Archive | December, 2012

Time to say goodbye: Michael Schumacher

21 Dec

So what’s he managed in his career then?

Not much, he was only the world champion 7 times and that includes five years in a row from 2000 to 2004, only managed to win 91 races.

So his resume’s not very impressive is it. When did it all start?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, or as it’s usually put in Belgium in 1991. After impressing in F3 and the World Sportscar Championship Schumacher was spotted by Eddie Jordan and was signed to replace on a one off basis to cover for the imprisoned Bertrand Gachot. Despite not having driven the track before qualified 7th despite the fact that the Jordan was a pretty average car, that hadn’t qualified higher than 7th all season.

Wow that’s very impressive, where did it go from there?

After that impressive debut most of the other teams were intent on signing Michael, but it was Benetton who were graced with getting the driver who would go on to smash pretty much every record.

I guess a few people were a bit upset by that decision.

You’d be right there Schumacher’s first few months were rigged with controversy, Jordan appealed in court for them to block the move after claiming they’d already agreed a contract but since it hadn’t been signed the move was allowed to go through. Then at the end of the 1991 season Sauber joined Formula 1 with Mercedes’ backing and looked to sign the German due to a clause in one of Schumacher’s previous contracts meant that Schumacher would join Mercedes if they entered F1. But due to Schumacher not wanting to move Peter Sauber decided not to push it.

Did it turn out to be the correct decision? 

Definitely Schumacher’s first full season went with a bang, winning the Belgium Grand Prix and then going on to finish 3rd in the drivers championship, and then in 1994 he won his first of two world championships with Benetton winning the second in 1995.

So I guess he stayed there since they were clearly providing him with a very good car.

You’d be wrong. Once he’d won his second championship Schumacher moved to Ferrari for the 1996 season.

How did that go?

Phenomenal, despite it taking four years to win his first world championship with Ferrari (he almost won  the championship in 1997, but was disqualified from the season for dangerous driving). But once the 90s were over Schumacher became king, winning five consecutive championships beating the likes of David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, team mate Rubens Barrichello and his nemesis from 1998 and 1999 Mika Hakkinen. But he couldn’t hold off Fernando Alonso’s Renault who broke the run in 2005 before adding to that by taking 2006 too, this led to Schumacher retiring from the sport in 2006.

He retired in 2006? I thought he’d only just retired?

Well he retired for the first time in 2006 but after being linked to a return in 2009 when Felipe Massa’s horror crash left him out of half the season, but it was in 2010 he returned with Mercedes who had been Braun F1, the 2009 world champions.

So I imagine that was as successful a move as his his previous ones?

You’d think so, but sadly it was a disaster. In the three years since the return Schumacher finished on the podium once and once only, at this years European GP. Apart from that good results had been good to come by for Michael.

So has the great name been tarnished? 

Yes and no. Despite ruining his average points and win percentage there have been good things to come from it, he added another podium to the record and took his tally to over 300 races, also it represents the passing of the baton from one German king of F1 to another with Sebastian Vettel taking over the reigns.

So what 3 will he forever be remembered for?

Winning 7 world championships, appearing on Top Gear and for being to put it simply the best driver F1 has ever seen.