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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 October 2006, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Schumacher 'made Ferrari great'
By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor

Michael Schumacher and the Ferrari prancing horse emblem
Michael Schumacher has become synonymous with Ferrari
Michael Schumacher's greatest feat was not winning seven world titles but turning Ferrari into Formula One's best team, says Sir Jackie Stewart.

Schumacher ended Ferrari's 21-year wait for the drivers' championship in 2000.

"Michael brought Ferrari from 21 years of not winning a world title to being champions many times," said Stewart.

"I put that down much more to him than president Luca di Montezemolo or team boss Jean Todt. Without Michael Schumacher it would not have happened."

Di Montezemolo was appointed president and managing director of Ferrari in 1991 while Todt took over as team boss in 1993.

Schumacher followed in 1996, making the switch from F1 rivals Benetton.

Jackie Stewart
Michael has one flaw in my view that there is hardly a weekend that he hasn't been off the road

Jackie Stewart
The 37-year-old German had already won the drivers' championship twice (1994-1995) but won it a further five times with Ferrari (2000-2004).

He could make it six in Brazil on Sunday in his final race before retirement but needs to win at Interlagos and hope championship leader Fernando Alonso fails to score a point.

"Michael's greatest skill has been able to motivate people to come with him and raise the bar to create the best car that he could drive and get the success they wish to have," said Stewart, who was world champion three times.

"Generally speaking, I think it's true to say he re-shaped Ferrari and made the Ferrari the car it is today.

"Of course, (technical director) Ross Brawn had a lot to do with it. Of course, (designer) Rory Byrne had a lot to do with it. But nevertheless that's an extraordinary motor car."

Yet despite Schumacher's unrivalled success, Stewart is reluctant to class him as the greatest driver of all time.

"Michael has one flaw in my view that there is hardly a weekend that he hasn't been off the road at one time or another and sometimes several times because he stretches the elastic a tad too far," said the 67-year-old Scot.

"Now maybe he knows that if he goes off today's tracks are so safe he's not going to do any real damage to the car or himself, but still you're in the hands of the gods once you leave the black-top.

"That's one of the reasons I'm pleased to see him retiring, because I think it's the right time for that."

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