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'Keep Fighting': Schumacher's legacy lives on

The Formula One legend has been credited with helping to lay the foundations for Mercedes’ three years of dominance which culminated in two world titles for Lewis Hamilton in 2014 and 2015 and a first for Schumacher’s compatriot Nico Rosberg in 2016.

Former Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn says Schumacher had an important influence on the team, which has also won three consecutive constructor crowns.

The German made a shock decision to come out of retirement to drive for the team in 2010, staying for three seasons before retiring again and being replaced by Hamilton.

“Michael, for sure, contributed to the organization and structure that has gone on to achieve success at Mercedes,” Brawn, who engineered Schumacher’s seven world titles with Benetton and Ferrari as the teams’ technical director, told SAHIFANEWS.

“He helped create the success we had at Ferrari and he continued that approach at Mercedes.”

According to Brawn, one of Schumacher’s strengths was that he put in time at the factory working with the backroom team preparing to race.

“With his knowledge and maturity, sitting with a group of aerodynamicists or vehicle dynamists or tire people and explaining what was needed was invaluable. He was instrumental in creating the systems that contribute to the success that Mercedes has today,” Brawn said.

Schumacher’s medical status still remains unclear, having suffered serious head injuries in a freak skiing accident on December 29, 2013.

The 47-year-old continues to receive specialist treatment at his home in Switzerland.

His manager Sabine Kehm said in a statement this month: “Michael’s health is not a public issue, and so we will continue to make no comment in that regard.”

The Schumacher family — wife Corinna, daughter Gina-Maria (a competitive equestrian rider) and son Mick — launched the “Keep Fighting” initiative before Christmas with the aim of bringing together those inspired by the legendary driver.

“It aims to unite the people who are inspired by the career and character of Michael Schumacher, and to encourage them to keep fighting and never give up,” the mission statement on the official website announced.

“Keep Fighting also aims to spread the positive energy that supporters of Michael have expressed to him and the Schumacher family over so many years, and it seeks to channel this positive energy as a force for good.”

There is also another beacon of hope in the Schumacher household as 17-year-old Mick continues to impress in his burgeoning motorsport career.

The teenager finished runner-up in the Italian and German Formula 4 championships with the influential Prema Powerteam.

The plan is to step up to Formula 3 in 2017, although that has not yet been confirmed.

Mick posted a photo on Instagram posing with new world champion Rosberg which had the cheeky caption: “Big congratulations Nico, also wanted to let you know that I will soon take over that trophy …”

There has been speculation that Mick may eventually join the Mercedes junior driver program which has fast-tracked 2016 F1 rookies Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon.

Brawn said it would be “very special” if Mick could eventually graduate to the top tier of motorsport and follow his father into Formula One.

“Mick is a lovely guy,” Brawn added with a smile. “I see Corinna and Mick periodically and we’ve chatted.

“I’ve taken an interest in his career and I’m a sounding board if they want any advice. When Mick was doing Formula 4 there was some discussion about what teams he should go with.

“But I wouldn’t make any claim to have made any sizable contribution, apart from supporting when they need it.”

Brawn, however, like many of Schumacher’s global fan base, does continue to keep a close eye on Mick’s progress.

“With Michael’s accident, it’s not only Michael that’s suffered, it’s the family too,” he added.

“For the family to be achieving what they’ve achieved, not only with Mick but with Gina-Maria and her horses, is a testament to the strength of the family and to Corinna.”

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