Michael Schumacher timeline - how his career unfolded
Michael Schumacher celebrates after winning the Italian grand prix in 2006. Photograph: Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images
1969: Born on 3 January in Huerth-Hermuelheim, Germany.
1973: Makes his racing debut in a kart race.
1987: Wins German and European kart championships.
1988: Finishes fourth in German Formula Ford championship and second in the European series in first year of car racing.
1990: Wins first major single-seater title, clinching the German Formula Three crown. Steps up to sportscars, driving for Mercedes.
1991: Makes Formula One debut for Jordan in Belgium, qualifying seventh before retiring. Poached by Benetton for the rest of the season.
1992: Takes first grand prix win in Belgium on his way to third in championship.
1994: Wins title, with eight wins to his name, after controversial last-race clash with Damon Hill.
1995: Retains world crown, taking nine victories.
1996: Moves to struggling Ferrari and manages three wins on his way to third in championship.
1997: Wins five races but is stripped of second in the championship for attempting to take out title rival Jacques Villeneuve at Jerez.
1999: Breaks his leg at Silverstone when easily leading the championship.
2000: Finally wins Ferrari's first world title since 1979, amassing nine wins on the way.
2001: Another nine wins and another title, setting a new record for all-time victories on the way.
2002: Wins championship in record time, setting a new mark of 11 victories.
2003: Wins title by a point after six victories, breaking Juan Manuel Fangio's record of five championships.
2004: Breaks his own record for wins in a season to take title No7.
2006: 10 September - Announces his retirement at end of 2006 season after winning Italian grand prix.
2009: 29 July - Announces he plans to make a shock return to Formula One with Ferrari, deputising for Felipe Massa until the Brazilian is recovered from injuries suffered in the Hungarian grand prix.
11 August - Announces he will not make a Formula One comeback due to a neck injury sustained in a motorbike accident in February.
23 December - Signs a one-year contract to drive in 2010 with Mercedes GP, ending three years in retirement.