Michael Schumacher’s F1 Career Recap

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Posted: December 5, 2023

Updated: December 5, 2023

  • Michael Schumacher is a legendary Formula One driver
  • His professional career lasted 18 years, so it’s worth reviewing
Image source: Nymans Ur, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Michael Schumacher is a retired German Formula 1 driver widely regarded as one of the greatest in the history of the sport, if not the best of all time. He and his persona has been influential on many levels, from changing the entire sport to being a role model for younger drivers. Michael Schumacher’s F1 career lasted 18 years, so it’s definitely worth reviewing. 

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Early Career – Jordan and Benetton 

Michael Schumacher made first shots at Formula 1 in late 1980s-early 1990s, including participating in the famous Macau Grand Prix. He made his Formula One debut with the Jordan-Ford team in 1991. Even though he drove only several hundred meters for that team, he caught the attention of Benetton-Ford, and he moved to the team’s next race. He won his first Grand Prix in 1992 at Spa.

Michael Schumacher's F1 career
Image source: Flickr

First Two Titles – Benetton

Schumacher continued with Benetton in 1994, and he won his first Drivers’ Title with that team. His triumph was overshadowed by a controversial battle with Damon Hill, his main rival, where he intentionally turned into Hill, damaging both cars. In 1995, he won his second consecutive Drivers’ Championship. During this period, Michael Schumacher’s F1 career was truly flourishing.

Ferrari Era

Schumacher joined Ferrari in 1996 and began a historic partnership with the Italian team. Despite a slow start, Schumacher and Ferrari managed to get to the front of the grid a year later. They fought against dominant Williams and Jacques Villeneuve. It all looked good for Schumacher until he made a similar to 1994 move at Villeneuve. As it looks, he saw Villeneuve dive-bombing him to take the lead, which would mean for Schumacher losing the title, and he decided to hit Williams as the last resort. 

As the result, Schumacher was disqualified from the 1997 season for unsportsmanlike conduct. The next two years Ferrari struggled with McLaren Mercedes and Mika Hakkinen who took the leading spots instead of Williams. Only in 2000 Ferrari saw the chance with the best car they had built in years and took both titles. Schumacher had become the first Ferrari champion in 21 years, after Jody Scheckter in 1979. 

The Schumacher-Ferrari combination went on to achieve unprecedented success in both team’s and Michael Schumacher’s F1 career. In total, they won five consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships from 2000 to 2004, breaking numerous records. In 2005, multiple rule changes meant that Ferrari lost its ground and could not compete with Renault and McLaren. In 2006, Schumacher took on against the reigning champion Fernando Alonso but lost it at the last race.

Michael Schumacher's F1 career
Image source: Pixabay

 

Comeback with Mercedes 

After Felipe Massa’s accident at the 2009 Hungaroring, there were rumours and even 22Bet odds that Schumacher would replace the Brazilian until the end of the season, and the entire F1 fanbase wanted that to happen. Unfortunately, due to a recent injury while motorbiking, Schumacher could not be fit. Still, he made a comeback with Mercedes in 2010. His comeback was less successful compared to his earlier years, although he had his spotlight at some races – he took a pole at Monaco in 2012, but it would not count as he had picked up a penalty the race before. At the 2012 European GP, he took his last podium for a 3rd place finish. He retired for the final time after the 2012 season.

Records

Schumacher to this day holds records for the most Drivers’ Championships (7), he shares it with Lewis Hamilton; and most consecutive Drivers’ Championships with five (2000-2004). From less significant records, he holds it for most races left in a season when becoming a Champion with 6 – shared with Max Verstappen. The other being a record for podium finishes in a season, which is 100% in the 2002 season.

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Post-Retirement and Ski Accident

Schumacher had an unfortunate accident while skiing in December 2013 and suffered a severe head injury. Ever since, the legendary driver has been in a private medical condition. The details of his health have been closely guarded by his family, and updates have been very infrequent. There were multiple fake reports as well as pictures that cost reporters their jobs. His son, Mick, has not been very successful in Formula 1, although he has just joined Alpine to race in the WEC 2024 season.

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Michael Schumacher’s F1 career and impact extends beyond his records; he played a crucial role in popularizing the sport globally and inspiring a new generation. His legacy continues to influence the sport, and he remains an iconic figure in the history of Formula One.

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