Michael Schumacher (About this soundlisten); born 3 January 1969) is a German retired racing driver who competed in Formula One for Jordan Grand Prix, Benetton, Ferrari (where he spent most of his career), and Mercedes upon his return to the sport. Schumacher is widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers ever, and is regarded by some, including six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, as the greatest of all time. Schumacher is the only driver in history to win seven Formula One World Championships, five of which he won consecutively. One of the most successful drivers in the history of the sport, Schumacher holds the records for the most World Championship titles (7), the most fastest laps (77) and the joint most races won in a single season (13), and according to the official Formula One website, Schumacher was “statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen” at the time of his retirement from the sport. He was also noted throughout his career for pushing his car to the very limit for sustained periods and a pioneering fitness regimen.
After success in karting as a child, Schumacher won titles in Formula König and Formula Three before joining Mercedes in the World Sportscar Championship. In 1991, his Mercedes-funded race debut for the Jordan Formula One team resulted in Schumacher being signed by Benetton for the rest of that season. He finished third in 1992 and fourth in 1993, before becoming the first German World Drivers’ Champion in 1994 by one point over Damon Hill, albeit in controversial circumstances. In 1995 he repeated the success, this time with a greater margin. In 1996 Schumacher moved to Ferrari, who had last won the Drivers’ Championship in 1979, and helped them transform into the most successful team in Formula One history, as he came close to winning the 1997 and 1998 titles, before breaking his leg at the 1999 British Grand Prix, ending another title run.
Schumacher won five consecutive drivers’ titles from 2000 to 2004, including an unprecedented sixth and seventh title. In 2002, Schumacher won the title with a record six races remaining and finished on the podium in every race. In 2004, Schumacher won 12 out of the first 13 races, and went on to win a record 13 times as he won his final title. Schumacher retired from Formula One in 2006, after finishing runner-up to Renault’s Fernando Alonso. Schumacher returned to Formula One in 2010 with Mercedes. He produced the fastest qualifying time at the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix, and achieved his only podium on his return at the 2012 European Grand Prix, where he finished third. In October 2012 Schumacher announced he would retire for a second time at the end of the season.
His career was at times controversial, as he was twice involved in collisions in the final race of a season that determined the outcome of the World Championship, with Damon Hill in 1994 in Adelaide, and with Jacques Villeneuve in 1997 in Jerez. Schumacher is an ambassador for UNESCO and has been involved in numerous humanitarian efforts throughout his life, donating tens of millions of dollars to charity. Schumacher and his younger brother, Ralf, are the only siblings to win races in Formula One, and they were the first brothers to finish first and second in the same race, a feat they repeated in four subsequent races.
In December 2013, Schumacher suffered a severe brain injury in a skiing accident. He was placed in a medically induced coma until June 2014. He left hospital in Grenoble for further rehabilitation at the University Hospital of Lausanne, before being relocated to his home to receive medical treatment and rehabilitation privately in September 2014