Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: | posted October 08, 2012 16:11
Schumacher to retire at the end of 2012 season
For the 2nd time, Michael Schumacher, the widely regarded as the most successful Formula One driver in history, has decided to retire from racing in Formula One.
Michael Schumacher made the announcement last week after Mercedes had confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will be making the move from McLaren to the works Mercedes GP team in 2013. The announcement caps off a career that spans a total of 19 years of active racing in the sport.
A history of winning
Schumacher started his Formula One career with the now-defunct Jordan team (which became Midland F1, then became Spyker F1, and is now Force India) at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. While he retired with the first lap of the race, he quickly gained the favor of many of the bigger racing teams of the time.
Benneton F1 (which became Renault, and now Lotus-Renault) snatched up Schumacher the following race; a team the young German stayed with for 5 seasons and won his first two driver's titles with in 1994 (albeit after a crash with Damon Hill) and in 1995.
In 1996, Schumacher made the move to Scuderia Ferrari. The early years (from 1996-1999) at Ferrari saw some trouble for the German driver, as he was unable to win the titles in those years. Rival Damon Hill won the title in 1996 with Schumacher 3rd. Jacques Villeneuve took the title in 1997 as Schumacher was disqualified for the season in the last race for causing an avoidable accident. In 1998 he placed 2nd behind Mika Hakkinen, while in 1999 a broken leg from a crash at the British Grand Prix took him out for 6 races and ultimately, driver's title contention even though Ferrari won the Constructor's title that year.
From 2000 until 2004, Michael Schumacher stamped a dominance never before seen in the sport with 5 consecutive driver's titles. In 2005 and 2006, with the rise of Fernando Alonso, Schumacher's dominance came to an end, and announced his retirement after winning the 2006 Italian Grand Prix.
Schumacher came out of retirement in 2010 with Ross Brawn and the new Mercedes GP Petronas team. The German, paired with the younger Nico Rosberg, hasn't enjoyed the same success as before with Ferrari, with many incidents and car problems plaguing his return.
Schumacher still holds many of the sport's records. The German has the most F1 World Driver's Championship titles with seven, the most pole positions at 68, the most points ever scored with 1,580 points, the most race wins with 91 trips to the top step of the podium and the most races won in a single season with 13 in 2004.