Netflix documentary about Michael Schumacher destroys the perfect image of the Formula 1 icon - for something better

“Don’t make me a star”, it says once in the new documentation Schumacher on Netflix. A few minutes later we see Michael Schumacher’s yellow and green Benetton collide with Ayrton Senna’s white and red McLaren at the French Grand Prix. Senna, three-time world champion, rebukes the young German colleague in front of the cameras. That was in July 1992. In August Schumacher won his first Grand Prix.

Of the Star wasn’t just born, he had stubbornly established himself in the firmament of sports history. Senna’s anger backed that up.

How the boy from Hürth rose to become the most successful Formula 1 driver to date, the documentary on Netflix is ​​more interesting than the details of his fourth, fifth or seventh championship. Because at the core she revises the picture of Michael Schumacher in the public. And that also applies to the ideas about his life after the serious skiing accident in December 2013.

Check out the trailer for Schumacher on Netflix:

Schumacher – Trailer (Deutsch) HD


The Schumacher documentary is a real coup for Netflix

Originally, the documentary by Hans-Bruno Kammertöns, Vanessa Nöcker and Michael Wech (Boris Becker – The Player) was supposed to start in cinemas before the COVID-19 pandemic suggested a Netflix start.

The feature film is a real coup for the streaming service. For years every snippet of words about Schumacher’s state of health has been sucked up on the boulevard. Now the public-shy Schumacher family worked for the first time with a film team, shared private videos and photos of the athlete and gave information in front of the camera.

On the other hand, the successful documentary series Formula 1: Drive to Survive promoted significant interest in racing drama beyond the live broadcasts. Anyone who has spent three seasons with the fearless stars of today can switch to an icon that inspired many of them.

How the Netflix documentary wants to change our view of Michael Schumacher

Being a star was alien to the shy Schumacher, but behind the wheel he showed an inimitable urge for greatness. That’s the A conflict that the documentation cleverly combines. Because in her structure she places great value on two aspects of Schumacher’s career: his existence as a family man and the long, difficult path to Formula 1 Olympus.

Michael Schumacher is not portrayed as a winner, but as a fighter. It’s not about perfection, but striving for perfection. This is the first step towards giving back a piece of humanity to the image of the record-breaking athlete. That unsuccessful attempt to overtake Ayrton Senna in the hairpin at Magny-Cours is just as much part of this fight as the beginnings on the local kart track in Kerpen, the first qualification for a Formula 1 race and the controversial crash with Damon Hill, the Schumacher secured his first world championship in 1994.

Formula 1 Drive to Survive – S03 Trailer (Deutsch) HD


Formative for this revised image of the fighter Schumacher is therefore the decision to make higher demands after his second championship with Benetton. The aim was not just to accumulate titles and thus numbers. Schumacher also wanted to inscribe himself ideally in the annals of sport by helping the starving traditional racing team Ferrari to regain its former glory.

The high and low points of these efforts are touched on with a powerful narrative without going too deeply into the details of a season. Companions and competitors on the racetrack describe their view of the controversies and triumphs. Even if few statements are as powerful as this Recordings from the trackin which the V10 engines thunder as if the dreams of millions of Ferrari fans drove them.

The image of the sports icon becomes that of a person again

The fact that Michael Schumacher finally over-fulfilled this dream is staged in the Netflix documentary as a dramatic climax and yet surprisingly quickly left in the rear-view mirror. After this first of five championships with Ferrari, the further main actors of the documentary in the foreground: wife Corinna and the two children Mick and Gina-Maria.

This is the second step with which the documentary breaks up the icon Schumacher in order to reassemble it with the help of his humanity. The racetrack is often left in the film. The portrait that the family draws, for 112 minutes, also displaces the vague visions of his current state that have resonated with the mention of Schumacher’s name since the skiing accident.

Senna – Trailer (German) HD


Instead of the concentrated gaze under the helmet, we see Carefree laughter in home videos, in photos. And we hear of “Michael” and “Papa” continuing to fight like he always did.

Schumacher is a deeply moving documentation

In its design, including talking head interviews and pathetic music, the documentation on Netflix remains conventional. In addition to the kinetic myth-making of Asif Kapadias Senna, Schumacher is playing it all too safe. Which probably does not do justice to the risk-taking athlete in their center.

In return, Schumacher achieved several times with a successful mixture of honesty and tasteful distance Moments of deeply touching immediacy. The mainspring of this film is – and it has that ahead of many sports documentaries – not admiration, but compassion.

Schumacher is available to subscribers on Netflix starting today.

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