Michael Schumacher is widely regarded as one of the finest drivers to grace Formula 1, but his journey in the sport also provides plenty of plot twists and turns.
One such defining move in the iconic German driver’s career was detailed by his wife Corinna Schumacher.
Back in 1996, Schumacher was set to depart Benetton following two back-to-back titles with the team.
He did this with the view of linking up with his long-time mentor Flavio Briatore at Ferrari in a deal rumoured to be in the region of $30-million a year.
It was initially seen as a very risky move given that Ferrari had last won a drivers’ championship back in 1979.
In a recent interview, Corinna recounted the story of how Michael discussed the Ferrari move with her.
“I still remember it. We were in the garden when Michael asked me: What do you think if we went to Ferrari?’. I said: Yeah if you can do it, that would be great,” Corinna Schuamcher said.
The Ferrari project, headed by Luca di Montezemolo saw Jean Todt told to head-hunt Schumacher from Benetton. The team then went on to sign Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne to Maranello to make the team one of the most irresistible units in F1 history.
“Michael actually has a very good feeling about who he can rely on and I think it was like that at the time, he said he wanted to do something with Jean,” Corinna said.
“It would be so nice if Michael could tell the whole story about that time because I wasn’t always there.”
Todt is one of the few people who is still in contact with Michael and he is one of the closest friends of the family till date.
“Jean was always there when we have questions. When you know there’s someone by your side who does something for you, without consequences and thinks with you. This is a gift.
“Being Michael’s friend through good times is great fun, but when things change and suddenly someone can’t do it anymore, you need help, or it’s vacation and something bad happens, you really see who your friends are. And Jean is definitely one of those few people,” Corinna said.
As far as his health is concerned, Michael Schumacher always asked for his personal life to be kept away from the public forum.
Ever since his skiing accident that sent him into coma, his family has respected his wish and has ensured that updates on his health are minimal in front of the media.
Todt recently discussed a visit at the Schumacher’s mansion in Geneva.
“I don’t leave him alone,” he said.
“Him, Corinna, the family, we’ve had so many experiences together. Sometimes success and money changes you but Michael has never changed. He’s so strong.”
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