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He started racing on his parents track at age three.
Schumacher was born in Hürth, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany on 30 June 1975, the second son of Rolf Schumacher, a bricklayer, and his wife Elisabeth. He has one older brother, Michael. Schumacher began karting at the age of three driving on his parent's go-kart track in Kerpen. His first major karting success came when he clinched the NRW Cup and the Gold Cup in 1991. In 1992 he won the German Junior Kart Championship. He then moved up into the senior series, finishing runner-up.
Aged 17 Schumacher moved into car racing, finishing runner-up in the ADAC Junior Formula Championship. This performance allowed Schumacher to test a Formula Three car during 1992, and later took part in a Formula Three event. His testing and one-off appearance in the series caught the attention of WTS Racing allowing Schumacher to enter the German Formula Three Championship in 1994, where he finished third. He finished fourth and thirtieth in the Macau Grand Prix and the Masters of Formula 3, respectively.
His performances in 1995 had improved over the previous year: Schumacher secured pole position and victory in the Macau Grand Prix and finished second in the Masters of Formula 3. In the German Formula Three series, Schumacher took three victories and finished second in the Championship behind Norberto Fontana.
For 1996, Schumacher's manager Willi Weber secured him a seat in the Formula Nippon Series, driving for the Team Le Mans alongside experienced driver Naoki Hattori. Schumacher won the series on his first attempt, becoming the first rookie driver to clinch the championship. In the same year, Schumacher and Hattori entered the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship, winning four races and taking the runner-up spot in the GT500 Championship behind the pairing of David Brabham and John Nielsen.
In August 1996, Schumacher tested for the McLaren team at Silverstone. In September, it was announced that Schumacher had signed a three-year contract to drive for the Jordan team. The deal also brought in a further £8 million from Schumacher's sponsor Bitburger brewery, with a small percentage going towards his salary. In January 1997, Giancarlo Fisichella was confirmed as Schumacher's teammate replacing Martin Brundle, who expressed a desire to remain with the team. Schumacher believed that Brundle's experience would have helped him in the coming season.
For 1998, Schumacher remained at Jordan and was partnered by 1996 Drivers' Champion Damon Hill. Schumacher endured a horrid start: He suffered from retirements in the first three races, and managed to finish in the races in San Marino and Spain, albeit outside the points scoring positions. Schumacher suffered from further consecutive retirements in the next two races, and managed to finish 16th in France. He managed to secure his and Jordan's first point of the season with a sixth-place finish at the British Grand Prix, before picking up further consecutive points finishes in the next two races.
Schumacher continued to drive for Williams in 2000, and was partnered by rookie driver Jenson Button. His season started well: He managed to take third place in the opening race in Australia, and clinched fifth position in Brazil. He was forced to retire from the San Marino Grand Prix due to a fuel system issue, but managed to clinch consecutive fourth-place finishes in the next two races. However, Schumacher was forced into another retirement as he was caught in a collision involving Eddie Irvine and Jos Verstappen at the European Grand Prix, and another retirement followed in Monaco due to a crash where he suffered from a three-inch deep cut across his calf.
In April 2001, Schumacher became engaged to Cora-Caroline Brinkmann, a former model; they were married on 5 October that year, in a private civil ceremony at the couple's home in Hallwang, Austria. On 23 October 2001 their son David was born, three weeks premature. David is also a racing driver. Outside motorsport, Schumacher enjoys cycling, tennis and backgammon. The couple had homes in Salzburg, Austria, St Tropez, France, and Bergheim and Düsseldorf in Germany.
For 2002, Schumacher announced of his intention to wear glasses over the coming season to improve his vision. His decision was influenced after he was involved in a car crash on the Autobahn 3 when driving to visit his family. On 14 January, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), Formula One's governing body gave permission for Schumacher to wear glasses, and his helmet maker Schuberth developed padding with channels for the glass frames.
In 2003, Schumacher again competed with Williams alongside Montoya. He was unable to take part in winter testing in January, prior to the season because of reoccurring back pains, although he later returned in February. He endured a good first half of the season: Schumacher scored points in the opening seven races, and clinched his first podium of the season with second place in Canada. Schumacher backed up the results by taking consecutive victories in the European Grand Prix and the French Grand Prix. He managed to finish in ninth place in Britain. At the German Grand Prix, Schumacher retired on the first lap of the race after a collision with Rubens Barrichello and Kimi Räikkönen, for which he received a 10 place grid penalty for the next race. Williams successfully appealed against the decision and Schumacher managed to qualify second for the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he finished fourth.
For 2005, Schumacher was partnered by Jarno Trulli at Toyota and was hopeful about his prospects for the upcoming season. Schumacher finished 12th in the opening round in Australia, and secured his first points in the season in Malaysia. He managed to secure a consecutive points finish in Bahrain, and later finished outside the points in San Marino, due to taking a 25-second penalty after finishing eighth due to causing an incident in his pitstops. Schumacher followed this up with consecutive points finishes in the next two races. He retired due to a spin during the European Grand Prix.
Schumacher's final participation in Formula One came at a test held for the newly formed Force India team in December 2007. This was a bid to secure a race seat alongside fellow German Adrian Sutil. During the test, Schumacher was the slowest driver, and later announced that he would not join the team for 2008, and that the possibility of participating in Formula One would be unlikely.
Schumacher is a prominent supporter of the Gut Aiderbichl animal farm, situated near Salzburg. However, animal rights activists have accused Schumacher of hypocrisy as he was known as a passionate hunter in his spare time. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (P.E.T.A) criticized Schumacher as he was accused of being paid £35,000 to shoot three deer in a defined area in 2007.
On 18 February 2008, it was announced that Schumacher would be driving in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series in 2008, driving for Mücke Motorsport and was partnered by Maro Engel. Making his début at the Hockenheimring, Schumacher managed to finish 14th, which he followed up with a 10th-place finish at Oschersleben. He was forced into retirement at the next race at Lausitz, and managed to finish in the next three races he entered, albeit outside the points scoring positions. He secured his first points in the DTM series by finishing eighth at the Nürburgring.
For 2009, it was announced that Schumacher had extended his contract to drive for Mercedes-Benz, and would move to the HWA Team, and was partnered by Paul di Resta, Bruno Spengler and Gary Paffett. Schumacher managed to finish the first two races, although he did not finish in the points scoring positions. He secured his first points of the season with a sixth-place finish at the Norisring, which he followed up with 10th and 11th-place finishes in the races at Zandvoort and Oschersleben respectively.
On 23 March 2010, it was announced that Schumacher would be retained by HWA for 2010, and would be partnered by di Resta, Spengler and Gary Paffett. Schumacher's season started with a ninth-place finish at the Hockenheimring, before he was forced into retirement due to a failure in his car's electronic control in Valencia resulting in an misfire. Schumacher later secured finishes in the next two rounds, which he backed up with his first points of the season with sixth place at the Nürburgring.
On 6 April 2011, it was confirmed that Schumacher would remain at HWA for 2011 and was partnered by Paffett, Spengler and Jamie Green. Schumacher started off the season by taking his first podium in DTM with third place at the Hockenheimring. However, Schumacher was unable to capitalize on his result as he finished outside the point scoring positions at the next race held at Zandvoort. He later secured his second podium of the season with a second-place finish at the Red Bull Ring, which remained his best result in DTM. Schumacher was unable to take further points in Lausitz, but managed to clinch sixth place in Norisring.
On 20 October 2011, it was announced that Schumacher would remain at HWA for the 2012 season, and was once again partnered by Green and Paffett who were joined by new signing Christian Vietoris. Schumacher's season got off well: he clinched consecutive points scoring finishes in the first two races of the season, and managed to secure further finishes in the races held at Brands Hatch and the Red Bull Ring, although Schumacher did not finish in the points scoring positions. He was forced into retirement at the next race held at the Norisring due to an electrical failure while leading.
Schumacher was appointed a Laureus Ambassador at the Laureus World Sports Awards for the Laureus Foundation in 2011.
Schumacher announced his retirement from active motorsport in March 2013 and would enter a management role at Mücke Motorsport, as well as becoming a shareholder in the team. In his role, Schumacher assists in the mentoring of young drivers signed with Mercedes-Benz.
On 20 February 2015 Schumacher's lawyer confirmed that Schumacher and his wife had divorced after an acrimonious period of separation. The couple fought a custody battle over their son, and Schumacher's estimated €100 million fortune, which was resolved with Cora receiving a €6 million settlement and the family home at Bergheim.
Currently, Ralf Schumacher is 45 years old. Ralf Schumacher will celebrate 46th birthday on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
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