Ex-Ferrari chief Ross Brawn says F1 legend Michael Schumacher “was a pretty misunderstood character” while describing his on-track reputation as ” despicable, horrible”.
As Schumacher recovers from injuries suffered in skiing accident in 2013 the F1 great’s persona on and off the track has come into focus in Sky’s new docuseries Race to Perfection the legend.
Brawn oversaw all seven of the German’s record-breaking world titles and spent a lot of time with the Seven-time champion in a professional and private setting.
Fellow drivers were especially threatened by Schumacher during his reign from 1994 to 2004, with his win at all costs attitude leading to accusations of racing dangerously.
But Brawn, who was technical director during Schumacher’s stints at Ferrari and Benetton, claims things changed once people met him off the race track.
“I don’t know if he quite enjoyed the impression he created because he was quite an intimidating character in many ways,” Brawn said.
“But if you knew him personally he was quite the opposite, very engaging, very personal.
“So many times I introduced him to people who, before they met him, thought he was a despicable, horrible character and you introduce them, and once they got to know him they completely changed.
Schumacher debuts for Ferrari
“I had that happen so many times because there was Michael the racing driver out on the track and there was Michael the human being away from the track.”
Brawn said anybody who knew Schumacher well liked him as a person.
“I don’t know of anyone who worked with Michael who had a bad word to say about him,” he said.
“Lots of people who raced against him had a different opinion but nobody I know who ever worked with Michael ever had a bad opinion about him because of his integrity, his commitment, his human side.
“He was a very strong team member of any team he was part of and it’s a tragedy what’s happened but he’s a lovely human being.”
Schumacher’s son Mick, 21, took a demo run in his dad’s F2004 ahead of last Sunday’s Tuscan Grand Prix – Ferrari’s 1000th F1 race.
Schumacher junior leads the F2 championship by eight points and is tipped for F1 next year.