Michael Schumacher update as close pal says stricken legend should be STRIPPED of controversial F1 title

MICHAEL Schumacher should be stripped of one of his world championships, one of his close friends has said.

Veteran journalist Roger Benoit took aim at the track legend’s beaten record – despite the two being friends.

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Michael Schumacher is one of F1’s all-time greats Credit: APDamon Hill and Michael Schumacher share the podium

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Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher share the podiumCredit: GettyThe two drivers collided in 1994 - handing the title to Schumacher

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The two drivers collided in 1994 – handing the title to Schumacher. Credit: Getty

Benoit – who reconciled with Schumacher in 2011 after years of feuding – said he believed the ace should lose his 1994 F1 title.

Schumacher currently stands alongside Lewis Hamilton as one of only two seven-time world champions.

Together, they are the most successful drivers in F1 history.

The German won his titles in 1994 and 1995, before going on an incredible five-year winning streak between 2000 and 2004.

However, Schumacher has not been seen or heard from since 2013 after suffering a catastrophic injury during a skiing accident.

His family is keeping strict privacy about his condition.

But for his friend Benoit, Schumacher’s first title was tarnished after the racer’s infamous collision with British rival Damon Hill.

The two found themselves together in the title decider, with Schumacher seemingly steering his Benetton towards Hill’s pursuit of the Williams.

Benoit gave an extensive interview to the German magazine Blick about his friend and insisted on calling him a “six-time champion”.

He was often critical of the driver during his career, but the two became friends after Schumacher’s return to the sport in the 2010s.

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“Of course I know he’s a seven-time world champion. But the 1994 title should actually be taken away from him because he only won it because of a foul on Damon Hill,” Benoit said.

But despite this, Benoit still hailed him as one of the “greatest of all time.”

“I always had respect for his performance. The way he worked at Ferrari was unique,” he said.

“He was regularly in the lodge until midnight, an incredible working relationship.

“He still holds the record of 19 places in a row.”

The two did not speak for years before they reconciled after a chance encounter in the paddock at the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix.

“He passed me. But after two meters he stopped, came back, hit me in the knee with his hand and said, ‘Let’s forget everything that used to be. We’re going to start from the beginning,'” Benoit said.

His comments come amid ongoing controversy in F1 over retrospective championships.

Schumacher protégé Felipe Massa is launching legal action in an attempt to wrest the 2008 title from Lewis Hamilton.

Massa believes he was robbed after the “Crashgate” scandal at that year’s Singapore GP – something he believes unfairly cost him the title.

Meanwhile, there is ongoing fan lobbying and controversy surrounding the end of the 2021 season, where Max Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the final lap to win the title.

F1 bosses have admitted that “human error” meant the rules were not applied correctly during the latest safety car period – potentially costing Hamilton his eighth world title.

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A boost from Schumacher’s friend Benoit would take Schumacher down to six titles – and Hamilton would take his place as the single greatest of all time in terms of statistics.

But when Blick asked him to provide specific information about Schumacher’s health, he declined and said, “No.”

“There’s only one answer to this question, and that’s what his son Mick gave in one of his rare interviews in 2022: ‘I’d give anything to talk to dad,'” he continued.

“This sentence says everything about how his father worked for more than 3,500 days.

“A hopeless case.”

F1 journalist and close friend Roger Benoit called Schumacher a "hopeless case"

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F1 journalist and close friend Roger Benoit called Schumacher a “hopeless case” Credit: PA

After that skiing accident in the French Alps in 2013, Schumacher spent 250 days in a medically induced coma in the hospital.

Even since he was finally allowed to return home, few have seen or visited him, and reports of the German’s condition are extremely rare.

Some friends and even family members were kept in the dark by those closest to him in an effort to prevent leaks to the press.

Schumacher’s son, Mick, continued the family legacy of F1 drivers when he competed for Haas in 2021 and 2022.

He is now the reserve driver of Mercedes.

Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, offered a small but powerful update on her husband’s health during Netflix’s 2021 documentary about the German.

An emotional Corinna said: “Michael is here. Different, but he’s here, and that gives us strength, I think.

“We’re together. We’re living together at home. We’re doing therapy. We’re doing everything we can to make Michael better and comfortable.

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“And to simply feel our family, our bond. And no matter what, I’ll do everything I can. We all will.

“We are trying to continue as a family, the way Michael liked it and still does. And we continue with our lives.

“I never blamed God for what happened. It was just bad luck – all the bad luck one can have in life.

“It’s always scary when you say, ‘Why is this happening to Michael or us?’ But then why is this happening to other people?”

Categories: Optical Illusion
Source: HIS Education

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