Recently I received email from one of the F1 Wolf subscribers asking me to write about retired F1 champions and what they do these days. I liked the idea and decided to go for it. To make the life easier for myself I will start with the most recent one – Michael Schumacher who is also celebrating his 40th birthday today.
Michael Schumacher retired from Formula 1 racing two years ago and for a while even kept himself away from the F1 race weekends. He however returned to Ferrari garage for 2007 Spanish GP and since then has been appearing at the race weekends on rather regular basis. His official role at the moment is an advisor to his former team. Ferrari are however now evaluating whether to renew the deal with Schumacher once the current one runs out at end of 2009.
He did not manage to keep away from F1 car for too long either. Despite Ferrari having two regular race drivers and two regular test drivers the team used also Michael Schumacher’s testing services last season. Schumacher managed to top time sheets on his return behind the F1 wheel sparking speculations about his possible racing return. He duly dismissed them and focused his attention on his new found hobby – motorbikes.
Schumacher probably surprised many by his impressive lap times when he tested Ducati MotoGP bike in November 2007 (video). Last season he took his hobby even more seriously and entered IDM Superbike Championship in Germany. He did not become a champion but he still impressed enough for Honda to offer him a ride in World Superbike Championships. To Bernie Ecclestone’s relief Schumacher declined the offer.
At the end of November 2008 Schumacher together with his former Brazilian Ferrari team mates took part in International Challenge of the Stars organized by Felipe Massa. Schumacher finished 4th in this charity event won by Rubens Barrichello.
Michael Schumacher is also regular participant in the annual Race of the Champions. Last year (2008) he was the star of the Cup of Nations that he helped to win for Germany (with Sebastian Vettel). He did not do that well in the individual event and lost to NASCARs Carl Edwards.
Outside of racing Schumacher lives quiet life with his wife Corinna in their villa near Lake Geneva in Switzerland. He rides horses and plays football for local Swiss village team FC Echichens. He also devotes quite some time and resources to charities. Schumacher is a special envoy for UNESCO and he is said to have donated over 1.5 million dollars to the organization. He also supported building of a school in Dakar (Senegal), supports hospital for children victims of Balkan wars in Sarajevo or shelter for homeless kids in Lima. During Christmas 2008 Schumacher donated EUR250,000 for German motor racing talents.
Michael Schumacher is a face of Bacardi sponsored do not drink and drive campaign – Champions Drink Responsibly. There is a small competition on their site, winner will get a sports car ride around Ascari track in Spain in May 2009 with Schumacher as his designated driver.
Coming up next – Mika Hakkinen.