Spa-Francorchamps: Ferrari on Thursday paid warm tribute to their former champion driver Michael Schumacher as he celebrated the 20th anniversary of his Formula One debut at the Belgian Grand Prix.
The 42-year-old German, a seven-times champion, made his first F1 appearance at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix with the Jordan team.
He won five of his world titles with Ferrari in an unprecedented spell of glory and success between 2000 and 2004 after taking two titles with Benetton.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said: "Michael will always be in the hearts of all the men and women who work in Maranello and of all fans of the Prancing Horse.
"A large part of those twenty years of Formula One were spent with us. Together, we achieved results that will be difficult to repeat. His passion for racing is incredible, as is the effort he puts into it, along with the courage and determination he has always demonstrated, which won him the affection of us all."
In a statement on the Ferrari website, he added: "On behalf of everyone at Ferrari I wish to thank him for everything he did for us and I send him all our best wishes for this, his twentieth anniversary in the greatest sport in the world."
On the resumption of racing competition in the 2011 championship, following an enforced summer break, Ferrari`s team principal Stefano Domencali added: "We have prepared a little something to mark this occasion.”
"Even if today, he is our rival on the race track, Michael is still a friend and there is no way it could be any different, given everything we have shared over all these years, growing together.”
"When I look at his career statistics, especially those established during his long time spent at Ferrari, I realise just how extraordinary they are. In fact I imagine they will never be repeated.”
"I have so many personal memories linked to him, some of them actually to do with this circuit, as well as other particularly enjoyable ones, which makes it very difficult for me to single out any one in particular.”
"I prefer to think of the future, which I am sure will also produce some very satisfying moments."
After 91 wins and 20 years, Schumacher is set to start his 278th Grand Prix this weekend.