Michael Schumacher’s ‘struggle’ after accident exposed, F1 news 2021, Netflix documentary
A tragic accident that shocked F1 drivers and motorsport fans around the world had a profound impact on Michael Schumacher.
Before Michael Schumacher was the greatest driver of his generation – and maybe never – he started like everyone else, as a new kid on the block.
The F1 legend grew up idolizing Ayrton Senna, three-time world champion and one of the most fluid operators to ever groom a track, still revered to this day in racing circles around the world.
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Just a few years before Schumacher lined up on the grid alongside Senna, he had posters on the wall in his bedroom of the Brazilian superstar who won the world titles in 1988, 1990 and 1991. He was not alone.
“Everyone admired him (Senna),” former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said in SCHUMACHER, the new documentary from Netflix which will be released next week. “If you suddenly started in the same thing, you wanted to be him.”
From humble beginnings in Germany with his working-class family, Schumacher rose to the top of the race in the early 1990s and suddenly he wasn’t just admiring Senna from afar – he was fighting him for a spot on the podium.
Schumacher experienced many rivalries during his illustrious career, but his early days were defined by his battles with Senna. One of their most memorable clashes came at the 1992 French Grand Prix in Schumacher’s first full season with Benetton, when the German came back from behind in the hairpin bend and crashed into Senna, sending them both out of the race.
Senna then confronted Schumacher, accusing the rookie of ruining his day. It wasn’t the last time the couple faced each other.
As Benetton’s former CTO Ross Brawn puts it in SCHUMACHER: “I don’t think Michael tried to upset him, I think Michael was racing everyone in Formula 1 the same way he raced everyone (before), as he should have.
“It caused friction and Ayrton tried to put Michael in his place a few times on the track which upset Michael. He didn’t think it was that respectful. They were a bit reluctant at the start of the period.
Former Benetton boss Flavio Briatore adds: “At the time, Michael was a really great driver. When he got into a fight with Senna (in France) Senna felt the guy was somebody. When you are a lion, all the lions will feel it when the young lion arrives, and you want to keep the territory.
In 1994, Benetton surprised everyone by becoming a real threat to the title – in large part thanks to Schumacher’s brilliance behind the wheel. At the San Marino GP that year, Senna was leading with Schumacher closely behind in second when tragedy struck.
The Brazilian lost control of his car at the Tamburello corner and hit the barriers at over 300 km / h. The race was stopped, Senna was rushed to hospital and later pronounced dead.
“The point is, what he (Senna) was doing when he crashed when he got off the circuit, he was trying to stay one step ahead of Schumacher,” sports writer Richard Williams said in the documentary, which presents the perspectives of those who knew Schumacher best. and previously unseen archive footage, including interviews with the man himself.
In the doco, Schumacher reflects on that horrible day and the weeks that followed. He had seen similar crashes before where drivers left with broken bones and bruises, so he couldn’t understand what happened to Senna.
After Senna was rushed to hospital, the race resumed and Schumacher took the victory. But there was no champagne on the podium, everyone is still waiting for news on the status of one of the most beloved drivers in the world.
Mixed messages and different details followed. Schumacher learned that Senna was in a coma, then another person told him he was dead, then a few minutes later he was in a coma again. Everything was changing until the worst news imaginable was confirmed.
Schumacher’s ‘fight’ laid bare: how crash affected F1 legend
Schumacher was a beast of competition. You don’t become an F1 driver – or win seven world championships for that matter – without a unique desire to be the best.
What this documentary reveals is how fiery Schumacher was to achieve greatness. He wasn’t only incredibly skillful, he also possessed the kind of almost psychotic quest for perfection found in Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.
But Senna’s death shattered that aggressive do-everything-to-win mentality for the first time. He had never questioned himself before, but being so close to tragedy forced Schumacher to face his own mortality.
“The worst was really the next two weeks, after I had to accept that he died. It was just something crazy, ”a young Schumacher said in the documentary.
“In Silverstone (Great Britain) I went there and you suddenly saw a lot of things with different eyes. I drove the circuit in a road car and I just thought, “This is a point where you could be dead, this is a point where you could be dead”. I thought, ‘Crazy. You have always tested here, you have always run here, but there are so many points that you can fall and be immediately dead ”. It’s the only thing I was thinking about.
“I didn’t know the situation if I was going to be in the race car. I wasn’t sure, ‘Can I drive without thinking or will I always drive thinking that now you can be dead here, if you go here it’s gonna be bad?’ It was something very strange.
Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, noticed a definite change in her husband, as he struggled to overcome the sense of fear he had never felt in a car before.
“We wondered how this could have happened and Michael really wondered if everyone was doing the right thing,” she says. “It was really, really difficult. It was a real fight for him.
“But he was a master at blocking things out. He was able to focus so intensely on everything he was doing that he was blocking everything else.
“So I think mentally he’s very strong. It’s something he just has. Extremely strong. He still shows me everyday how strong he is.
Tragically, it wasn’t the only accident that rocked Schumacher. The 52-year-old has not been seen in public since suffering a near-fatal brain injury while skiing in the French Alps in December 2013, and details of his condition remain scarce.
Corinna vowed to protect Schumacher’s privacy and said in the documentary that he was “different” as she burst into tears as she discussed the incident more in depth than she had ever done publicly.