Schumacher was born January 3, 1969 in Hurth, Germany. His father Rolf managed a go-kart track there and "Schumey," as he is known, got his start driving go-karts at age four. Unlike many elite drivers, Schumacher did not come from a wealthy family to back his career. Instead, he capitalized on what he had—access to a track. Michael started racing Karts at the age of 4, when his father fitted an engine to a pedal Kart and took him to the local karting track in Kerpen. He became the youngest member of the club and won the club championship at the age of 6 against drivers far older and with much better equipment. By the time Michael was 10 his 'hobby; was becoming quite costly. Fortunately local businessman Jürgen Dilk became Michaels sponsor, buying him a new kart and bringing other sponsors on board. In 1984 Michael won his first title - German Kart junior champion, retaining the title the following year. In 1986 he was 3rd in the senior German and European Championships. Winning both titles a year later. When Michael left school he became an apprentice mechanic which helped him a lot in understanding how cars work. In 1988 after completing his appreniceship and with help from Jürgen Dilk Michael moved in to single seater racing with Formula König where he won the championship winning 9 out of 10 races. Also that year he competed in the german and European Formula Ford 1600 championships coming runner up in the latter to Mika Salo.
Michael's successes were starting to draw attention from the Formula 3 world and in 1989 he was offered a drive in German F3 by Willi Weber who also became Michael's manager from then on. It was a close fought championship that year between Michael, Heinz Harald Frentzen and the eventual winner Karl Wendlinger however Michael won the championship the following year. Also in 1990 Michael raced sportscars for Mercedes. Whilst not the conventional path to F1 it taught him how to conserve fuel and tyres and also at this time Michael realised that he could make driving a profession rather than just a hobby. Michael continued in sportscars in 1991 but it was towards the end of that year that he got his chance in F1.
Willi Weber managed to convice Eddie Jordan to give Michael the drive at Spa, replacing the jailed Bertrand Gachot. Michael qualified 7th and although technical problems ruined his race at the start he so impressed the F1 paddock that by the following race he was in a Benetton, scoring 4 points and finishing 12th in the 6 races left of that season. Michael was to stay with Benetton for the next 4 years. He won his first GP at Spa in 1992 and his 2nd win at Estoril the following yeah. However in 1994 Michael, for the first time was in a position to fight for the championship. Sadly the anticipated fight between him and Senna was not to be after Senna's death at Imola, but Damon Hill took up the challenge and despite Schumacher receiving several disqualifications for ignoring regulations and an illegal launch control system, the championship went to the last race at Adelaide, with Schumacher holding a 1 point advantage over Hill. During the race, Hill attempted to pass after Schumacher went off the track, but as Schumacher returned to take the following corner, both cars collided and eventually retired, meaning Michael won a very controversial World championship by 1 point. Michael increased his superiority the following year and won the championship again with a record equalling 9 wins but this was to be his last year with the team as Ferrari were beckoning.
The 1996 Ferrari was vastly inferior to the Williams however Michael managed 3 victories for the team to finish 'best of the rest' in the championship. An improved car the following year meant that once again Michael could fight for the championship, this time against Jacques Villeneuve. Ferrari were looking for their 1st championship since Jody Schekter in 1979 once again it went down to the final race of the season in Jerez. However Michaels manoeuvre on Jacques Villeneuve, not too dissimilar to the one he had tried in Adelaide on Hill in 1996, not only handed the Canadian the title but subsequently had Michael disqualified from the championship. In 1998 there was a new challenger in the shape of Mika Hakkinen and a hugely improved Mclaren Mercedes. The title went down to the wire again in Suzuka, but once again it was not to be Michael's year. A stall on the grid and a puncture handed the experienced Finn his first drivers title barely 12 months after his first race victory. 1999 was supposed to be 'the' year. After a poor start victories in Imola and Monaco looked to be putting Michael back on the right track but a horrific crash at Silverstone which resulted in a broken leg meant Michael was out for 7 races, ruining his championship chances and although he returned for the final 2 races to help team mate Eddie Irvine the Finn once again won the championship at Suzuka. So to 2000 and a fully fit and determind Michael. He won the first 3 races to give Ferrari their best start in years. Once again Mika was Michael's main challenger but after a tricky mid season Michael won the last 4 races to win his 3rd drivers title and Ferrari's 1st in 21 years.
The following 3 years saw Ferrari and Michael in particular totally dominant. In 2001 Michael won the title in Hungary with 4 races still left to go and in 2002 the title was won in France with a full 6 races to go. 2003 However was more of a challenge. New rules combined with improvements by rival teams, plus a bit of bad luck meant that for the first time since 1999 the championship went down to the final race. Michael's season began poorly with no podiums in the first 3 races including a DNF in Brazil in bad weather a brave victory in Imola after the death of his mother kick-started Michael's season. Wins followed in Spain - in the new Ferrari, and in Austria, despite a small fire during a pit stop. One more victory in Canada and Michael was leading the championship mid season. However some bad results in Britain, Germany and Hungary meant that with 3 races to go Michael led by only 1 point from Montoya and 2 points from Raikkonen. The team dug deep and a brilliant win in Monza was followed by an albeit rain and Bridgestone intermediate assisted win in Indianapolis. So to Suzuka. Kimi Raikonnen was now the only other driver able to win the championship and the task was simple. Win the race and hope that Michael finishes lower than 8th. After a rain hindered qualifying Michael started the race from 14th. However team mate Barrichello was on pole. One of Michaels toughest ever races was to follow in which he lost his front wing in a challenge on Sato and nearly went off after a battle with his own brother. However Michael did just what was needed and came home in 8th place. Rubens won the race and Ferrari once again won both drivers and constructors championships.
At the start of the 2004 season everybody expected more of the same close competition that we'd seen in 2003. They couldn't of been more wrong as Michael and Ferrari notched up their most dominant season to date. Michael won the first 5 races of the year, only missing out in Monaco after an 'incident' in the tunnel with Montoya. He won the next 7 races after that and although he only came 2nd in Spa to Kimi Raikkonen, it was at the Belgian circuit that Michael clinched his 7th world drivers title. One more win at Suzuka meant that Michael finished the season winning 13 out of 18 races and breaking his own previous record of 11 wins. Ferrari, not surprisingly were also constructors champions for the 6th consecutive year.
If 2004 had been Michael’s most dominant season, 2005 was the complete opposite. As in previous years Ferrari started the season with last years car but new regulations meant that it was just not competitive and the new car was introduced by the 3rd race in Bahrain. Although initially looking quick, unusually reliability was the problem and Michael retired in the early stages of the race whilst chasing leader Alonso. In San Marino also there was cause for hope as Michael, stuck in midfield after a poor qualifying came through to finish 2nd, chasing Alonso right to the line in one of the closest race finishes for years. Sadly this was probably the highlight of the year even eclipsing Michael’s only win at the bizarre US Grand Prix. The new rules regarding tyre changes did not suit the bridgestone tyre and as Ferrari were the only main testing team on bridgestones they had to do all the tyre development, work that often meant sacrificing testing other areas of the car. However one thing that was shown this season was Michael’s motivation and determination. With all the problems that Ferrari had they still managed to finish 3rd in both the drivers and constructors championship.
2006 appeared to be Michael's last year as a formula 1 driver. The team had worked incredibly hard over the winter on the new car but it was only at the opening race in Bahrain that they could see that the hard work had paid off. Michael getting pole and new team mate Felipe Massa starting 2nd. Although beaten by Alonso in the race it was clear that this season would be much more competitive for Michael. Engine problems in Malaysia and a rare mistake in Melbourne however gave Alonso a head start and despite wins at Imola and the Nurburgring by the half way point in the season Michael trailed Alonso by 25 points. The second half of the season saw Ferrari fight back with a hat trick of wins in the USA, France and German GPs. The Ferrari was now the superior car and Renault were struggling after a piece of their car was deemed illegal and removed from the vehicle. After months of speculation it was after Michael's win at Monza that he announced that he would be retiring at the end of the season. However there were still two championships to be won and after a brilliant win in the wet in Shanghai when the conditions favoured the Michelin runners. Michael was level on points with Alonso with just 2 races to go, but it was not to be. Michael was leading the race in Suzuka until his engine blew up, all but handing the title to Alonso. Michael's final race in Brazil was to be one of his best performances. Technical problems in qualifying meant that Michael started 10th and then an early puncture pushed him to the back of the grid but even on his last race Michael didn't give up, he drove back to finish a brilliant 4th. A fitting performance to end his racing career.
In 2007 Michael finally had the time to do things he’d always wanted to do. He spent time with his family and friends, played football for his local Swiss side, swam with whales and had a ride on the Team New Zealand Americas cup yacht. He also fulfilled many sponsor and charity commitments. In April he helped to launch the Make Roads Safe campaign in London and in July he drove footballer Zinadine Zidane around Magny Cours in a Ferrari FXX raiding money for the ICM brain and spine charity. However he still remained very much involved in motor sport and Ferrari in particular. He helped to develop the new 430 Scuderia road car and was at the launch in Frankfurt. He took up his role as advisor to the Formula 1 team and attended several races although he regretted not being in Brazil for the final race where Ferrari took both championships. In June he returned to the cockpit of an F1 car driving the F2004 at Maranello for the Ferrari 60th anniversary celebrations and in November he surprised many by testing the F2007 at Barcelona and stayed at the top of the time sheets for both days. The end of the year also saw Michael in competition. Firstly at Felipe Massa’s International Challenge of Go Karts in Brazil, which he won, and then in the Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium where he lost out in the final to Matthias Ekstrom.
In 2009 Ferrari driver Felipe Massa was severely injured when a discarded coil from a Brawn GP car hit his helmet, knocking him briefly unconscious and sending him straight to the barriers. Michael took up the challenge to race in Felipe's seat, and it was a rush against time to become fit enough to participate in that year’s championship. A neck problem, received from an earlier motorbike crash, prevented Michael from returning, but Michael's desire to race in Formula 1 had returned, and in 2010 Mercedes GP (formerly Brawn GP) announced their driver line up for that year as Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.
2010 was a disappointing return for the 7 times world champion, being clearly outpaced by his team mate, and on more than one occasion underperforming in the car, and putting himself and other drivers in very dangerous situations. His maneuver against Rubens Barrichello was scrutinized, and in the last race of the season he span out, facing the wrong way into oncoming traffic, where the Force India of Vitantonio Liuzzi collided with Schumacher's car, and very nearly his head. It was the first season since 1991 that he failed to win a race, qualify on pole, or receive the fastest lap.
After a disappointing return the F1, the 7-time world champion will again retire at the end of the 2013 season.