On Michael Schumacher’s 50th birthday, Mercedes have paid tribute to a driver who “took Formula One to a whole new level”.
Following Schumacher’s first retirement from Formula One, the seven-time world champion was tempted to rejoin the grid by Mercedes, led at the time by Ross Brawn.
Whilst committing to his new roles with the same professionalism that everybody had come to expect from Formula One’s most successful driver, he continued to show glimpses of his raw speed.
Schumacher’s podium at the 2012 European Grand Prix and his pole position time at the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix gave everybody timely reminders of his capabilities.
Among those accolades, Mercedes credit Schumacher with creating the building blocks for their future success, having taken five drivers’ and constructors’ titles from 2014-2018.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff led the tributes to Schumacher and recalled his first “starstruck” meeting with the seven-time champion back in 2012.
“Michael has had a tremendous impact on Formula One,” said Wolff. “Not only did he set an incredible record – a record that is yet to be beaten – but he also shaped and changed the sport forever.
“As a driver, Michael took Formula One to a whole new level with his attention to detail and his technical knowledge.
“He did everything with great determination, from his engineering debriefs to his physical training, and was always searching for new ways to improve his on-track performance.
“I remember when I first met Michael back in 2012, it was on a flight from Zürich to Singapore, he was sitting next to me and asked me if I was up for a game of backgammon.
“I think that I’m a decent backgammon player, but he absolutely crushed me in the first two rounds because I was so star-struck. Once I was over that, my game improved, and we ended up playing and talking for the entire flight. We had a really good and honest conversation and when we landed it felt like I had known him for much longer than I actually did.”
Wolff continued to say that Schumacher was “crucial” for today’s success at the Mercedes team.
“Michael is one of the founding fathers of the success we have had in the last five years,” added Wolff.
“There is no other driver like him and his vast experience contributed tremendously in the development of our team.
“He played a crucial role when we re-joined F1 and was one of the people who laid the foundation for our future success.
“We’re extremely grateful for everything he did for us. Today, we all tip our hats to you – happy birthday, Michael!”
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50 years ago, a star was born. A star who shaped and changed @f1 forever. Who broke records, redefined excellence and helped lay the foundations for our future success. We’d like to send our very best wishes to @michaelschumacher on his 50th birthday. • • • #MercedesAMGF1 #MercedesAMG #F1 #PETRONASmotorsports #Mercedes #MercedesBenz #KeepFightingMichael #Michael50 #KeepFighting