Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher’s journey is narrated in a new Netflix documentary, and here are seven highlights from the Schumacher documentary.
After some time of waiting, the documentary film Schumacher finally aired on Netflix on September 15 yesterday. Predictably from the title, this documentary tells of Michael Schumacher’s journey to success in Formula 1 with seven world titles, five of them with Ferrari.
The 1 minute 52 minute documentary discusses how Schumacher started from karting, his debut with Jordan at the Belgian Grand Prix, his rivalry with several drivers, to his success with Ferrari.
From the documentary, Fpal concluded seven interesting things, what are they?
7 interesting things from the Schumacher documentary
1. Schumacher once raced on used karting equipment
The Schumacher family comes from humble origins, something that is evident early in the film when it is revealed that Michael used to hunt used karting equipment for racing use.
Michael talks about how beating his rival using old parts gave him extra motivation and gave him a greater sense of accomplishment during his early days of competition.
“I took old tires out of the trash, put them in my go-kart and won races with them,” he explained. “I’m always happy to win with the worst equipment and not the best. Having to actually fight like that is an added motivation for me.”
Schumacher also faced obstacles as he progressed from karting to auto racing, where he lacked funds to race one season in the German F3 championship.
But after the F3 test at Hockenheim , Schumacher met manager Willi Weber who awarded him his first professional contract, 2,000 marks a month for five years. In the end, it became an important stepping stone on the way to F1.
2. Double-sided Schumacher
Schumacher examines two different sides of Michael’s life, one as a ruthless racer and competitor with relentless dedication, and a constant pursuit of perfection.
However, this film also depicts the soft side of Schumacher, showing warmth and affection as a family man. For Schumacher, family is as important as the race and that is very evident.
Segments of behind-the-scenes footage of a family vacation and time spent at home with wife Corinna and children Mick and Gina-Maria are woven into the film, providing a touching account of what Schumacher’s life was like away from the circuit.
It was the family who finally persuaded Schumacher to hang up his helmet for good. Manager Sabine Kehm recalled how Schumacher missed being away from home during his last spell in F1 with Mercedes and said: “What am I doing here? I miss my family. Why am I so far away? It’s important as it used to be. My family is more important now.”
3. Senna’s death had a big impact on Schumacher
One of the most open and human moments of this documentary is Schumacher’s realization and struggle to accept that Ayrton Senna has died following his accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
In one interview, an emotional Schumacher admitted that he suffered from insomnia and slept “probably three hours a night” after Senna’s fatal accident. He also revealed how the Brazilian’s incident at Imola affected his mentality on the track.
While driving a highway car at Silverstone just a few weeks after Senna’s death, Schumacher began to fear that he too could die in an accident.
“I drove past Silverstone in a road car and just thought ‘this is the point you can die, this is another point you can die’,” said Schumacher.
“I thought ‘crazy, you always race here but there are so many points you can crash and you can die right away’ – that’s the only thing I was thinking about. I don’t know what would have happened if I had been in a race car.”
4. Schumacher’s suspicion and self-doubt
We see Schumacher as a racer who is very confident in his abilities, but this documentary also shows another side of Schummi that not many people know about. At one point, Corinna talked about how her husband was a shy and introverted man despite his fame as a Formula 1 superstar.
During a six-week vacation and family vacation after being disqualified from the 1997 season due to an incident with title rival Jacques Villeneuve at Jerez, Corinna revealed how Schumacher suffered from self-doubt and questioned whether he could still perform as expected before pre-season testing in 1998.
It was a side that very few people could see as Corinna recalled: “Michael was very suspicious, he was always like that during the early period until he thought he knew someone or could trust them. But if he opens up then it’s 100% absolutely, all the way.”
5. Ferrari’s initial doubts
Believe it or not, Ferrari had doubts about Schumacher’s capabilities. Well, this documentary manages to reveal that fact, and maybe Formula 1’s greatest history has changed.
Coming as world champion in 1994 and 1995 with Benetton, not a few expected that Schumacher would immediately become a Messiah figure for Ferrari, who last won the drivers’ title with Jody Scheckter in 1979.
But reality did not live up to expectations, with Schummi’s first season with Ferrari proving very challenging. This was a period in which Michael had to dig deep, and work very hard to turn the team back to winning ways.
In one of Schumacher’s most shocking revelations , former Ferrari Team Principal and now FIA President Jean Todt admits that the team had doubts about Schumacher after a difficult early phase, saying: “Is Michael the right driver for us or should we have one? someone like [Mika] Hakkinen instead?”
The German responded decisively by winning every driver’s and constructors’ title with Ferrari between 2000 and 2004 – adding to the 1999 constructors’ title – when both Ferrari and Schumacher enjoyed one of F1’s most dominant and sustained periods of success.
6. That ski accident almost didn’t happen
In a heartbreaking confession during the tragic conclusion to the documentary, Corinna revealed that Schumacher almost decided not to ski on the day of his accident in December 2013 due to suboptimal snow.
According to Corinna, Schumacher considered a last-minute change of plans to skydiving in Dubai but ended up going on a ski trip at Meribel.
“I never blamed God,” Corinna said. “It was just really bad luck. All the bad luck anyone has ever had in their life.”
7. Rare update on his rehabilitation
Schumacher’s medical condition and rehabilitation have been closely guarded by the family since his accident, with very few details being made public.
As Corinna explains: “‘Personal is private’, as she always says. It is very important to me that she can continue to enjoy her private life as much as possible. Michael has always protected us, and now we are protecting Michael.”
However, an update was provided by Corinna when we learned that Schumacher was still being treated at home as he continued his rehabilitation from his severe brain injury.
“Michael is here. Different, but he’s here,” he says in the documentary. “It gives us strength, I find. He still shows me how strong he is every day.
“We live together at home. We do therapy. We do everything we can to make Michael better and make sure he is comfortable. And to make him feel our family, our bond.”