The recent news regarding of one motorsports most recognised figures, Michael Schumacher has shocked us all really. After seeing him dice with his life on numerous occasions in what I consider to be some of the greatest pieces of machinery devised by human intellect, I don’t think we could predict that after retiring from being one of the very few gladiators that have had to pleasure of driving a Grand Prix car [and good ones at that], that something like this could happen.
I grew up marvelling at Schumacher’s excellence and demeanour in Formula 1. He knew what it took to be the best every single time he stepped into that Scarlet Red Ferrari, and that was inspiring. It inspired me to pursue motorsport as an interest at the age of six, something which would ultimately shape me into the person I am today.
In case you hadn’t gathered, I love motorsport. Everything about it. I love the type of people that I get to interact with in the motorsport community, I love the personalities that come out of motorsport, I love that I can look at other people’s interests and know for a fact that they just can’t beat the sensation and tension that arouses when its five minutes to lights out on the grid, because I know such a thing can never be replicated anywhere else.
Its one thing to have a sport like F1 on this earth, its another to make it appealing. Michael Schumacher is that defining personality that got me hooked on Formula 1. And if you look at the talent rising through the lower ranks of motorsport, all with the hope of becoming a world champion, they too look towards Schumacher as both the influence and the benchmark. Even our four-time world champion, Sebastien Vettel looks at Schumacher as the personality that drove his interest in mimicking his achievements and being the best.
In many ways, the state that Michael is in at the minute reminds me a lot of how I felt when Colin McRae died in 2007. Although he never achieved the world championships that Schumacher did, he still provided people with a reason to follow rallying. For many rally drivers, he is their influence because of his “never give up” attitude towards the sport. In my case [and I’m sure others], he got me hooked on rally racing and the concept of having F1, off road.
Its unfortunate that I and many others will never be able to meet Colin, since he too had a big influence on me growing up with the games and his WRC presence.
I fear a similar fate will happen to Schumacher at this stage. I haven’t lost faith, I do want him to come out of this with as minimal damage to his persona as possible. But equally, I also know that there is a high chance that he could come out a different person. One that doesn’t understand what he has achieved, and one that can’t interact with one of the most loyal and intelligent fan bases around.
Like with Colin, I just wish me [and all others who are as passionate as I am about motorsport] and Schumacher could have had a moment together at some stage. Just so I could thank him for being such an inspiration throughout my life, and for being a proper public figure that will forever be recognised for his achievements and work.
I’d like to send all my thoughts to the Schumacher family at this time.