Michael Schumacher, the greatest racing driver of all time and seven times F1 World Champion had an accident last week while skiing and now is fighting for his life. Its a sad day for his fans around the world as F1 would never be the same without him. The man who cheated death so many times in the most dangerous sport in history is now fighting for his life.

I felt like giving the champion a tribute along with millions of his fans across the planet as I have followed his career very closely since his debut in late 1991. My interest in Formula 1 and car racing was driven by Schumi’s smashing arrival in the sport. His influence wasn’t in just Formula 1 but he is considered among world’s top 10 Influential Sportsmen, boasting the likes of Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Usain Bolt and Sachin Tendulkar amongst others.

F1’s mass appeal owes a lot to the perfectionist work ethic of Schumacher through which he inspired many from our generation to follow and actively participate in motor racing. Michael is greatly responsible for F1 races spreading in Asia including Malaysia, Korea, India, Abu Dhabi, Singapore.

Schumi has inspired a generation of drivers, engineers and entrepreneurs in different ways with his magic on the wheel and off it too. In 1994, despite having an inferior car as compared to the Williams he won two world Championships with Benetton in 1994-95 and given his sheer dominance, he would have quite easily won the title the next couple of years. However, at the end of the season he made the difficult and for some rather surprising choice of signing up for Ferrari. Given that Ferrari hadn’t won a World Championship since 1979 and was labeled a below average car given its performance it was a monumental challenge to try and reverse its fortunes.
What followed his arrival at Ferrari was a level of dominance that F1 or for that matter any sport had hardly ever seen.

Lessons learned here was Schumi didn’t make predictable choices. He chose a team where he can make it his own and build it to win. He was known for his relentless attention to detail and data.

All F1 drivers are brave but some are dreamers of a different league. Once while changing tyres Schumacher’s car caught fire in the pits but he didn’t move. His pit crew put the extinguisher liquid on him along with the car and he drove from behind to win the race.
Trust in your team to back you during difficult times can be massively rewarding in the long term. Many entrepreneurs success stories are actual great stories of survival with key people around them helping them overcome obstacles.

One of Michael Schumacher’s key talents was his innate ability to drive the car to the limit and beyond in crucial moments of the race. Driving in the wet is another hallmark of a racing legend and Schumacher was nicknamed the “rain king” or “rain master” for his incredible prowess in wet conditions as he managed to win 17 out of 36 wet races he competed in. When conditions get tough in any business, quick thinking, reacting quickly, instincts, and tremendous prowess at multitasking can be a huge advantage. Some people are cool under tough conditions and are cut out to deal with complexity, Schumi is one of them.
Looking back at his career, most people have no doubts whatsoever that he is the greatest racing driver of all time. For me personally and millions across the world he was much more than a sporting icon – a true inspiration and genius at taking calculated risks.

Asked how he would like to be remembered, he said: “I’m just a racer, that’s what I am….I’m racing till nothing works, nothing goes, full commitment… I go to the edge, I go to the limit and beyond and that’s my life.”

For me this summarises what Schumi is all about, he might have been covered in controversy occasionally and crossed the line a few times in his career. But being a passionate racing fan I can understand the adrenaline rush one feels while pushing the car to limits and making sub millisecond decisions.

He stands apart from the rest for his relentless pursuit of winning at all costs and extracting the optimum out of a machine which might have resulted in some regretful moments on the track.

A big thanks to Michael Schumacher the greatest driver ever to inspire a generation.

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