Sunday, December 29, 2013

Michael Schumacher in a coma

After a skiing crash, the greatest motor racing driver of all time is in a coma. Apparently he hit his head on a rock. Now, I never get sad when a famous person falls, but I'm making an exception for Schumacher (actually Schuey isn't the first; I was also sad when Steve Jobs died, even though I don't like Apple). Schuey is the reason I became a fan of F1. Critics said he was the Iceman and a dirty racer, but those are just lies cooked up by the jealous. To make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs. Critics also said he made F1 boring, and I admit that was true because when he was at his best, with Ferrari, the only question when the green flag dropped was, "What will his margin of victory be?"

Boring racing or not, the man's greatness was evident, even to people who didn't know anything about racing. Like Jeff Gordon in the 1990s for NASCAR, F1 had to change rules to make the sport more competitive -- all because of one driver's talent.

I used to have endless arguments with a Brazilian friend about whether Senna or Schumacher was the best. Neither could move the other. The closest my friend got me to admit that Senna may be better was when he showed me some rain races. Rain being the great equalizer in racing, Senna in the rain made me sit up on the edge of my seat. Nobody could touch him. Some of his laptimes were close to the others in dry conditions. Our debates yielded the following: Senna was emotional and seat-of-the-pants, Schumacher was technical. Senna felt his way around a racetrack while Schumacher analyzed each element for maximum advantage. Senna was Steve Jobs, Schumacher was Bill Gates. Senna was analog, Schumacher was digital. You get the idea. None of the discussions resolved the issue. We agreed only that the two are the best two drivers ever.

With Schuey's accident, my guess is Kimi Raikonen or Juan Pablo Montoya placed the rock beside the ski run.

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