REVIEW: Netflix Schumacher docu shows different side of the Ferrari legend

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WITH AN illustrious career that spanned almost two decades, Michael Schumacher is a name that has become synonymous with speed. He’s a frontrunner for most F1 GOAT debates, a sports legend that even non-F1 fans (or racing enthusiasts in general) would know, and a benchmark for motorsport greatness. 

He was also known to have been immensely private about his personal life. Despite the fame that came along with his success, he managed to separate his life both on and off the track. His privacy has been respected by everyone, and as you might know, it’s something being extremely protected by his whole family at present.

Beyond his cutthroat winning ways, many fans wanted to know: Who was Michael outside of his car and helmet? 

© Provided by SPIN.ph Schumacher documentary on Netflix

And so these fans — most especially the tifosi and other loyal Schumi supporters — were very excited for the documentary as it promised to reveal more about the legend beyond what was available on mainstream media. 

We also had the chance to hear from those closest to him which gave us a glimmer of hope with regards to his current medical condition.

According to his wife Corinna, “Everybody misses Michael, but Michael is here – different, but here. He still shows me how strong he is every day.”

From watching the documentary, three personas of Michael stood out: the F1 legend, the friend, and the family man.

Schumacher the F1 Legend

It’s no secret that Schumacher was a force to be reckoned with during his prime in the pinnacle of motorsport. From humble beginnings in Germany, he worked his way towards F1 greatness, powered by a tireless work ethic. He didn’t take any shortcuts and he always pushed himself to the limit. He worked with his mechanics until the wee hours of night to figure out the car and how he could squeeze every last bit of performance from it. He always wanted to be the best, settling for nothing less. 

© Provided by SPIN.ph Schumacher documentary on Netflix

Winning 91 times and bagging 7 championships is no easy feat, and is a testament to his talent, dedication and determination. 

He helped end the championship drought at Maranello, despite earlier setbacks, and his time at the Scuderia was what cemented him as a driver on a whole ‘nother level. 

Ferrari was his home, and as Filipino tifosi Roy Serrano notes, “Tears slowly filled my eyes when I saw how well he loved everyone at the team and how the team reciprocated their love and trust to him. He valued everyone ⏤ even the pasta maker.”

Schumacher the Friend

Some would say that Michael seemed borderline robotic as they knew only of his on-track persona. He looked like a machine who just continued to win. But the documentary succeeded in humanizing him.

© Provided by SPIN.ph Schumacher documentary on Netflix

The documentary was made in cooperation with the entire Schumacher family, and in its almost two-hour duration, we were treated to exclusive, never-before-seen footage that included parties and family vacations.

As said by Harold Glenn Labuguen, one of his longtime fans who is an admin in the F1 Club of the Philippines group, “Outside of competitive sessions and media interviews where they have to make calculated/framed answers, there is another facet of the man who enjoys to live larger than life away from the cameras.”

We saw a fun-loving, free-spirited man who loved karaoke, throwing people to the pool, and just being around good company.

Even drivers like David Coulthard, who Michael famously had a paddock confrontation with, had fond memories of grabbing a drink as the pair ducked the media frenzy inevitably swirling around them.

Schumacher the Family Man

Out of all the sides shown, this would have to be my favorite. 

Michael was, and is, well-loved by his whole family and we get to see why. He would always put their safety and privacy first, and he made the most out of the time he got to spend with them.

© Provided by SPIN.ph Schumacher documentary on Netflix

“It was always the highlight when he came back,” said his daughter, Gina, who recalled the moments when her dad would come back from a race but still make time for them, no matter how tired he was.

But amid all the fond memories that were shared, it was heartbreaking to see how the aftermath of his 2013 accident left a void in the bond with his son, Mick, who’s in his rookie season in F1.

“I think dad and me, we would understand each other in a different way now, simply because we speak a similar language – the language of motorsport. We would have had much more to talk about and that is where my head is most of the time, thinking that would be so cool. That would be it. I would give up everything just for that,” Mick candidly said in an interview.

Should you watch Schumacher?

The documentary was really a treat for the fans ⏤ both old and new alike. It brought all sorts of emotions and offered an insight into the journey that Michael went through.

“Being a Ferrari fan since ’96, I’m happy and grateful to everyone who put [the] time and effort in putting [together] this masterpiece. Michael will always be the G.O.A.T. for me as he transcended generations and brought F1 to new heights. That alone would immortalize him in the annals of F1’s history,” said Serrano. 

Labuguen added, “The documentary will give a refreshing insight to one of the greatest F1 drivers away from the sporting/competitive perspective… he is also [a] human [being] who had to deal with emotions and self-doubt, despite all the accolades he racked up.”

There were some key moments that might have been glossed over, but all in all, it was a fantastic documentary. In case it wasn’t obvious, I highly recommend that you find the time to watch it because it’s one that you shouldn’t miss.

Schumacher is now available to stream on Netflix.

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