Winner of a record seven Formula One World Championships, Michael Schumacher retired at the end of the 2006 season as statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen. In his career, he has won 91 Grand Prix out of 250 starts, an incredible achievement in a sport that once considered Alain Prost's total of 51 unbeatable. He has also had 154 podium finishes, 68 pole positions and 76 fastest laps.
Although behind World Champion Fernando Alonso for most of the 2006 season, Schumacher put together a breath-taking second half of the year, with five wins in seven races, eventually losing the World Championship by just 13 points. Had his normally reliable Ferrari not broken down in the penultimate race in Japan where he was leading with only 16 laps to go – his first engine failure in five years – he may have succeeded in winning an eighth title.
One of Schumacher's greatest achievements was the part he played in the re-emergence of Ferrari as a major force in Formula One. When he moved to the Italian team in 1996, Ferrari had not won a World Drivers' Championship in 17 years, but from 2000 to 2004 Schumacher won five consecutive titles with the team.
Schumacher won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award in 2002 and 2004 and was also nominated in 2001, 2003, 2005 and now 2007. No one has been nominated on more occasions.
Off the track, Schumacher is an ambassador for UNESCO and has been a spokesman for driver safety. He has also been involved in numerous humanitarian efforts throughout his career. It was announced in October 2006 that Schumacher will act as assistant to Jean Todt, the newly appointed chief executive of Ferrari.