But Schumacher’s life changed dramatically when he suffered a horrific skiing accident on December 29, 2013.
The seven-time world champion has been out of the public eye ever since and his health condition has been kept private, with his family only issuing rare updates.
What happened to Schumacher?
Schumacher was left in a critical condition after an accident while skiing with his son Mick in the French ski resort of Meribel on December 29 2013.
The then 44-year-old had only just retired from F1 for a second time at the end of the previous season, having returned to the sport with Mercedes between 2010 and 2012.
Schumacher, who was wearing a helmet when he fell and hit his head against a rock, suffered serious brain trauma and was in a coma when he arrived at a French hospital.
He underwent immediate surgery before a second operation during the night.
Germany’s Bild newspaper reported at the time that Schumacher’s condition had worsened and surgeons had drilled holes in his skull to reduce the pressure on his brain.
According to reports, Schumacher initially walked away from the accident after complaining only of feeling a bit shaken.
Schumacher was moved to a bigger facility at Grenoble before being brought home to Switzerland continue his recovery in September 2014.
How is Schumacher now?
The Schumacher family maintain a dignified silence about the 54-year-old’s health as they say those would be his wishes.
In 2014, The Telegraph reported that Schumacher was paralysed and wheelchair-bound.
A rare update was provided by the family in September 2021 upon the release of a Netflix documentary about the F1 legend’s life.
Schumacher’s wife Corinna said the 91-time grand prix winner is “different, but he’s here”.
"He still shows me how strong he is every day,” said Corinna. "We're trying to carry on as a family.”
She added: "We live together at home. We do therapy.
"We do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he's comfortable. And to simply make him feel our family, our bond.
"And no matter what, I will do everything I can. We all will. And we are getting on with our lives.”
It was reported by German media, ahead of the 10-year anniversary of his skiing accident, that Schumacher receives 24-hour care from a team of up to 15 people. He has been driven in a Mercedes road car, and played sounds from the F1 track, to stimulate his brain with familiar noises.
Schumacher’s son Mick has followed in his father’s footsteps by making his F1 debut with Haas in 2021 after winning the F2 title.
The 23-year-old spent two years inn F1 with Haas, with a sixth place at this year’s Austrian Grand Prix his best finish to date. He is currently the third driver for Mercedes, the team where his father ended his own career.
Mick first talked publicly about his father in March 2017, describing him as “my idol” and “my role model”.
In the Schumacher Netflix documentary, Mick said he "would give up everything" just for the chance to talk to his father Michael about racing.
Who visits Michael Schumacher?
Former Ferrari boss and ex-FIA president Jean Todt revealed that he watches F1 races with Schumacher, and is one of a select few allowed to visit him.
"I don't miss Michael. I can see him,” Todt told German TV channel RTL. “But of course, what I miss is what we used to do together.
"Yes it's true - I watch the races with Michael."
Eddie Jordan, the ex-team boss who gave a young Schumacher his big break in F1, is not allowed to visit but agrees with the family's decision.
"This was the most horrific situation for Mick and Corinna," he told The Sun.
"It's been nearly 10 years now and Corinna has not been able to go to a party, to lunch or this or that, she's like a prisoner because everyone would want to talk to her about Michael when she doesn't need reminding of it every minute.”
What do we know about Michael Schumacher?
Felix Damm, Schumacher's lawyer, explained in 2023 why no final report was ever released about the F1 legend's health.
“It was always about protecting private things," he said. "We considered whether a final report about Michael’s health could be the right way to do this.
“But that wouldn’t have been the end of it and there would have had to be constantly updated ‘water level reports’ and it would not have been up to the family when the media interest in the story stopped.
“They [the media] could pick up on such a report again and again and as ‘and what does it look like now?’ one, two, three months or years after the message,” he added. “If we then wanted to take action against this reporting, we would have to deal with the argument of voluntary self-disclosure.
“If it is not the person concerned himself but friends or acquaintances who disclose private information, it is not a case of ‘voluntary self-disclosure’ of privacy."