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Michael Schumacher

 

 

 

 

Was born on the third of January 1969 to Rolf and Elisabeth Schumacher.

The family move to the town of Kerpin-Manheim, a working class town near

Cologne, Germany.

 

It was there that the family became involved with karting. Michael, only

four at the time was given a kart powered by an old lawn-mower engine by

his father.

 

From so humble a beginning was a World Champion's career launched.

Karting became a family obsession fed by the resourcefulness of the

elder Schumacher and the spirit of young Michael. Rolf Schumacher's

mechanical ability led him to work part-time repairing other go-karts at

the local track. In 1980 he traveled to Nivelles, Belgium for the World

Karting Championship and saw a driver that impressed him deeply, that

driver was Ayrton Senna. Michael was soon making a name for himself and

in 1984 he won the German Junior Championship. The European championship

came his way in 1987.

 

The path to car racing started with Formula Ford or Formula Koenig as it

was known in Germany. To compete at this level Schumacher would need

sponsors and lucky for him several sponsors including Jurgen Dik had

noticed the young German. His first full year competing in the series

saw him win nine out of ten rounds. Willie Weber, his future manager,

was running his own Formula Three team and gave Michael a test in one of

his cars.

 

After seven or eight laps he was setting times 1 1/2 seconds faster than

Webber's regular driver. Schumacher's first year in Formula Three saw

him competing against future Formula 1 drivers, Karl Wendlinger and

Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Wendlinger eventually nosed out his compatriots

for the title. The next year was all Schumacher. Instead of graduating

to Formula 3000 Webber placed his young protйgй in the Mercedes junior

team driving a sports car for Sauber along with his former Formula Three

rivals. Under the watchful eyes of Jochen Neerspasch and Jochen Mass

he was schooled in the art of race car driving. During this period

Schumacher learned much of what would later become his trademark smooth

style.

 

Opportunity arrived when Jordan's Formula One drive Bertrand Gachot

found himself in jail and Schumacher was given a test with the Irish

team. His times were a revelation and he was quickly signed or so it was

thought. Jordan wanted to sign the young driver to a three year contract

but Schumacher's advisors urged caution. Eventually a temporary deal was

done and the rest as the saying goes is history. He made a brilliant

debut at Spa in Belgium in a Jordan, where he qualified 7th ahead of his

more experienced teammate.

 

After some legal wrangling that was only recently resolved he finished

the year at Benetton. The next year he won his first race at Spa.

Showing signs of brilliance his time would come in the black year of

1994 when he became World Champion. In 1995 after a hard and sometimes

controversial battle with Damon Hill he became the youngest double

champion. 1996 saw him move to Ferrari and marked the start of his

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