Which Schumacher title was the best?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2008 testing, 470150

Michael Schumacher was back at the wheel of an F1 car this week. But sadly it seems we will not see him return to the track to take on Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari, and square up against new talent like Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica.

He’s probably done enough winning in F1 and that gave me an idea for a nice Friday afternoon debate – which of his seven world championships was the best? Here’s what I think.

Pro: Eight wins in what was not the best car in the field, won despite two disqualifications and two suspensions.
Con: Weakened opposition following death of Ayrton Senna, dubious move in final round on Damon Hill.

Pro: Second driver to win nine races in a year, outstanding victories at Spa and Nurburgring.
Con: Some iffy defensive driving at Spa.

Pro: First drivers’ championship for Ferrari since Jody Scheckter in 1979, beat Mika Hakkinen in closely-matched cars.
Con: What on earth were those first-lap crashes in the middle of the season about? Pulled a nasty move on Hakkinen at Spa and still lost the day.

Pro: Another nine wins.
Con: Strange off day at Interlagos, had quite a performance advantage in the F2001.

Pro: Utterly crushing display, on the podium at every round and only third once.
Con: Had the car to do it with. Farcical displays at Austria and Indianapolis left a sour taste.

Pro: Six wins to runner-up Kimi Raikkonen’s one in a close season. Under-rated gem of a win at Montreal, and Imola for that matter.
Con: Would he have won the title without the FIA’s highly contentious change to the tyre rules late in the season?

Pro: A staggering 13 wins made him untouchable.
Con: Mistakes crept in – brake-testing in the Monaco tunnel, bad strategy calls and spin at Monza, and just plain out of sorts at Shanghai and Interlagos.

My verdict
I’ve always held 1995 up as the ultimate Schumacher year. Hill didn’t really have any excuses and there were days when Schumacher was so good it was ridiculous – even at Estoril, when he only finished second, but passed Hill with a cruel and embarrassing ease.

Yes, he faced tough opposition later in his career, especially in 2000, but rarely in anything like the similarity of equipment he had in 1995. Schumacher’s greatest championship I reckon. What do you think?

Michael Schumacher career statistics
Michael Schumacher biography

36 comments on “Which Schumacher title was the best?”

Jump to comment page: 1 2
  1. for me he is a legend, every title was best..
    If formula1 is religion for me or some1 else,he is the god

  2. All so majestic….my hero,….oh how I miss him…..
    No I thought 2000, was very emotional…although not as emotional as the Monza race in 2005.
    Down – Not on pole
    Up – Alonso penalised
    Down – Behind Kimi until the pit stops
    Up – Took the lead
    Up – Alonso blew up
    Up – He won
    Up – Celebrations on the podium I was right opposite
    Down – Announced retirement

  3. Lady Snowcat
    19th April 2008, 14:02

    You can’t use 2003 as that was the year that the changes Michelin had to make halfway through gifted the title to Michael…. and lost it for Kimi…..

    It has to be his first Ferrari year…2000…. the culmination of his whole approach to F1….

  4. all his title wins were brilliant and i enjoyed them all.

  5. What about 2005 when rule changes were made specifically to disadvantage Ferrari and him? Does that make Alonso any less deserving a champion? No. He kept his cool. Kimi messed some up and some McLaren did. Similarly, in 2003, Michael did what he should have had. Score maximum points by the end of the season.

  6. I think i would go for 2000,
    but I always found his best seasons, the ones he didn’t win it… (except 2005/6)… he drove the best he could i lesser cars, loved that

  7. Ron, what makes you think the 2005 rules changes were designed to disadvantage Ferrari?

  8. James Steventon
    20th April 2008, 17:50

    I am going to go with the majority and say 2000. I honestly believe that Schumacher would probably have been crowned champion in 1999, if not for his crash at Silverstone.
    The pressure was really on him to perform that year, you could feel it. Hakkinen had won back to back championships, and it was obvious that Mika would be Schumacher’s major rival for the upcoming season.
    Also, Eddie Irvine had proven in 1999 that Ferrari had a car capable of challenging McLaren. The 2000 car would, without question, be as good if not better. Also, Schumacher had a new team mate in the Brazilian, Rubens Barrichello.
    The ingrediants were all there, the pressure, a strong and talented double world champion as a rival, a new team mate who was highly rated, and ofcourse, the juggernaut of Ferrari behind him.
    The race in Belgium was one of the year’s highlights. Schumacher hunting Hakkinen down, Hakkinen spinning and losing the lead, Schumacher’s infamous chop defending from Hakkinen, and then, ofcourse, Hakkinen’s outrageous move a lap later by passing Schumacher and Zonta at the same time.
    Real, real racing from two men who respected each other.
    Michael Schumacher’s response in the car, after crossing the finishing line at Suzuka and becoming champion, proved just how much of a battle he had been through.
    To me, that was his finest moment, his first championship with Ferrari. He had beaten his old rival from pre F1 days, and had done it fair and square. In 2001, the Ferrari had a bigger edge on its rivals, and Hakkinen chose to retire.
    The challengers since then were not Schumacher’s generation.
    Juan Pablo Montoya, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso.
    Yes, he wanted to beat them, but it was a different motivation.
    These were the young guns, the new breed, as Schumacher had once been to Senna, or Prost for that matter.
     No, 2000 without a doubt was his finest hour.

  9. Really good resume’ James – I agree entirely.

  10. I loved 2000 title(my 2nd year of F1 watching, no friends for company, no internet, no papers in India giving a good coverage, more than few words). I was literally running around the house when Mika ran out of fuel and Michael won (yes it is very sadistic, but Michael was the reason I started watching F1 in the first place). 
    Everyone loves to hate him, visible even in this comments section. But I like to put forward that many champions have been like that in the past. For example 1989’s Prost taking out Senna to clinch title, and Senna returning the help on 1991. Senna punching Eddie Irvine in Japan (when was that? 1993?). People have done ‘not so ethical’ things to win, but just Michael did some, combined with a world dominating F1 coverage and status, media, made him the most hated superstar. I would love if someone researches on this point about different drivers’ not so good moves in the past. Senna has even commented once that he’d do anything to clinch title, winning is the ingredient in his blood.

  11. I would say 2000 stands as the best Schumi title not only for the season properly, but for the whole saga of putting Ferrari back on top, and especially because it was his first full season after breaking his leg (as he was back only for the last couple of races of 1999, and already with a stunning pace)…

    Also, 2000 marks the transition from the suspicious Schumacher of the 1990s, someone unworthy of the "all-time great" designation, to the legendary Schumacher of the 2000s, certainly one of the"all-time greats"…

  12. I too would go with 1995. It is fair to say I did not like Schumacher then, but his talent was undeniable. That season was agony to watch; he crushed Damon psychologically and I could barely watch Suzuka after Hill spun out, it was a metaphor for his whole season. Schumacher also, to all intents, finished off Johnny Herbert as an aspiring WDC, despite the two wins.

    As a postscript, Ironically, I believe that Schumacher was the making of Hill. Rather than get despondant, he got immensely fit over the summer, knuckled down and came back punching in ’96. Competitively it was not the same arena – Ferrari were in poor shape – but he kept a tough, quick teammate in check and got the job done.

  13. As a Huge Schumi fan I would have to say that all of his titles were magnificent for me. The only downer is that those who dislike him always have to throw a shadow on his achievements by saying that his “number 2” drivers helped him get where he was. In my humble opinion I do not think that Irvine or Barricello had the tenacity to ever beat him. What makes a brilliant driver is the whole package, not just being quick and Schumi had the complete package. Yes, he did not always act sportingly but none of the drivers are saints. Kimi would certainly not have been champion today if Massa did not help him out by being delayed in the pits ( no matter how people try to deny it ).

  14. Never watched much in the early ’90’s (very unfortunately! – would love to know if anyone can tell me where to obtain DVD’s of ’93 to 95 at reasonable rates ?), started following F1 closely from 1996 when Schumacher joined Ferrari. To that end , I have to call 2000 his greatest win – if only just for the fact that it was the first win after the build up from ’96 and what would be the start of the strongest domination known in F1 to date.

  15. Jean – There’s links to where you can buy them on the reviews of those videos here:

    1993 F1 season review video – Senna fights back
    1995 F1 season review video – He did it his way

  16. sadly it seems we will not see him return to the track to take on Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari, and square up against new talent like Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica – i think not keith!

Jump to comment page: 1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.