Michael Schumacher remains in a coma, weeks after a skiing accident at Meribel, in the French Alps. The doctors say they cannot yet judge the effect of the head injuries he suffered. If he does recover, Schumacher will be able to read some rather tasteless quasi-obituaries that have appeared in the media and he will discover that he had more friends than he might ever have imagined.
I am not about to suddenly change my views about someone because they are in intensive care. Schumacher was immensely talented, but I never really got on with him. I was always sad that his flaws undermined his achievements.
When he exploded into F1 in 1991, we welcomed him with open arms. He was racing for Jordan, the ever-popular underdog, but almost immediately he was spirited away to Benetton in rather questionable circumstances. Three years later in Adelaide, the steely cynicism was highlighted when he deliberately took out Damon Hill to win the world championship. It showed in the clearest possible way that Schumacher’s moral compass as a sportsman was broken.
In 1997 we saw the same flaw again when he tried to do the same to Jacques Villeneuve at Jerez. His celebrated ‘parking’ offence in qualifying at Monaco in 2006 and his insistence on complete domination within a team were further illustrations of the same point.