Schumacher at 50: Time For Tea?


Five years on from Michael Schumacher's skiing accident, Ferrari has created a 'Michael 50' exhibition at its museum. Opened today - the very day he turns 50 - it's an exhibition chronicling Schumacher's remarkable career with Ferrari, featuring iconic F1 cars, helmets and more from his time there. 72 of his 91 GP victories were with Ferrari, and five of his seven championships.

The 50th birthday of any Formula 1 legend, but particularly Schumacher, should not go unmarked, so below we've selected three of our favourite videos from throughout his career. Feel free, of course, to share your own clips and memories; today is a day where motorsport will come together to celebrate the achievements of a legend - keep fighting Michael.

 

Matt - European GP, Nurburgring 1995
Confidence is what this video is all about. Schumacher was miles behind Jean Alesi with a few laps left to go, but there was clearly never any doubt in his mind - and there can't have been any as a viewer watching it live - that he was going to catch the Frenchman and take the race win. As Alesi floundered, Schumacher's concentration was unerring; a gap to the Ferrari that was 6.7 seconds when this video starts eventually became a victory by 2.6 seconds for the Benetton. Fresh tyres helped, no doubt, but putting in that sort of performance at the end of a race - including an incredible overtake around the outside with two laps to go - should not be underestimated. What a drive.    

 

Dafydd - Hungarian GP, Hungaroring 1998
It's an obvious choice, but Schumacher's performance at the 1998 Hungarian Grand Prix stands out to me for many reasons. Having been seven years old at the time, it's one of my earliest F1 memories; the shriek of the engines, the speed of the cars, Murray Walker's excited commentary. I was hooked on the sport, and the driver of that bright red machine instantly became my new hero. Then there's the fact that it came during a season in which Ferrari was not dominant, and during a weekend on which McLaren held the upper hand. Successful driver's detractors often cite their team's superiority as the primary reason for their success, but this race showed once again that Schumacher's raw talent and outright speed were undeniable. Finally it demonstrates the Brawn-Schumacher collaboration at its best; an incredible piece of tactical ingenuity and a drive to deliver on the promise it held, a scenario that would play out time and again over the coming years with great success, but perhaps never quite as much flair.

 

Sam - Hungarian GP qualifying, Hungaroring 2004
Michael became a master of many circuits, but for me, the Hungaroring was one of the best illustrators of his raw pace. On every visit, Schumacher attacked this circuit of fast-flowing corners with tremendous commitment, his corner entry always followed instantly by a throttle chased so very quickly that in some moments, I wonder if he ever let off.

I've chosen a video of his pole lap for the 2004 Hungarian GP because it features no commentary, allowing us to hear Schumi's masterful control of the machine around him without interruption. Just listen to that glorious Maranello-made V10 as it sings so sweetly to 19,000rpm(!), before gargling ferociously as the sequential box tumbles back down its ratios so brutally (sod the seamless shifters of today). Every mechanical moment of the Schumacher-wrestled F2004 is entirely audible for our hearing pleasure.

I don't doubt that Lewis Hamilton and - perhaps following a bit of muscling-up - Max Verstappen could also hustle Schumi's most dominant championship-winning racer around the Hungaroring to great effect. But I don't believe anyone could be so clearly dialled into this car, one of several Ferrari single-seaters the German played a significant role in the development of, as a then 35-year-old superstar.

This is the sort of stuff that had me setting a 4:30am alarm to watch far-off qualifying sessions, let alone GPs. These days, I'm lucky if I catch the race highlights.

 

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (93) Join the discussion on the forum

  • wab172uk 03 Jan 2019

    Greatest driver of his generation.

  • TR4man 03 Jan 2019

    Goodness, was it really five years ago?

  • Augustus Windsock 03 Jan 2019

    wab172uk said:
    Greatest driver of his generation.
    And the worst cheat; taking out Damon Hill, trying to take out Villeneuve, ‘parking’ his car in the middle of the track at Monaco
    Not forgetting the time he claimed to be able to modulate the throttle just using his sensitive little foot TWELVE TIMES PER SECOND (think you’ll find that was the traction control you weren’t allowed to have Michael but which Ferraro managed to get around by getting FIA to say they couldn’t prove it was used even though it was fitted..)
    Great driver?
    Undoubtedly
    Great cheat?
    Indubitably.
    Personally I really cant like or admire him, but that said, I sincerely hope that he makes a recovery from the injuries he received whilst skiing.
    As an aside, I was musing over the greatest drivers of the last 40yrs, and came up with Lauda, Prost, Senna, Schumacher.
    Of those, I’d guess Senna is loved the most, because whilst all of them were single-minded and arrogant, only Senna seemed to have the common touch and a sort of vulnerability that endeared him to fans.
    I stand to be corrected, of course...

  • FK 03 Jan 2019

    The argument regarding whether he is the greatest driver of all time will rage on long after we have all gone. But to my mind he is certainly within that conversation.

    Great lap round round Hungary. V10 shows part of what we are missing in F1 at the moment. I might argue that the lap he did a year later at the same circuit was even more shocking, as the 2005 Ferrari was comparatively off the pace. Yet somehow he managed to get pole by more than 1 second, although it was later admitted that his Ferrari had been fuelled 'aggressively'.

    Happy Birthday and hope there are many more to come

  • The Green Triangle 03 Jan 2019

    I grew up watching schuey win weekend in and out. He made F1, and even tho I didn't support him, he was the perfect ego we loved to hate. Wouldn't have been half the entertainment without him

    And I'm sure the other drivers were just as arrogant...

    Here's to you Schuey and some sort of recovery.

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