Seven time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher, 44, is in a coma after a skiing accident in the French Alps. At the time of his accident Schumacher was skiing off-piste. He was wearing a ski helmet when he fell and hit a rock with his head.
He fell around 11:05 am. Initial reports had Schumacher shaken but okay. Shortly after that his condition deteriorated and he was taken to the University Hospital of Grenoble where he arrived in a coma. He immediately underwent brain surgery.
Michael Schumacher is a legend in the Formula One racing world, and if there’s one thing his fellow drivers and fans know about Schumacher, it’s that he possesses one of the greatest wills to win of any driver to sit behind the wheel of a racing car. His competitive spirit, his determination, his ability to overcome the odds at any cost, are all legendary.
Schumacher joined the Benetton team in 1991 and stayed with them through 1995, winning two championships with the team in 1994 and 1995.
For 1996 he moved to a Ferrari team that was in tatters. Many credit Schumacher for bringing the legendary Italian team back to greatness. As the team made improvements to the car based on Schumacher’s feedback, he was able to go on to win five consecutive world championships from 2000 to 2004.
In 2006 Schumacher retired from the sport but remained with Ferrari as an adviser.
Being the man that he is, Schumacher came out of retirement in 2010 when he signed on with Mercedes for three years. This second ‘mini career’ was not as successful as his first and at the end of 2012 he retired a second time from the sport.
Michael Schumacher was not without controversy however. There were a few minor incidents during his career, but two major ones stand out. The first was during the 1994 season when he was fighting Damon Hill for the championship. The race had come down to the final round in Australia where Schumacher had a one point lead over Hill. Whoever won the race would win the championship. On lap 36, Schumacher ran wide and when he returned to the track Hill made a pass on the inside as Schumacher ‘shut the door.’ The two cars collided which effectively gave Schumacher his first championship.
The second incident was during the 1997 season and involved Schumacher and Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve. It too was the last race of the season and Schumacher was leading Villeneuve by one point. It was a repeat of the 1994 season, only with Villeneuve playing the rival instead of Hill. A very similar situation played out when Villeneuve took the inside line and once again Schumacher closed the door, this time with different results. Schumacher spun off the track and Villeneuve went on to win the championship.
When putting Michael Schumacher’s career into perspective one is left with a picture of a man that epitomizes the competitive spirit. Schumacher is undoubtedly one of the greatest, if not the greatest Formula One car driver ever. He took 68 pole positions, and won 91 out of 308 races on the way to seven World Championships. It is with great sadness that the world has to learn of his terrible accident.
Hopefully Michael Schumacher can summon up the same will that took him to seven World Championships and overcome this accident to once again enjoy the life he deserves.
By Scott Wilson