RACE DEBRIEF

    While Michael Schumacher’s spell with Mercedes may have failed to yield a Grand Prix victory, current Team Principal Toto Wolff has hailed the seven-time world champion as the ‘founding father’ of the team’s recent Formula 1 success…

    Schumacher, who initially announced his retirement from F1 in 2006, ended a three-year hiatus to join the Silver Arrows' relaunched works project in 2010, partnering Nico Rosberg - and Wolff believes his contribution laid the foundations for the squad to claim five consecutive double world championships, from 2014-2018.

    Speaking on Thursday, the day Schumacher turned 50, Wolff, who took charge of the Mercedes team for the 2013 season just after the German bowed out of F1 for good, said: "Michael is one of the founding fathers of the success we have had in the last five years. There is no other driver like him and his vast experience contributed tremendously in the development of our team.

    “He played a crucial role when we re-joined F1 and was one of the people who laid the foundation for our future success. We're extremely grateful for everything he did for us. Today, we all tip our hats to you - happy birthday, Michael!

    "He has (also) had a tremendous impact on Formula One. Not only did he set an incredible record - a record that is yet to be beaten - but he also shaped and changed the sport forever.

    “As a driver, Michael took Formula One to a whole new level with his attention to detail and his technical knowledge. He did everything with great determination, from his engineering debriefs to his physical training, and was always searching for new ways to improve his on-track performance."

    Formula One World Championship
    "His vast experience contributed tremendously in the development of our team" - Toto Wolff on Michael Schumacher

    Similarly, Ross Brawn - the current F1 motorsport chief who worked with Schumacher for all but three of his record 91 Grand Prix victories, and helped steer him to an amazing seven world titles with Benetton and Ferrari – echoed Wolff’s sentiment.

    Speaking on the official F1 podcast Beyond The Grid, presented by Bose, in an episode dedicated to the legendary German driver, Brawn, who was Mercedes' Team Principal in 2010 and played a key role in bringing Schumacher back to F1, said: “What was interesting about that period with Mercedes and in fact, I remember [Mercedes engineer] Andrew Shovlin talking to me after they won the first one or two of their world championships, how much he felt Michael had contributed to that success.

    “Michael had helped to instil and reinforce the principles of how to do things in that period. I had worked with Michael, I knew what he was like, I knew the standards he maintained and the levels he worked to, but those guys hadn’t.

    “Michael’s work ethic, discipline and application just won everyone over and it raised the standard of the team in knowing what they could or should be doing.

    “I think I had an impact but Michael had just as much or even more of an impact when he came and worked there.”

    F1 world sends birthday wishes to Schumacher

    This week is Schumacher Week on Formula1.com, in honour of Michael Schumacher's 50th birthday. Each day we'll publish bespoke content celebrating the seven-time world champion’s historic career, so be sure to check back regularly!