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As a personality probably never, he is pretty unique.
As a very successful driver - definately if not sooner then later. (my only caveat being the current FIA drive on technology will make it almost impossible to compare his era with the future)
He was in my opinion the first of the truly dedicated drivers, who looked beyond his drive and included fitness, mental health and so forth to develop himself as a complete athlete - can you imagine James Hunt doing that? He was also much more than just a fast driver, he was part of the team and contributed to the development of both the car and the team around winning races and in this he brought specific people to work with him and was lucky enough to be blessed with a group of people at Ferrari who all wanted exactly the same thing he did at the same time - sounds a bit obvious now, but at the time it was not quite the norm.
On his own, he brought the sport forward from a driver perspective and made the driver more integral to the team than my perception of previous eras, but then i am only a spectator and not a part of the sport.
He will be replaced, but it will be someone who works in the Schumacher way.
Schu won races in the old style cars without all the fancy technology and also dominated in the modern style cars and tracks. That ability proves his worth in history alongside the other greats. And your absolutely right in that he alone brought the sport forward, especially after Senna's death. The likes of Senna, Prost and Mansell wanted to drive the best and fastest cars but Schu was content with moving to a pretty shoddy team in Ferrari inorder to make history and make them great again. For me that spoke volumes in 1996 and dispels any critics and stains against his character.