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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My first ever tweet was about his comeback.
One German dominator out, another one in.

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Michael is surely one of the greatest drivers of all time, up there with Senna, Prost Fittipaldi and Fangio. My ideal result this weekend would be Michel, Fernando and Kimi on the podium. I’d like Fernando to win the drivers championship because of the media’s focus on Sebastian, but both are worth of a triple crown. Congratulations Michael, on a career that will remain in the history books forever.

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I hate to break it to the writer, but Senna, Fangio and Clark all had the best car available on the track for most of their career, and they got special treatment from their team too. So cut the cr4p maybe? (this coming from someone who never really took a shine on schuey)

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Sad to see a legend leave.

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Sad to see him retire, but what a career! I am glad that F1 came to Texas and Micheal enjoyed the Austin area so much, that he bought a bit of land here…. Can’t wait to hear him say “Howdy, pardner”.

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i think Jackie Stewart is better than Fittipaldi

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shumacher has been a legend, and always will be in his right,
i rather hope this new era will feature lewis hamilton as he is a very talented and charismatic driver.

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Extraordinary that a whinger like Lewis can ever be described as charismatic. Sad to see Schuey go, one of the things that got me into F1 was the sheer dominance he displayed each race weekend during the Ferrari years.

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One of the greatest!! I still remember those Benetton years and it feels like yesterday. His arogance, his move to Ferrari made him more human and one of the best of all time. A very sad day for F1.

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Hope to see Alonso third title win no sunday. A tough challenge.

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Reblogged this on bguilbert.

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Good riddance!

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I was just a kid when Schuey had his winning spree at Ferrari, he’s the reason I now love Ferrari and he’s also one of my biggest idols!

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“Slavish athleticism” reveals more about the low self-esteem of the author, than it does about the character of Michael Schumacher. While I am no Schumacher apologist (Jacques Villeneuve will always be better, because he respected other drivers, and spoke his mind), it does seem hypocritical to insinuate fitness is a flaw, especially considering the current pandemic of obesity. When someone over 40 stays strong enough to battle athletes half his age, his physical conditioning should be lauded, rather than mocked.

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Im a big Mercedes Fan but i think the best Team was and is Mc Laren Mercedes . Michael is a living legend . I think the Mercedes Deal was a bit unlucky. So last but not least he do a good Job . We never forget you . Proud of Germany .

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The best driver ever, a total dedicated professional.

However, I felt at the time of his announcement to return to F1 a few years ago was a big mistake, and I was right.

Part of being great is knowing when to quit. I cannot help thinking that what he has done to return (and fail) has done irreparable damage to the aura and mystery of the Great Schumacher, despite what mere statistics can convey.

He is still a hero in book.

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Jes ,the fault was by Mercedes to break with Mc Laren. But i think on ever time in future if you heard from a classic F1 Race Michael is in a car .Dont forget. He is a old bull with a hard horn . Legend . Legend . Legend . Great Fantastic

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Should have never some out of retirement in the first place.

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Michael is a great driver but i dont really think that it is only Mercedes fault, as i’ve mentioned to some of friends whom watch F1, i’ve told them that i believe the reason lays in that Michael were driving when the cars were ”faster” under the races and didnt weight as much as they do know, and due to him being out for 3 years where they changed to no refuelling under the races, i think he lost behind, because if you look at his times under the Qualifications, he does a great job, good times and so on. But in races, it dies out and thats why i believe this theory.

As you dont need to have a full tank of gas under the Qualifications.

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micheal always be one of greatest.drivers.his record.well take some beating.in f1.a true champion.go down in history.

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huge driver leaving..
even better driver, alonso, beginning his era

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Totally agree with @realistically. Sad day to see the most successful driver in F1 to leave. Would have been great to see him on the podium. I will never forget the first time I saw Michael driving his Benetton Ford in 1994. You will always be a legend in my books!!

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What a career. A true champion.
vai deixar saudades

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always will b a legend and b sadly missed by most of us < any one know wot hes doing fwhen he leaves f1

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No mention are being made about Michael’s ridicilously long hours working with the engineers, or his incredible fitness levels…that were also a big contributing factor to his success at Ferrari, although I am the first to admit the unlimited testing were a big help (but all teams were allowed) together with key people, like that genius called Rory Byrne…he were much better than Adrian Newey. Schumi has unrivaled ambition, and that is why his career went the path it did, and quite frankly, I would not have it any other way…except for the fact that he retired too early in his career…
But all in all, I am priviledged to have witnessed him in action throughout his whole career…it was something truly special. We will sorely miss you, Schumi!!!

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