Italy shows gratitude to Schumacher

Many Italian motor racing fans never truly took Michael Schumacher to their hearts but they have realised what they will be missing when the celebrated Ferrari driver bows out at the end of this season

Italy shows gratitude to Schumacher

Schumacher announced on Sunday, shortly after winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, that he would call it a day after the final race of this year's championship.

The seven times world champion is the most successful Formula One driver in history having broken nearly all records.

But while Italian fans lapped up the years of triumph for Ferrari and their German driver, Schumacher was never really adored in the way many sportsmen are in the country.

Schumacher was perceived as cold and had not learnt enough Italian and while there is nothing the local fans respect more than a winner they also want their champions to be 'simpatico'.

The German has tried to fit the role - his language in media appearances in Italy changed over the years to reflect the Italian wish for emotion, commitment and sentimentality.

It always appeared a little forced but on Sunday he showed genuine emotion at the reaction of the most passionate fans who poured on to the track to salute his last victory in Italy.

The response to his retirement was straightforward gratitude for the success he has brought an Italian sporting institution.

"Grazie Schumi" was the headline in Monday's Corriere dello Sport while Gazzetta dello Sport switched languages to lead with "Danke Schumi".

But the Italian media also did not waste the opportunity to highlight the emotional nature of Sunday's race and the decision that followed it.

"The cold champion is now fragile," said Corriere della Sera in an article noting how Schumacher's personality was always much more human than the image built up of the ruthless winner.

On Sunday, Italians got the emotion they had always wanted from Schumacher - the pictures of his wife Corinna in tears and receiving a hug from Ferrari's team boss Jean Todt were accompanied by a wedding day photograph of the happy couple.

"For you he is a legend, for me he is a husband," Corinna was quoted by Corriere della Sera in an article recounting their relationship.

Schumacher said on Sunday his decision was based on a desire to go out at the top, but Gazzetta also focused on his warm words for his family.

"I decided with Corinna," was one headline in the newspaper's coverage.

Gazzetta's main editorial on Schumacher's retirement began: "He did not cry, but he wasn't far off.

"It was in that moment, when a man confronts what he has inside, that Michael Schumacher could hardly find his voice," wrote columnist Pino Allievi.

Once the emotion of Sunday's announcement fades, it will be Schumacher's record seven world titles that will be remembered most by Italians and has assured the man from Huerth-Hermuelheim of a place in the country's sporting history.

shares
comments
McLaren believe Raikkonen can still win

Previous article

McLaren believe Raikkonen can still win

Next article

Briatore: Renault have faith in the FIA

Briatore: Renault have faith in the FIA
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher
Author Simon Evans
How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021