When considering the Formula 1 world drivers' champion, one of the names that instantly comes to mind is the German racing driver Michael Schumacher. His glorious years spanned from 1991 to 2012, during which he achieved a joint-record seven World Drivers' Championship titles and received numerous honours. Since retiring from the sport in 2012, Michael Schumacher's talent and achievements have positioned him as the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time. After Schumacher's skiing accident in 2013, which took him completely away from the public eye, here's everything about his life to pay tribute to the F1 icon.
Born on January 3, 1969, in Hürth, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany, Michael Schumacher hailed from working-class parents. His father, Rolf Schumacher, a bricklayer, later managed the local kart track. His mother, Elisabeth Schumacher, operated the track's canteen.
Schumacher's father adapted his pedal kart with a small motorcycle engine when he was only four. Despite limited financial resources, his parents supported him financially and emotionally.
At the age of six, the F1 legend won his premier karting championship. He raced in a kart crafted from spare parts with financial support for the engine provided by local businessmen as his parents couldn’t afford it.
Introduced to the Kerpen-Horrem karting track by his parents, Michael Schumacher became the youngest member of the karting club. By the age of 14, his racing talent emerged, enabling him to win several junior championships.
The iconic F1 driver obtained his karting license in Luxembourg at the age of 12 because, in Germany, the eligibility to acquire it is limited to athletes aged 14 and older. Following his win in the German Junior Kart Championship, he progressed to Formula Ford in 1988 and won Formula König.
Schumacher's first Formula One race was with Jordan at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. Following that race, he signed with Benetton for the rest of the 1991 season.
Michael Schumacher decided to retire from Formula One for the first time in 2006 but he announced his comeback four years later.
Schumacher announced his return to Formula 1 in December 2009 for the 2010 season with Mercedes, alongside German driver Nico Rosberg. He then made a short comeback with Mercedes between 2010 and 2012.
When he retired, his accolades included 91 F1 Grand Prix wins, as well as records for the most pole positions (68), the world championships (7), numerous podium finishes, and the fastest laps. Before Lewis Hamilton, Schumacher was regarded as one of the most successful drivers in Formula 1 history.
Ralf Schumacher, his younger brother also competed in Formula One. The duo won several races, for various teams. Despite Ralf's accomplishments, he didn't attain the same level as his elder brother because he never won a World Championship title.
On 29th December 2013, the Formula 1 legend was involved in a terrible skiing accident in the French Alps in which he hit his head on a rock. He was with his son Mick, who was just 14 at the time and suffered a severe head injury.
A year after the accident, Schumacher regained consciousness as his condition improved. After leaving Grenoble Hospital, he was transferred to the University Hospital in Switzerland. As of 2023, the famous 'Formula One' racer has not been seen in public since the accident.
Michael tied the knot with Corinna Betsch in August 1995. Together, they have two children: a daughter named Gina-Maria Schumacher(born on 20 February 1997) and a son named Mick Schumacher (born on 22 March 1999).
Before the skiing accident, Schumacher was passionate about football, horse riding, motorcycle racing, and skydiving. The 54-year-old F1 racer appeared in several charity football matches.
Mick Schumacher started racing karts in 2008. He moved up to the German ADAC Formula 4 in 2015 and raced for the Haas F1 Team during the 2021 and 2022 Formula 1 seasons. He currently serves as the reserve driver for both the Mercedes AMG Formula One Team and McLaren.
Michael Schumacher is also famous for his contributions to charitable causes including the development of poverty-stricken areas and education for children. He gave 1.5 million euros to 'UNESCO' and donated money to many philanthropic organizations, including 'Palace for the Poor' in Peru.
His wife, Corinna Schumacher, gifted him a ceramic amulet on their marriage in 1995, which he believed contributed to his success. Throughout his racing career, the seven-time world champion wore this bracelet, an African-beaded charm engraved with the names of his family members.
On September 15, 2021, Netflix launched a documentary film titled 'Schumacher,' which marked 30 years since Schumacher's debut in Formula One.
Despite having spent millions on medical treatment and healthcare since his skiing accident in 2013, Michael Schumacher remained among the world’s top 10 richest athletes of 2022.