Schumacher… What the hell does that name mean? To any Formula1 fan, it means passion, excellence and most of all a burning and all-consuming desire to win.
In 1991, he drove his first race for Jordan, miraculously taking a pathetic car to seventh position on the grid; everyone on the grid immediately took notice. Over 250 grand prix, 91 victories, 68 pole positions and 7 world championships later he’s firmly stamped himself into the record books and our memories. His driving is perfection itself- he makes precious few mistakes; he’s supremely fit, technically astute and tactically brilliant but that isn’t what makes ‘Schumi’ who he is… It’s the man behind the driver who made him the success he is today.
Joining Ferrari, a team which hadn’t produced a world champion since 1979, he gelled them into a cohesive unit, leading them by example with a singular enthusiasm for the sport, a raging competitive spirit and exemplary work ethic (Williams’ bosses once lamented that Ralf Schumacher and Juan Montoya didn’t show Schumi’s enthusiasm for work. Michael, reportedly, used to call his technical director at three in the morning to discuss adjustments to his car.) all of which has made him a demi-god at Maranello. No champion is without his detractors and Schumi has his share, like those that believe Lance Armstrong took performance enhancing drugs and think that Pete Sampras was unexciting. For them, I have a story to tell – Eddie Jordan is fond of recollecting how before he gave Schumacher his first drive, he had asked him if he had driven around the Spa circuit to which Schumi promptly replied that he had, conveniently leaving out the fact that he had done so on his bike…. Jordan, of course, has no regrets considering the qualifying performance that he managed that weekend but that’s classic Schumacher. He may bend the rules a little, but he gets the job done…
Schumacher has driven us through sixteen years of unforgettable moments- the duels with Senna, Prost, Mansell and later Hakkinen, Villeneuve and Alonso, the many last minute blitz to pole position, the tears after equaling Senna’s number of race victories and more shocking ones like ramming into Villeneuve in 1997 but the picture of him that will always always remain in my memory, is him taking his victory leap on the podium, jumping onto Ross Brawn afterward and reveling in the champagne showers. The look on his face, reflecting all the joy in the world, is inspiring. Flawed genius though he maybe, that desire to win makes him an unequalled champion….
– Ranjani Murali, Guest Writer
A long due post on Schumi. The writers have been fairly busy and hence the drop in frequency of posts. Hopefully, this situation will be amended in the near future.
Hope you enjoyed the post… let us know what you think.