Everyone misses Michael: new Schumacher documentary

By Christian Hollmann, dpa

Michael Schumacher’s unique racing career is at the centre of new documentary. The film is also a present from his family to the former F1 star.

Corinna Schumacher cannot hold back the tears. The memory of the fateful day, almost eight years ago, when Michael Schumacher had a major skiing accident, moves the wife of the record Formula One champion deeply.

“I have never blamed the dear God for why this happened now. It was just really bad luck. You can’t have more bad luck in life,” the 52-year-old said haltingly to the camera.

In the Netflix documentary ‘Schumacher’, which will be available from September 15, she provides insights into the family’s life after the tragedy in the French Alps on December 29, 2013 for the first time.

The former racing star Schumacher suffered a traumatic brain injury, despite his helmet, and was in mortal danger for days. Corinna remembered her husband said to her shortly before: “The snow is not ideal, we could fly to Dubai.”

It is in the last few minutes of the almost two-hour film that new information is provided to Schumacher fans about their hero.

“We live together at home, we do therapy, we do everything so that Michael is better and doing well and that he simply feels our family solidarity,” says Corinna. Some previously unpublished photos convey the image of a harmonious family idyll before the accident.

“It’s quite clear that I miss Michael every day, and not just me, the children, the family, his father, everyone round about him.

“But Michael is there, different, but he is there and that gives us all strength.”

Schumacher’s children, daughter Gina-Maria (24) and son Mick (22), describe their father as a family man with whom they experienced lots of fun.

It is “a bit unfair” that ‘this is no longer possible says Mick, who himself has made it to F1 where he is debuting with the Haas team this season.

He would have a lot to discuss with his father. “I would give up everything just for that,” he said.

The hole torn in the family by the ski drama is clear to recognize in this passage of the film.

But those expecting an update on the health situation of the former driver will be disappointed.

“We have never hunted a headline at any point but rather approached it slowly and found a way together,” said Vanessa Noecker, who directed the work along with Hanns-Bruno Kammertoens and Michael Wech.

“It would not have worked otherwise. In the end we ourselves had a protective instinct.”

The family wanted to make a gift for Michael Schumacher with the film, said his long-time agent Sabine Kehm. “They have seen the film, like it a lot and stand completely behind it – also in the difficult passages,” she said.

From the beginning in carting to the rise to becoming a seven-time world champion and with darker moments of the over-ambitious Schumacher included, the documentary provides pictures long-term fans will know but will be happy to see again.

And there is insight from former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, team chiefs Flavio Briatore, Jean Todt and Ross Brawn, and rivals like Mika Hakkinen.

“He had the charisma of a leader. That was his gift to us,” says Piero Ferrari. Schumacher won five of his seven world titles in the red car with the prancing horse.

Corinna Schumacher spoke of her relationship to her husband but revealed: “For me I have never thought that something could happen to Michael,” when it came to the not inconsiderable risk of motorsport.

Other than a broken leg from a 1999 crash at Silverstone, Schumacher emerged from his career unscathed.

Luck and the guardian angel referred to by Corinna deserted Schumacher in December 2013.

The mountain of fate, where the fateful skiing accident happened, appears white and cold in the Netflix film as a symbol of the tragedy.

“We continue to live our lives,” says Corinna.

“It is important that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much can be. Michael has always protected us, now we protect Michael.”

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