WATCH: From ‘big question marks’ to championship success – The inside story of Schumacher’s phenomenal comeback
Seven world championships. Second in the list of all-time wins. For many years of his Formula 1 career, Michael Schumacher’s success looked assured. But, as a new documentary on F1 TV details, his first drivers’ title with Ferrari came as part of a remarkable comeback story.
In Greatest Comebacks: Michael Schumacher, those who were there recall the story of Schumacher’s eventful journey to the 2000 championship. His manager Sabine Kehm explains why, despite high hopes, big question marks lingered over Schumacher and Ferrari ahead of the 1999 season.
The driver’s title charge came to an abrupt halt eight races in at Silverstone, where he suffered a broken leg in a high-speed crash. Kehm gives an insight into Schumacher’s fears over the severity of the accident, while orthopaedic surgeon Professor Bill Ribbans reveals what Ferrari boss Jean Todt told him before operating on his “best friend” Schumacher.
The documentary looks at the interesting dynamic that evolved as Ferrari team mate Eddie Irvine fought for the championship while Schumacher was recovering, and how a determined Schumacher trained harder than ever ahead of the 2000 season.
Kehm recalls the concerns as Mika Hakkinen built a lead in the title fight, before detailing why emotions were running particularly high for Schumacher during a memorable winning weekend at Monza. He went on to win the title at Suzuka, and Kehm reveals why it was perhaps the “most special” of Schumacher’s tally.
Schumacher’s legacy is reflected upon, including why he “redefined” what was required to be an F1 driver operating at the highest level as well as leaving a lasting impact with his work both on and off the track.