Inside Michael Schumacher's beautiful childhood village now a ghost town with just 12 inhabitants thanks to grim reason | The Sun

A VILLAGE where Michael Schumacher spent his childhood has turned into a ghost town with just 12 residents left thanks to a grim reason.

The Formula 1 legend grew up in Manheim, Germany, which once had a functioning go-kart track but is now laid to waste because of industry.

Only 12 people inhabit the town in the district of Kerpen, which is about 366 miles southwest of the capital, Berlin.

Pictures showed abandoned streets and empty houses that have been left in ruin.

It is a far cry from the once bustling regional centre that homed the Schumacher family.

Michael, brother Ralf and parents Rolf and Elisabeth were four of around 1,700 people that used to live in Manheim.


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In 1995, Michael and Corinna were even married at the community centre.

The building, however, is now long gone.

Josef Valder, a remaining resident, told Focus: "I knew everyone here and remodelled my parents' house.

Josef said: "My daughter went to school with Ralf Schumacher.

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"But about 50-years-ago our teacher told us that we would have to move away at some point."

The mass migration has been caused by the development of the Hambach mine.

It is the largest open-pit mine in Germany, spanning more than 8,300 acres and produces about 40 million tonnes of lignite annually.

As the coal mine continued to grow, it has consumed the country town and in 2024 it is set to expand even further.

Josef said: "Ten years before the resettlement began, the place died out.

"Pubs and shops closed and many children decided to start over somewhere else."

Ralf Schumacher is regularly seen in Kerpen because he held onto the family home.

He told German newspaper Bild: "I grew up with a lot of animals – of course that has an impact.

"And since, thanks to the Greens, my entire hometown hasn't fallen victim to lignite mining.

"I took the opportunity to restore my parents' house to how it used to be.

"Luckily, thanks to the new plans, the go-kart track is still there."

The Erftlandring go-kart track, which was operated by father Rolf, will be preserved by the local council.

Ralf said: "Until recently, I was a youth leader but now someone else does it, which makes sense because I can't always be there.

"But I'm glad the go-kart track is still there.

"It was repaved and parts of her lie on the ground that's mine.

"We try to support young Germans, which is difficult enough in Germany at the moment."

Last year was the 10th anniversary since Michael's retirement.

The seven-time world champion has not been seen or heard from since a horror ski crash back in 2013.

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But fellow F1 racer Mick, who recently left Haas and became Mercedes' reserve driver, has continued to show support for his father.

Last November, he shared an old photo of him and his dad on Twitter.

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