It seems hard to believe that a seven-time FIA Formula One World Champion has had an up and down return to the series that he once dominated. Many questioned Michael Schumacher’s decision to return to Formula One; after all he had a stellar career and with 91 grand prix victories, and countless records. Yet he did make a comeback but is now again hanging up his helmet.
Prior to his first retirement, Schumacher was on top of the world. He was the one to beat, and not only in Formula One.
In December of 2009, the wooing of Schumacher by Ross Brawn was complete when a one-year contract was sealed with Brawn’s Mercedes Grand Prix team. At that time he wrote “to be honest, I'm already super excited by the prospect to be back in a F1 cockpit.”
At end of his first year, 2010, many thought the contract would not be renewed, considering his on-track performance. Yet in April of 2011, Schumacher confirmed he was committed and he remained with the Silver Arrows team. Many were shocked but he claimed that he was "on a mission" to take Mercedes back to the top of the podium.
2011 came and went, and still no victory; let alone a podium!
By the end of May, Brawn was singing praises; claiming Schumacher could stay forever. A few weeks later, Brawn was apologizing to his star driver on the continuing technical failures. This came after Schumacher failed to finish the Canadian GP due to his DRS wing stuck open. "It's hard to understand why the problems affect only one driver,” said the Mercedes team principal.
The media swooped down on Mercedes; believing the team felt that Schumacher’s time was up and that their concentration was with the younger team driver, Nico Rosberg. He at least put Mercedes in the spot light at China with a victory.
Prior to Schumacher’s podium in Valencia, silly season had started with Schumacher being the key to being the one who would be out of action in 2013; thus opening the door. The rumor mill started with the claim that Schumacher’s replacement would be either the defending world champion Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton.
McLaren in favor of jumping into the Mercedes cockpit. All this turned out to be true.
When he announced his retirement prior to the start of the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, Schumacher commented: "I can be happy with my performance and the fact that I was continuously raising my game during the last three years. But then, at some point it is time to say goodbye.”
One needs not to worry about the seven times champion. He is also an astute businessman and owns valuable property. He knows how to relax and enjoy time with his family and close friends. No doubt the past few weeks have given him much food for thought considering who truly is one he would call friend, and who is not.
The 2012 season is not over but the German can take time to relax with his wife Corinna in their house that is more like a small city. While they have a jet-set life style, the two value their children. They also are very involved in charitable programs; mainly for children. Schumacher is a volunteer and helps organize events to raise the needed money.
The seven times world champion has no regret as he talked about what he has learned in life and about himself. “… for example, that you can open yourself up without losing focus. That losing can be both more difficult and more instructive than winning; something I had lost out of sight sometimes in earlier years. That you have to appreciate to be able to do what you love. That you have to live your convictions. I have opened my horizon, and I am at ease with myself.”