include "Schumi", "Schuey" and "Schu".
Schumacher broke Juan Manuel Fangio's record of five World Drivers' Championships by winning the drivers' title for the sixth time in 2003, a closely contested season. The biggest competition came once again from the McLaren Mercedes and Williams BMW teams. In the first race, Schumacher ran off track, and in the following two, was involved in collisions. He fell 16 points behind Kimi Räikkönen. Schumacher won the San Marino Grand Prix and the next two races, and closed within two points of Räikkönen. Aside from Schumacher's victory in Canada, and Barrichello's victory in Britain, the mid-season was dominated by Williams drivers Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya, who each claimed two victories. After the Hungarian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher led Montoya and Kimi Räikkönen by only one and two points, respectively. Ahead of the next race, the FIA announced changes to the way tyre widths were to be measured: this forced Michelin, supplier to Williams and McLaren among others, to rapidly redesign their tyres before the Italian Grand Prix. Schumacher, running on Bridgestone tyres, won the next two races. After Montoya was penalised in the United States Grand Prix, only Schumacher and Räikkönen remained in contention for the title. At the final round, the Japanese Grand Prix, Schumacher needed only one point whilst Räikkönen needed to win. By finishing the race in eighth place, Schumacher took one point and assured his sixth World Drivers' title, ending the season two points ahead of Räikkönen.
On 23 June 2003, Schumacher was appointed as an Ambassador-at-Large for the Most Serene Republic of San Marino.
In 2004, Schumacher won a record 12 of the first 13 races of the season, only failing to finish in Monaco after an accident with Juan Pablo Montoya during a safety car period when he briefly locked his car's brakes. He clinched a record seventh drivers' title at the Belgian Grand Prix. He finished that season with a record 148 points, 34 points ahead of the runner-up, teammate Rubens Barrichello, and set a new record of 13 race wins out of a possible 18, surpassing his previous best of 11 wins from the 2002 season.
Schumacher, in conjunction with Schuberth, helped develop the first lightweight carbon helmet. In 2004, a prototype was publicly tested by being driven over by a tank; it survived intact. The helmet keeps the driver cool by funneling directed airflow through fifty holes. 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. From the 2000 Monaco Grand Prix, in order to differentiate his colours from his new teammate Rubens Barrichello (whose helmet was predominantly white with a blue circle on top and a red ellipsis surrounding the visor), Schumacher changed the upper blue colour and some of the white areas to red. For the Brazilian Grand Prix race of 2006 (at the time intended to be his final Grand Prix), he wore an all-red helmet that included the names of his ninety-one Grand Prix victories. For the 2011 Belgian Grand Prix, Schumacher's 20th anniversary in Formula One, he wore a commemorative gold-leafed helmet. The helmet, very similar to his current helmet, included the year of his début to the present, and the years of his seven World titles. For the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix, Schumacher's 300th Grand Prix appearance, he wore a special platinum-leafed helmet with a message of his achievement.
In 2004 Forbes magazine listed him as the second highest paid athlete in the world. In 2005, Eurobusiness magazine identified Schumacher as the world's first billionaire athlete. His 2004 salary was reported to be around US$80 million. Forbes magazine ranked him 17th in its "The World's Most Powerful Celebrities" list. A significant share of his income came from advertising. For example, Deutsche Vermögensberatung paid him $8 million over three years from 1999 for wearing a 10 by 8 centimetre advertisement on his post-race cap. The deal was extended until 2010. He donated $10 million for aid after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. His donation surpassed that of any other sports person, most sports leagues, many worldwide corporations and even some countries.
Rule changes for the 2005 season required tyres to last an entire race, tipping the overall advantage to teams using Michelins over teams such as Ferrari that relied on Bridgestone tyres. The rule changes were partly in an effort to dent Ferrari's dominance and make the series more interesting. The most notable moment of the early season for Schumacher was his battle with Fernando Alonso in San Marino, where he started 13th and finished only 0.2 seconds behind the Spanish driver. Less than halfway through the season, Schumacher said "I don't think I can count myself in this battle any more. It was like trying to fight with a blunted weapon.... If your weapons are weak you don't have a chance." Schumacher's sole win in 2005 came at the United States Grand Prix. Before that race, the Michelin tyres were found to have significant safety issues. When no compromise between the teams and the FIA could be reached, all but the six drivers using Bridgestone tyres dropped out of the race after the formation lap. Schumacher retired in six of the 19 races. He finished the season in third with 62 points, fewer than half the points of World Champion Alonso.
Schumacher is often credited with popularising Formula One in Germany, where it was formerly considered a fringe sport. When Schumacher retired in 2006, three of the top ten drivers were German, more than any other nationality and more than have ever been present in Formula One history. Younger German drivers, such as Sebastian Vettel, felt Schumacher was key in their becoming Formula One drivers. In the latter part of his Formula One career, and as one of the senior drivers, Schumacher was the president of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association. In a 2006 FIA survey, Michael Schumacher was voted the most popular driver of the season among Formula One fans.
2006 became the last season of Schumacher's Ferrari career. After three races, Schumacher had just 11 points and was already 17 points behind Alonso. He won the following two races. His pole position at San Marino was his 66th, breaking Ayrton Senna's 12-year-old record.
While Schumacher was on the podium after winning the 2006 Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari issued a press release stating that he would retire from racing at the end of the 2006 season. Schumacher confirmed his retirement. The press release stated that Schumacher would continue working for Ferrari. It was revealed on 29 October 2006 that Ferrari wanted Schumacher to act as assistant to the newly appointed CEO Jean Todt. This would involve selecting the team's future drivers. After Schumacher's announcement, leading Formula One figures such as Niki Lauda and David Coulthard hailed Schumacher as the greatest all-round racing driver in the history of Formula One. The tifosi and the Italian press, who did not always take to Schumacher's relatively cold public persona, displayed an affectionate response after he announced his retirement.
In honour of Schumacher's racing career and his efforts to improve safety and the sport, he was awarded an FIA Gold Medal for Motor Sport in 2006. In 2007, in recognition of his contribution to Formula One racing, the Nürburgring racing track renamed turns 8 and 9 (the Audi and Shell Kurves) as the Schumacher S, and a month later he presented A1 Team Germany with the A1 World Cup at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport 2007 awards ceremony. He was nominated for the Prince of Asturias Award for Sport for 2007, which he won both for sporting prowess and for his humanitarian record.
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.
In 2007, former Ferrari top manager Ross Brawn said that Schumacher was very likely and also happy to continue testing in 2008; Schumacher later explained his role further saying that he would "deal with the development of the car inside Gestione Sportiva" and as part of that "I'd like to drive, but not too often".
The family has two dogs – one stray that Corinna fell in love with in Brazil, and an Australian Shepherd named "Ed" whose arrival in the family made headlines. In fact, in 2007, Schumacher personally drove a taxi through the Bavarian town of Coburg to collect the dog and enable the family to make their return flight to Switzerland. Both Schumacher and the taxi driver were reprimanded by local police.
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. He was quoted as saying that riding a Ducati was the most exhilarating thing he had done in his life, the second most being sky diving.
In 2008, the Swiss Football Association appointed long-time Swiss resident Schumacher as the country's ambassador for UEFA Euro 2008, hosted by Switzerland and Austria.
Schumacher is a special ambassador to UNESCO and has donated 1.5 million euros to the organisation. Additionally, he paid for the construction of a school for poor children and for area improvements in Dakar, Senegal. He supports a hospital for child victims of war in Sarajevo, which specialises in caring for amputees. In Lima, Peru he funded the "Palace for the Poor", a centre for helping homeless street children obtain an education, clothing, food, medical attention, and shelter. He stated his interest in these various efforts was piqued both by his love for children and the fact that these causes had received little attention. While an exact figure for the amount of money he has donated throughout his life is unknown, it is known that in his last four years as a driver, he donated at least $50 million. In 2008, it was revealed that he had donated between $5M and $10M to the Clinton Foundation.
Since his participation in an FIA European road safety campaign, as part of his punishment after the collision at the 1997 European Grand Prix, Schumacher continued to support other campaigns, such as Make Roads Safe, which is led by the FIA Foundation and calls on G8 countries and the UN to recognise global road deaths as a major global health issue. In 2008, Schumacher was the figurehead of an advertising campaign by Bacardi to raise awareness about responsible drinking, with a focus on communicating an international message 'drinking and driving don't mix'. He featured in an advertising campaign for television, cinema and online media, supported by consumer engagements, public relations and digital media across the World.
In his capacity as racing advisor to Ferrari, Schumacher was present in Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix when 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 European 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.
In December 2009 it was announced that Schumacher would be returning to Formula One in the 2010 season alongside fellow German driver Nico Rosberg in the new Mercedes GP team. The new Mercedes team was their first majority involvement in an F1 team since 1955. Schumacher stated that his preparations to replace the injured Massa for Ferrari had initiated a renewed interest in F1, which, combined with the opportunity to fulfil a long-held ambition to drive for Mercedes and to be working again with team principal Ross Brawn, led Schumacher to accept the offer once he was passed fit. After a period of intensive training medical tests, it was confirmed that the neck injury that had prevented him driving for Ferrari the year before had fully healed. Schumacher signed a three-year contract, reportedly worth £20 million.
On 21 June 2009, Schumacher appeared on the BBC's motoring programme Top Gear as The Stig. Presenter Jeremy Clarkson hinted later in the programme that Schumacher was not the regular Stig, which the BBC subsequently confirmed. Schumacher was there on that occasion because Ferrari would not allow anyone else to drive the unique black Ferrari FXX that was featured in the show.
Schumacher's first drive of the 2010 Mercedes car – the Mercedes MGP W01 – was at an official test in February 2010 in Valencia. He finished sixth in the first race of the season at the Bahrain Grand Prix. After the Malaysian race, former driver Stirling Moss suggested that Schumacher, who had finished behind his teammate in each of the first four qualifying sessions and races, might be "past it". Many other respected former Formula One drivers thought otherwise, including former rival Damon Hill, who warned "you should never write Schumacher off". GrandPrix.com identified the inherent understeer of the Mercedes car, exacerbated by the narrower front tyres introduced for the 2010 season, as contributing to Schumacher's difficulties. Jenson Button would later claim that Mercedes's 2010 car was designed for him, and that their differing driving styles may have contributed to Schumacher's difficulties.
On 30 April 2010, Schumacher was honored with the Officier of Légion d'honneur title from French prime minister François Fillon.
At the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, the safety car was deployed after an accident involving Karun Chandhok and Jarno Trulli, and pulled into the pits on the last lap. Schumacher passed Alonso before the finish line. Mercedes held that "the combination of the race control messages 'Safety Car in this lap' and 'Track Clear' and the green flags and lights shown by the marshals after safety car line one indicated that the race was not finishing under the safety car and all drivers were free to race." However, an FIA investigation found Schumacher guilty of breaching Safety Car regulations and awarded him a 20-seconds penalty, which cost him six places.
In 2010, his personal fortune was estimated at £515 million.
Schumacher's indecision over his future plans in F1 led to him being replaced by Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for the 2013 season. In 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." The season and his 21-year F1 career concluded with the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, in which Schumacher finished seventh. He placed 13th in the 2012 Drivers' Championship.
On 29 December 2013, Schumacher was skiing with his 14-year-old son Mick, descending the Combe de Saulire below the Dent de Burgin above Méribel in the French Alps. While crossing an unsecured off-piste area between Piste Chamois and Piste Mauduit, he fell and hit his head on a rock, sustaining a serious head injury, despite wearing a ski helmet. According to his physicians, he would most likely have died if he had not been wearing a helmet. He was airlifted to Grenoble Hospital where he underwent two surgical interventions.
On 13 November 2014, Schumacher was awarded the Millennium Trophy at the Bambi Awards.
Schumacher was put into a medically induced coma because of traumatic brain injury; his doctors reported on 7 March 2014 that his condition was stable. On 4 April 2014, Schumacher's agent reported that he was showing "moments of consciousness" as he was gradually withdrawn from the medically induced coma, adding to reports by relatives of "small encouraging signs" over the preceding month.
By 16 June 2014, Schumacher had regained consciousness and left Grenoble Hospital for further rehabilitation at the University Hospital (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland. On 9 September 2014, Schumacher left CHUV and was brought back to his home for further rehabilitation. In November 2014, it was reported that Schumacher was "paralysed and in a wheelchair"; he "cannot speak and has memory problems". In a video interview released in May 2015, Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm said that his condition is slowly improving "considering the severeness of the injury he had".
In September 2016, Felix Damm, lawyer for Schumacher, told a German court that his client "cannot walk", in response to false reports from December 2015 in German publication Die Bunte that he could "walk a couple of steps". In December 2016 Schumacher's manager stated that "Michael's health is not a public issue, and so we will continue to make no comment in that regard".
In January 2019 the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy held an exhibition to commemorate Schumacher's 50th birthday and that commenced on his birthday and spanned a few months "both as a celebration and a mark of gratitude to the most successful Prancing Horse driver ever".
In July 2019, former Ferrari manager Jean Todt gave an interview to Radio Monte Carlo giving a brief update on Schumacher's health, saying that Schumacher was making "good progress" but also "struggles to communicate". Todt also said that Schumacher is able to watch Formula One races on television at his home in Switzerland.
In September 2019, Le Parisien reported that Schumacher had been admitted to the Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou in Paris for treatment by cardiovascular surgeon Philippe Menasché, described as a "pioneer in cell surgery". Following the treatment, which involved him receiving an anti-inflammatory stem cell perfusion, medical staff stated that Schumacher was "conscious".
A documentary on Schumacher, directed by German filmmakers Michael Wech [de] and Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns was slated to be released in December 2019. However, it was delayed due to producers needing more time to work through sensitive and previously unseen family footage.
In June 2020, several sources reported that Schumacher would undergo stem cell surgery within days, but those reports were not thought to be accurate. The Schumacher family declined to comment on the reports, but it is believed they would not consider any such operation during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is reported to have muscle atrophy and osteoporosis from six years of bed confinement.
Currently, Michael Schumacher is 54 years, 2 months and 28 days old. Michael Schumacher will celebrate 55th birthday on a Wednesday 3rd of January 2024.
Find out about Michael Schumacher birthday activities in timeline view here.