It’s a final farewell to Michael Schumacher

Eras in grand prix racing are demarked by an individual driver’s dominance, described by that champion’s look, that champion’s style. So as the fifties belonged to Fangio, so the sixties did to Jim Clark. Split the 1970s down the middle and give half to Emerson Fittipaldi, half to Niki Lauda and the eighties; well you’re either Prost or Senna, aren’t you? We know which side we’re on.

Roll on then to 1994, and a new era starts. An era created in the vacuum left behind by the death of Ayrton Senna and which quite possibly will only finally come to an end, for good, this Sunday. And, with the potential crowning of a brand new triple world champion, another will officially start.

Michael Schumacher made his debut in F1 in 1991, won his first two world championships in 1994 and 1995, his other five between 2000 and 2004. There have been no more world championships since Schumacher returned from three years’ retirement in 2010, though an eighth title was surely the plan. There have been no more wins. The one pole position Michael scored he wasn’t able to take up. There has been plenty of trouble. There has been an embarrassment of humiliation.

It is so very hard to say whether the comeback was a good thing or not. For Mercedes, certainly, it has been somewhat of a PR disaster in Germany where Michael’s star is untarnish-able. If he wasn’t winning, it must be Mercedes fault, right? Well, quite possibly. Switching Michael for someone with a personality the polar opposite seems a pretty smart move in the circumstances.

But for Michael? Well, had he kept the driving boots in the box under the bed we might by now, have started to forget the elements of ‘bad Michael’ over the years, or at least mellowed on the memory. But because he didn’t, we have been introduced to ‘good Michael’, yet at the same time forced to re-evaluate bad Michael.

We certainly don’t buy the notion that Michael Schumacher ‘introduced’ a level of cynical over-commitment that’s somehow polluted the sport. Ayrton Senna was no less cynical. He just did it with a greater sense of panache, and died young and blameless. That’s not to say ‘bad Michael’ didn’t have his moments: on Damon, on Villeneuve Jnr, since the comeback on Barrichello. Even as recently as last weekend, he didn’t hesitate to steer Jenson Button towards the pit wall. That’s Michael.

But it’s not just the on-track issues that haunt him. There are still lingering suggestions that at Benetton his car was not entirely legal, and at Ferrari he was one player in a team assembled with unusual skill, focus and funding. The Benetton team were found to have used illegal traction control software in its car, but the FIA chose to believe it was not used. As for Ferrari, well you only have to read contemporaneous details of the sheer number of days Ferrari spent testing innumerable and very bespoke Bridgestone compounds to understand something special was going on there. Michael was a big part of it, but he was the only driver on the grid in all those Ferrari championship years getting that level of service. And, frankly, there just weren’t as many quick drivers then either.

Would you take every advantage? Of course you would. Michael, as a born winner, duly did and we don’t blame him for that. We’re just not sure we can bring ourselves to truly laud him quite as much as we can Clark, Emmo’ and Senna.

Irrespective, we have desperately wanted win number 92 ever since we learned he was coming back. And it is still the result we want more than any on Sunday. But we will also be looking forward to formally moving into a new era. Will it be the Alonso era — it was Fernando that first brought Schumacher’s winning ways to an end — or the Vettel era? You tell us. Either way one will be a triple champion come Sunday…

Could either of those two eventually become a seven-time winner? Does either have the force of character to stamp his personality on his own time? Schumacher’s time has been marked by a march towards slavish athleticism and corporate professionalism, by the utter dominance of aerodynamics over any other performance measure, by a need to artificially enhance ‘the show’, to massively reduce risk, but also by a steady sleep walk away from the romance of F1. Away from the Spas and the Monzas to the Sepangs and Yas Marinas.

Still, that’s not Michael’s fault, and he’s been a champion in every sense of the word. Michael we salute you. You’ve left big shoes to fill

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Good luck Shuey, will miss you, all the very best for the future…You are truly a legend

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We Love you Stig

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What a poor article… And thank you giving the guy “some” credit towards the finish!!! Michael is the greatest F1 driver TO-DATE, and the stats speak louder than any write-up out there… I watched him rear-ending a car which was 1 lap behind, in the rain, because of how fast he was going… I also watched him win a race hours after learning of the death of his mother… Michael had an unmatched mental and physical condition, and was able to push a car, a team, and a whole sport beyond the limits… YES he’s had his low moments, and they were many, but his legacy is surely undeserving of the above write-up…

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Michael Shumacher. The Man, The Myth, The Legend, He will allways be remembered. He is my driving idol. (sorry Clarkson). I have adopted his driving style, including the infamous weave pass/block. I use it quite often when driving. Not quite forcing people into a concrete barrier, but hey stuff happens its racing.

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And very good looking.. : )

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I think in order to have highlights there are definitely lowlights. If you are a fan then be one, up or down, thick or thin, full or flush. Be loyal.

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dont worry he will be back

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What a poor article. As for Michael good luck and thank you for all of your great races in F1

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Oh puleez… Schumacher was the worst in a long line of arrogant, entrepeneurish drivers, to think rules are there to be ‘interpreted’, ie. raped. No gentleman driver he. You need several things to earn respect, one of which is giving same. Just being fast doesn’t cut it, even if you win 91 races and 7 titles. A Sneaky Syd with a God-complex.

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I’m glad the sly cheating swine has finally gone. Not a moment too soon. I hope to never see him at an F1 event ever again.

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Now Stig can back to old job for Top Gear… Schumi thank you for everything… PP in Monaco! what a lap was that whit one hand on fast corner… true legend !

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Sadly, I fear we have not seen the last of you! Go crawl back under the rock from where you came. Ms was the greatest driver F1 has ever seen. FYI, all F1 drivers are arrogant and want to win more than everything, no matter how thick the fair play veneer is.

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the best ever, my rcing driver Hero
and i will miss him.
right to come back, helped his legend
grow as we saw a flawed Schuy this time.

overall a great career.

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I will always rember him for what he has achived and won he is a legeand and will never be forgoting he is my hero and i will miss him dearly. I watched him from a school boy to an adult and he has been wonderfull to see thank you michael for making F1 great for me to watch

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I think that Micheal Schumacher is one of the Best Racingdrivers in the World,
not only because he had a better Car or because he has done ilegal stuff,
Micheal Schumacher is a Legend and beside the racese this year, how great could Nico Rosberg drive with the same car ?
Why is the Mercedes Team much better than the Mercedes Racing team ?
The problem you have to see is that this car is garbage compared with the Car of RED BULL or Ferrarie! Nico Rosberg has never won a Race in it, Micheal Schumacher has never won a race in it and Lewis Hammilton will never win a race in it. To be able to fight against teams like Red Bull, Mercedes or Ferrarie you need a car with a proper engine, you need a car which can handle the tires, you need a car with some advantages and not car that breaks down every second race or realy destroys the tires after 20 Minutes of racing. And if I am honest I hate Formula 1 today so much Red Bull has advantages and every one knows it but all say this Sebastian Vettel he he is realy a great driver I bet 100 Bucks give Micheal a chance in the Red Bull and he would Kick Sebastians ass out of Formula 1 and back to the Kindergarten were this little crying Child would breack down and scream around how bad the World played a trick on him.

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Shuey- Best there was,best that probably ever will be. Nice to see how all the haters are happy now. You can keep your Hills and Hamiltons. Must be a relief to see a legend end his career, something those losers will never have. Poor article by the way. Thanks for all the records and all the years of driving passion – the best ofluckfor the future Michael!

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Schumacher has about 4 World Championships he can call his own, the others are hollow victories and I imagine if he has any decency left he will feel ashamed of the way in which he went about winning them.

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@Wobbletastic, what are you on about? Schumacher is what all F1 drivers are, an ego maniac. They want to win more than anything. You had a case of PR gone mad a Mclaren where we were led to believe that Lewis and Button (the all British team) were best friends and stood for fair play! Total nonsense and a lie, which we all eventually with the tweet fiasco. Its a total smoke screen from what we all should know to be true. Both would cross the other to become world champion. If you dont like that, watch something else! Maybe knitting would be more your speed?

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I like competition and hard racing, Schumacher never knew where to draw the line though, which was his downfall and why he will never be remembered as a true great; something that with 7 world titles you’d assume would be guaranteed. He will always be looked at under a dark cloud.

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it would have been two more championships if it weren’t for the anti shumacher points system that gave alonso the titles

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Reblogged this on keewayrider's Blog and commented:
Goodbye to a living legend!

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Michael Schumacher, a legend, a gentleman, champion of champions, truly the best F1 driver ever and many more decades to come

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Michael Schumacher’s main goal entering his final Formula One race is to have some fun.

The seven-time world champion will finish F1’s most successful career at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, hoping that he can enjoy the moment without the pressure of having to do well on the track.

Schumacher retired for the first time after the 2006 season, when he came to the finale in Interlagos still fighting for the championship.

Out of contention this time, the 43-year-old German driver said Thursday that he comes to the Brazilian GP looking to “just take the best out of it and enjoy it as much as I can.

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