THE NEW SCHUMI

F1 Racing (UK) - - SCHUMACHER: THE LEGACY -

“I guess I have been a pi­o­neer for the gen­er­a­tion that races to­day,” said Schu­macher in an in­ter­view recorded before his skiing accident in 2013. “A lot of drivers didn’t un­der­stand that it was not only about talent. It was about work­ing with your team, max­imis­ing not only your own po­ten­tial but max­imis­ing the car and the team’s po­ten­tial. Then you push things to the ab­so­lute limit and over­shoot it. That’s rac­ing. This is some­thing I see now with the young gen­er­a­tion: they are much more pre­pared; the com­pe­ti­tion has gone to a higher level – and, in a way, I’m proud of this.”

There are echoes of Schu­macher’s traits in many of the drivers on to­day’s For­mula 1 grid. Be­tween 2001 and 2003, Schu­macher’s con­sis­tency in races led to him fin­ish­ing 24 grands prix in the points – a record that has since been eclipsed by Kimi Räikkö­nen over 2012-2013 (27 con­sec­u­tive points fin­ishes) and Lewis Hamilton from 2016 to this year (33).

Schu­macher’s at­ten­tion to de­tail is mir­rored by the high stan­dards Fer­nando Alonso dis­plays, while we see signs of his ruth­less com­pet­i­tive­ness on-track in some of the ex­cit­ing, com­bat­ive driv­ing of Ver­stap­pen. But if there is one driver who ex­udes all the qual­i­ties that Schu­macher demon­strated in his years in For­mula 1, it is Se­bas­tian Vet­tel. Here is a man who keeps his PR ap­pear­ances to an ab­so­lute min­i­mum, does not en­gage in any so­cial me­dia, and keeps his fam­ily and pri­vate life firmly be­hind closed doors. There are no dis­trac­tions from his in­tense fo­cus on F1.

“Vet­tel has taken Michael Schu­macher’s blue­print and is the cur­rent em­bod­i­ment of him,” agrees for­mer F1 racer An­thony David­son. “He looked at how Michael ap­proached F1 and he’s do­ing ex­actly the same. He’s one of the hardest-work­ing drivers on the grid and has that same re­lent­less quest for per­for­mance that Michael had, which in any sport is go­ing to make the dif­fer­ence th­ese days.”

“Se­bas­tian was very close to Michael, so­cially and pro­fes­sion­ally. They spent a lot of time to­gether and I think he was one of the clos­est wit­nesses of the ap­proach that Michael took,” says Ross Brawn. “Se­bas­tian strikes me as some­one who is very self-mo­ti­vated and who looks at ev­ery as­pect to im­prove his per­for­mance.”

Like Schu­macher before him, Vet­tel had been in­cred­i­bly suc­cess­ful at one team, but wanted to prove him­self else­where. What could be bet­ter than to fol­low in his idol’s foot­steps and achieve sim­i­lar suc­cess with Fer­rari – the ul­ti­mate goal for any grand prix driver? For when Vet­tel speaks of Michael, it’s clear that he is the in­spi­ra­tion for his suc­cess.“he was my hero. I used to have posters on the wall of him,” says Vet­tel. “For me, he is the best driver we have ever had in terms of talent, skills, pas­sion and willpower. Put all those things to­gether and, as a driver, you will be the strong­est pack­age. He will be re­mem­bered as the best driver in his­tory. “When some­body asks me what con­nects me to Michael, ob­vi­ously it goes back a long time. I met Michael for the first time when I was seven. Then, later, I got to know him as a per­son and he was al­ways there for me, with a word of ad­vice or some help. I think he was un­con­tested both in terms of talent and his at­ti­tude to sport, the de­vo­tion, the work, the will, al­ways to give more than any­one else. Of course I wish him the very best and hope that he will con­tinue to fight the bat­tle and come back some time. I miss his opin­ion, his ad­vice, his ex­per­tise.” So too does For­mula 1.

“SOME­THING I SEE NOW WITH THE YOUNG GEN­ER­A­TION: THEY ARE MUCH MORE PRE­PARED; THE COM­PE­TI­TION HAS GONE TO A HIGHER LEVEL – AND IN A WAY, I’M PROUD OF THIS” MICHAEL SCHU­MACHER

A young Se­bas­tian Vet­tel meets Michael Schu­macher, his hero and the in­spi­ra­tion for his own rac­ing ca­reer

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