Michael Schumacher (born 3rd January, 1969 in Hürth, West Germany) is a German former Formula One driver. He is a three time World Champion, having won the Drivers Championship in 1999, 2000 and 2002.
After a number of years dominating the German and European karting scene he began racing in cars in 1988 - competing in and winning the Formula König series. This attracted the attention of Mercedes-Benz, who placed him amongst their junior lineup with the likes of Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Fritz Kreutzpointner and Karl Wendlinger. Schumacher stepped up into International Formula 3000 in 1990 with the Apomatox team - sharing the second seat with future F1 sparring partner Damon Hill.
1991-199x: Benetton Arrows
An impressive F3000 season saw Schumacher land in one of 1991's best seats at the much-improved Benetton Arrows team replacing former World Champion Guillaume Gauthier alongside popular Briton Chris Dagnall. Schumacher's debut saw him finish in fourth place at the United States Grand Prix in Phoenix. Schumacher continued a strong run of form and scored his first podium finish of his F1 career at the Mexican Grand Prix with a second place behind McLaren's Gerhard Berger. Schumacher took four more podiums throughout the season to finish the year in a very strong fifth place overall.
By 1998, Schumacher was the team leader at Scuderia Ferrari, racing alongside popular British driver David Coulthard. Schumacher's season got off to a somewhat unremarkable start, retiring in Australia before hitting back with a second place finish in Brazil and a win in Argentina.
Despite taking three wins to his Scottish teammate's one - Coulthard had the measure of the Ferrari F300 over Schumacher - and the McLarens of Häkkinen and Davies being far superior to the Maranello machines. Schumacher would finish in fourth place overall - 43 points behind eventual champion Häkkinen.
The following season, Schumacher would remain with Coulthard and Ferrari. Much like the previous year, it initially seemed like Coulthard had a better hold of the new F399 - but Schumacher would follow the Scot's two wins in the opening races with an emphatic win at Imola. 1999 would be more open than the previous season, with Ferrari and McLaren not enjoying the same dominance they shared in 1998. Wins were harder to come by for the German, and he'd take only two more wins over the course of the year - taking the flag in Great Britain and Portugal. A four way title battle between Schumacher, Coulthard, Frentzen and Häkkinen was contested until the very final race at Estoril - but it would be Schumacher who would take the 1999 crown.
Heading into the new millennium as defending champion, Schumacher was joined by former Arrows driver and 1999 Monaco Grand Prix winner Pedro de la Rosa. Schumacher and Ferrari appeared to be the team to beat again, and Schumacher would take pole position in the opening race of the season. Although he was unable to win the first race due to an engine issue, Schumacher would go on a four race streak of wins, with the only real challenge coming from Frentzen and Jack Christopherson. His fifth win of the season would come at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Schumacher clinched his second title for Ferrari with a second place at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Shaking off the challenge from Jordan, Schumacher and Ferrari would have a new adversary in 2001, namely Michael's younger brother Ralf Schumacher and his Australian teammate Rhys Davies's Williams team. Wins for Schumacher and Ferrari were a lot harder to come by in 2001 as the powerful new BMW Williams would dominate the proceedings. Michael Schumacher would not be able to defend his title as his younger brother was able to secure a historic first championship.
2002 saw Schumacher regain his title in a year where he and Ferrari dominated proceedings, winning an unprecedented twelve races. Schumacher failed to make the podium on only two occasions, due to retirements.
In 2003, Schumacher and Ferrari found their astonishing advantage had been dramatically reduced in the off-season, with Williams and McLaren making strides forward as well as the emergence of Renault as another contender for wins. Schumacher won only three races in this year, with Rhys Davies being his main rival for championship honours. In the end, it was Davies who'd take the crown, albeit after a controversial Japanese Grand Prix where the Australian was initially disqualified from the race - thus handing the title to Schumacher - before the DQ was overturned later on.
Schumacher was faced with yet another challenge in 2004, with Ferrari announcing the signing of former McLaren star James James Davies. Although it was expected that Davies would have to play second fiddle to established number one Schumacher, much of the British press speculated that the pairing would cause fireworks in an already volatile Formula One climate. Davies, for his part, did nothing to assuage the speculation, declaring himself, "Schumacher's only real teammate", and announcing himself as the title favourite pre-season.
With the season shortened due to the boycott of races within the European Union, the title battle was reduced to an intra-Ferrari battle. The two were well matched all season - with Davies and Schumacher taking four wins each - however Davies was slightly more consistent and beat Schumacher by six points for his first ever title win. Schumacher described the 2004 season and battle with Davies as "exhausting" and decided to take a sabbatical from the sport at the end of the season - which eventually turned into retirement.
Following his retirement in 2004, Schumacher made an unexpected return to the F1 paddock with the Japanese midfielders Super Aguri in 2010 following the sacking of under-performing Sammarinese driver Andrea Acuri, partnering Takuma Sato. The return of Schumacher provided a lift to the struggling team and would help steer them to more respectable results over the course of the year - his best being a sixth place on merit in Abu Dhabi.
In 2011, Schumacher would start the season with three straight points finishes but would struggle to pick up many more points over the course of the year, finishing in 26th place.
A change of ownership at Super Aguri ahead of the 2012 season saw the return of Brabham to F1 - and the veteran pairing of Schumacher and Barrichello were the perfect duo to lead this new rendition of the legendary British team into a new era. Schumacher would announce ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix that the 2012 season would be his last in F1 - and he'd get off to a great start by taking a third place finish in the opening race. The revitalised Brabham would prove an inspiration for the German, as he'd take a further three podiums over the course of the season - including a best result of second in the season ending Singapore Grand Prix. Schumacher would finish in tenth place in the driver's championship.
Buoyed by his return to form, Schumacher opted to continue for one more year with Brabham. His point scoring prowess would remain in 2013 and he even took a final race win - in the last ever Monaco Grand Prix ran under Formula One rules before the race's defection to the F1RWRS in 2014. A further pair of podiums in the USA and Great Britain saw him finish the 2013 season in eighth position.
Shortly after his retirement in 2013, on 29 December 2013, Schumacher was skiing with his son Mick, descending the Combe de Saulire below the Dent de Burgin above Méribel in the French Alps. While crossing an unsecured off-piste area between Piste Chamois and Piste Mauduit he fell and hit his head on a rock, sustaining a serious head injury despite wearing a ski helmet. The severe injuries forced the doctors to put him into a medically induced coma. Whilst he has returned home for further rehabilitation in 2014, no further information has been made available on his status since then.