Back in 2010, Michael Schumacher had signed for Mercedes alongside Nico Rosberg. Oddly enough, he elected to swap racing numbers his team-mate for superstitious reasons. The seven-time world champion opted for racing number 3, with Rosberg moving to four.
According to a Mercedes spokeswoman at the time, Schumacher had a preference for odd numbers. He asked if he could be the odd number and the team were willing to accept.
Odd numbers are not Schumacher’s only foible. The German always wore a ceramic amulet, given to him by his wife and with the initials of his family members, when racing for Ferrari.
In 2004, he left it in his hotel in Bahrain and a team member had to rush and collect it before the race, which Schumacher then won. The German said later that the amulet had made “perhaps the decisive difference”.
He said, “After my retirement at the end of 2006 I was very happy. I felt relieved, freed. I enjoyed that feeling because in my final two years especially, F1 had demanded a great deal from me.”
“Not the racing, which I loved all the time, but all those things which relate to living under constant observation. It served me extremely well to be quiet for those three years. It really is as if my batteries are fully loaded.”
“My energy is completely restored. I can really notice how the prickle is returning, and how motivated I am because I am so much looking forward to this competition.”
Schumacher later spoke of concerns over a neck injury sustained in a motorbike accident nearly a year earlier. The injury forced him to abort a return to Ferrari last year in place of an injured Felipe Massa.
“The after-effects of that accident are long since gone,” said Schumacher on his personal website. “That’s why I was sure the neck would not cause any problems. It was one year ago, that’s over.
“Physically, I have been working out since December and I feel extremely fresh and fit. That was one of the reasons why I felt so good in the car in Jerez. The test was super.
“It went better than I had expected. I immediately felt well in the car, and it was as if I was never gone.
“But then Formula One is another thing. The g-forces are higher, so they are not really comparable.