In 2006 Michael Schumacher announced to the world and his adoring fans that he was retiring from Formula 1. After that fans mourned the loss of the seven time World Champion. In 2010 he returned. And to be fair the prospect was initially exciting; the previous year Brawn had won the Constructors and Drivers Championship with Jenson Button.
Under a different name – Mercedes GP – many, including myself, thought that this pace and reliability could be emulated. Unfortunately it did not. 2010 was the year of the Red Bulls and Sebastian Vettel in particular. That year Schumacher finished 9th, not exactly the dominant display we had all seen before. Indeed 2012, his final season saw him finish 13th. This was heart-breaking to watch – the old flair just wasn’t there despite the Michael Schumacher – Ross Brawn combination that had been so successful at Ferrari.
During his so-called ‘second career’ a number of mistakes were made. He pushed his racing rival Rubens Barrichello into the wall and was involved in numerous collisions. Bernie Ecclestone, the founder of the modern era of Formula 1 believes that he made a ‘mistake’ returning. I’m surprised he managed to find time to make such an announcement; he’s usually busy kissing the floor that Sebastian Vettel walks on.
I argue that this isn’t true. What better way to hand the baton of consecutive championship wins over to the next generation than racing alongside three time champ Sebastian Vettel at your final Grand Prix? After all he is the Godfather of Motorsport according to many.
The chance to see him race was a privilege – we cannot dispute his greatness. He has been ranked the second most talented driver in the sport’s history behind the late great Ayrton Senna. Sure, we may not have seen the magic we saw in the Schumacher years but with every race he exuded passion and determination that I don’t always see from drivers.
I know of one young man in particular who will miss Schumacher – so much so that he created a tribute video. I will link it below so that we can all share our memories together.
Of course what is perhaps most important to remember is that we will never be able to forget ‘His Schumacherness’. His legacy will live on whether he’s in the car or not. Now let’s see whether the tides will turn at Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton now on board.
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Video courtesy of @lukasredl