Why? Schumacher never was, indeed his (and his teams) constant cheating and deliberate crashing into others, and getting away with it, was the main reason I gave up on F1 many years ago.Any difference to the years ... erm ... decades before?
There was always cheating, crashing, intriguing, mortifying and the biggest egos in F1.
No matter if you were looking in the cockpits, the pit lane or the organizations.
Schumacher was one of them, Ickx, Prost, Senna and Alonso as well. Same to Todt, Ecclestone and Ballestre, just to name a few.
Where to start and where to end?
Exactly, that was why my interest moved to Superbikes, I was lucky to catch the Fogarty/Ducati era, when men were men and racing was racing, and powerslides ruled the day, but off the track those same combatants were the nicest of people and genuine friends to each other.
The late '60's and '70's were the true hay day of F1, when the drivers could be seen to be getting the best out of cars that actually moved on a track, where skilled drivers could actually take an alternative line, and when entire seasons were not measured by two or three individual overtaking moves, that could happen in a lap! Where a race wasn't the difference between artificial external forces like pit stops or pace cars thrown into the mix to help advertising dollars with the governing bodies ability to manipulate the results to 'best serve F1'. I was lucky to be a kid back then in the '70's watching it on a B&W TV on the BBC with Murray Walker, often the far off races were shown live at some ungodly hour but I was always allowed to watch it.
Sure we all think 'our era' was the best, but it has been pretty much universally agreed that money messes up everything (sports, politics, countries, religion etc), and the deluge of money pouring into F1 since the late '80's signaled an inevitable decline in the focus on driving.