Michael Schumacher is universally regarded as the most
talented driver of his generation, with wages at Ferrari which are allegedly more than
twice those of the next best-paid driver. He made his Grand Prix debut in 1991 with
Jordan, driving one race before being snapped up by Benetton.
The following year he won his first race in Belgium and finished third overall. In 1994 he
won his first Drivers' Championship title and successfully defended it the following year.
In 1996 he joined Ferrari, finishing third overall despite ever-present aggravation from
the car. A year later he was stripped of second place after an incident with Jacques
Villeneuve in the last race of the season.
His supreme self-confidence, which is sometimes interpreted as arrogance, and extreme will
to win occasionally means that he courts trouble. The most notable incidents being several
on-track tangles with Damon Hill during 1995 and 1996, the 1997 event in Jerez with
Villeneuve and being prevented from punching David Coulthard in the Spa pitlane during the
1998 Belgium Grand Prix.
1998 and 1999 proved frustrating seasons for Schumacher. In 1998 he battled against Mika
Hakkinen for the drivers' title right up to the last race in Japan. He stalled on the
starting grid and, in accordance with FIA regulations, had to begin the race from the very
back. However, he put in a stunning drive and soon worked his way up to third place, but
it was not to be. A shard of debris from an earlier accident punctured his tyre and left
him sitting by the side of the track while the Finn collected the title of World Champion.
In 1999 an accident at the British GP left him with a broken leg, and unable to compete in
a race until the Malaysian GP. He then faced the worrying prospect of team mate, Eddie
Irvine, taking home the crown after he had worked so hard to be the first Ferrari driver
to win the championship since 1979. The German returned from his recuperation period in
Malaysia vowing to help Irvine, and put in a strong drive to prove his point, but once
again the title slipped from Ferrari's grasp at the last race in Japan.
2000 was different, however. He won the first three races of the season, and continued to
battle hard for his chance at a third championship crown. A mid-season slump in fortune
looked worryingly like it may prevent him, yet again, from taking home the spoils, but an
emotional win in Italy, followed by two straight victories in the USA and Japan saw him
crowned World Champion for the third time, and the first with Ferrari. His win in Malaysia
then helped them retain the constructors' title. The jubilation across Italy reached
immense proportions, and Schumacher quickly became a national hero.
This year he is vowing that he will fight for a fourth crown, and that he is fitter and
stronger than ever.
||Wins Ferrari's first drivers'
championship since 1979, and helps secure the team's constructors' title.
for Ferrari. Crashed out of the British Grand Prix and broke his leg. Won the San Marino
and Monaco Grands Prix and finished 5th in the drivers' championship with 44 points.
for Ferrari. Six race wins, two 2nds and two 3rds got Schumacher so close to his third
World title, after seemingly having no chance in mid-season. Unfortunately 1998 may be
remembered more for his rage in the pits at Spa, and his stall on the grid in Suzuka, than
his valiant but ultimately unsuccessful challenge for the title.
for Ferrari. Finishes second in the Drivers' Championship but is disqualified by FIA after
colliding with Jacques Villeneuve in the final race of the season.
Ferrari and manages third spot despite a series of mechanical failures.
his second F1 title on the spin with Benetton.
for Benetton. Wins his first Drivers' Championship in controversial style after a
collision with nearest rival Damon Hill puts both drivers out of the final race with Hill
threatening to pass.
||Drives for Benetton. Finishes 4th in
the Drivers' Championship with 52 points.
||Drives for Benetton. Finishes 3rd in
his first full F1 season, winning his maiden grand prix at Spa, Belgium.
his Formula One debut with Jordan, driving one race before moving to Benetton, where he
finished the season with four points.
||Wins F3 German Championship
||Finishes third in F3 German
Championship behind Karl Wendlinger and Heinz-Harald Frentzen.