....... and thanks for all the memories!
Okay, so I did not know the fastest German on four wheels personally.
I never went round his house to play football, never spoke to him and only saw his face as a series of colourful moving pixels/dots on a TV screen.
Still I will miss Michael Schumacher.
I never got close enough to shake him warmly by the hand or look him in the eye and say you are a motor sport genius.
Mind you he knows that anyway!
Yet just by watching him race, the perfect awesome display of man and machine as one. Enjoying his finest hours like his four stopper in France 2004, the wet races where he cajoled a machine of fiercesome speed round a track as slippery as a politician eating eels faster than anyone else. He should have been sponsored by adidas-to him impossible was nothing- stuck in the wrong gear? never mind I'll still take second.
Last race, puncture puts me last, full tank of petrol, nevermind I'll set fastest lap!
And thus I feel this sense of loss. It may only be an end of an era but I supported this man through thick and thin for thirteen years.
He first came to my attention in 1993. The British Grand Prix in fact. The Williams, to those who have only followed the sport recently, was in its pomp. A class above the field. The Renaults of their day. And here was this young gun in a Benetton-probably an early season Honda or a Toyota, not only keeping pace but at times splitting them.
I was in awe, that guy must be unbelievable. And so my support began.
It's like supporting Manchester United or Liverpool and then they suddenly say oops no sorry we aren't playing anymore. On a smaller scale but that is the kind of paradigm shift I face.
Who or why am I going to keep watching F1? Much as it is claimed to be a team sport its not. Its about the drivers. Before Schumacher I supported Mansell. So 1993 was my who do I watch year but back then you had a host of names to keep you involved-Senna, Prost returning, Berger, Alesi. And then Schumi happened!
All characters off the track as well as on. Even Schumacher can be relied on to spice things up-say what you will about the incidents but come on- Jerez, Monaco '06, they were talking points, still are.
Today Schumacher Junior is good for a quote off the track but is not really doing the business on it, Alonso is fast but still seems, I don't know, too moody and his off track persona will only get worse at the strictly corporate straitlace Mclaren.
Raikkonen I have decided has no respect. Having watched the way he dismissed a presentation from Pele-a god if not the god of football-to Schumacher who, rightly or wrongly, is the King of F1 Stats seemed churlish. Even if you did not like Schumacher, or indeed football, surely anybody who is not too self absorbed would realise the sense of the occasion and said something better than I was having a shit!
Oh god! I'm turning into Mourinho banging on about respect!
Moving swiftly on I guess 2006 will be 1993 again watching and seeing if there is somebody I admire enough to support. Maybe as a would be tifoso, converted by Schumacher's move to Ferrari I will support a Ferrari driver after all.
Its about time a Brazilian rose to the mantle of champion once again.....
In fact it had been 13 years since a Brazilian won their home grand prix.
2007 will be 13 years since the death of the great Ayrton Senna.
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