Formula One Legend Michael Schumacher is no stranger to being in the headlines for over two decades during which time he had won a record number of Formula One World Championships. In the past few months however, he has been in the news for reasons in stark contrast to his glittering career achievements after he suffered massive head injuries while on a skiing trip in France during the winter holidays. Here's a look back at the highlights of the F1 legend's career and why his accident has become a concern for millions around the world:
1991- JORDAN RACING TEAM
Schumacher was given his first opportunity to compete behind the wheels of a Formula One car in the 2001 season at Spa-Francorchamps as a replacement for Bertrand Gachot who was unavailable to drive due to a run-in with the law after attacking a London taxi driver. He qualified seventh but eventually retired out of the race due to a burnt clutch. The performance was enough for Benetton's Flavio Briatore to acquire his services for the rest of the season.
1994 World Drivers Champion
1995 World Drivers Champion
Schumacher had his first taste of a Grand Prix Win with Benetton which started his long list of 91 appearances on the top step of the podium. He also won his first World Driver's Championship with them in 1994 after winning 9 grands prix. He came back in the 1995 season to make it back-to-back world titles.
2000-2005 World Drivers Champion
Schumacher was signed by the Scuderia Ferrari Team in 2006 after winning two titles with Benetton in the hopes of bringing his winning ways back into the legendary Formula One team. The first few years in Ferrari were turbulent and did not afford Schumacher the title. In 1997 he was disqualified from the World Championship entirely after having been found guilty of deliberately colliding with Jaques Villeneuve to take them both out of the race and hand Schumacher the title. Unfortunately for him, Villeneuve though damaged, was able to make it to the flag and won the championship.
The McLarens came in to stand between Schumacher and the title in the 1998 season with Mika Hakkinen behind the wheel supported by David Coulthard. The 1999 season started promising for Schumacher until he suffered a rear-brake failure at Silverstone which resulted in a crash and a broken leg. The injury took him out for several aces handing Mika Hakkinen another title.
Schumacher opened up the 2000 campaign with three dominating wins and with the help of Rubens Barrichello, he also won the last four races despite a McLaren scare mid-season. He finally brought the title home for the Prancing Horse.
The first championship with Ferrari and third of his career started a streak of five consecutive titles for the Italian team. He managed to win 9 races in 2001 and 11 races in 2002 on the way to the title. The 2003 season was slightly more competitive but with a tyre advantage for Ferrari's Bridgestone and a drop in form for Rivals' Michelin, Schumacher managed to clinch the title once more. 2004 gave Schumacher his record seventh World Driver's Championship that capped his five season streak with the Prancing Horse.
The 2005 season brought a debacle in terms of tyre issues when technical changes shifted the advantage to Michelin-shod cars. Schumacher and his Ferrari suffered the consequences and won only one race all season. Renault's Fernando Alonso took the title from Schumacher and made a repeat performance the following year.
2006 saw a more competitive Ferrari as rules were adjusted once more but the Renaults were far ahead in development and no one was able to catch the flying Fernando Alonso. Schumacher announced his retirement from the sport at the end of the season and a stellar drive in the final race in Interlagos signed him off brilliantly.
2010-2012 MERCEDES GP
Schumacher was tempted back into an F1 cockpit by former colleague Ross Brawn after his newly-found team won the championship in its first year with Jenson Button at the helm. The renamed Brawn GP has become the Mercedes GP Team were defending champions and seven-time World Champion was their New Driver. What looked to be a promising partnership completely bombed with Schumacher managing to only finish mid-table in 9th place for his efforts.
2011 was a slightly better year for Schumacher but better is still a far cry from what he was used to throughout his stellar career. 2012 showed a little more improvement in the car but reliability issues took the edge out of Schumacher's bid for the title. Errors by the team and by Schumacher himself resulted in a dismal season punctuated only by the high of a return to the F1 podium in Valencia. Schumacher announced his retirement from the sport at the end of the season and was replaced by Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.
Schumacher competed for a total of 19 seasons in Formula One and holds the record for most World Titles and race wins in history.