Michael Schumacher is, arguably, the best driver to ever grace F1. Like most racers, he started in karting before moving to Formula Three for Mercedes, and then finally to F1 for Benneton in 1991. From there his rise was as fast as any one of his record-breaking laps. While today racing for Ferrari is a huge launchpad for any driver, with Schumacher it was the other way round; his joining in 1996 was the beginning of their journey to the most successful racing team ever.
Schumacher was a large reason I never particularly got into F1 myself; it was no fun when you knew who was going to win every damn race. But to put that into statistic context: he won seven championships; the most Grand Prix wins at 91; the most fastest laps at 77 and finally, the most races won in a single season. He won 13 out of 19 races. Because of course he did.
So yes, he was a beast in an F1 cockpit. The playing field may have levelled a bit more with additional rules in the sport, so the argument could be made that it was easier for Ferrari to get ahead while he was there. But let’s not split hairs: if he was racing today, he’d be doing just as phenomenally.
Anyone like that is going to get picked up by a watch brand, not just for sporting star power but because no racing team can do without a watch. Well, it’s probably the other way around, but the result’s the same: Schumacher limited editions.
The first to nab his name was Audemars Piguet with a few cool versions of their famous Royal Oak. Granted AP aren’t that closely associated with racing, but who wouldn’t want one of those iconic watches with their name on?
A few years later though Omega took over with the Speedmaster, something that could easily have doubled as a nickname for Schumacher. Rather than travelling to the moon, the limited editions made use of the racing nature of their signature tachymeter.
Schumacher’s score sheet doesn’t look like it’s going to be beaten any time soon, no matter what Hamilton tries. And current F1 drivers beware: he’s returned from retirement before. Don’t make him do so again. Either way, he’s still a motorsport legend, one that we hope recovers soon.