Michael Schumacher announced his retirement to the F1 fraternity today. It was expected and yet it has left me stunned. I never knew Michael personally but I still feel a profound sense of loss.
I went to the Melbourne GP this year with the intention of seeing Michael drive before he retired. Only, when I said that, I didn't REALLY think he would leave. The man has racing in his blood. I can safely say that no other driver on the grid at the moment has the same passion for racing as my Schumi. And yet, despite his love for the sport, he has decided to leave...I am confounded and to say that I am sad would be like touching the tip of an iceberg.
Why am I so deeply saddened? I don't know. Maybe because I started off on this journey with Michael when I was 13. Maybe because I followed him through thick and thin as he strove to raise Ferrari from their shambles and make them rulers of F1 again. Maybe because no matter what, I always stood by him. My loyalty to him has been the only thing that hasn't wavered. I have fought with family and friends to defend the name of my driver and my team. And so in a way, I feel that all that has been in vain. That in leaving, Michael has crushed that bond that linked me to him, that he has left the family that I was a part of.
Besides being a brilliant driver, Michael has always been a source of inspiration to me. I have never looked at him in the way I oggle at Raikkonen, but to me Michael has been everything that inspires awe. He has always been a high-achiever and his records will not be broken for a very long time to come. In all the years I followed him, he struck me as being, cool, calm, ruthless and utterly and disbelievingly passionate about his job. Maybe one of the reasons I loved Michael so much was because he was everything I'm not. I always felt such joyous pride when Michael did something good- when he did well in a race, when he gave money to charity. Now that era has come to an end. Now he will retire at the end of the season and I will see no more of his greatness...I will see no more of my Schumi. I will be relegated to watch the younger generation of F1 racers who lack the flair and charisma that Michael possessed. The fact that I will not see anymore of Michael stings like hell.
At this point in time, I wonder...are all the Tifosi around the world sitting in their rooms too, lamenting and crying at their loss? Or was my obsession with Michael just unnatural? I have always thought myself to be a Ferrari fan. However, I realize that for the most part, I am a Ferrari fan ONLY because Michael is a part of Ferrari. After the 2006 season though, I will be a Ferrari fan because my idol belonged to their team, because that is probably the only common link I will ever have with him.
I feel like I've lost something very dear to me today. And I know that I am going to be mourning my loss for a very long time to come. My only hope is that people do not forget the legacy of Michael, that they will always remember his greatness as a driver and a human being. As for Michael, all I can wish him is the very best, in whatever he does.
I'm going to miss you so much, Michael.
From me, just one of your adoring Tifosi