Schuey hits Netflix

Schuey hits Netflix

F1’s ’90s/noughties wunderkind made his debut at Spa 30 years ago. And now Netflix is unleashing its Schumacher biography Many already knew Michael Schumacher was gifted long before he climbed into a Formula 1 car. He’d spent the ’80s cleaning up in karting and bagged two single-seater titles before joining Mercedes’ set-for-stardom/German boyband sports car squad.

Schuey for the Drive to Survive generation

A seemingly oddball step for a man with his heart set on F1, the logic behind the move into endurance racing was sound. Outside of the scrutiny of F1 he’d hone his skills and racecraft, in all weathers and over long distances, get ridiculously fit, and learn how to be a part of a manufacturer-backed squad, with all the tedious politics and press conferences that entails. When Michael arrived in F1, he’d be ready. And he was.


Schumacher makes his F1 debut in Jordan’s peachy 191. He’s never driven Spa before so learns it by cycling the track… Qualifies seventh, ahead of his highly experienced team-mate, before retiring with a mullered clutch. There follows a bunfight for his signature on a contract, one the wily Flavio Briatore wins.

The Benetton’s good, really good, but for 1992 and 1993 the Williams is untouchable. Mansell bags the ’92 title with months to go; team-mate Patrese is second. But Schumacher, in the Benetton, proves his class, winning at Spa and finishing third in the championship, ahead of Senna. Prost, back from exile, wins in 1993, but then Williams’ advantage begins to fade…

Fast but controversial, ’94 is a classic Schumacher season, with allegations of technical rule-breaking, questionable on-track tactics and blinding speed. He wins the title, breaking English hearts – and Hill’s car – with a bit of bumper cars Down Under. A consecutive title in ’95 underlines the arrival of F1’s new order.


In ’96 Schumacher begins the process of transforming Ferrari from also-rans to irresistible force. He wins three races in his first season – more than the Scuderia managed in its previous four seasons put together. But there’s a lot of work to do.

Schumacher’s disqualified from the championship in 1997 for driving into a Williams. Again. By 1998 Ferrari’s cars are routinely excellent but accidents, injuries, incidents and the god-like speed and bravery of Mika Häkkinen keep Schumacher from glory. After breaking his leg in a crash at Silverstone in ’99, Schumacher tries to assist team-mate Irvine to the title but fails – some things are beyond even Michael.


This is a period of scarcely credible dominance in which the world spends years dozing on a Sunday afternoon before regaining consciousness in time for the German and Italian national anthems. Schumacher wins five back-to-back titles, his stranglehold getting tighter with each passing championship win – in 2004 he wins 12 of the first 13 races of the season, and finishes the season with 13 wins from 18 rounds.

He retires (the first time) at the end of the 2006 season.


Had Schumacher’s second career at Merc been just a couple of years later, in the hybrid era, he’d have doubtless added to his groaning trophy cabinet (seven titles, 68 pole positions and 91 race wins). Instead he struggles in the very average Merc and shows glimpses of his (bad) old self when he nearly forces former team-mate Barrichello into the pitwall in Hungary.

He retires at the end of 2012, and tragically sustains life-changing injuries in a skiing accident the following year.


Schumacher’s son, Mick, makes his Formula 1 debut in a test session, driving for Ferrari, and shows instant pace. His race debut comes with Haas in the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


Schumacher will air on Netflix from 15 September. Backed by the legend’s family, the film uses rare interviews and previously unseen archive footage to tell Michael’s story. Schumacher’s wife, children and parents all feature.

Ferrari’s majestic F2002 wouldn’t have happened without Schuey. Coming at you like a Marlboro-branded force of nature.

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