King of Monaco GP Michael Schumacher

msThe date was 29th December 2013 when a hush spread throughout the sporting fraternity and indeed the whole world. There was a sense of gloom as the holidays came to a close after news from the French Alps came in about Michael Schumacher’s serious skiing accident.

Everyone was shocked and if this was not a reflection of how greatly Schumacher had wowed the world with his racing prowess, nothing could mirror it better. The King of Monaco GP who has won five times on the Monte Carlo streets had survived by a whisker and everyone sighed with relief.

Recounting the Path to Glory

Well, there is no gainsaying the impact of winning on one of the most arduous tracks five times, almost equaling the record of another racing legend, Ayrton Senna. As he continues recovering from the head injuries, the best way to hail his achievements is by recounting how he charted his path to success. Here are some highlights:

A legend is born in 1969: When Rolf and Elisabeth Schumacher welcomed their bubbling son to the world in the cold January 3rd of 1969, they probably never imagined the impact he would have on millions of people. He took to karting early, even obtaining a license at the age of 12 years, going on to win the German Junior Kart Championship.

Early racing: After joining the Adolf Rubert Karting team, he went on to win the German and European Championships by 1987. He joined Weber Formula 3 team and won the title in 1990. He later had a stint at Mercedes joining the prototype championship, and performed excellently. It was only a matter of time before Formula One gurus noticed the amazing talent.

The start of a mercurial Formula One fantasy tale: As fate would have it, the rain king, as Schumi would come to be known throughout his career, got a break with Jordan when their driver was imprisoned. His career started properly with Benetton and impressed with a first podium finish at the Mexican GP later winning his 1st race at the Belgian GP in 1992. He finished 3rd in 1992 and later 4th in 1993.

Reign of the champion: 1994 heralded the birth of the real Monaco GP king, which he won and went on to win the championship with Benetton. In 1995 he still defended his title with the same car. Moving on to Ferrari, which has almost become synonymous with him to date, he went on to win the championship in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Controversies and retirement: If there is any driver who knew how to stoke controversy it has to be Schumacher. From 1994, during his tight race with Damon Hill where he deliberately caused a crash in order to win,  to the 1997 European GP race against Villeneuve where he attempted to cause an accident, but retired handing the championship to his rival, which caused his disqualification from the entire championship, he always knew how to spice up trouble.

King of Monaco Grand Prix: To date, the German is rated as one of the legends to ever drive on the Monte Carlo streets with 5 wins in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001.

No one can forget the ‘packing incident’ in the 2006 Monaco GP to block Alonso from snatching pole position. But as they say, legends also have their Achilles’ heel. Whatever the case, there is no denying the king of Monaco GP will inspire many more racing enthusiasts.

I’m really going to try and get to Monaco this year. Anyone used for tickets?

A Sneak Preview into Formula One Hall of Fame

The 2015 F1 starting grid is chocking with talent. Add to that the fact that Mercedes has a superior car on the track, and it is virtually impossible to guess who between Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Rosberg, Massa and Button will emerge tops.

Proper racing, since the pre-war period, has produced amazing talent, and while these racing greats will one day have their imprint in the history books of F1, let’s take a look at who is already in this hallowed circle. Here is a sneak preview of past legends:

FangioJuan Manuel Fangio: If you know your Grand Prix well then this icon must be an inspiration to you too. His record of five championships, most of them at an old age, and a record of 47% of wins in all races he entered, underlines his genius.

Ayrton Senna: To say he was a daredevil on the track is an understatement because he set out to win every race. His personality might have been on the dark side at times, but his 3 championship titles, 65 pole positions, 41 wins and a 25% rate of wins in all races made him a legend. His death in a 190mph crash at Imola at the age of 34 years still shocks the racing fraternity.

jim-clarkJim Clark: When you think of gentleman behaviour in sport, golf comes to mind, but Clark in his racing days had proven that indeed one can be fast and courteous. He had a 34% rate of wins in all races and won two world championships and multiple records before his death in a crash in 1968.

Alberto Ascari: The Italian racing driver won two world titles in a Ferrari, but his style of winning almost every race made him an icon. He died in 1955 not in a race but while trying out a Ferrari with a friend at Monza.

LaudaNikiNiki Lauda: Even after almost burning to death while racing in 1976, Niki showed what endurance is all about. Under his belt he has 3 world championship titles and 25 wins in all. His return from near death to continue racing shows his spirit of fighting and is a defining moment in F1 history.

Alain Prost:  Four championships clearly speak of a legend and this is exactly what Prost was. His record 51 victories were only surpassed in 2001 by another great, Schumacher. His World Sports Awards of the Century proves his impact on the sport and the reason he is adored to date.

Other greats include Michael Schumacher, James Hunt the playboy, Graham Hill the King of Monaco, Stirling Moss and Jack Brabham the genius, who raced in his own cars, among others.

The question is, does the current crop of F1 drivers possess the almost mythical character these earlier drivers had? Sit back and let time decide.