MAGDEBURG/SAO PAULO. When Michael Schumacher hands over the steering wheel on Sunday afternoon in São Paulo, a great era will come to an end.
With seven world championship titles, the record-breaking champion has indelibly written his name into the Formula 1 history books.
Marcel Lejeune, CEO of Schuberth GmbH, thinks back with gratitude on this successful cooperation: "With his enormous technical understanding and outstanding analytical capabilities, Michael Schumacher has made a significant contribution to the continuous improvement of our Formula 1 helmets.
Our engineers were confronted with some hard nuts to crack, and without him it would not have been possible to push ahead with many innovations at the pace that was achieved. We are very grateful for his untiring attention to detail."
New standards of safety in Formula 1 have been set by the shared development of the helmet since 2001. Significant achievements in the areas of safety, aerodynamics and comfort can be traced back to Schumacher's ideas.
Not least, Schumacher's suggestion of double carbon protection in the forehead area that is exposed to particular risk led to one of the safest helmets bar none.
This safety component made a major contribution to minimizing the consequences of the accident suffered by his former teammate and Schuberth driver Felipe Massa during the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009, following the impact with a steel spring.
"We have permanently optimized the Formula 1 helmet. My suggestions and wishes have been taken seriously and put into practice.
Without exaggeration, Schuberth today offers the best helmet that is available in motorsport," says Schumacher, praising the helmet maker from Magdeburg (Saxony-Anhalt).
Even during his time out of racing, from 2006 to 2010, Schumacher provided important ideas for developing the SR1 motorcycle race helmet, which has since garnered numerous international awards.
"I am delighted to continue working with Schuberth on improvements to motorcycle and motorsport helmets which will not only make racing safer for professional drivers but will also benefit road users," says Michael Schumacher.
"We have already taken the expertise built up in Formula 1 and channeled it into developing our series production products. In fact, we should be pleased that Michael will be able to devote more time to us in future as a consultant and test driver," adds Lejeune with a wry grin.
At least as far as the helmet design is concerned, when the seven-time champion bows out of the sport at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, it will be a rather modest and quiet affair. Schuberth had always come up with exceptional creations to mark special anniversaries.
For the 20th anniversary of Formula 1, the helmet manufacturer surprised everyone with a gold-plated helmet, while the 300th Grand Prix start was marked by a platinum helmet.
For his farewell it is important for Michael Schumacher to start with his traditional red helmet showing a single message with which he wishes to thank his fans: "Life is about passions - Thank you for sharing mine" is written on the sides.
Schuberth will continue to equip top drivers during the coming Formula 1 season. Schuberth helmets will be worn by the Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa as well as Michael Schumacher's former teammate Nico Rosberg (Mercedes GP Petronas) and Nico Hülkenberg, who is switching from Force India to Sauber.