Feature: Schumacher Ready to Celebrate at Home

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, his record-equalling fifth Formula One title secured, can celebrate before his home fans with another landmark win at Hockenheim on Sunday.

Feature: Schumacher Ready to Celebrate at Home

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, his record-equalling fifth Formula One title secured, can celebrate before his home fans with another landmark win at Hockenheim on Sunday.

The German, who matched the late Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio's five Championships with his 61st career win in France last Sunday, is already the most successful driver in Grand Prix history. He now needs just one more victory to equal the record of nine in a single season that he holds jointly with Briton Nigel Mansell.

The pressure is off and for the first time in his career Schumacher will be appearing at home before his raucous campsite army of supporters with the title won.

"We can now concentrate race by race and just enjoy it," said the German at Magny-Cours. "At Hockenheim we will celebrate again in style."

On paper, the odds do not favour the German. He has won his home race just once before, in 1995 when he became the first ever local driver to triumph there, and was last on the Hockenheim podium in 1997. He has never won it for Ferrari.

Schumacher has failed to finish for the past two years, last season's retirement with a fuel pressure problem also being the last time that his Ferrari has let him down on the track. Since then, Schumacher has roared to 13 successive podium finishes and 16 races in the points while Ferrari have won the last four races and nine of the 11 to date.

New Circuit

With the drivers' title won, Ferrari may now reward Brazilian Rubens Barrichello for his efforts and ensure that he finishes the season as runner-up to his teammate.

"The team won't relax, it's not our approach," said team principal Jean Todt.

The big unknown, for Schumacher as much as any of his rivals, will be the circuit itself which has been extensively revamped and shortened. The great, sweeping straight through the forest has been lost but new overtaking opportunities introduced.

"It used to be a very fast race and I hope that some of that remains," said Jaguar's Eddie Irvine, who won for Ferrari at Hockenheim in 1999 when Schumacher was recovering from the broken leg that ended his title hopes that year.

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, now second in the Championship, will be hoping so as well after starting the last five races on pole position. The Williams driver holds the lap record from the old Hockenheim and started on pole there last year alongside teammate and eventual winner Ralf Schumacher.

"The revised circuit is going to make it a bit of a gamble for everyone," said Montoya. "Most of the drivers and engineers of course haven't been there and it's going to be interesting how everyone will be able to work it out from scratch.

"We are going to Hockenheim hoping that our package will be able to show a better performance than in France. We know where the problems are and we will try to sort them out."

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, leader in France until skidding on oil five laps from the finish and gifting victory to Schumacher, will still have been encouraged by his best result to date.

The young Finn will get another boost at Hockenheim if, as expected, McLaren retain him for next season with David Coulthard - a move likely to finally confirm the retirement of the team's former World Champion Mika Hakkinen.

At the poor end of the paddock, Arrows' Heinz-Harald Frentzen will be hoping for more of a show in his home event after the team made a half-hearted attempt at qualifying in France and missed the race.

Italy's Giancarlo Fisichella, who missed the Magny-Cours race on medical advice after a heavy crash in practice, should be fit to return for Jordan.

shares
comments
Irvine optimistic for Hockenheim

Previous article

Irvine optimistic for Hockenheim

Next article

Arrows Hoping to Race in Germany

Arrows Hoping to Race in Germany
Load comments
The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling Plus

The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling

The technical directive issued by Formula 1 to reduce levels of automation in pitstops has given teams an unwelcome period of adjustment. Although safety was the primary goal, it has already had a significant impact on the title race and puts extra pressure on teams to deliver as the season reaches the business end

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1 Plus

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1

Uncertainty over the shape of the calendar doesn’t just vex the fans and the commercial rights holder. MARK GALLAGHER explains at how race promoters have been pushed to the financial brink

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words Plus

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words

Some 18 drivers have finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to 100 wins. Three of those recall their battles with Formula 1’s centurion and give their personal insights into the seven-time world champion on his rise to unchartered territory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi Plus

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021