Thursday 25th August will be the 25th anniversary of Michael Schumacher’s debut in Formula One.
The seven time World Champion, now regarded as one of the greatest drivers of all time, made his bow as a 22-year-old unknown at the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa
After learning the ropes, initially in karting events where he gained his licence in Luxembourg at the age of 12 (the minimum age in his native Germany was 14), he went on to race in German Formula Ford, Formula König and Formula Three, progressing into the World Sportscar championship.
He made his debut in Formula One for the Jordan-Ford team, replacing the imprisoned at the time Bertrand Gachot, who was serving a 2 month sentence after spraying a London taxi cab driver with CS gas in a traffic altercation.
At the time Schumacher was a contracted Mercedes driver, but after impressing the powers that be at a Silverstone test drive the week before the race, he was given the drive and promptly went on to learn the intricacies of the Spa track by cycling around it on a fold-up bike he had brought with him.
|Testing the Jordan 191 car|
He qualified in 7th place on the grid, but sadly when the race came he retired on the first lap when his clutch failed. The late Ayrton Senna went on to win the race, with his McLaren-Honda team mate, Austrian Gerhard Berger following up just behind.
In December 2013 Schumacher was skiing with his son in the French Alps when he fell and hit his head on a rock. He was airlifted to hospital and placed in a medically induced coma.
In November 2014, it was reported that he was paralysed and in a wheelchair; was unable to speak and had memory problems.
In a later interview with his manager, she stated that he was slowly improving “considering the severity of the injury he had sustained”.