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Sam Bird

At the end of 2010, I was invited to take part in the rookie Formula One tests for the Mercedes AMG F1 team. This would be the first time I would work with one of my childhood heroes, Michael Schumacher.

From this test onwards we became not only work colleagues but good friends.

In 2011 I acted as reserve driver for the team and went to all the grand prix that year. We arrived in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix on the Wednesday, as is usual, in order to acclimatised to get acclimatised to the time difference, and while I was unpacking my clothes, I received an internal call. It was Michael, asking what was doing the next morning. I said I thought we would be going to the track together.

Michael replied "change of plan, we're going sky diving first thing, meet you downstairs at 8am"

You're not going to say no to Michael Schumacher even though I was terrified. So. after a sleepless night, at 8am we met for breakfast and then took a 45 minute drive to the skydive arena in Montreal. Michael is a very experienced skydiver, has his own chute, helmet and equipment and enjoys this activity on a regular basis, whereas for me, it was my first time. so would have to be strapped to an instructor for the descent. I paid for one dive plus video and pictures of the experience. The plane journey up to 12000 feet is one I will never forget - Michael was laughing because I looked so nervous. 6000 feet looked far enough to me! So double that and I was quite frankly bricking it! as we reached 12000 feet I was told it was time to go - so myself, the instructor and Michael all went to the door of the plane. After getting in position we counted down from 3 to 1 and out we went. The first couple of seconds were indeed terrifying and I think I left my stomach in the plane. However, after that it became the most exhilarating few minutes of my life.

Looking back at this experience I can honestly say I'm truly blessed to have done something so extreme and so cool with my childhood hero, a racing god, a sporting great and more importantly a good friend.

Sam Bird

Follow @SamBirdRacing

In 2014 Sam is driving prototypes for Starworks in the USA, 2 endurance races for AF Corse, including Le Mans and has also signed to contest the new Formula E Championship with Virgin Racing.

 

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