Formula One aficionados were insanely pleased when Netflix dropped the documentary on the iconic F1 racer Michael Schumacher’s life, titled Schumacher on September 15th, 2021. Since Schumacher had always lived a fiercely guarded private life, it came as quite a surprise to fans when they saw the legend willing to open up about his journey towards success as a seven-time champion.
With numerous awards and accolades to his name, he has always prevailed as a trailblazing fitness icon, a strict disciplinarian who is also a loving husband and a doting father. Featuring archival footage and interviews, the documentary is a wonderful piece of art that delves deeper into the life and journey of the legend, tracing the trajectory of his illustrious career.
The documentary exposes a lot of unheard truths about the legend’s life, including how he had almost chosen to go skydiving in Dubai over skiing in 2013, the year when the skiing accident crippled him, making him stay holed up inside his home to recuperate and recover.
Inspiring and iconic, Michael Schumacher reeks of passion, determination and courage. The documentary is a must-watch for all fans and those who have never heard of the legend to gain inspiration from his wonderful worldview.
Here are five unknown facts about Michael Schumacher that we came to know of from Netflix’s Schumacher:
5 unknown secrets that Netflix’s ‘Schumacher’ revealed
5. Schumacher loved parties
Although Michael Schumacher appears quite stoic and aloof, he loved having fun when he was away from the kart track. His wife dished out on how he loved engaging in parties, being the “first to arrive and the last to leave”. She spoke of his affinity towards shoving his friends into swimming pools and taking videos for fun.
His former friend and former McLaren driver David Coulthard, who, despite his eventual rivalry with Schumacher following their crash at the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix, featured in the documentary, supported Corinna’s revelations by talking about Schumacher’s penchant for smoking cigars, enjoying karaoke (especially ‘My Way’) and basking in some Bacardi-Coke.
4. Schumacher began racing on worn-out kart tyres
Schumacher climbed the ladder from financial constraints to affluence in his own right. The German racer did not come from a wealthy family despite being one of the world’s highest-earning sports stars now. His family restaurant lay next to his father Rolf’s kart track in Kerpen where he practised racing with his brother Ralf.
While his mother tended to the clients at the restaurant, young Michael would make use of his free time on the kart tracks.
He would find the worn-out tyres of the slightly better-equipped karting opponents who would discard theirs in the bin and add them to his own kart. In the documentary, his father, in an emotional moment, reveals how the young boy went from “not even having 500 Marks” to nearly 2000 Marks a month, a five-year contract with his subsequent manager Willi Weber and a car.
3. Ferrari questioned Schumacher’s prowess after signing him
Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, had shared about the various demons that haunted Michael, including crippling self-doubt and suspicion. He always needed a lot of time to open up to new people and would be wary of them. The German racer maintained his aloof and oblivious facade to deal with his shyness and self-doubts.
Ferrari Team Principal and current FIA President Jean Todt made an explosive revelation regarding how Ferrari was not quite sure of Schumacher’s prowess as a racer. Although the dream team comprised Chumacher, Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn, when the championship did not arrive at Ferrari from 1996 to 1998, they questioned if the problem lay with Schumacher.
Todt revealed how they had been questioning if Michael was the “right driver” for them and if they should have signed Mika Hakkinen instead.
2. Schuchamacher became a regenmeister owing to his practices in the rain
Schumacher prevails as one of Formula One’s greatest wet weather drivers, aptly gaining the title of a regenmeister.
His first Ferrari win was recorded during the wet weather and was an incredible feat on his behalf. Along with his brother Ralf, who won six Grands Prix in his career, Schumacher took advantage of his father’s kart track and “drove on slicks in the rain” with Ralf.
The film also dealt with Schumacher’s first-ever race against Hakkinen in 1983 at Kerpen when the latter formed a wonderful impression of his opponent owing to his “incredible” skills on the kart track.
1. Ayrton Senna’s death triggered insomnia in Schumacher
Schumacher maintained an extremely professional facade at all times. However, when he matched the number of victories of Ayrton Senna at the 2000 Italian Grand Prix, he had an inconsolable breakdown at the press conference.
The Brazilian racer Senna’s crash had affected Schumacher quite adversely. He revealed that after Senna’s death, he suffered terribly from insomnia and was sleeping for only “three hours a night”. He also revealed how he was crippled by the fear of suffering from a fatal accident, especially during the 1994 Imola weekend and how that took a toll on his mental health.
Watch the trailer for the documentary, now streaming on Netflix, below: