• Michael Schumacher

    Michael Schumacher ProfileMichael Schumacher was born on 3 January 1969 in western Germany (in Hurth, near Cologne). As early as four years of age he was notching up his first circuits at the go-kart track nearby where his parents. In the go-kart he was runner-up in the Junior World Championships at the age of sixteen, and two years later he became the European Champion - and go-kart racing remains his great passion to this day. After fifteen years of go-kart racing he switched to racing cars and came out in front in numerous German championships. In 1990, Schumacher became the Mercedes-Benz team driver in the Sports Car World Championship and the German Formula 3 Champion.

    In 1991, at the Belgian Grand Prix, Schumacher made his debut as a replacement driver for the Formula 1 Jordan team. By the following year he had already won his first Grand Prix, at Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps, in a Benetton-Ford. After placing third in the World Championship of 1992 and fourth of 1993, he landed the World Title in 1994 and dedicated it to Ayrton Senna - "the man who deserved to get it". In 1995, Schumacher defended his World Championship title in a Benetton-Renault. With a record nine wins out of seventeen Grand Prix races, this was a triumphant season for the German driver.

    After four and a half years with Benetton, Schumacher signed a contract with Ferrari, with the objective of bringing the World Championship once again back to Maranello. Under his influence, the Italian team restructured itself. The key positions were occupied by new expert personnel. In 1997 and 1998, he narrowly missed out on the World Title - in each case, in the final race of the season. As early as 1998, he renewed his contract with Ferrari until the year 2002.

    The 1999 season was an emotional roller-coaster ride for Schumacher. At Silverstone he suffered the first serious accident of his career. After sustaining a double fracture of the right leg the German driver was forced to withdraw from the Championship for six Grand Prix races. Then in Malaysia he celebrated a glorious come-back and by the end of the season had exerted an appreciable influence on the destiny of the Constructors' World Championship.

    In the year 2000 Schumacher done what he promised he would do and brought the driver's title home to Ferrari for the first time in 21 years. Nine race wins in a season dominated by the brilliance of Schumacher was more than enough to secure his 3rd world title. Michael finished the season with 108 points and was the clear winner.

    As defending champion in the 2001 season Michael Schumacher simply ran away with the world title his fourth in total and second for Ferrari. Once again Michael won nine races along with eleven pole positions. On his way to a massive winning margin the German re-wrote a number of records along the way, including the highest number of Grand Prix wins, highest number of points scored and the highest number of fastest laps. Schumacher renewed his Ferrari contract until 2004 and looks set to continue winning races and titles for the Maranello team for some time yet.

    2002 would see Schumacher further cement his name into the history of the sport. His third successive drivers world championship with Ferrari and his fifth in total was won with commanding performances. Schumacher took 7 pole positions and 11 wins as he cruised to the title, which was won earlier than ever before. Schumacher took the record books apart in a season that saw him finish every race of the season with a lowest position of third! Nothing could stand in the way of his title and he afforded himself the luxury of helping team mate Rubens Barrichello to at least 2 wins.

    Schumacher would go on to claim his 6th world title in 2003 but it was not as easy as he had it in 2002. McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya in the Williams took the challenge to Michael and it was a challenge he enjoyed. The new points scoring system had taken the title battle down to the wire in Japan and with perhaps his worst race of the season Schumacher scored 1 point to take the title. Schumacher had once again a great season of reliability and never once retired from a race due to car problems, but other problems including puncture's, pit stop fires and a river in Brazil did cause him some challenging moments, but he emerged victorious once again.

    2004 was yet another championship winning year for Schumacher as well as Ferrari as they simply dominated the season from start to finish, mirroring the domination shown back in 2002. Schumacher was never really threatened as he claimed his 7th world title, only team mate Barrichello kept him honest and a slight challenge from the BAR team and Jenson Button, but Schumacher cruised it.

    The 2005 season would not be so great for Schumacher, a raft of changes enforced by the FIA ensured the Ferrari teams advantage was nullified, tyre changes at pitstops were outlawed taking away one of Schumacher's best ability's to pump in race winning laps in and around the pitstops. As it was Ferrari suffered with tyre problems for the whole season as Bridgestone found it tough to come to terms with making a race distance tyre. This handed the advantage to the Michelin shod Renault team and Fernando Alonso became the youngest ever world champion. Schumacher's only win came at the highly controversial USGP when only the Bridgestone teams entered the race. The only other real bright spot for Schumacher was a great drive to 2nd place at Imola.

    In 2006 Michael Schumacher would say farewell to Formula One as he brought an end to his illustrious career, sadly he was unable to go out with a 8th title but he went out on a high as he took the title battle with Alonso to the last race of the season. Many questioned if he could go on for a few more years but at 37 Michael declared his batteries empty despite putting in some stunning drives throughout the season. He plans to take a well earned rest and have some quality time with his family before deciding what direction his new life without F1 will take.

    Michael seemed content with his retirement, but his old passion for racing was ignited once again in 2009. After Felipe Massa's accident Ferrari approached him to stand in for their injured driver and Michael agreed, sadly for Michael a bike accident had left him with a serious neck injury which prevented him from taking the Ferrari seat. However in December 2009 it was announced that he would be leaving Ferrari and taking up a race driver role with Mercedes, headed up by old friend Ross Brawn.