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Athlete Formula One driver, and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher pictures (pic) and photo gallery.
Born: January 3, 1969, in Hürth Hermülheim, Germany.
Michael Schumacher biography (bio):
Michael Schumacher is a former Formula One driver, and seven-time world champion. According to the official Formula One website, he is "statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen". He is the first German to win the Formula One World championship and is credited with popularising Formula One in Germany. In a 2006 FIA survey, Michael Schumacher was voted the most popular driver among Formula One fans.
After winning two championships with Benetton, Schumacher moved to the Ferrari in 1996 and won five consecutive drivers' titles with them. Schumacher holds many records in Formula One, including most drivers' championships, race victories, fastest laps, pole positions, points scored and most races won in a single season. His driving sometimes created controversy: he was twice involved in collisions that determined the outcome of the world championship, most notably his disqualification from the 1997 championship for causing a collision with Jacques Villeneuve. On September 10, 2006, Schumacher announced his retirement as a driver. Schumacher is currently assisting Scuderia Ferrari CEO Jean Todt for the 2007 Formula One Season.
Off the track, Schumacher is an ambassador for UNESCO and a spokesman for driver safety. He has been involved in numerous humanitarian efforts throughout his life. He is the older brother of current Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher.
Schumacher was born January 3, 1969, in Hürth Hermülheim, to Rolf, a bricklayer, and Elisabeth. When Schumacher was four, his father modified the young boy's pedal kart by adding a small motorcycle engine. After the young Schumacher crashed it into a lamp post in Kerpen, his parents took him to the local karting track at Kerpen-Horrem where he became the youngest member of the karting club. His father soon built him a proper kart from discarded parts and at the age of six Schumacher won his first club championship. To support his son's racing, Rolf Schumacher took on a second job renting and repairing karts at the circuit, while his wife worked at the track's cafeteria. Despite the extra income, when Schumacher needed a new engine costing DM800 (400 ) his parents were unable to afford it, but their son was able to continue racing through support offered by several local businessmen.
In Germany the regulations required the driver to be at least 14 years old in order to obtain a kart license. To get around this, Schumacher obtained a license in Luxembourg in 1981, at the age of 12. In 1983 he obtained his German license and the year after he won the German Junior Kart Championship. From 1984, Schumacher won numerous German and European kart championships. He joined Eurokart dealer Adolf Neubert in 1985. By 1987 he was the German and European kart champion, at which point he withdrew from school and began working as a mechanic. In 1988 Schumacher made his first step into single-seat car racing by racing in the German Formula Ford and Formula König series, the second of which he won.
In 1989 Michael signed with Willi Weber's WTS Formula 3 team. For the next two years, funded by Weber, he competed in the German Formula 3 series, winning the title in 1990. Towards the end of 1990, along with his Formula 3 rivals Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger, he joined the Mercedes junior racing programme in the World Sports-Prototype Championship. This was an unusual move for a young driver: most of Schumacher's contemporaries would instead compete in Formula 3000 on their way to Formula One. However, Weber advised Schumacher that exposure to professional press conferences and driving powerful cars in long distance races would help his career. He gained victory at the season finale at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodrķguez in a Sauber-Mercedes C11 and finishing fifth in the drivers' championship. He continued with the team in the 1991 season, winning again at the final race of the season at Autopolis in Japan with a Sauber-Mercedes-Benz C291, leading to a ninth place finish in the drivers championship. In 1991 he competed in one race in the Japanese Formula 3000 Championship, finishing second.
Formula One career:
Schumacher was noted throughout his career for his ability to produce fast laps at crucial moments in a race, to push his car to the very limit for sustained periods. Motor sport author Christopher Hilton observed in 2003 that "A measure of a driver's capabilities is his performance in wet races, because the most delicate car control and sensitivity are needed," and noted that like other great drivers, Schumacher's record in wet conditions shows very few mistakes: up to the end of the 2003 season, Schumacher won 17 of the 30 races in wet conditions he contested. Some of Schumacher's best performances occurred in such conditions, earning him the title "Regenkönig" (rain king) or "Regenmeister" (rain master). He is known as "the Red Baron", due to his red Ferrari and in reference to the German Manfred von Richthofen, the famous flying ace of World War I. Schumacher's nicknames include "Schumi", "Schuey" and "Schu".
Schumacher is often credited with popularising Formula One in Germany, where it was formerly considered a fringe sport. In 2006, three of the top ten drivers were German, more than any other nationality and more than have ever been present in Formula One history. Younger German drivers, such as Sebastian Vettel, feel Schumacher was key in their becoming Formula One drivers.
In the latter part of his Formula One career, and as one of the senior drivers, Schumacher was the president of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association.
Schumacher made his Formula One debut with the Jordan-Ford team at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix as a replacement for the imprisoned Bertrand Gachot. Schumacher, still a contracted Mercedes driver, was signed by Eddie Jordan after Mercedes paid Jordan $150,000 for his debut. The week before the race, Schumacher impressed Jordan designer Gary Anderson and team manager Trevor Foster during a test drive at Silverstone. His manager Willi Weber assured Jordan that though Schumacher had only seen the challenging Spa track as a spectator, he knew it well. During the race weekend, teammate Andrea de Cesaris was meant to show Schumacher the circuit but was held up with contract negotiations. Schumacher then learned the track on his own, by cycling around the track on a fold-up bike he had brought with him. He impressed the paddock by qualifying seventh in this race, his first competition in a Formula One car. This matched the team's season-best grid position, and out-qualified 11-year veteran de Cesaris. Motorsport journalist Joe Saward reported that after qualifying "clumps of German journalists were talking about 'the best talent since Stefan Bellof'." Schumacher retired on the first lap of the race with clutch problems.
After his debut, and despite Jordan's signed agreement in principle with Schumacher's Mercedes management for the remainder of the season, Schumacher was signed by Benetton-Ford for the following race. Jordan applied for an injunction in the UK courts to prevent Schumacher driving for Benetton, but lost the case as they had not yet signed a contract. Schumacher finished the 1991 season with four points in six races. His best finish was fifth in his second race, the Italian Grand Prix, in which he outpaced his teammate and three-time World Champion Nelson Piquet.
At the start of the 1992 Formula One season the Sauber team, planning their Formula One debut with Mercedes backing for the following year, invoked a clause in Schumacher's contract which stated that if Mercedes entered Formula One, Schumacher would drive for them. It was eventually agreed that Schumacher would stay with Benetton, Peter Sauber commenting "Michael didn't want to drive for us. Why would I have forced him?". The year was dominated by the Williams of Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese, featuring powerful Renault engines, semi-automatic gearboxes and active suspension to control the car's ride height. In the 'conventional' Benetton B192 Schumacher took his place on the podium at the end of the race for the first time, after finishing third in the 1992 Mexican Grand Prix. He went on to take his first victory at the 1992 Belgian Grand Prix, in a wet race at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, which by 2003 he would call "far and away my favourite track". He finished third in the Drivers' Championship in 1992 with 53 points, three points behind runner-up Patrese.
The 1993 championship was again dominated by the Williams-Renaults of Damon Hill and Alain Prost. Benetton introduced their own active suspension and traction control early in the season, last of the frontrunning teams to do so. Schumacher was partnered by Riccardo Patrese in Patrese's last year in F1. Schumacher won one race, the Portuguese Grand Prix and had nine podium finishes, but retired in seven of the other 15 races. He finished the season in fourth, with 52 points.
19941995: World Championship years:
In 1994, Schumacher won his first Drivers' Championship. The season, however, was marred by the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger during the fourth race of the year, the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola and by allegations of cheating.
Schumacher won six of the first seven races. Following the San Marino Grand Prix, the Benetton, Ferrari and McLaren teams were investigated on suspicion of breaking the FIA-imposed ban on electronic aids. Benetton and McLaren initially refused to hand over their source code for investigation. When they did so, the FIA discovered hidden functionality in both teams' software, but no evidence that it had been used in a race. Both teams were fined $100,000 for their initial refusal to cooperate. At the British Grand Prix, Schumacher was penalised for overtaking on the formation lap. He then ignored the penalty and the subsequent black flag, which indicates that the driver must immediately return to the pits, for which he was disqualified and later given a two-race ban. Benetton blamed the fiasco on a communication error between the stewards and the team. Schumacher was also disqualified after winning the Belgian Grand Prix after his car was found to have illegal wear on its skidblock, a measure used after the accidents at Imola to limit downforce and hence cornering speed. Benetton protested that the skidblock had been damaged when Schumacher spun over a kerb, but the FIA rejected their appeal. These incidents helped Damon Hill close the points gap. With Schumacher leading by a single point going into the final race in Australia, Schumacher made a mistake and left the track. After rejoining, he collided with Hill and crashed out of the race. Furthermore, the damage to Hill's car from the collision forced him to retire. Thus, he became the first German to win the Formula One World Championship.
In 1995 Schumacher successfully defended his title with Benetton. He now had the same Renault engine as Williams. He accumulated 33 more points than second-placed Damon Hill. With teammate Johnny Herbert, he took Benetton to its first Constructors' Championship and became the youngest two-time world champion in Formula One history. In one of the early races of the season Herbert set a faster lap time than Schumacher in qualifying. After that Herbert said he was prohibited from seeing Schumacher's telemetry.
The season was marred by several collisions with Hill, in particular an overtaking manoeuvre by Hill took them both out of the British Grand Prix near the start of the race. Schumacher won nine of the 17 races, and finished on the podium 11 times. Only once did he qualify worse than fourth; at the 1995 Belgian Grand Prix, he qualified 16th, but went on to win the race. After Schumacher left Benetton, the team would win only one more race before being bought by Renault in 2000.
For 1996, Schumacher joined Ferrari, a team which had last won the Drivers' Championship with Jody Scheckter in 1979. By 1996, Ferrari was considered to have inferior technology and crews compared to front-running teams such as Benetton and Williams. Since that last championship win, various Ferrari drivers, notably Alain Prost, had given the vehicles labels such as "truck", "pig", and "accident waiting to happen". The poor performance of the Ferrari pit crews was considered a running joke.
Schumacher, along with Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and Jean Todt, has been credited as turning this once struggling team into the most successful team in Formula One history. Three-time World Champion Jackie Stewart believes the transformation of the Ferrari team was Schumacher's greatest feat. Eddie Irvine also joined the team, moving from Jordan.
In 1996 Schumacher finished third in the Drivers' Championship. He won three races, more than the team's total tally for the period from 1991 to 1995. His method of attaining time from the car resulted in somewhat flamboyant and uncharacteristic driving, with oversteering. However, the team had reliability trouble: Schumacher did not finish 6 of the 16 races. In the French Grand Prix Schumacher qualified in pole position, but suffered engine failure on the race's formation lap.
Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve vied for the title in 1997. In the first part of the season, Villeneuve held the advantage, driving the superior FW19. However, by mid-season, Schumacher led the Championship, winning five races, and entered the season's final Grand Prix with a one-point advantage. During the race, held at Jerez, Schumacher and Villeneuve collided as Villeneuve passed his rival. Schumacher retired from the race and Villeneuve scored four points to take the championship. Schumacher was held to be at fault for the collision and was disqualified from the Drivers' Championship.
In 1998, Finnish driver Mika Häkkinen became one of Schumacher's serious opponents. Häkkinen won the first two races of the season, gaining a 16 point advantage over Schumacher. But by the 14th of 16 races, Schumacher equaled the Finn with 80 points, having won six times. At the British Grand Prix Schumacher was leading on the last lap when he turned into the pit lane, crossed the start finish line and stopped for a ten second stop go penalty. There was some doubt on if this counted as serving the penalty but the win stood. With the Ferrari improving significantly and being faster in the second half of the season, Schumacher won six races and had five other podium finishes. Ferrari took a 1-2 finish at the Italian Grand Prix, which tied Schumacher with Häkkinen for the lead of the Drivers' Championship, but Häkkinen won the Championship by winning the final two races.
Schumacher's efforts helped Ferrari win the Constructors title in 1999. He lost his chance to win the Drivers' Championship at the British Grand Prix: At the high-speed Stowe Corner, his car's rear brake failed, sending him off the track and resulting in a broken leg. During his long absence, he was replaced by Finnish driver Mika Salo. After missing six races, he made his return at the inaugural Malaysian Grand Prix, qualifying in the pole position by almost a second. He then assumed the role of second driver, assisting team mate Eddie Irvine's bid to win the Drivers' Championship for Ferrari. In the last race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix, Häkkinen won his second consecutive title. Schumacher would later say that Häkkinen was the opponent he respected the most.
20002004: World Championship years:
Schumacher won his third World Championship in 2000 after a year-long battle with Häkkinen. Schumacher won the first three races of the season and five of the first eight. Mid-way through the year, Schumacher's chances suffered with three consecutive non-finishes, allowing Häkkinen to close the gap in the standings. Häkkinen then took another two victories, before Schumacher won at the Italian Grand Prix. At the post race press conference, after equaling the number of wins (41) won by his idol, Ayrton Senna, Schumacher broke into tears. The championship fight would come down to the last but one race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix. Starting from pole position, Schumacher had the early lead, but soon lost it to Häkkinen. After his second pit-stop, however, Schumacher came out ahead of Häkkinen and went on to win the race and the championship.
In 2001, Schumacher took his fourth drivers' title. Four other drivers won races, but none sustained a season-long challenge for the championship. Schumacher scored a record-tying nine wins and clinched the world championship with four races yet to run. He finished the championship with 123 points, 58 ahead of runner-up Coulthard. Season highlights included the Canadian Grand Prix, where Schumacher finished 2nd to his brother Ralf, thus scoring the first ever 12 finish of brothers; and the Belgian Grand Prix in which Schumacher scored his 52nd career win, breaking Alain Prost's record for most career wins.
In 2002, a dominant year, Schumacher with the Ferrari F2002, which was widely considered to be one of the dominating and fastest racing cars in Formula One, to retain his Drivers' Championship. At the Austrian Grand Prix his teammate, Rubens Barrichello was leading but in the final metres of the race, under orders, slowed to allow Schumacher to win the race. In winning the Drivers' Championship he equaled the record set by Juan Manuel Fangio of five world championships. Ferrari won 15 out of 17 races, and Schumacher won the title with six races remaining in the season. Schumacher broke Nigel Mansell's and his own record of nine race wins in a season, scoring eleven and finishing every race on the podium. He finished with 144 points, a record-breaking 67 points ahead of runner-up teammate Rubens Barrichello. This tandem finished 9 of the 17 races in the first two places.
Schumacher broke Juan Manuel Fangio's record for championship wins by winning the drivers' title for the sixth time in 2003, a closely contested season. The biggest competition came once again from the McLaren Mercedes and Williams BMW. In the first race, Schumacher ran off track, and in the following two, was involved in collisions. He fell 16 points behind Kimi Räikkönen. Schumacher won the San Marino Grand Prix and the next two races, and closed within two points of Räikkönen. Aside from Schumacher's victory in Canada, and Barrichello's victory in Britain, the mid-season was dominated by Williams drivers Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya, who each claimed two victories. After the Hungarian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher led Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Räikkönen by only one and two points, respectively. Ahead of the next race, the FIA declared illegal the front tyre design used by Michelin, supplier to Williams and McLaren among others. Michelin had to rapidly redesign their tyres before the Italian Grand Prix. Schumacher, running on Bridgestone tyres, won the next two races. After Montoya was penalized in the United States Grand Prix, only Schumacher and Räikkönen remained in contention for the title. At the final round, the Japanese Grand Prix, Schumacher needed only one point whilst Räikkönen needed to win. By finishing the race in eighth place, Schumacher took one point and assured his sixth World Drivers' title, ending the season two points ahead of Räikkönen.
In 2004, Schumacher won a record twelve of the first thirteen races of the season, only failing to finish in Monaco after an accident with Juan Pablo Montoya during a safety car period when he briefly locked his car's brakes. He clinched a record seventh drivers' title at the Belgian Grand Prix. He finished that season with a record 148 points, 34 points ahead of the runner-up, teammate Rubens Barrichello, and set a new record of 13 race wins out of a possible 18, surpassing his previous best of 11 wins from the 2002 season.
In 2005 Schumacher's sole win came at the United States Grand Prix. Prior to that race, the Michelin tyres, used by most teams, were found to have significant safety issues. When no compromise between the teams and the FIA could be reached, all but the six drivers using Bridgestone tyres dropped out of the race after the formation lap. However, rule changes for the 2005 and 2006 seasons required tyres to last an entire race, tipping the overall advantage to teams using Michelins over teams such as Ferrari that relied on Bridgestone tyres. The rule changes were partly in an effort to dent Ferrari's dominance and make the series more interesting. Less than half-way through the season, Schumacher said "I don't think I can count myself in this battle any more. It was like trying to fight with a blunted weapon.... If your weapons are weak you don't have a chance." The most notable moment of the season for Schumacher was his battle with Fernando Alonso in San Marino, where he qualified 14th and finished only 0.2 seconds behind the Spanish driver. Schumacher retired in six of the 19 races. He finished the season in third with 62 points, less than half the points of world champion Alonso.
2006 became the last season of Schumacher's racing career. After three races, Schumacher had 11 points and was already 17 points behind Alonso. He won the following two races, his first wins in 18 months, not including the boycotted 2005 United States Grand Prix. Schumacher was stripped of pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix and started the race at the back of the grid. This was due to him stopping his car and blocking part of the circuit, while Alonso, was on his qualifying lap. By the Canadian Grand Prix, the ninth race of the season, he was 25 points behind Alonso, and the three wins that followed helped him reduce his disadvantage to 11. After his victories in Italy and China, in both of which Alonso was plagued by mechanical failures, Schumacher led in the championship standings for the first time during the season. Although he and Alonso had the same point total, Schumacher was in front because he had won more races.
The Japanese Grand Prix was led by Schumacher with only 16 laps to go, when for the first time since 2000 in Magny Cours, France, Schumacher suffered engine failure. Alonso won the race and now led the championship standings by 10 points. With only one race left in the season, Schumacher could only win the championship if in that race he won and if Alonso did not manage to score a single point.
Before the Brazilian Grand Prix, the last race of his career, Schumacher conceded the title to Alonso. In pre-race ceremonies, football legend Pelé presented an award to Schumacher for his years of dedication to Formula One. During the race's qualifying session, Schumacher had the best time of all drivers through the first two sessions; but a fuel pressure problem prevented him from completing a single lap during the third session, forcing him to start the race in tenth position. Early in the race Schumacher pushed forward to the sixth position. However, in overtaking Alonso's teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella, Schumacher experienced a tyre puncture caused by the front wing of Fisichella's car. Schumacher pitted and consequently fell to 19th place, 70 seconds behind teammate and race leader Felipe Massa. Schumacher recovered and overtook both Fisichella and Räikkönen to secure fourth place. His performance was classified in the press as "heroic", an "utterly breath-taking drive", and a "performance that ... sums up his career".
While Schumacher was on the podium after winning the 2006 Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari issued a press release stating that he would retire from racing at the end of the 2006 season. Schumacher confirmed his retirement in the post-race press conference. The press release stated that Schumacher would continue working for Ferrari. It was revealed on 29 October 2006 that Ferrari wanted Schumacher to act as assistant to the newly appointed CEO Jean Todt. This would involve selecting the team's future drivers. After Schumacher's announcement, leading Formula One figures such as Niki Lauda and David Coulthard hailed Schumacher as the greatest all-round racing driver in the history of Formula One. The tifosi and the Italian press, who did not always take to Schumacher's relatively cold public persona, displayed an affectionate response after he announced his retirement.
In recognition of his contribution to Formula One racing the Nurburgring will rename one of its corners after Schumacher. In a similar act of honouring Schumacher, he was awarded an FIA Gold Medal for Motor Sport in 2006.
The following year the Swiss Football Association appointed Schumacher as the Swiss ambassador for the 2008 European football championship. A month later he presented A1 Team Germany with the World Cup trophy at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport 2007 awards ceremony. He received a standing ovation from the gathered crowd when he was announced on stage.
Schumacher has been honoured during his career. He has won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award twice, in 2002 and 2004 for his performances in the 2001 and 2003 seasons respectively. He has received nominations for the 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 awards. No-one has been nominated more times than Schumacher in the award's 7-year history.
Schumacher in conjunction with Schuberth helped develop the first lightweight carbon helmet. In 2004, a prototype was publicly tested by being driven over by a tank; it survived intact. The helmet keeps the driver cool by funneling directed airflow through fifty holes.
Schumacher's helmet sports the colours of the German flag and his sponsor's decals. On the top is a blue circle with white astroids. After Schumacher joined Ferrari, a prancing horse was added on the back. In 2000 in order to differentiate his colours from new teammate Rubens Barrichello, Schumacher changed the upper blue colour and some of the white areas to red. In his final Grand Prix race, Schumacher wore a special helmet that included the names of his ninety-one Grand Prix victories.
Controversies and criticism:
During his long career Schumacher has been involved in several incidents which caused considerable controversy. Schumacher has been vilified in the British media for his involvement in title-deciding collisions in 1994 and 1997. German and Italian newspapers have widely condemned his actions in 1997.
Championship deciding collisions:
Going into the 1994 Australian Grand Prix, the final race of the 1994 season, Schumacher led Damon Hill by a single point in the Drivers' Championship. Schumacher led the race from the beginning with Hill closely following him. On lap 35, Schumacher went off track, hitting a wall with his right side wheels. It is unknown whether Schumacher's car was damaged. He returned to the track at reduced speed but still leading the race. At the next corner, when Hill attempted a pass on the inside while Schumacher was turning into the corner, Schumacher and Hill collided. Schumacher's car was tipped up onto two wheels and eliminated on the spot. Hill pitted immediately and retired from the race with unrepairable damage. As neither driver scored, Schumacher took the title. British author Alan Henry has written that Schumacher was blamed by "many F1 insiders" for the incident. The race stewards judged it a racing accident and took no action against either driver.
At the 1997 European Grand Prix at Jerez, the last race of the season, Schumacher led Jacques Villeneuve by one point in the Drivers' Championship. Although Schumacher and Villeneuve had set the same time during qualifying, the Canadian driver started the race in pole position due to his being the first to set the time. By the first corner of the race, Schumacher was ahead of Villeneuve. On lap 48, Villeneuve passed Schumacher at the Dry Sac Corner. As he did so, Schumacher turned into the Williams, the right-front wheel of Schumacher's Ferrari hitting the left sidepod of Villeneuve's car. Schumacher retired from the race immediately while Villeneuve was able to finish the race in the third place, taking four points and so becoming the World Champion.
Two weeks after the race, Schumacher was excluded from the results for the season after a FIA disciplinary hearing disqualified him, finding that his "manoeuvre was an instinctive reaction and although deliberate not made with malice or premeditation. It was a serious error." This made him the only driver in the history of the sport to be disqualified from a World Championship. Schumacher accepted the decision and admitted having made a mistake.
Two laps from the finish of the 1998 British Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher was leading the race when he was issued a stop-and-go penalty for passing another driver under the safety car period. This penalty involves going into the pit lane and stopping for 10 seconds. But as the penalty was given with fewer than 12 laps remaining, and since it was issued as a handwritten note, the Ferrari team was confused as to whether the penalty was a stop and go penalty or merely a penalty of 10 seconds to be added to Schumacher's race time. On the last lap, Schumacher turned into the pit lane, crossed the start finish line and only then stopped in his pit for ten seconds. Although there was initially some doubt about whether this met the requirements of the penalty, Schumacher's win stood. After a race-ending collision whilst trying to lap David Coulthard during the Belgian Grand Prix, Schumacher stormed into the McLaren garage and accused Coulthard of trying to kill him.
Historically, team orders had always been permitted in Formula One. During Schumacher's tenure at Ferrari, the team often employed team orders to benefit one of their drivers over the other. Usually Schumacher, as team leader, benefited. The notable exception came in the 1999 season in which he played a supporting role for Eddie Irvine after missing part of the season with a broken leg. However, at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, Schumacher's teammate, Rubens Barrichello, took pole and led the race from the start. In the final metres of the race, the Brazilian driver, under orders from Ferrari, slowed his car to make way for Schumacher to pass and win the race. This angered fans who were watching the race. At the podium ceremony, Schumacher pushed Barrichello onto the top step, and for this disturbance, the Ferrari team incurred a US$1 million fine Later in the season at the end of the 2002 United States Grand Prix, Schumacher let Barrichello pass in a similar fashion, causing a similar outcry. The FIA subsequently banned "Team orders which interfere with the race result".
Although Schumacher took the pole position during the qualifying for the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix, there was controversy near the end of the session. Schumacher stopped his car in the Rascasse corner, partially blocking the circuit, while his main contender for the season title, Fernando Alonso, was on his qualifying lap. Schumacher stated that he simply locked up the wheels going into the corner and that the car then stalled while he attempted to reverse out. Alonso believed he would have been on pole if the incident had not happened. Schumacher was later stripped of pole position by the race stewards and started the race at the back of the grid.
Family and off-track life:
Schumacher's younger brother Ralf is a current Formula One driver. In August 1995, Michael married Corinna Betsch. They have two children, Gina-Maria (born in 1997) and Mick (born in 1999). He has always been very protective of his private life and is known to dislike the celebrity spotlight, preferring a simple life. The family currently lives in Gland, Switzerland, near Lake Geneva. They will move in 2007 to a new $50M, 7000 ft² (650 m²) home with its own underground garage and petrol station, and with a private beach on Lake Geneva.
In 2005 Eurobusiness magazine identified Schumacher as the world's first billionaire athlete. His 2004 salary was reported to be around US$80 million. Forbes magazine ranked him 17th in their "The World's Most Powerful Celebrities" list. A significant share of his income came from advertising. For example, Deutsche Vermögensberatung paid him $8 million over three years from 1999 for wearing a 10 by 8 centimetre advertisement on his post-race cap. The deal was extended until 2010. He donated $10 million for aid after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. His donation surpassed that of any other sports person, most sports leagues, many worldwide corporations and even some countries.
Schumacher plays football for his local team FC Echichens. He has appeared in several football charity games and organised games between Formula One drivers.
Schumacher is a special ambassador to UNESCO and has donated 1.5 million Euros to the organization Additionally, he paid for the construction of a school for poor children and for area improvements in Dakar, Senegal. He supports a hospital for child victims of war in Sarajevo, which specialises in caring for amputees. In Lima, Peru he funded the "Palace for the Poor", a centre for helping homeless street children obtain an education, clothing, food, medical attention, and shelter. He stated his interest in these various efforts was piqued both by his love for children and the fact that these causes had received little attention. While an exact figure for the amount of money he has donated throughout his life is unknown, it is known that in his last four years as a driver, he donated at least $50 million.
Since his participation in a FIA European road safety campaign, as part of his punishment after the collision at the 1997 European Grand Prix, Schumacher has continued to support other campaigns, such as Make Roads Safe, which is led by the FIA Foundation and calls on G8 countries and the UN to recognise global road deaths as a major global health issue.
Schumacher provided the voice of a Rosso Corsa Ferrari F430 in Disney-Pixar's animated feature film Cars. In early March 2006, it was reported that Schumacher will play a small role in the movie Asterix at the Olympic Games.