James Vowles: “Incredible individual” Michael Schumacher “brought Mercedes closer together”

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There is a moment shared by all F1 fans, when a legend decides to leave the circus. The moment when a hero decides to take a step towards the next chapter of their life, the one where every minute does not rotate around the next race. It is a moment dreaded by the fans.

“What is F1 without..”

This is well known by those who saw, at the end of 2006, Michael Schumacher take off his helmet and bid farewell to the life that made him the icon, the emblem, of the sport.

When he returned, after three years, he was unable to get to the level of his former self.

James Vowles, Williams Team Principal, who worked with Schumacher in Mercedes from 2010 to 2012 talked to Sky Sports F1 about how the German managed to create a stronger bond and unity within the organisation.

“Michael was this incredible individual. He had an aura and a presence with him as well, completely different to what you see externally.

“Within the team he was there to help us, help the team move forward. He brought the team closer together. He knew everyone’s birthdays, he sent flowers to respective partners and really looked after individuals in a great way.

His years at Mercedes were not characterised by the glory achieved before his first retirement, but according to Vowles they were the key that led the team to be what it has become. His time there taught the essence of being a team and the meaning of dedication.

“What it meant is the team were really pushing for him to be successful and that wasn’t through any other mechanism than him being himself.

“He also knew his performance was perhaps not quite at the same level, but he made up for it in terms of the amount of work and dedication he put in. From that, Nico learned a lot and conversely, Lewis learned a lot from Nico.”

The pinnacle of motorsport accepts only the best, and only the very best of them achieve legendary status. Michael Schumacher did it, and even more.

There is a curious aspect regarding Schumacher. The driver and the man had the same impact on those around him. The impact that can only be made by those who live off their passion.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team