An interview with Michael Schumacher – given less than two months before he suffered serious head injuries in a skiing accident in 2013 – has been released.
It was released
In it, Schumacher reflects on his life in F1, having ended his career for a second time only a year previously after a comeback with Mercedes.
Interview with Michael Schumacher, from before his 2013 skiing accident, has been released
It is the first previously unseen interview released since Schumacher suffered head injuries
Schumacher reflects on his life in F1, having ended his career for a second time a year before
Years in F1: 1991-2006, 2010-2012
Teams: Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, Mercedes
World championships: Seven – 1994, 1995 (Benetton), 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 (Ferrari)
He describes his most emotional championship victory – having won a record seven in his illustrious career – as being his first with Ferrari in 2000.
Schumacher, who had previously rarely spoken about his career, said: ’21 years no championship with Ferrari, four years myself failing , then finally, in a great race, to achieve it, win the world championship.’
He describes former McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen as being the rival driver he respected more than any other in his career – but that his greatest sporting idol as a child was not an F1 racer.
Schumacher says: ‘The most respected guy in all those years was definitely Mika Hakkinen. Great fights, but stable private relationship.
‘In the young days of karting, I looked around and yes I saw Ayrton Senna or Vincenzo Sospiri, but my real idol was Toni Schumacher [former Germany international goalkeeper and no relation] because he was a great soccer player’.
He also speaks about his huge admiration for Ross Brawn – his technical director at Benetton and Ferrari, and team principal at Mercedes – and puts much of his huge success in F1 down to the Englishman.
Schumacher said: ‘If you go back to the various teams I have driven for, the various missions – Benetton, after four or five years building it up to the championship, same with Ferrari; we tried the same with Mercedes in less time – is there one thing in common, I would say yes there is: Ross Brawn. Think about it!’
Reflecting on his career, Schumacher says his first title with Ferrari in 2000 was his best
He also describes Mika Hakkinen (centre) as being the title rival who he respected the most
The famously focused and bloody-minded Schumacher also reveals his belief that his success in F1 owed as much to team work as to his individual race skill.
He said: ‘Success, as in any situation of life, or in most I know, is about teamwork. Yourself, you do what you do. As a team, you will be much stronger. Formula One is a team work, and definitely not a one man show.’
Asked about whether he ever doubted his abilities, Schumacher said that he was always skeptical and self-critical even when analysing his two titles with Benetton and his five in a row for Ferrari.
‘Records is one thing; doubts, I think it is very important to not be over confident – to be skeptical, to look for improvements.
‘Yeah, I always felt I am not good enough, I have to work, and that was one part of the recipe that made me what I became.’
Schumacher (in 2005 with wife Corinna) hit his head on a rock while skiing in 2013
He also revealed his belief that F1, while tough, was much easier by the end of his 17-year, two-part career thanks to advancements in car technology.
‘Formula One is very tough. It used to be a lot harder – no power brakes, no power steering – in the past compared to nowadays. But anyway it is one of the toughest sports you can do, so a lot of preparation is needed.’
The video interview is marked as being given on October 30, 2013. On December 29 that year, Schumacher suffered a serious head injury after crashing while skiing with his son on holiday in Meribel. He hit his head on a rock, leaving him comatose and requiring two operations.
The 49-year-old continues to be treated at home in Switzerland, with official updates on his condition exceedingly rare. Only close friends and family have been allowed to visit him.
Schumacher returned home from Lausanne University Hospital in 2015, while details in 2016 his lawyer Felix Damm confirmed that he ‘cannot walk’.
His son Mick – also a racing driver – has admitted he ‘finds it hard’ coping with his father’s injuries, according to a friend.
His son Mick is also a racing driver and is looking to follow his father into Formula One
Nicklas Nielsen told a Danish newspaper of the 19-year-old: ‘Mick does not say he is sad about his father. He just said sometimes that it is sometimes hard.
‘I know him very well, also privately. He is a very quiet and calm guy. Very nice and welcoming and he talks to everyone.
‘It was completely closed and not talked about. I still do a little karting with Ralf Schumacher and his team and nobody talks about it.’