This year the Festival of Speed celebrated ‘Speed Kings – Motorsport’s Record Breakers’ and a special feature was held, celebrating the life of Michael Schumacher – the most successful driver in Formula 1 history.
Schumacher, aged 50, is a retired German racing driver who raced in Formula One for Jordan Grand Prix, Benetton and Ferrari, where he spent most of his career.
With 2019 also being the 25th anniversary of the German ace’s first F1 World Championship, the special tribute saw a grid of cars that spanned Schumacher’s career, including every one of his title-winning Ferraris.
A capacity crowd and VIPs including Michael’s wife, Corinna, FIA president and former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt, Luca di Montezemolo, former chairman of Ferrari, along with the Duke of Richmond, looked on at the unique display.
Also on hand were other luminaries who featured strongly in Michael’s career, including Ross Brawn and 1996 world champion Damon Hill, whose battle with Michael was one of the most iconic of his career.
Schumacher suffered a severe head injury and was left in a coma for six months following a ski-ing accident in 2013 where he fell and hit his head on a rock.
As well as F1 cars from Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes, the Schumacher collection also included the Van Diemen Formula Ford RF88 in which he finished sixth in the 1988 German Formula Ford Championship, the Mercedes 190E, in which he contested four DTM races in 1991, and the Mercedes C11 Group C, in which Michael won the season finale in Mexico alongside Jochen Mass.
Formula 1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn said: “Anyone at his level has to have natural talent. You can work as hard as you like but, if you haven’t got that natural talent as a gift, you won’t succeed.
When you marry that inner gift with the approach, dedication and commitment and his character, he was a huge catalyst for every team he was part of. He just had everything – he raised the level of what a professional racing driver should be; he set new standards.”
Damon Hill, whose 1994 rivalry with Schumacher ended with the fateful coming together in Adelaide that handed Michael is first world championship, said: “Lewis (Hamilton) is catching up with the statistics, but there’s a long way to go before anyone can equal Michael’s record and there’s no question that the guy had the most outstanding ability as a racing driver.
“He had the qualities you need to be successful – he had this ruthlessness, talent, concentration and dedication.”
Michael Schumacher’s seven F1 world championships remains unrivalled and he still holds 20 F1 records, many of which may never be beaten.