The family of Michael Schumacher have released a previously unpublished video interview with the seven-time Formula Oneworld champion taken just weeks before his life-changing skiing accident, in which he details who his childhood idol was and which of his title meant more.
The 49-year-old continues to be treated at home in Switzerland after suffering serious head injuries in a skiing accident in 2013, with his manager Sabine Kehm choosing to keep the exact condition of the former racing driver private in the interests of his family.
Official updates on Schumacher’s condition have all but stopped since 2015, with any news on a recovery being limited to those close friends and former colleagues who have visited him at his home.
But a previously unreleased video interview has appeared on his official website that shows the German answering 10 questions, which is dated 30 October 2013 – fewer than two months before his skiing accident in Meribel.
The interview offers an insight into Schumacher looking back on his career – something that he was reluctant to do in the past due to his 2010 comeback four years after calling time on his stint with Ferrari.
When asked to compare the emotions of winning his first world championship in 1994 with Benetton and the first of his five with Ferrari in 2000, Schumacher admits that the chance to end the long wait for success with the Scuderia meant that his third world title was “definitely my most emotional one”.
“21 years, no championships for Ferrari, four years for myself failing to achieve it and finally in 2000, Suzuka, winning the race – an exceptional race – and winning the great championship,” Schumacher said.
He goes on to reveal that of all the drivers he challenged for the world championship – the likes of Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, David Coulthard and Fernando Alonso – it was Mika Hakkinen who he held the most respect for due to their “great fights” on the track and “stable, private relationship” off it, and adds that while F1 is no longer the long, hard slog that it used to be in the days without driver aids, it is still “one of the toughest sports that you can do”.
However, perhaps most intriguing is when the motorsport icon is asked about his childhood, and in particular who he looked up to when he was younger. Despite admiring both Ayrton Senna and karting specialist Vincenzo Sospiri, his actual childhood hero did not come from the same sport as him.
“My real idol was Toni Schumacher because he was a great soccer player,” Schumacher says of his namesake, who inspired him to regularly play football including a charity match that he organised every year for fellow F1 drivers as well as other leading athletes.
Other notable answers include how he believes success in F1 can only be achieved by utilising teamwork as well as individual talent and honing race skills in karting, explaining that “it gives you a lot of facilities that you can develop yourself, a lot of skills that you can develop and the fighting, the wheel-to-wheel racing, that’s one of the big learnings you get from karting.”
But there is another individual that he holds special praise for who crops up when Schumacher explains the one similarity between his success at Benetton and Ferrari and the project he helped launch at Mercedes – that rose from the that has helped turn Lewis Hamilton into a five-time world champion.
He says: “If you go back to the various teams I’ve been driving for, the missions with Benetton after four-to-five years, building it up, winning the championship. The same for Ferrari.
“We tried the same with Mercedes in lesser time, and is there one thing in common? I have to say yes there is: Ross Brawn. Think about it.”
Schumacher returned to his home in 2015 from Lausanne University Hospital, and while details about his condition remain private, his lawyer Felix Damm confirmed in September 2016 that he “cannot walk” as part of a legal case against outlets who were publishing false reports about his recovery.
Nov 21, 2018Scuderia Fans
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