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Schumacher: Title is still a possibility
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Schumacher: Title is still a possibility
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Apr 2010   |  10:52 pm GMT  |  82 comments

Michael Schumacher is adamant he’s still got every chance of winning an eighth Formula 1 World Championship this season despite taking his time to get back up to speed.

Schumacher: Not giving up (Darren Heath)


After the opening three races, he is one of only five drivers not to outqualify his team mate.

The 41 year old began the season with a sixth place finish in Bahrain, but struggled to tenth place in Australia, a week later, and retired after just nine laps in Malaysia with a wheel nut problem.

However, the Mercedes GP driver said today in Shanghai that he was pleased with his start to the season and expects to be challenging for the title.

“Indeed yes I do [think I’m still in with a chance of the title] because if you take the points system and you see that like Fernando, he had a retirement in Malaysia [and] for whatever reason it can happen to all of us.

“I had mine in Malaysia and at one point of the season it will hit the guys fighting for the championship. So if we have a quick enough development speed, there is no reason why we cannot fight for championship,” said Schumacher.

“There is such a long season ahead and development is so important. We all know how quickly the rate of development is. I’m pretty sure we have potential to develop this car. It’s far from thinking this season is over for Nico [Rosberg] and even for myself.”

“I’ve been around long enough to know about what I call the wave of emotion,” he continued. “In winter everyone was very emotional and supportive, that was the wave, and then there is a natural falling off.”

Schumacher sits tenth in the championship standings, 30 points behind championship leader Felipe Massa and hasn’t yet got onto the level of his team-mate Nico Rosberg.

However, this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix provides happy memories for the German as he scored his most recent Formula 1 victory at the circuit and the 91st of his career in 2006 before he retired from the sport.

In classic Schumacher style, he prefers to focus on the challenge ahead rather than dwell on the disappointment of the last three races.

“Whether you’re the reason for it or whether it’s just a natural happening, is not important. The results have not been as great as some people have expected, even myself, but the competition is high. So it is natural I don’t have the same positive feeling from the media.

“I know exactly what I’ve been doing, I know what’s going on and I have no reason to be disappointed. I still feel very happy, whether people like it or not.”

I spoke to Ross Brawn after Melbourne about Schumacher’s “rehabilitation” to the sharp edge of F1 competition and he seemed to think that it was on target, in terms of the pace and consistency he had been able to show when things were going normally. He seemed to be pretty proud that Schumacher’s performances so far vindicate his decision last summer to hire Rosberg – perhaps Schumacher’s performances say more about Rosberg than they do about the Great Man.

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1

I’m really interested to get your real view James. In your opinion, is Schumacher past it?

2

yes maybe it does say more about the quality of rosberg rather than the falling short of the expectations on schumacher.

Rosberg has been a quality driver for a few seasons now, he got some very impressive results out a below par williams with his time there, he has an excellent race craft and tactical awareness and racing brain, his only weakness is consistency at the moment, but I would say by the end of the season he will have got on top of that and maybe be banging on the door of a WC next year, when Merc are up to par to the top runners again.

3

Perhaps we should get the Schumacher “critics” into perspective.

To a relatively small minority of fans he was the anti-Christ and they’re crawling out of the woodwork now and trying to belittle his progress thus far, which frankly is impressive. We know the haters are a tiny minority because Schumacher wouldn’t have racked up hundreds of millions of dollars worth of endorsements if the general fanbase and public didn’t like him. And look what’s he done to ticket sales this year.

And most of these haters seem to be British. In a sad but familiar manner the British treated the arrival of Schumacher as an excuse to dredge up World War II. And the Damon Hill run-ins didn’t exactly discourage them.

When you see anyone British who knows anything about F1, whether its Martin Brundle, Damon Hill, Murray Walker, Jackie Stewart, even yourself James! … talking about Schumacher, they always give intelligent and fair analysis.

What we’re left with are a group of mainly British fans, mainly informed through a ludicrous daily press, who constitute the Schumacher doubters. Plus a smaller group of mostly older fans who are excessively influenced by a couple of old guard established motorsport writers who’ve always shown a bias against Schumacher (for faults they idolised in Senna!)

4

mmm, really interesting this. few people look at the facts. 3years away, (during which time things have changed a huge deal)and 3 races in, hes already only just over 100th of a second off of his team mate, Rosberg, whom people are slating as being average, yet Rosberg outqualified Vettel, Massa, Hamilton, Alonso, Button in Malaysia. Outqualified rubens, lewis and kubica in Melbourne, and is consistent so far, I think that says a lot about Schumi. Yet Schumi gets no praise? wakey wakey people. The car is around 4-5th quickest, and that is roughly where he is performing. No one is slating Rubens this season for being mid pack, yet he was the best thing since sliced bread last year. Schumi has outqualified him every race. The car is a big factor right now. Rosberg is wringing that car out, and putting it higher up than it deserves to be, cudos to him. Schumi is gaining every race in a car that doesnt yet suit his style. No different to Button needing a car that suits his style. It took Mansell 3-4 races to build up his pace in 94 didn’t it? after everyone expected him to be up front from the first race too.

5

Hmmm…

Why does the saying “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck” come to mind when I hear Michael justifying (sorry but it sounds like that to me) his place on the grid this year in a decent car….

Well he looks out of place, drives out of place and speaks out of place… sort of like a certain politician saying that he loves the Arctic Monkeys….

Of course he may prove me wrong and I too think Nico is a half decent driver, but Nico isn’t a real superstar and that makes Michael’s performance just very anaemic … but that can happen when you get older… and when you:-

1. Don’t have the ability to drive n million practice laps (more than the opposition) to get the car that you want; and

2. Don’t have droite de seigneur over your team mate

But they’ll be a lot of happy people if he comes good and in the meantime Michael, just keep quiet and let your driving do the talking….

6

Michael is the best driver ever and still has a chance of winning if the car is made better.

7

Anyone who thinks he is past it is mistaken. he loves the technical aspects of making a quivk reliable package and with ross he is in his element. his peers too are noticing a return to form as am i. fourth quickest today. i think there is plenty to come from the great man yet. As for quitting.. I dont think that’s his style.

Jeff

8

i think scguey is as good as ever and as determined. i noticed today he said that new parts are coming for spain but no new car till 2011. could you see him ease his way in ready for a propper assault on the title next year. develop and maybe win a couple, get back up the pointy end with one eye on next year ?

jeff

9

All this reminds me that though I never much liked Schumacher, the worst part was always the willingness of his fans to make excuses for him (before for his cheating, now for being clearly outpaced by Nico). I did not see one single Schumi fan before the start of the season saying that he would need several races to start beating his team mate or work out how to pass Alguersuari in a slower car. He still has his cockiness, but his time at the front of the field is over bar Mercedes improving their car drastically.

10

@Carlm21

Oh please. Raikkonen? Give me a break. He used to be awesome, but the guy was a joke in 2008 and most of 2009. I was a huge fan of his, but it seemed you actually needed to light a fire under his arse to get him to do anything even remotely special after he won the title. A title, might I add, that was only winnable for Ferrari after all the work that Schumacher had put in there. Raikkonen had no interest in being a team leader, and putting a third of the effort into developing the team as Schumacher had.

Which leads me to Schumacher now. Like many others have already said above, I think a LOT of people are going to be eating their words in a few races time. Seriously. This is Michael Schumacher. He’s been out for 3 years, and he’s pretty much already on the pace of his team mate. After 3 YEARS, and a vastly different Formula 1 ecosystem, be it Car characteristics, Testing rules, Rules in general, etc. All that, and he’s already pretty much on the pace after 3 years, and only 3 races (2 of which were severely compromised).

Seriously. I know it makes great banter to slag him off right now, the first time he has ever looked remotely vulnerable to attack (no matter how deceptively thin the reasons may be), but really, you’re just setting yourself up to look ridiculous. Sure, he would have loved to have been thrashing people around from the first race, but as we see now, after three years that just was not realistic. But now that he is here, I believe he is staying here. All the media bullsh*t is just galvanizing his will to show people more than ever, that he has lost absolutely nothing. I really believe this. Were he to quit now, it would look a disastrous footnote at the end of an illustrious career. We know this, but he certainly knows this more than anyone. He’s having fun, sure, but I think his staying in the sport for the full 3 year contract has never been safer.

If he had come back and easily won in his first season, I’d say he might’ve thought ‘ok, enough is enough now’. But now that it has been a bit tougher, and the car needing a bit more help on the development side, and especially that the media has jumped on him prematurely, I think he’s rock solid in his head to prove the naysayers wrong.

This is Schumacher. I don’t want to sound like some sort of fanatic, as I am most certainly not one for him, love/hate would best describe it. But really, remember who it is we’re dealing with here. This man is something else. Write him off at your peril.

11

You better check your statistics, to call Kimi a joke in 2008 and 2009 is a joke in itself. Last year his driving was nothing short of miraculous in a worst car Ferrari has produced in ages, and in 2008 he was fighting for the wins and the WDC, being the closest rival to Hamilton in WDC points ahead of Massa, until an unfortunate streak of 4 races starting from the European GP (11th GP of the season) during which he didn’t score a point for a reason or another (some of his own fault, of course).

He certainly isn’t a team leader, that you got right, but at least I watch F1 for the racing talent these guys have, not how well they lead the team.

On Schumi, I agree with you and wouldn’t write him off yet. Friday practice now in China was already taking him to the right direction. He may start causing trouble for the rest of the bunch soon.

12

Consider the following information.

While Nico Rosberg continued to race and test (and compete) in F1 throughout the last four years, this is what Schumacher was up to.

– Oct 06, Schumacher retires. He sets fastest lap on the final lap of his final race. Is 0.715s quicker than anyone else.

– Nov 07, tests Casey Stoner’s Ducati bike at Valencia. Is 5s slower.

– Nov 07, tests Ferrari F2007 at Valencia, tops the time-sheet.

– Nov 07, loses to Mattias Ekstrom at the Race of Champions final at Wembley.

– Dec 07, races in a taxi-cab to catch a flight with his family and their new dog.

– Feb 08, tests F2008 at Jerez, finishes 3rd and is 0.109s slower than Kimi Raikkonen.

– Mar 08, finishes 4th in a bike race in Milan, mostly contested by amateurs.

– Apr 08, tests the Ferrari F2008 in Barcelona, finishes 2nd to Alonso, is 0.1s slower.

– May 08, tries to enter a superbike event in Oschersleben, Germany, under the name of ‘Marcel Niederhausen’ but is forced to use his real name due to insurance reasons. Finishes in 28th (out of 39)

– Jul 08, while trying to overtake a slower lady driver on the road in his van, crashes into Martin Kingham, a car dealer standing by the side of the kerb (who is ok, btw).

– Nov 08, gets knocked out by Carl Edwards of USA in the quarter-finals of the Race of Champions at Wembley. Wins Nation category for Germany however, as he is partnered with Sebastian Vettel.

– Dec 08, crashes out at Florianopolis charity karting event.

– Feb 09, crashes on a superbike while testing at Cartagena, Spain. Injures his neck.

– Jun 09, pretends to be The Stig on Top Gear, tops the time charts with the Ferrari FXX (later the laptime gets knocked off because the FXX couldn’t pass a speed bump test).

– Jul 09, agrees to return as stand-in driver for Felipe Massa. Practices in a F2007 at Mugello and is 0.2s quicker than a F60, although on slower tires but a faster car.

– Aug 09, practices karting with Luca Badoer at Lonato, calls off comeback as he finds out his neck is fractured.

– Sep 09, races at the CIK Karting International event, which is also attended by Carlos Sainz (Sr).

– Oct 09, leads at the Goldpokal karting race at Wackersdorf, but gets hit by a driver named Fuchs on the final lap and hence finishes 4th.

– Nov 09, loses to Mattias Ekstrom (again) in the finals of the Race of Champions in China, but beats present day F1 Champion Jenson Button and present day F1 Runner-up Sebastian Vettel on the way to the final.

– Nov 09, finishes 7th at a karting event in Las Vegas. Loses to Bas Lammers but beats Nelson Piquet (Jr) in 8th.

– Dec 09, wins karting event at Florianopolis (overall). Massa is 2nd.

– Dec 09, finishes 5th at the ‘Wintercup’ kart race in Kerpen, Germany.

– Jan 10, tests a GP2 car at Jerez, is 0.4s off the lap record set by Kamui Kobayashi.

– Feb 10, tests the Merc W01 car at Valencia, is 0.5s faster than team mate, although Nico Rosberg has seating problems.

– Mar 10, is 0.3s slower than Nico Rosberg at Bahrain GP qualifying.

– Mar 10, is 0.043s slower than Rosberg at Australian GP qualifying.

– Apr 10, is 1.044s slower than Rosberg at Malaysian GP qualifying, loses a nut.

Quite amusing. It puts into perspective what kind of ability Schumacher has that ‘somehow’ he can manage to lose a regional kart race at his birth-town one week, and then the next week he goes on to beat the present-day F1 world champion in an international buggy race.

Imagine the day when this 41-year old guy stops playing around is able to regain his ultimate potential. And then – decides to stop dyeing his hair anymore. 😉

13

Precisely. Game, set, match Alias J.

14

That is scary. Someone get a restraining order!

15

Wow – have you been following him around or something?

16

! ! ! for goodness sake ! ! !

He’s not doing a Fisichella or Badoer, is he? And he would’ve been on the podium if he did not have the wheel nut failure in Malaysia, wouldn’t he?

I also don’t like sentences that start with “The 41 year old …”. We know he is 41, there’s no need in repeating it over and over again. Unless I am missing your point here.

We’re only three races down in the year. Schumacher will be super rookie of the year. You’ve read it here first 🙂

As to Raikkonen. Yes I miss him as well. But I can’t see him wearing grey. He belongs to Red Bull.

17

No chance. Mercedes missed out big time on not signing Kimi Raikkonen. Schumacher will be out by the end of the season and it will be time to get the cheque book out for Raikkonen in 2011.

18

You know what, well done to the guy for coming back and giving the fans something to look forward to, give the critics something to talk about. Well done for not sitting at home and coming into a hugely competitive environment, more competitive than he has probably ever been involved in at an age where most people think is too old with the younger generation on blistering form.

I thank the guy, Thank You Mr Schumacher!

Vic

19

Michael Schumacher probably thought Brawn will be enjoying the same advantage they had last year from the get go, because that’s the only reason I could come up with why Schumacher has even considered coming back to formula one. This is going to be one hell of a costly mistake, those who advised Schumacher to come back should have known better, I don’t see Schumacher winning a race this season, or even getting on the podium for that matter, unless something as chaotic like Singapore happens again. The way I see it, aside from beating their respective teammates, Schumacher is the man every young gun out there want to wipe the floor with.

20

I would like to think that a successful driver like MS would not come back to F1 without taking into account that F1 cars have changed a lot from when he was driver.Yes he probably had certain expectations about his team because they did win the championship last year.

When Michael went to Ferrari in 1996 ,Williams was a very dominant team at the time,Ferrari had not won a Championship in 20 years .Show me a younger driver who like to race for a midfield team , most young drivers aspire for teams like Ferrari because I they know that their chances of being in a competitive car are always good.Michael could have went to Williams back in 1996 but he chose to race for a team that had not won in 20 years,yes I am sure the money was there but,you have to admire the man’s hunger for hardwork.

I suspect it is the same hunger that has brought him back,new team,age 41 ,the cars have changed a lot from when he was winning races in 2006.I think he has an enourmous self belief and I think most people overlook all these things.

21

Heikki Kulta of Turun Sanomat wrote a column yesterday on the bad atmosphere in the Mercedes garage. According to him, many of the experienced mechanics have requested to be transferred from the race team to the factory because the drivers do not get along, poisoning the mood in the team. Apparently this started when Schumi refused to let Nico’s engineers to study his Friday practice data in Australia. To fuel this further, Michael is reportedly unhappy with the team for not being able to produce an oversteering car that would fit his driving style.

Do you have any insight into this drama?

22

Suppose you could call it spin, but Rosberg’s comments made in the past few weeks, including as recently as at this event, seem to contradict that view.

23

My opinion is that it’s great schu is struggling s bit. Im a big fan and hope and looking forward to seeing him work his way back up to his usual excellence. If he does it that will confirm he is not only in the top F1 drivers list in the history, but the best of them.

I do wonder if his ‘luck’ has gone. With s bump, puncture this morning, wheel coming off last weekend.

But you make your own luck in F1 they say so hopefully we can see him back, becuase let’s face it we all want to see a titanic battle with Michael in the mix

I do rate Nico though, very very professional and sure he can hold his own over Michael. Good on him I say.

24

Do not dismiss this man shumi just yet.He still is a champion with a record that none of the current crop of drivers will ever achieve.Shumi is just bidding his time.Wait till he strikes next,then a pandora’s box of “Hey,he’s winning too much isn’t good for F1” will be opened.

Let’s face it;Most brits,including British journalists don’t like him at all.Or are they jealous?

25

Strange how some people were criticizing Schumi after Melbourne, saying that he could not even get past Alguersuari.

Didn’t the latter make life difficult for some of the top drivers as well in Malaysia? It seemed to me that he did, so maybe that explains the problems Schumi had in Australia getting past? Mucho silence from those critics on that though.

I think Michael is there to have fun, could we all get off his back?

26

It is amazing how people are so critical of the guy who dominated the sport for so long and because of his love for the sport he is now back. I think that he is busy getting the car and team to his liking and there will be a lot of people eating their words in a few months. So far he has only really finished one GP cleanly. How different would it have been had he not suffered mishaps. I see today in 2nd practice he is only .1sec off Rosberg, so it is getting better. at this rate he will be about .3sec ahead of Rosberg by the end of the season. !!!!!And then lets read what everyone is saying about how the old school is showing the ‘prima donna’ youngsters the way

27

You guys are just so full of it. I am sick and tired of people jumping on the media bandwagon criticising drivers’ performances, Schumacher’s included. As if you had nothing left to say you cling on to the same old stories regurgitating what has been said before. Can’t do this, can’t do that, is out, is in, will leave… boooooring!!!!! The man has been out for three years, so what do you, or the media for this matter, expect? Get a grip and get real, get a life!

28
The Kitchen Cynic

It’s not as if he’s a few tenths behind a team-mate like Alonso, Lewis or even Massa. This is Nico “Journeyman’s Journeyman” Rosberg we’re talking about here…

29

I think it is far too early to make absolute pronouncements.

The guy has been out for 3 years and has come back at a time when there is very limited testing: he needs time in the car.

He is already close to Rosberg (who has been driving for the last 3 years whilst Schumi has been sitting on the pit wall) and in his first race back he beat the current WDC. What do people expect: a guy who hasn’t competed for 3 years to come back and whip the field? If that happened, it would make a mockery of the drivers we’ve been watching for the last 3 years.

Give him at least half a season before passing judgement.

F1 has a habit of making rash pronouncements. Bahrain was boring. Australia was suddenly all wonderful because of changeable weather. It is ridiculous to make judgements based on single performances or unusual events.

30

He wasn’t entirely sitting on the pit-wall. Watch my post below.

31

Schumacher for another title? Ah, that’s a negative.

32

As a diehard Schumi fan i just cant see how he can go from being outpaced by Nico to winning a WDC this year. Even in practise for China he looks all over the place. With such a huge points differential between winning and finishing midfield he could be out of the championship before half way.

I remember being so nervous watching the climatic races of his championship winning years hoping he would win, i now find myself nervous for completely different reasons, namely hoping that he improves and shows us all that he has not come back to play second fiddle to the young guys.

On a side note, im not fond of his approach and mindset at the moment. Since when has it ever been ok to be outpaced constantly by your team mate no matter what team your in?

33

It may not mean much to most people, but just the thought of coming back to F1 at 41,I think that’s an act of bravery.When Michael decided he was coming back to F1 ,he knew the risks,he knew that he would have these type of reactions if it happened he couldn’t get up to speed right away.He is the most successful F1 driver in the history of the sport so naturally there is going to huge focus on him and his performance.

Let us not forget that this is driver who has been criticised all his life, there has been times when people would label him a cheat and I admit some of his acts have been questionable.

Michael has been in many title fights where from the start he would have so many problems,retirements,crashes and his rivals taking all the points initialy but then out of nowhere he would find a way of turning his luck around.From his fights with Mika Hakkinen to Alonso there have been seasons where it was a bit doubtful whether his Ferrari would win easily like 2003 .

My advice to most people never underestimate Michael Schumacher’s determination and Will to prove people wrong.Monaco Grand Prix,the whole world was against him,people baying for his blood but the next day he drove like a champion,you could see why he was a unique human being,most drivers would not be able to drive that kind of race especially when things where that bad.

My opinion Nico is doing well at the moment,he has rose to the challenge of having Michael as his team-mate,but he is not that much ahead of him speed wise,I mean Michael has been out of it for three years that’s a very long time.Imagine what will happen once he settles in and starts driving on the limit like he used to.

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