Michael Schumacher was not present, but his presence was felt when 33 Formula 1 World Champions were inducted into the motor racing’s new Hall of Fame by FIA president Jean Todt who reminisced and gave insight into the sport’s most successful driver.
Together Todt and Schumacher returned Ferrari to winning championships with a dominant run from 2000 to 2004, a time in which the German shattered every record in Formula 1 and the Italian marque regained its legendary status.
Speaking during the event in Paris, Todt said, “We miss Michael. He’s there, still fighting. I’m happy to have Sabine here, to run the family business. I wanted Mick to come tonight but he’s doing some testing in Spain and Corinna is in the States.
“A fight is going on. Michael is someone very special, someone special for motorsport. He’s special to me, he’s a friend,” added Todt.
Of the glory years the Frenchman recalled, “I remember when he was driving for Ferrari, there are two things I will mention. In 2000, after 21 years, Ferrari was champion again with Michael.”
“I took him to the podium and said to him: Michael our racing life will never be the same. Clearly that day at Suzuka, that has been the strongest moment in my career.”
“Another thing to show what Michael is like: when he finished the 2000 season as champion, we were starting the 2001 season. He asked me, quite shy because he’s a shy guy. He looks arrogant but he’s shy.”
“He asked me: would you allow me to do some testing in Fiorano to make sure I am still able to drive?”
“He was always full of doubt, whether he was a good driver or not. He made his testing, and he was not too bad…”
Manager Sabine Kehm who represented Schumacher at the Hall of Fame event, said on the night, “We all know Michael should be here. I’m sure he would love to be here.”
“He always had the highest respect for everyone in this room. He would feel honoured. I also know how big a friend Michael is of Jean. I’m sure he would be proud of him for making this possible.”
“I don’t think it was only discipline that made him so special. What made Michael so special, what made him so successful, was his love of the sport. And that connects him with everyone here,” added Kehm.