Seven-time world F1 champion Michael Schumacher has joined the Audemars Piguet family as the brand’s newest ambassador. Schumacher holds the most prestigious records in motor racing. His 68 pole positions, 91 victories and 154 podium finishes make him the greatest racing driver of all time. Shumacher will contend to capture an amazing eighth F1 crown in 2011.
It was about one year ago that Schumacher announced his return to F1 at the wheel of the Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team, alongside Ross Brawn with whom he had gained his 7 world championship titles. For 2011 Shumacher will have a new car more suited to his driving style, and he should be in the hunt for yet another championship.
Shumacher is also fascinated by watchmaking and an acknowledged connoisseur who has been collecting timepieces for a number of years. His friend, Jean Todt, formerly executive director of Scuderia Ferrari and now president of FIA, introduced Shumacher to Audemars Piguet timepieces. Shumacher and AP also share a commitment to a wide range of charitable causes. Audemars Piguet created a foundation in 1992 dedicated to preserving forest areas around the world, and to raise global awareness on this issue. AP consistently donates part of the proceeds from its sales to various environmental projects.
Michael Schumacher also supports a number of associations. He has his own foundation through which he has been able to provide aid to victims of the floods in East Germany and the tsunami. In 1996, he became a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Education of Children in Need. Strongly involved in his mission, he has funded and organized a number of events for underprivileged children. As a benefactor of the ICM Brain and Spinal Cord institute for several years now, he uses his image to benefit this internationally reputed research center: “Those who are privileged in life owe it to themselves to help those who are less fortunate, and particularly those who suffer.” In fact, all his participations at the Race of Champions are for the benefit of ICM and he proudly wears the Logo on his racing suit. This particular commitment is shared by Audemars Piguet which, at the 2009 Gstaad Classic, auctioned watch N°1 of the limited series specially created for this occasion and donated the entire proceeds from this sale to ICM.
For Audemars Piguet, the world of motor sports is well-known territory. Having been involved for several years now in historical car rallies such as the National Classic Tour in Belgium, the Gstaad Classic in Switzerland and the Tour Auto in France, the watch manufacturer’s ambassadors also include three other racing drivers: Rubens Barrichello, Jarno Trulli and Sébastien Buemi. Thrilled to reinforce the Audemars Piguet presence in the motorsports world, CEO Philippe Merk emphasized the qualities of this exceptionally popular and talented athlete: “Michael Schumacher is not only the greatest racing driver of all time, he is also a big-hearted, discreet and altruistic individual who dedicates his reputation to great causes. An iconic figure, he embodies strength, determination, as well as a passion for challenges and for competition. It is with a blend of elegance and humility that he will wear our Royal Oak Offshore, the undisputed reference model in the field of prestige sports”.