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Michael Schumacher is one of the most successful, and controversial, drivers in the history of Formula One.
The German won seven world championships to establish himself as the driver-to-beat during his 19 season career in F1. He drove in 306 grands prix and won a then-record 91 times and claimed pole position 68 times.
He was adored around the world, but especially in Italy because he ended the famous team’s drought of world titles that stretched from 1979 until he won in 2000.
However, he was also a polarising figure, with his at-times ruthless on-track behaviour angering his rivals and some fans.
He twice collided with his world title rival in the final race of the season, in apparent attempts to run them off the track.
The second time, against Jacques Villenuve at the end of the 1997 season saw him disqualified from that year’s results.
However, since a skiing accident at the end of 2013 he has been supported by the entire F1 community, with the #KeepFightingMichael often displayed by drivers and teams.
While Schumacher hasn’t been seen in public since his accident, he has never been forgotten by the racing fraternity.
A new Netflix documentary is set to launch on September 15, titled Schumacher, it will feature interviews with those closest to him, including his family.
Here’s everything else you need to know about Germany’s most successful racing driver.
Yes. Schumacher suffered a severe head injury while skiing with his family in December 2013. He was placed in an induced coma at the time and didn’t regain consciousness until June 2014. He stayed in hospital until September 2014 when he was transferred to his home for on-going care and recovery.
Unclear. The Schumacher family has been very careful in what is said about his condition since the accident, choosing to maintain Michael’s privacy.
In 2016 a German publication claimed he was walking again, but the family denied that was true and took the publication to court. His long-time agent, Sabine Kehm, issued a statement at the time that gave the closest inside account of his health condition.
Kehm said: “Unfortunately we are forced by a recent press report to clarify that the assertion that Michael could move again is not true.
“Such speculation is irresponsible, because given the seriousness of his injuries, his privacy is very important. Unfortunately they also give false hopes to many involved people.”
In an interview with London’s Telegraph in September 2021, Schumacher’s wife Corinna gave the most detailed update on his position from the family since his accident saying: “I miss Michael every day, everybody misses Michael, but Michael is here. Different, but he’s here and that gives us strength. I think that he is simply very strong mentally. He still shows me how strong he is every day.”
He was born January 3, 1969, making him 52 at the time of publication.
His height is listed as 174cm.
He was born in Hurth in West Germany, to parents Rolf and Elisabeth.
He has one brother, Ralf, who also raced in Formula One for the Jordan, Williams and Toyota teams.
The Schumacher family is famously private but it’s been reported that Corinna sold the long-time family estate in Gland, Switzerland and relocated to Mallorca, Spain; however, no-one close to the family has confirmed this. The family has strong ties to Switzerland with Corinna’s CS Ranch located just outside Gland.
While fiercely private Schumacher is believed to be Catholic and met with Pope John Paul II in 2005.
Forbes estimated his career earnings at approximately US$1 billion in 2017, which made him the fifth highest paid athlete of all-time at the time of publication.
Yes. Michael married Corrina Betsch in 1995.
Yes, the couple have two children - Gina-Maria (born 1997) and Mick (born 1999).
Gina has her own interest in horsepower, competing in Reining - a western-style horse-riding competition where riders have to ride through a set pattern of circles, spins and stops. She won the 2017 junior world championship for individuals and teams.
Yes, Mick debuted in F1 in 2021, driving for the Haas-Ferrari team. He is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, the team his father drove the prime of his career with.
Mick won the 2020 Formula Two championship and the 2018 FIA Formula Three European title on his way to F1.
Jean Todt is one of Michael’s closest friends. Todt is, at the time of publication, president of the world motorsport governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), but he was team boss at Ferrari during Schumacher’s dominant run in the early 2000s.
Todt is one of the few people to see Michael on a regular basis, saying he visits his former driver at least once per month.
Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel is also a close friend, growing up as a fan of Schumacher. With Michael unable to attend races, Vettel has acted as a mentor to Mick during his career.
No. But his brother Ralf does.
“I always thought records were made to be broken.”
Schumacher said this in one of his final public interviews in September 2013. He was speaking about the possibility of Vettel breaking his record race wins and world championships.
He drove for four teams during his 19 seasons in F1 - Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG.
He made his F1 debut with Jordan at the 1991 Belgium GP, but only competed in one race before he was snapped up by Benetton.
During his time at Benetton he won his first two championships before signing a lucrative contract to join Ferrari for the 1996 season.
This was the most successful period of his career, winning the majority of his races and championships in the early 2000s. He stayed at Ferrari until he retired at the end of the 2006 season.
He made his F1 comeback with Mercedes, who had helped him during his early days in racing, for the 2010 season. He was unable to repeat the success of his earlier career, scoring only a single podium finish with Mercedes. He retired for good at the end of the 2012 season and was replaced by Lewis Hamilton.
He won seven - 1994 and ‘95 with Benetton and 2000, ‘01, ‘02, ‘03 and ‘04 with Ferrari.