Michael Schumacher’s personality around Formula 1 teams was “completely different” from how he appeared in public according to his former colleague James Vowles.
Former Mercedes Chief Strategist who is now the Williams Team Principal, James Vowles, claimed that the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion functioned in an entirely different way when away from the public eye.
The seven-time F1 World Champion unexpectedly made a comeback in 2010 with Mercedes after the automaker purchased the Brawn GP squad after winning the championship in 2009.
At the time, Ross Brawn, who had previously worked with Schumacher when he was at Ferrari was still the team principal. Vowles served as the team’s chief strategist and claimed to have a different “aura and presence” from how he presented himself to the general public.
“Michael was this incredible individual. He had an aura and a presence with him as well, completely different to what you see externally,” Vowles said in an interview with the Sky Sports F1 podcast.
Vowles reflects on his experience working with Schumacher and claims that he would “bring the team close together” and be conscious of each individual’s birthday.
“Within the team he was there to help us, help the team move forward,” Vowles added. “He brought the team close together. He knew everyone’s birthdays, he sent flowers to respective partners and really looked after individuals in a great way.
“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.”
Additionally, according to Vowles, Schumacher’s work ethic contributed a lot to both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg who later won championships with the team.
“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.”