The Kaiser Retires

After his win today Michael Shumacher announced his retirement. Finally. He was a hell of a driver but also a hell of a bad sport. From the link above:

On pure talent and accomplishments alone, Schumacher belongs in the same bracket as the very best in the history of the sport – the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Gilles Villeneuve, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna… But greatness is about more than ability and trophies. It is also about character and integrity, and that is where Schumacher’s claim falls down.

But with all the wonder of Schumacher’s talent, and his down-to-earth private persona, comes a dark side. The two are inseparable. And that is what tarnishes his legacy… Too often – particularly so for one of his talent – Schumacher has relied on the unfair advantage to win, either created by himself with controversial manoeuvres on the track or in various means by his backers off it… Sadly, the length of the list of these incidents rivals that of his best drives.

And in this second article, some quotes from various driver.

I think we lose and we will miss a great champion on the track. He beat all the records so he has the best numbers in Formula One but I think maybe F1 will focus more on sport after that.—Fernando Alonso

He’s done some fantastic drives, he’s made some stupid mistakes. He’s not a great in my mind like [Juan Manuel] Fangio, but is one of the most talented drivers.—Stirling Moss

The last stars I saw in F1 were (Ayrton) Senna and, even if he won only one world championship, Jacques Villeneuve. If we want, we could also add (Juan Pablo) Montoya. Now, instead, we have only champions.—Flavio Briatore

He’s one of the best examples of what happens these days in too many sports, the loss of honor and gentlemanly behavior to an unrestricted quest for wins and dollars. He used his influence in his team and with the FIA the way athletes from other sports have used drugs, to gain an unfair advantage on top of his great talent, tainting his whole career.