With 91 victories and seven world titles Schumacher bowed out of F1 at the end of 2006.
His departure – widely reported to be forced by then-Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo – was to open the door for Kimi Raikkonen.
Schumacher would remain part of the team between 2007 and 2009, before making a sensational comeback with Mercedes in 2010.
The German tested for Ferrari in 2007, while attending several races as their technical advisor, often seen on the pit wall.
Perhaps there was a bigger job available to him?
As revealed by Jean Todt – who was Schumacher’s team boss at Ferrari – the seven-time champion rejected an offer to become the team’s new sporting director – or team principal.
Instead, Stefano Domenicali, who is now in charge of F1 as a whole, took the role from 2008 to 2014.
“Michael Schumacher was the best candidate of all, but he has not accepted,” Todt confirmed to the German press back in 2008.
Schumacher remained close with the team, acting as an advisor to driver Felipe Massa, while helping the team in their battles with McLaren in 2007 and 2008.
In Todt’s final year in charge, Raikkonen took the drivers’ title at Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso’s expense in a dramatic finale at Interlagos.
Under Domenicali, Ferrari were close on three occasions to securing the biggest prize in motorsport – once with Massa in 2008 and then with Alonso in 2010 and 2012.
Ferrari were unable to maintain the momentum they had with Schumacher, Todt and Brawn, so inevitably the break-up of that legendary trio halted the Scuderia’s success.
Even now, Ferrari have been unable to return to the form they showed in the 2000s.
The problems that existed under Domenicali remained under Maruzio Arrivabene, leading to further failed title charges with Sebastian Vettel.
A change of leadership didn’t change Ferrari’s on-track fortunes with Mattia Binotto unable to lead Charles Leclerc to glory in 2022 despite having the quickest car on the grid for the majority of the year.
Fast forward to the end of 2012, Mercedes boss Ross Brawn tipped Schumacher for a role in management at the team.
“It is possible,” Brawn said. “In terms of what role Michael would play in the future, we are not discussing that in detail because that is not a consideration at the moment, but Michael’s experience of motor racing, and his judgement and so on, would be an asset to any team.
“I am not sure he wants a day-to-day commitment that some of us do, but he would like to stay involved. He loves the sport, he loves racing, and he loves developing the cars, and seeing how the team works.
“I can full well see in the future that he would retain a strong interest and that will come one day, and I do hope it will be with us.”
Had it not been for his skiing accident in January 2013, it’s highly likely Schumacher would have been involved with Mercedes or even a return to Ferrari in the future.
Schumacher’s wealth of experience in F1 would have been an asset to any F1 team.
While being a successful driver doesn’t necessarily mean you will be a great team boss, Schumacher was revolutionary for F1 with the way he changed how serious drivers take fitness and preparation, let alone what he achieved on track.