There are only a few people in the history of sport that have achieved what Michael Schumacher has achieved in his career. Over a 16 year career in Formula one, Schumacher won a total of 91 races and seven World Drivers Championships; making him the most successful Formula One driver of all time. In fact, to this day Schumacher holds over 30 Formula One records including: most consecutive days as world champion with 1813 days and the largest number of fastest laps with 76.
He is a man who will do whatever it takes to win; even if this means bending or breaking the rules. This character trait being perhaps best shown by his actions during the 1997 Spanish Grand Prix; in which leading the Drivers Championship by one point from Jacques Villeneuve, Schumacher developed a mechanical problem. With this problem most likely signalling the end of his race, Schumacher deliberately tried to crash into Villeneuve, so that he may keep his one point advantage and win the Drivers Championship.
Without a doubt, he is the type of man that will always want to win one more race and to hold one more record. So perhaps unsurprisingly, last December, the 41 year old German announced his comeback to Formula One when he signed for Mercedes.
Now with the majority of past sporting greats; one would be excused for thinking that at the age of 41, after numerous injuries and 3 years out of the sport; any return to the pinnacle of their sport would be a foolish and simply nostalgic act. However, with Schumacher one should not be so hasty to disregard his chances of a fruitful return. It is almost certain that the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will be seeing Schumacher as a genuine threat to their title aspirations.
Schumacher’s combination of sporting greatness with this trend of un-sportsman like behaviour makes him unique in that his sporting achievements command respect from all those who witness it. Yet his willingness to do whatever it takes to win makes him somewhat of a villain.
Beyond a doubt however, the return of Schumacher to Formula One is certain to make this season much more exciting and may even be the start of one of the greatest sporting comebacks ever.