Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher announces his retirement from racing

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It was a sad day in the world of automotive racing when Michael Schumacher announced his retirement from competition on September 10, 2006.

Born in Germany in 1969, Michael Schumacher is arguably the greatest Formula One race car driver who ever lived. He has won the Formula One world championship seven times, the most by any individual. He also holds a number of other impressive Formula One records, including most number of race victories, most number of pole positions, fastest laps ever and most races won in one season.

His success on the racing track has also translated into a ton of wealth for the German icon, who also happens to be the only native of Germany to ever win the F1 championship. In terms of earnings, Eurobusiness magazine estimates that Schumacher has won over a billion dollars in Formula One competition, making him the world's first athlete to win over a billion dollars. It speaks volumes of the man that he has donated tens of millions of his winnings to various charities and humanitarian causes all over the world.

Schumacher has also proven that his abilities have withstood the test of time. Since 1992 when he won his first race, he has won at least one race ever year up to 2006, which is an astounding achievement and speaks volumes of his other-worldly abilities.

There are two things that long-time racing enthusiasts point to when they assess Schumacher's dominance on the race track. There's his ability to perform under pressure during the most crucial stretches of the race when he tends to display his fastest laps. There's also his ability to outperform everyone else during rainy conditions. This has earned him the title Rain King, which is "Regenkonig" in German.

On the other hand, rivals accuse Schumacher of being overly ruthless on the race track to the point of being unsportsmanlike, which has been a source of some controversy, although it must be pointed out that most fans believe this is just an overblown case of sour graping. Critics are quick point to the 1997 championship where Schumacher was stripped of his runner-up finish when judges said he deliberately drove into Jacques Villeneuve, his main rival for the championship, in the season's last race.

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