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Reality strikes for Schumacher
Reality strikes for Schumacher
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 May 2011   |  7:15 pm GMT  |  208 comments

Michael Schumacher cut quite a forlorn figure in Turkey at the weekend. And after the race he confirmed that impression when he admitted that he wasn’t really enjoying his racing at the moment, “The big joy is not there right now,” he said.

The seven times world champion seemed to be relishing the improved competitiveness of the Mercedes car in free practice, but wasn’t able to deliver the expected lap time in Q3 when it mattered.

Photo: Mercedes

In Q1 he was just over a tenth off team mate Nico Rosberg’s best time and it was all looking good. I was even beginning to think that I might be talking to him in the Top 3 unilateral TV press conference at the end of qualifying. In Q2 it was 3/10ths, but in Q3 he trailed Rosberg by a whole second, putting him 8th on the grid.

In the Mercedes motorhome for the team press briefing afterwards he seemed quite down about it. He couldn’t explain why the performance hadn’t been there, he’d just not had the grip he wanted.

His race was affected by a collision with Vitaly Petrov soon after the start, which knocked his front wing off. Petrov went on to finish 8th, but Schumacher was 12th,

“I guess I was responsible for the result that I had,” he said after the race. “With Petrov, I guess it was mostly my mistake what happened there. I need to analyse it, as it was a bit strange that suddenly we got together and I lost my front wing, but the race was a given from there – lots of fighting, lots of action, but for nothing.”

Schumacher effectively lost 30 seconds having to make that early stop for a new nose. If you take 30 seconds away from his finishing time, he would have been somewhere around 6th place Jenson Button, whose pace was slow at the end on worn tyres, so the collision was costly.

Last year he had a tough time coming back after three years away and finding that the Bridgestone tyres, with weak fronts and strong rears, just didn’t suit his way of driving. To some extent he was powerless to change his own fortunes.

But when the results don’t come in a competitive car, then a driver asks himself questions.

This year the Pirellis are the other way around, stronger at the front than the rear and he has been quite quick in races.

With a car which was capable of qualifying third in Rosberg’s hands and looked like Red Bull’s closest competitor over a single lap, he clearly expected more and was disappointed not to be able to deliver it.

He probably accepts that due to his age and time out of racing he’s a few tenths slower than Rosberg, but the Mercedes could turn out to be a contender this year and you can always tell when a driver gets a sniff that there may be a chance to do something special. Schumacher needs a podium at the least to make the comeback worthwhile, to give it some real justification.

We have to be careful when ex drivers of a similar age to Schumacher say that his age has nothing to do with it, as Johnny Herbert has said this week, for instance, or Jacques Villeneuve has said several time. It is in their interests to say that as they are all hoping to get paid well to drive competitive cars in their 40s. I don’t think that Rosberg, Vettel and Hamilton are “better” than Schumcher, they are just better than he is now.

If he feels that the joy isn’t there at the moment, then the main reason for the comeback is undermined. He missed racing and so he came back to enjoy himself.

I don’t go along with people who say that he’s damaging his legacy. He won seven world titles in his prime, no-one can take that away from him. There are one or two problems with his legacy anyway, due to controversies he got himself into, but what’s happening now has no impact on what he achieved before to my mind.

This period of return has simply been an epilogue, which has yet to find its sense of purpose.

As to whether this will hasten his second retirement from F1, who knows? He is still Michael Schumacher and his name and status are still of huge value to Mercedes. He has a contract to the end of 2012, that’s another 35 races at least.

There are stories of Mercedes priming Paul di Resta for the seat as soon as next year, but he still has to develop and show consistently some of the quality he showed in the first three races.

Di Resta had a tough weekend in Turkey, incidentally, due to the death of his step-father, Dougie McCracken, who lived with Di Resta’s mother in Scotland and who had apparently committed suicide according to the Daily Record newspaper.

Meanwhile here’s something new, a video blog from Nico Rosberg. He’s going to do one after every race, which is a good idea and something we must hope all drivers will get into in time.

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Just because Michael Schumacher has 7 championships, doesn’t mean he is that good. He could have had poor competition. It is all relative.

Just remember what movie won Best Film in 1977 : “Rocky”. Surely, no one in his right mind, would equate this movie with the likes of : “Gone with the wind”, “Casablanca”, or “Titanic”.

What makes a driver great is the Wins to Starts ratio. Also Poles/Start and Fast Laps / Start. In the modern era (> 1960) the outstanding driver is Jim Clark with 46% 35% 39%, MS is at 25% 34% 28% but these numbers will be DROPPING because his “Starts” are going up and I don’t see any Poles, Wins or FastLaps coming!!

Also, when your team mate goes quicker, you know you are a loser!

Stephen Kellett

Wow, sad for Di Resta and his family.


I will be there at the Indian GP (hopefully) and the only reason I am going there is Schumi.

I don’t care whether he wins or gets a podium. I just want to see him racing and enjoy the moment.

And I sincerely hope they do let him finish the contract. He is a 7-time world champion and that talent doesn’t go off so easily.

It just seems that all in the world is turning against him and that puts him in a bad spot. He will be arising like a phoenix and will answer his critics. He is too good to be mediocre and I hope all the gentlemen who are taking a swipe at him now, truthfully praise him after he has achieved the seemingly impossible.

Come on Schumi! Come Alive!


Unlikely. If Schumi does come good later this year, there will be a bunch of people who say it’s a parting gift from Bernie or some such.

Haters gonna hate.

I’m also going to the Indian GP this year mostly because Schumi will be driving there. I would’ve waited a couple of years for all the hype to die down before going to watch, if he hadn’t made his comeback.


I think Schumacher would have come second best to Alonso and Hamilton if he was at his peak now rather than when he was at his peak 10 years ago.

Clearly he has been better suited to driving the fastest car in the field and having more artificial advantages. Now he’s not in a dominant car he is suffering.


Even Lewis or Alonso wouldnt agree with you mate. MS was around 1 second faster than his teamates, something Lewis and Alonso can only dream off.

Here, he was one second faster than Rubens

He can only won with the best car?

96 Ferrari was a dog and he lapped four seconds faster than anyone in Barcelona 96 and won dominantly. How do you explain that?

Oh how about Barcelona 95 which he stuck with 5th gear for 30 laps and finished 2nd.

Get your facts right mate.


When Rubens went to Ferrari, the first time he qualified alongside Schumacher he was less than a tenth slower; second race, same thing. Funny that as Rubens “settled into” Ferrari he got slower relative to Schumacher rather than as you would expect getting more comfortable and being allowed some input into setup and direction…. If they’d both been at Mclaren, I’d suggest that the gap would have been a lot closer….

Regarding the stuck in fifth gear incident, Williams tried that with Hill in testing and found Hill could achive the same sort of effect – no magic there.

Ferrari were winning in 94 and 95 – Alesi was clueless at times although quite fast – if someone had managed him effectively they’d have probably have achived 3 wins that year – Alesi’s first 10 laps on slicks @ the Nurburgring were spellbinding – but he was an idiot for falling asleep after that…. It was Alesi loosing not Schumacher winning there.

Who did Schumacher beat in the 96 Spanish GP – Villeneuve in his first ever wet F1 race and Hill who spun off. The Ferrari was faster than the Benetton in qualie and finished ahead in the race….


So let me get this straight. All of the f1 experts including Ron Dennis think that MS was easily the best of his generation, and you have a very different opinion based on your conspiracy theories and facts such as MS didnt beat anyone, its either the entire grid or even the entire f1 screwed up or he had the best car.

Great, I thought JA was targeting a very different audience.


Could have, should have, would have but it didn’t happen.

The thing most of your logic could be applied to most of the drivers. “oh he won championship with the best car” but then who didn’t. Who did Lewis beat in 2008 wdc? Massa? (not to take away Lewis achievements, just want to demonstrate your logic). The fact that you think his performance in Barcelona 96 is nothing special says a lot about your bias which is your right but it just fall into the category of those who loath him, nothing new.

Let me quote JA’s comment,

“I don’t think you can argue that. The details of what he used to do with a car show that he was very special, plus he raised the bar in terms of a driver interacting with his team”


Age – the thing is his race pace is fine but he’s slightly off in qualie. An overweight and race unfit Mansell proved his qualie pace on his return to Williams in ’94 after 18 months out of an F1 car (showing Damon show fast the Williams really was) at the same age as Schumacher is now.

He (Schumacher) under-estimated the advantage he had over his previous team-mates during his career – now he has to compete fairly he’s been found wanting. As I said previously if the team was built around him, he had 10 x more practise than his team-mates and his car was the most competitive (or the standard of oppostion was a lot lower than now), he’d be fine.

Johnny Herbert had to race with Schumacher’s pedal setup in ’95 in case Schumacher needed his car…..


Come on Damon was like in mid 30s back then, don’t manipulate the facts. The most superior driver gets the better treatment, thats the same for Lewis and Alonso and there is nothing wrong with that. The efforts go where the pace is. Is it really that hard to understand?


And Mansell was in his 40s… William’s and Bernie’s 1994 plan worked insofar as Mansell (on his return after 18 months out of F1) pushed Damon into getting his first pole in that car (just!) – an impressive display from Nigel…. He wasn’t fit but he was still quick.


Strictly speaking, Mansell didn’t take a break. He was driving in Indycar through the 1993 season. Powerful single seaters over a smattering of street and road courses. That doesn’t count as a break.


Did Mansell take 3 years break?

Like someone said, it is your right to have that view. But too bad, no f1 team boss, including Frank Williams does not share that view. And surely James Allen himself doesn’t agree with you either.


Couldn’t agree more. Also tyres engineered specifically for him and contracts written so he was no.1 in the team and had the fastest car in the team. Amongst I’m sure multiple other artificial advantages.


None sense. When you have tyres wars like Michelin vs Bridgestone, both of these suppliers support their leading championship contenders, including Alonso and Michael. Some people really……..


Well Ferrari worked the political angle and got practically exclusive use of Bridgestone tyres specifically tuned for Ferrari while Michelin had to work with multiple other top teams. During 2003 Ferrari hired Luciano Burti to drive something like 80 days non-stop evaluating tyres for Michael… And the FIA had to change the rules on tyre widths that year to stop Raikkonen from taking the championship… 🙂

Personally given their spend over Mclaren and Williams, Ferrari should have won every race from 2000-2005…


“This period of return has simply been an epilogue, which has yet to find its sense of purpose.”

Whan an eloquent line. You certainly can write, sir.

Brian Morrison

Very simple from my point of view.

I was happy to see MS go in 2006, his previous on-track behaviour made him beyond the pale for me. I know this will be violently disagreed with by many, but in my mind I always think of MS as a 6 times WDC and Damon Hill as a double WDC.

It seems now that he can’t dominate without the old situation of having everything in his favour.

So on that basis, he can’t leave F1 too soon for me.


Well, I guess it depends on where you come from obviously. To many people, outside of UK, MS was banned for a few races which allowed Damon to catch up. It was very clear that if MS wasnt leading the title by a country mile he wouldn’t have been banned for a few races, may be 10 spots grid penalty. So Damon gained a large number of championship points unfairly thanks to FIA who needed to sell F1 tickets.In 94, MS was clearly the far better driver and he is a deserving champion. Damon was never a worthy champion.

Brian Morrison

Well there we’ll have to differ, to me the difference is that one of the two drivers is a gentleman, the other isn’t. Nothing more to say for me.


You mean the gentleman who took out MS in 95?


Michael has made his comeback in one of the most competitive periods in Formula One history. The cars also place massive physical demands on the drivers. His maximum heart rate will be 20 bpm slower than Vettel due to the age difference.

If Michael had returned in a different era then his car control and experience would have compensated for the age difference.

I still think with the right car he could challenge for race wins. Perhaps a NASCAR move might be a better match.


Most of the TV commentators saw MS at fault on the collision with Petrov.

People that make a living out of watching cars going around in circles, should have noticed that Petrov totally missed that corner and cut in MS trajectory, who left enough room for Petrov to go by.

Petrov mistake was quite visible at normal speed. At slow motion, should have cleared MS of any wrong doing and any doubt these TV experts did not actually have. All of them making fun of MS just as the car collided and did not even gave the benefit of the doubt and wait for a replay.


I hope Michael goes for the record of oldest f1 driver.

Alberto Dietz

…and WDCx14, therefore allowing others to enjoy eating crow.


I think one of things that we can’t understand about his situation is the fitness level it takes to drive an f1 car.

In my experience, when went to Muay Thai 2 hrs intensive training while having hangover, I did ok.

But when I went to gokarting (kf2) with a little bit of hangover, I was like 2 secs off my own pace. Ofcoz I knew the lines and the track well, but my body didn’t allow

me to perform the extra bit. The kart was all over the place unless I go slower. It’s difficult to explain why. Basically it felt it’s like a wired way of lifting weights and resisting forces, and your body simply tells u to slower. So

I feel that motorsports demands more than combat sports training does, in terms of cardio etc.. I know f1 and Schumacher is totally a world a part, but may be it’s just achievement itself to be an f1 driver at 42.


Schu-mui needs a visit from Mr Miagi!

Wax-on, Wax-off

I hope he takes another win! I want to witness the Schumi ‘victory jump’ on the podium!


Very fair article. One of the reasons why I respect James more than any F1 journalist, he tends to be fair towards everyone and put the sport in front of politics. On the other hand, I feel bad for people like Stirling Moss, Johnny Herbert more than I feel bad for Schumacher. It must have been hard to live with such resentments for so long.

Andrew Chapman

In my 30 years of watching F1 if a driver retires for a year or two then comes back he’s either immeadiately as quick as he was or significantly off the pace.. Prost return to Williams or Mansell to McLaren, JV to Renault etc.

After 20+ races it’s not MS that’s dominating the team is it?

If he was still capable of running at the front it would have already happened, clearly Nico is the faster driver (and more consistent). As Nico’s race craft improves and his confidence get even greater things can only go one way. I can’t see any historic precedent which would indicate things are likely to change.

MS is still a great driver in terms of what he’s achived – but title no.8 is just not going to happen… He knows it and so do we….


is rosberg:schumacher really all that worse than vettel:webber? if you were to put schumacher in webber’s spot i really don’t think he’d do much worse, and i have a hunch that a good car would give him the drive to actually pull closer to vettel than webber seems capable of.


I for one have the outmost respect for Michael Schumacher, I think what he has achieved is definetely nothing anyone can forget. I am one of the people that are desparate to see him win or end up on the podium at least, I think this might help to alleviate the pressure and then he can have a more refined sense of focus on how to be more competitive.

You often hear people talk about what a bad idea it was for him to come back , what this kind of thinking is suggesting is that Michael should rather have stayed at home because that way he does not run the risk of tainting his legacy by returning to a sport that he clearly missed and not be competitive against this new crop of drivers, Michael should rather play it safe . But not Michael ,he obviously doenst believe in playing it safe he chose to come back he did not fear not being competitive, he chose to comeback because in his mind he believes he can still win. I think it takes a lot of courage and grit to make a decision like that.

Sure its hard for him at the moment, I’m always wondering what state of mind he is in right now especially when you take in account the critisism he gets from his old rivals it cant be easy for him , like David Coulthard’s “the writing is on the wall” comment(Saturday qualifying) he is clearly finding it very difficult to conceal his animosity towards the guy. I dont doubt that he is not enjoying himself , I hope he continues racing in 2012 , I hope he returns to winning ways. As for his comeback its been very difficult no doubt about that but that does not mean it was a bad idea for him to comeback he really missed racing, I mean he was very good at it before he retired and I am sure he still is , its just that he has returned to a sport that has clearly undergone massive changes from when he retired and I think some of his critics know this as well but of course they wont say it, it serves their purpose of tainting his image to always be focused on the notion that it was a bad idea for him to comeback. Most people in F1 know how to use media to their advantage and having the success like MS always attract attention , I am not saying its because of other people that Michael is not doing so well but I think there are certain people that fuel his difficulties. I really hope he has time to adjust to this new style of racing(CLEARLY NEW TO HIM) that Mercedes do not lose their faith in his abilities and replace him with someone like Di Resta. I think he just needs to find his rythm again and understand this new style of racing ,set up and other aspects of his car. I really want to see how he is going to get through this.

Chris Anderson

Schumacher just needs to learn how to bring his practice pace into qualifying. He has just been a bit unlucky He also should do two runs in Q3 and not just the one run.

Drivers such as Herbert just make themself look stupid by saying he has lost non of his speed and its not his age. If thats the case than what does that say about their own career.

I also was annoyed with Brundle and DC’s commentary laughing with snide comments about Schumacher. We get the point neither of you like him but theres no need to bring into the commentary box.


Here here! If he was nothing special back in the day, then those that raced on the same track must have been hopeless


I would disagree with this to a degree. I think Brundle clearly has a lot of respect for Schumacher as a driver, and I feel he often conveys that.


The quote after qualifying from Schumacher in Turkey, “The more I pushed on my last lap, the more went wrong”, seems to explain the problems that he is having in a nutshell. I feel that he is trying too hard to make things happen. I think he should let things come to him more, instead of him trying to force the issue. If he can do this, he will definitely be very much more competitive.


I’m guessing that what Michael really misses is the winning. I also suspect that his problem is not the car, but the fact that he is now just like any racing driver with say the exception of Alonso and Vettel who experience priviliged positions within their teams.

Mercedes may listen to him and respond to his needs but he is no longer THE team. He is no longer the centre of its world.

In my opinion, Michael was not always the fastest racer and Rubens on occassion was testimony to that. His special power that gained him most of his titles was his ability to forge a winning position a winning team around him, to maximize his potential, including making himself number one.


Schumacher was really nothing special in the same way that Vettel who is dominating the sport right now is nothing special all things being equal, they both simply got lucky by having most dominant car on the grid with a team mate who knows his place.

Schumacher should count himself fortunate that the Ferrari dominated for so long during the noughties, I think even he has now realised that much of what he achieved was aided primarily by Ferrari dominance of the sport.


I’m on the fence regarding Schumy; I’m not a fan due to his past blatant unfair actions; I agree with Mark’s point that many drivers are ‘good’ thanks to being in a good car and team (so many good drivers were demoted to lowly teams and sank into the mire)…

BUT there were also illustrations of brilliance that make him special. I started admiring him (sometimes through gritted teeth) ever since years ago he was in the lead in a Benneton which then lost all gears except 5th. He still managed to finish SECOND – with only 5th gear available!!!

However I do think he’d only get a podium through a fluke race (mass pile-up of the higher-cars or something), and sadly his time has come and gone; it will be awkward to still see him on track next year, with so many other fast drivers available to fill his seat.


You have a view that’s held by countless fans who loathe Schumacher. Which, is certainly your right.

That said, isn’t it a bit funny that throughout his first career, virtually no one within F1, mechanics, engineers, drivers, media, team principals, etc. ever really suggested this?


You should read Michael Schumacher’s edge of Greatness by James Allen you will see that you couldnt get any further from the truth.


You seem to forget, that before Michael Schumacher joined they were no where near competitive. I am not saying it was entirely because of MS that they became competitive again it was a team effort , a team which he was very much a part of for the longest of time from when they were no where near a championship team contender to when they became know as the most successful team in the history of F1. Ferrari was dominant yes no doubt about that, they had a very superior package in the early 2000 onwards, one might argue that it is because of this superiority that he won every race but also take note of the fact that it was because of his ambition and hunger that he always used a very superior package to win a championship every single year maybe if it were any other less ambitious driver he would have had a lot of near misses in winning championships. A similiar thing can be said about Seb Vettel he is in a very competitive car and he wants to maximise his chances of winning grand prixs every opportunity he gets, he wants to be pole at every qualifying session, he wants to win every race . To do this you need to be consisitent and most tend to overlook this, drivers need not only to be fast but consistent as well.


I don’t think you can argue that. The details of what he used to do with a car show that he was very special, plus he raised the bar in terms of a driver interacting with his team

Conrad M. Sathirweth

I think the problem for Schumacher if he does decide to hang up his helmet for good is how he does it. Because if he retires imminently or if carries on getting beaten by Rosberg and then retires at the end of the season if may look like a bit of a failure and retiring with his tail between his legs. So he may (if Mercedes let him) see out his contract as a more dignified final bow.


If the man is so ‘past it’ as some of you seem to think, then howcome him and Vettel won the race of Champions for their country, and by the way where was Coulthard?? If he puts the yellow on the back of his helmet again then he will win – yeah I am supersticious!!!!


ok guys, have actually read ALL comments from first to here, and still i’d love if anyone could please, please, please explain something to me which i feel VERY confusing and very difficult to understand.

firstly, what is going on??? when at certain times in the last two years, be it either in qualifying, practise or race, the net difference Schumacher and Rosberg is just (+/-) 0.005s to 0.100s i mean, that is particularly nothing, is it not? now depending on how high you rate Rosberg, that time difference is pretty damn close. compair it to the differences whichever team-mate pairing you’d like to(Vettel/Webber, Button/Hamilton, Alonso/Massa, etc).

and then, what is going on???? when just a few months ago, at race of champions cup 2010, vettel lost most of his races in the nations cup, and it was schumacher who single-handedly won them the nation’s title for the German team? Vettel said he was lucky he had Michael.

and finally, what is going on – right now???.. whereby three hours ago he’s 0.001s at the top with Vettel in FP3, three hours later he’s 1.1s slower (with a lower fuel load), and then 24 hours later – disaster.

so basically, what is it?

is he fast, not fast? is he slow, not slow? does he have speed? does he not have speed? does still have the skills, or does he not?

his car control and reaction time is still extraordinary, if you look at various incidents. FP2, pushed off the curve by Sutil into wet patch of the grass, it must have taken superhuman reaction in order to be able to save the car and prevent it going into the barriers.

turn 8 he was putting in the MOST steering input into the car (for whatever reason), and i believe Petrov or Maldonado would have crashed or spun it otherwise.

Massa passed him on fresher tires and DRS at the final turns, but Schumacher executed a perfect switchback to retake the place. that was brilliant. Massa then forced him wide at turn 1 where he lost the place to Alguersauri as well, but then he was the ONLY driver in the entire place to attempt and succeed in passing Alguersauri on the outside at turn 8! without DRS or anything, just pure skill and bravery.

but then on the other hand EVERYONE is critical of his race-craft at this moment. they say he doesn’t know how to drive, and his skills are as if far inferior than all other drivers on the field, and that he is getting passed left right and center by everybody else. isn’t Rosberg also getting passed by everybody else?


could someone PLEASE explain kindly? what is the real situation? what is going on here? what is the truth of regarding Schumacher’s ability right now?? where does he really stand?


Well I guess I’m not everyone because I’m not critical of his racecraft. Where does he stand? I think Michael is extraordinary in his abilities, but this is Formula One, and the difference between a world champion and the rest often seems as if all the stars have aligned for one man and not another. I do think Michael is trying too hard, we saw this last year with Vettel, who made a lot of foolish mistakes, but now is as calm as can be. Michael is as experienced as they get, but he is trying to live up to his own legacy, and every time his goals get within his grasp they slip away. So I think most of what is going on with Michael is Michael. Michael in his carrer has had some low moments where he kept pushing and came a cropper when others would have brought the car home with whatever they could get. The drive and the push is what made him a champion, and as we’ve seen with other champions, such as Senna or Hamliton that extreme drive can also get them in trouble too.

All of the ingredients are there for Michael to do well, in time they will.


I think the main problem is his consistency under the pressure of qualifying.

His practice times are often fine, but he seems to take longer than Nico to get the car set up to his liking. There is also nothing wrong with his race pace or consistency.

However when the pressure is on to deliver a single quick lap in qualifying he often struggles to put a fully clean/quick lap together. Many drivers will know what this is like – when the body becomes tense due to nerves and suddenly you can’t drive the car with the same ‘freedom’ as usual. You make more errors under braking, you don’t carry as much speed into the corner, and your right leg suddenly loses some it’s throttle control. It’s an awful feeling, and probably the reason Michael looked so unhappy after qualifying in Turkey – it’s something he’s not used to. The fact that the team (rightly) decided to only do a single run in Q3 would have simply added to the pressure and nerves.

I really hope Michael doesn’t give up on the back of this performance though. The next three races (Spain, Monaco, Canada) are circuits he’s always gone very well at, and hopefully Mercedes will bring upgrades to make the car a bit more drivable.

If however the situation is the same after those races i think it might be time to call it a day.

As a long time fan this comeback has been very hard to watch on occassions.


Are Brazil going to give Pele a run out at the next World Cup because he has won 3 WCs and has the best record of any footballer ever?

History counts for nothing.

Schumacher is simply not good enough. He was not good enough when he started last year, and 22 races later he is still not good enough.

I personally think he lucked into F1 when Mansell, Senna and Prost disappeared. He also had poor quality team-mates who were given little time with the car and on the occasions they were ahead, team orders forced them to hand over their wins. So the record flatters him. Good, but not the best ever by a long way.

Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton are all far superior drivers. Hamilton has had two reigning World Champs as team-mates, and beaten both… in the same car…. without team orders. Class… and balls. He fears no one.

Schumacher would never have accepted Hakkinen or anyone so good as team-mate, certainly not without team orders.

His wins were as much off the track as they were on it. He was a good driver, probably the best of his time. But there were few genius drivers in that era. Rosberg is better than people give him credit for, and far better than any of Schumacher’s previous team-mates. Nothing wrong with that car… as Rosberg is showing.


Strong argument, much to back up.

And the fact that no top driver tried to be his teammate suggested that may be no top driver got enough balls to say “hey look I want to join Ferrari and beat Michael”.

In fact Ferrari and Michael did approach Alonso, it was Alonso who refused to join Ferrari and joined Renault instead. So get your facts right mate.


No hot young driver with in the sport for only a year or two, and with no WDCs or race wins would turn down Ferrari in their early 2000s prime, even if undoubtedly it would have been to accept #2 slot.

Alonso went to Renault because Flav was his manager, and was running the Renault team. I can find no references to back up your claim that he turned down Ferrari. Since you like to talk about ‘facts’, perhaps you can find a reputable news story to confirm this? The internet is very big, and Google is very powerful. Off you go mate…. get your facts straight… and then post a reply.

I am not sure when you claim this approach to have happened, but considering that Alonso won two world titles at Renault, toppling Ferrari’s years of dominance, it was an inspired stroke of luck that he went to an inferior team because he was scared of MS and then lucked to two WDC wins, don’t you think?


Facts? haha it was in “The Edge of The Greatness” by James Allen. And how about that?

Michael saw his potential in his early days, and the guy was always following the young drivers and I could imagine he and Jean must be discussing about who is going to take over him.

Todt and Alonso did agree for a test drive with Ferrari and Alonso opted for Renault for whatever the reason is and that offended Todt.

“A slow teammate and a fast car is the way to go”.Ever heard of this famous rule ?

I wouldn’t say scare but who would have confidence to beat seven time world champion in the same car which is exactly what my point is. You can’t blame MS just because others didn’t challenge him.

Oh I know you are one of those who believed the second driver theory but the reality is that you can’t slow down a driver because of a contract, ask Lewis or MS himself when he played second fiddle in 99.


He was never as great as the records show. People forget just how far ahead his Ferrari was as well as his team-mate never being allowed to truly race him as well as the many rather peculiar decisions in his and Ferrari’s favour during his dominant spell (there was so many of them – one day maybe somebody in the know will have the balls to truly reveal them)!

Just look at how Rosberg is dealing with him, if he was team-mate to Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel then the gap would be even greater.

Sad all the same to see him humiliated this way, he should go now.


And people like you never remember his ferrari wasnt anywhere near a top car in 90s. Yet he managed to dominate a few races with that, Barcelona 96 for example


I have to admit that seeing Schumacher the way he was in Turkey is literally painful for me – he looked lost and desperate. If he says he feels no joy when racing, then it’s not good, but I think he’ll stay at least till the end of this year. At the begining of last year, he was confident about his come back. Leaving now would mean he admits to have made a mistake and that doesn’t suit Schuey we know (though he did acknowledge his responsibility for the crash with Petrov, which surprised to some extent). However, if racing is no more fun for him and he starts getting nightmares with Rosberg beating him yet again, I won’t blame him for leaving.

TBH, I don’t like all this speculations – who will replace him and when. It’s like we were all trying to make decisions for MSC or force him to a decision that suits everybody around. Reminds me of a family quarrel over a fortune when its owner is still alive.


I’m not a huge Schumacher fan but I echo the sentiments that it’d be wonderful for the sport to see him on the podium once again.

To be fair to the older crowd I don’t think his age has a huge amount to do with it. Driving a modern F1 car does require extreme fitness and athleticism but it’s not like track sprinters where a few years takes it’s ultimate toll on muscular performance. F1 drivers are more like test pilots and you’ll find the majority of those are prized for their experience in their 40s.

The difference seems to be in qualifying Schumacher does not utilize the DRS as much as nico. Same with webber versus vettel. Then when the pressure mounts Michael overcompensates by driving to overcorrections. The magic paddle comment was clearly a call to Schumacher to get his flap open and latched early enough to scrape time out, which he’s clearly either forgetting or not comfortable with.

And in many ways the formula has changed so much in his absence, Schumacher is almost the rookie in the Mercedes team. Seems strange to say it but he must be feeling that the skills he both had naturally and developed just aren’t as applicable to modern f1. I remember Lewis driving one of sennas old cars and just admitting he was afraid to throw it into any corner as it was just utterly untamed. Rookie drivers in modern f1 have no chance to learn except on race weekends. Sadly this is the same for Michael. Its a lot like watching a great boxing champion show up in a wrestling match now. The sport is just massively different.

So – not his biggest supporter in the past but it’s fair to say IMO it’s not age that holds him back but probably more the lack of testing and the quick brutal nature of qualifying and technological change these days.


Hi James,

You mentioned that when the results don’t come in a competitive car, then a driver asks himself questions. Do you really think they have a good and a competitive car? If thats really the case, will Rosberg start from 3 and drop down ? I am sure it was the car and the tyres which let him down and not his driving else he would have surely moved further up.

Also you did not say anything on what you think will happen to Merc and Schumacher from here on. Will they continue to slide down or will they catch up somewhere? Also, do you reckon this could be his last season ?




Qualifying third is competitive. They need to work on race pace, but I’m sure they will have podiums this year and in my book that means competitive.

Just A Bloke (Martin)

I first saw Schumi racing at Silverstone in a Sauber against the Jags driven by a certain Mr Brundle 198??? 199?……

There is no doubting his skill but for me he tainted his reputation by the clumsy and cynical moves he pulled. Hill, Villeneuve and the Monaco quali parking incident to name three.

He never needed to do these things his legacy would be so much greater for me if had five titles and clean record. I do not hear anyone saying Moss does not have a genuine legacy yet how many titles did he win ??????

As for his comeback I don’t think this is vintage Schumi remember Spain when he brought the Benetton home with only fifth gear I think ? The current crop of drivers are showing their mettle now and making a pretty good job considering how little testing they get, how many miles did Schumi do testing in the early days?

I think we should all look to the future not the past. I love the history of motorsport, not just F1 but Group C, ETCC touring cars (Volvo 240, Rover SD1 battles anyone) the lot and Schumi IS a GREAT part of that history, but for me, as a fan, just that part of history I’m afraid.

I would love to see Schumi and Vettel brave it out on the approach to Copse or wheel to wheel round Suzuka, perhaps a win at a wet German GP to round off the career. But really? Will that happen………..

One more win would be a fitting end to a historical career.


When the game plan from Mercedes was put to Michael, after the idea of a return to F1 was suggested by Luca, it must have seemed like a fun thing to do. However, in practice, trying to get a race winning team together on very limited resources [compared with some] has proved that if something is not right it takes a while to fix and in Formula One there is so little time. If you start the year with a car with problems, which Mercedes GP did, three flyaway races have to be endured. At least in Turkey the car seemed to be working better but from what they all said it was a glorified test session. Ross said they were starting to understand the car better. What a waste of time dragging all these cars around the world if they are not in the best race trim possible. Jean Todt was right about in season testing and the sooner it comes back the better. I bet you Michael would have done way better if he had been able to test the car at any time other than free practice.

Who is to say that Mercedes will be there in 2013? perhaps the powers that be will say that the cost and the new stupid rules are not worth it.Unless a new Concorde Agreement gives the teams a lot more to play for, why bother? To put money in CVC’s pocket? At least they can say, we gave it our best try with the two best men in their field, Michael and Ross and it didn’t work. Leave F1 to the Far East with all it’s lovely empty grandstands and silly “you can push the button now’ rules and [hopefully] go racing.

I too hope that Michael has a least a few fun races to look back on, a podium would be nice, a win would be wonderful! [maybe Germany?] how brilliant would that be! I could then die happy.

Ted the Mechanic

I love Nico’s video blog, will look out for next edition, please continue to publicise it James. Interesting, his take on DRS overtaking – different to Mark Webber and some of the other drivers it seems. Also the fact that the better performance is not down to new development parts, but fine-tuning I guess. Look forward to even more competitiveness as the new parts do appear in future races.


It was nice to see a lot of sensible comments on the internet, thanks to James’ work.

I think Michael has earned the right to compete as long as he is happy to. His accomplishments are undeniable.

The key figures in F1 such as Martin and Patrick acknowledged that he has absolutely nothing to prove. Ron Dennis said its not too difficult to win a title. Its very difficult to stay there as F1 offers so many distraction. No other champion has been excellent for so long like 15 years.

Being a high level sport athlete at the age of 42 and having guts to risk is hardly embarrassing. Its not like he is taking drugs or having fun with women.

Yes he lost a lot of his pace but so what?

I think that those people who wants to kick a man when a he is down should be a shame of themselves.

Steven Pritchard

Blimey, what is it with the modern formula 1 driver and awful, scruffy bum fluff, learn to use a razor guys! 🙂


I think it probably has more to do with the fact that they are constantly on the move and have a demanding schedule during work weekends. Their unkempt state means that they are at least more focussed on their job than their demeanour.

Steven Pritchard

Really, three minutes per day?

David Turnedge

I’d blame their stylists. I don’t think an F1 driver makes a choice about any aspect of his appearance while working.


Hard to imagine F1 without Schumi.

However, the time will come when he has to take a back seat to the next generation of drivers.

You would think that in a development role he is a very big asset for Mercedes, doesn’t have to be F1. He is still a big name globally and I’m sure Mercedes will want to keep him on board as long as possible.


I agree that age and three years away from the sport has slowed down Schumi a bit. But to say that he was never any good and that too by guys who would not be able to achieve half of what he has in ten life time is to my mind is nothing more than envy.

Coulthard of all people should know he was almost a second slower than Webber in the same car towards the end of his career, and i bet i would not be able to get within 2 seconds of his team mate (any driver on the grid) if he were to come and race again.

As a matter of fact any of erstwhile races and present Schumacher’s critics would do well to be even within a second of his time right now, that’s the only way we’ll know who always had the talent and who were all talk.

Schumi can still do it but maybe he needs to accept that Rosberg and others are a bit quicker and not get under too much pressure. Most of all i think he needs to start enjoying the racing rather than thinking of dominating once again. If he’s relaxed i bet he can still give the best a run for there money.

To his critics i say, demeaning Schumacher does not make them better racers than him in fans eyes, it only proves how insecure they feel even now, with him being around .


Agree 100%

It’s a bit silly to for DC to be making cracks about “race craft” and writing on the wall.

DC must think F1 fans have no memory of all the times he crashed out of races in his final two seasons.

Petrov might be a bit miffed but ask Alex Wurtz how he feels. 🙂


yea, exactly!

thats why i am secretly hoping and wishing that Villeneuve comes back right now. i would LOVE to see how fast he is compared to the current drivers.


Hi James. Good article. There was reason why Mercedes brought MS back and good luck to them. He has achieved a lot in the past and present. And I congratulate him for that.But perhaps Mercedes might be disvantaging a real find out there that could be a revelation to the team and the f1 sport to challenge the likes of Vettel, Hamilton and co.


Never been a Schumacher fan – always chose to support the likes of Montoya/Alonso during his glory years – but I do have tremendous respect and great admiration for him. No matter what his haters/critics may say, there’s no denying reality: the man is a competitor and a true champion – a 7x world champion while your at it!

Back in ’03(when Michael won his 6th WDC), F1 Racing asked for the opinion of former champions on whether he should retire or not; What Mario Andretti said back then rings so true today: Andretti said that Schumacher should continue so long as he knows he’s still competitive, but should avoid “hanging around” past that. He (Andretti) then recalled how, in his middle F1 years, he’d come up behind an ageing Graham Hill and would think, “get out of my way!” bec. Graham was just holding him up.

Personally, I think Michael’s simply too old; he’s not only aged in real life but in the sport as well – F1 just evolved past him. The new breed has learned everything it can from his generation and then developed those skills a notch higher.

I think Michael returned bec. back in 2006, it was actually Ferrari who pushed him out in their haste to hire Raikkonen and also bec. he (Schumacher) felt sorry at the possibility of Massa losing his seat(!). He probably thought he still had a lot to offer at the time, and carried that through the years when he was away. When he decided to come back in 2010, I believe he simply wanted to know if he still had it. He didn’t, so now he knows.


Who remembers Mika Hakkinen’s test in a Mclaren a few years after he quit F1 ? He was more than a couple of seconds off from Kimi’s pace and said F1 cars evolve in “lightyears” . Schumacher is nearly twice as old as Vettel,he was out of racing for 3 years when cars changed completely but more than anything else, it is the mental aspect. He had given up racing and called it a day only to jump back from his couch into a F1 car. It was never going to be easy.

When he retired, his detractors kept saying he was scared about the challenge from the young. He proved them wrong when he announced his come back. If anything, his legacy has grown stronger and earned additional legitimacy with his comeback and not other way around.

What Schumacher desperately needs are some good races where he can beat his teammate. If there’s a 42 year old guy who can beat his teammate half his age, its Schumi. He can call it a day tomorrow if he wants to, but he’ll still be one of the greatest ever.

David Turnedge

Nice work Team Nico!

This is what F1 needs – more real stories and less PR – still, if every driver did this it would start to look like PR again.

In the car leaving the circuit is a nice personal touch.


Great article, James. Schumi has had a rough day, and he is suffering more from the mind rather than physically. He is probably thinking too much, a bit like Tiger Woods and Roger Federer at the moment. A lucky break in the next race if there’s one, and he will be right back in the frame.

His age plays a role as well. Try getting Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Nico out of the sport for 3 years, come back at 41 to compete against the boys and see what happens then. Then we can more accurately judge the Latter-day Schumi’s performance. It’s no use comparing apples and oranges, granted that both are in the same basket now.

Finally, if Schumi is out for good, Kamui must, must be in strong consideration by Merc. He is one of the most exciting driver in the current generation currently not in the Top 4-5 teams. PDR has not proven himself.


James, I would like to use this forum for an off-topic question (sorry)

Could you or your followers recommend a website where I can watch the races streaming live online? I am living in Korea at the moment, and despite hosting a race they do not televise the other races. I am willing to pay a membership fee, but I do not just want to sign up to some random fly-by-night website without knowing that they deliver high quality streams, in English.

You would think that after paying much lip-service to ‘new media’ Bernie would have implemented an official F1 online broadcast by now… Talk is cheap!

I am becoming a very frustrated fan, having to watch F1 in foreign languages on dodgy websites that habitually cut out just as something interesting is developing on track. Thanks for the blog – it’s a great way to catch up on what I missed!


Races are streamed live in certain countries but it’s carefully controlled and geo-locked so you cannot see them in other countries. I believe there are ways around this but I’m not up on what they are


I hope THAT’s a cue for someone to step in and fill in the blanks! I too would like to know why they don’t stream live F1 ‘everywhere’, and, HOW to get it some other way. I’m in USA and yes I could get Speed TV but to do so have to pay $20 per month extra for a higher band of cable TV, get loads of extra mostly-crap channels, JUST to get Speed included!

(Please forgive me MOD if I’m over-stepping the line here.. I was asking about this last year, then found I was unable to make any further contributions to this wonderful site thereafter)



I want to stop and just say how pleased/ impressed I am with your viewpoint in this article. It gets a bit boring when media pundits and forum heroes start talking about how schumy is ruining his legacy/ driving his reputation into the ground, as if the fact that he won 4 more titles than his next closest threat in the record books is something that just gets forgotten overnight. He said from the beginning he really just wanted to enjoy himself and see where the car would take him. I see it a in a lot of was when an author, (going off your literary analogy) having written a NYT bestseller an perhaps follows it with somewhat of a dull read, doestn change much about that author really, and schumy’s lukewarm comeback shouldn’t either really. I have to say though that it is sad to me that he is now saying he isn’t enjoying himself. Like a couple posters said earlier, I just like seeing him drive. I started watching F1 after he retired for the first time so it’s intriguing to see him out there. Really enjoyed this article…


I think one of Schumacher’s problems is that his driving style doesn’t suit these cars and tyres at all. With these modern-day slicks you need to drive with surgical precision and smoothness. Schumacher was accustomed to making several corrections in the middle of a corner, and he had traction control to help him. He still drives in his old style to an extent, trying to manhandle the car but that slows him down. Sadly he’s too old to adapt and be smooth like Vettel or Hamilton.


Typical MS…if he can’t beat you he will run you off the track when you attempt to pass him….some things never change……..

CJ the 2cnd, probably...

Great article, but I think that at least some of the responses show that there are MS fans out there for whom he can do no wrong. Come on guys, if even the man himself is admitting 90% responsibility for the Petrov incident…

Actually in a way I think that’s part of the problem, his post-race interview on the BBC smacked of humility, not a word previously associated with the man. Clearly I am not a MS fan, I always felt that he was something of a flawed genius, but a genius nonetheless,(car control, wet weather, mental agility/capacity….). The objective fact is that he is being regularly beaten by Rosberg, this would be fine for a less experienced driver but for a 7 times world champion with a reputation for arrogance I think the writing’s on the wall, he has lost his edge, and to some extent his judgement is suspect.

Full marks to Rosberg by the way for his confidant, relaxed communication with us.

As to legacy I agree with JA that MS’ legacy is slightly problematic anyway, this ‘comeback’ is unlikely to tarnish it. For me the ‘parking’ incident at Monaco summed up the flawed side; strategically brilliant? – certainly, legal? – probably, sporting? – not in a million years, but probably an idea dreamt up in a fraction of a second and acted on just as quickly. The flawed side of genius.


He’s a legend of a different era and fair play to him for giving it go.

So much has changed in the gap he was away that he has been unable to adapt so far to the new hardware and regulations.

Is it possible that he was also in a much faster car back in the day compared to his rivals with much greater reliability that allowed Ferrari to focus on speed while everyone else were simply trying to get to the end of the race with reliability issues?

He was hailed as the uber driver who could turn any tin can into winner. This is proving not the case as we see his team mate beating him every weekend.

I think there is a mismatch of expectation. The media was wrong to assume that he would be god like and dominate in the next generation with the talent pool that surrounds him today. A talent pool that was raised on XBox and Playstation where blisteringly fast reactions were honed in front of the telly from a very early age.

Dare I say it, but would even the late great Senna in his prime be able to jump into a modern F1 car and work the same level of magic as VET or HAM within 2 seasons of trying? – I think not.


I agree but how can you explain Rubens? He is still fast (in a slow car).


The thing is Rubens has always been a solid driver. Teams employ him for a reason I guess.

But it doesn’t change the fact that MS dominated him because he was miles better.


Well, it depends what do you mean by fast. He always has been a solid driver and could deliver solid job. Michael just dominated him because he was way much better, simple as that.


A lot of people forgot a lot of things when it comes to Michael.

We have to remember that he didn’t always have the best car and put on incredible performances. He did turn tin can into a winner.

In Barcelona 95, he stuck in 5th gear finished second. In Barcelona 96, Ferrari was a dog but he lapped 4 seconds faster than anyone in the wet and won.

There are so many examples like that. You have to also look at the gap between him and his teammates. He went 1 to 2 seconds faster than his teammates, more often than people noticed.

Youtube has the answer. If you look at the current top drivers, the gap between them and their teammates is not that large.

The whole “preferential treatment” is something engineered by his former teammates who needed to keep their stocks a float. Nico didn’t need to do that.


His pace was solid? Yes, I’m sure Michael came back to F1 so he could be fighting mid-pack, haha.

The balls up with Petrov was one thing, but we’ve never seen Schumacher get pushed around in wheel-to-wheel racing as much as we have since his comeback.

I think he lost a lot of confidence after he tried to pushing Rubens into the wall last year. At least he’s now learnt you can’t just bully someone by reputation anymore.

That said, I also agree with James; Michael’s long term reputation won’t be affected. He’s set so many records in F1, most of which will never be beaten. I don’t really like the guy, but he could drive!


I have been thinking the exact same thing, he is very solid in practice and the race (except for some race craft issues) but in qualifying Is erratic. You can see the rear of the car sliding everywhere in qualifying but less so in other sessions. To me he is clearly overdriving on those 1 lap runs when it matters and that is making the rest of his weekend difficult. He clearly still has the pace otherwise he wouldn’t be settings good lap times from time to time. I did notice that looking at the live timing screens in q3 that his out lap was quite a few seconds slower than rosbergs so maybe he hadn’t got optimum grip into the tyre also.


Michael is a great driver, and he put in an excellent effort in Turkey, the damage he had on his car was a racing incident, nothing more than that; but it was very costly. I think what he’s struggling with most is inside his head. Success instills confidence and poor results causes second guessing. I think we’ll see better of him yet. We shouldn’t just think of the man in his glory days, but also consider the seasons where his team was struggling, such as 2005. The difficulty in 2012 is different, in that he gets close, and then the prize slips away. It is surely painful to not score a point after all the effort he put into the race, but it takes the ability to learn what one must, and then shrug off much of this gloom and look to the next race as another opportunity. Don’t count him out just yet.


ah, that should be ‘the difficulty in 2011 is different,”


I felt really bad to see Michael Schumacher trying all he could but still could not match his team mate. I think it is time that he should realize that he no longer has the pace to keep up with his team mate. The longer he is going to stay, the longer the suffering. Viewers like me would be happy to see another driver in his car to give Mercedes a better team.


I thought that the Beeb’s sniggering and condescending attitude towards Schumi made them seem small-minded and cliquey. I can imagine this kind of behaviour is what ousted the previous commentator from his seat and Brundle’s mate Courtyard into the box.

I like MSC now. He is honest and forthright, and to be frank, a bit of an underdog. To risk your reputation is an amazing thing to do in life, especially when the stakes are so high for one of the world’s most lauded sportsmen. This shows that he has no fear and relishes the purity of the competition and challenge to himself.

Good luck to you Schumi, we know it’ll come good and sooner than you think!


Good point. I remember Martin Brundle criticizing him for “running away” from competing with Kimi and now he came back at this age and went up aganist a young and very fast driver. I think people don’t give enough credit.


I agree. The one who really irritaes is eddie jordan. Every time he has a bad race he tells us he will retire. He said it through all of last season and he was WRONG. I am sur though when he does finally retire jordan will be ‘i told you so’!!!


2 words about Michael. Graham Hill.



Like to echo Malcolm Strachan’s words on Paul di Resta’s step father.

Re Schumacher have never been a fan although respected his talent which appears to have dimmed since his first retirement. If he feels this way now he should take a leaf out of Lauda’s book and retire immediately. His drive in Turkey hardly seemed that of a 7 time champion, did it?


Wasn’t fond of DCs “writing on the wall” comment. It seems the BBC are loving the fact he is not doing well. Only Martin seems to be willing him on in commentary.

Schumi’s qualifying is killing him. He’s constantly fighting midfield at the start of races and is bound to run into trouble. If he sorts out a decent grid slot it’s half the battle.

I actually prefer the ruthless Schumacher than the smiley one, which is the opposite of a lot of people I’m sure. 100% focus, determination and the will to win. I guess retirement has chilled him out a bit, that or a realization that a win is never going to come.

Fingers crossed I’d love to see him on the podium again. We shouldn’t be so quick to get rid of our sports greatest drivers.


I’m a great fan of Schumacher. followed his career and enjoyed immensely his golden years in Ferrari when Todt – Brawn – Schumacher were the dream team.

However that’s a distant memory now…. Schmacher looked so deflated after the race yesterday… I’ve never seen him drive so badly… even his shadow seem to be able to overtake!

It’s time for him to bow out… he shouldn’t have even come back after retiring, but he’s back now and can’t blame the car or the tyres for the fact he’s just passed his peak.

He’s a legend, but he’s human… and this comeback was a mistake.


Looking at the incident I think he knew that petrov was there, he did close the door to one car width and then turned in on petrov when petrov was clearly infront and visable to him. Honestly I think it was a mistake caused by his frustrations. But being michael, with that over competitve reputation it is no wonder he has been criticised.

He has to learn how to drive a non winning car as I guess he hasn’t had much experience with that!!

Never been a michael fan, but let’s hope he can bounce back and put in a memorable performance in the land of the matador!



Apologies but off topic. The 2013 Aero rules, now minus ground effect, are they an answer to a question nobody is asking any more?

We have seen this year that it is possible to get a formula 1 car to overtake and that therefore perhaps the arguement suggesting that the lack of overtaking was specifically an aero problem wasn’t reflective of the true picture. After all, the cars haven’t changed and yet appear to be able to follow each other through corners quite closely this year before, admittedly, using the DRS to overtake. Are rules that are more restrictive of ingenuity and creativity really the way to go?

Surely the FiA should be looking to move forward with what we have seen this year? DRS but not DRS for instance, i.e. something which is able to give you that instantaneous car advantage, if merited, but which is less arbitrary, and tracks which punish defensive driving like the chicane in Turkey. As an example KERS could have a cummulative element to its deployment, i.e. it could be built-up over a certain number of laps if you do not use it, for instance when you are behind a slower car. Likewise, the person ahead could also try and second guess how long you are going to charge it for by holding off using his. Then you could deploy some or all of the charge you had stored up.


the DDD revoval has helped this year.


Very sorry to hear about Pauls stepfather. A reminder if we ever needed one, that some things are more important than F1.

On Michael, I have never been a great fan (I was a Hill fan in those days – so go figure 🙂 although I’ve always recognised what he’s achieved.

He clearly isnt going to be able to challenge for championships, as you’d have to think even if they came out with the best car he’d struggle against Nico.

I however absolutely love to see him win one last grand prix. Just to remind people 😉

I’ve heard the Di Resta thing is a shoe in, if Michael decides to step down. Time will tell wont it….

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

James, I know this is unrelated but will you be posting anything on the war of wills between Todt and Ferrari/Ecclestone over small turbo engines?

Best wishes from Colombia.


Sorry to hear about diResta’s step-father. Depression is a terrible thing… My thoughts go out to him and his family.

Regarding Schumacher, he’s like any racer: he had a rough weekend, and is feeling down about it. He performed well (would have been super close to Button), but made a mistake and couldn’t get the car to work.

He’ll come back from this weekend strong, because he’ll be working hard behind the scenes to figure everything out by looking at the data and talking with engineers. I bet he’ll perform quite well in Barcelona, especially now that Mercedes has learned more about the set-up of the car, they will be able to work with their new update far better than the update that they started the season with.

My prediction: Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes will be all over each other in Barcelona… qualifying will be quite close between them (Red Bull obviously ahead a bit).


I think you’re right.

jimbob ferrari

i have always said that The Return of the ‘Macher would not affect what he achieved in the past. Noone can take that away from him. the media talk of Webber retiring and he’s only in his mid thirties. The ‘macher is 42. most people thought he would do better.


Its a good thing those previous 7 titles as if we saw Heikki or Sutil run into the side of Petrov the way Schumacher did we’d be screaming for their heads such was the amateurish nature of that particular incident,I mean he had about 3 goes at it eh!.

Paul Braithwaite

I think we all have a bad day in the office from time to time and I also think the great man gets to much stick from some quarters. I still expect he will prove the doubters wrong as the season progresses !!


The epilogue is this…. he’s giving (gave?) it a shot and one has to admire the competitiveness and the drive.


Michael I think is getting increasingly irritated for not getting his single lap in when matters, for there is no shortage of pace in him, and as far as his legendary racecraft is concerned… it is still there for everyone to behold and relish.

Another factor is that is working against Michael is that he is one of the greatest and the most ruthless defender and this year The DRS is taking away that decisive weapon from his arsenal.

Michael is the last of greatest superhuman drivers, like Senna he has the quality of growing larger than the team he drives for. Of course, there are Vetels and Alonsos and Rosbergs and De Ristas and Kubicas and Hamiltons but with the age where the technology is determining everything. Michael will always and truly remain the Last of True Formula One Drivers.

Strictly speaking as a fan of Formula one from the passion aspect of it… I have no interest in Mercedes or does the team have what it takes to invoke the interest from me, it would’ve been another re-batched team from Honda to Brawn to Mercedes.

The only point of interest for me in Mercedes is Michael and if he retires, Mercedes will not be as attractive team.

So, forsakes of Formula one… GIVE WHAT SHUEY NEEDS 🙂


For what its worth, I’ve never rated Schumacher up there in terms of ultimate drivers such as Clark, Senna, Prost.

But he’s right at the top of the others. No doubt what he’s achieved at all. Great driver, I just think the others were better.

You have to admit, his racecraft has looked very rusty, particularly the overtakes people have pulled on him. I thought he’s looked a bit off form in that respect, maybe not quite as sharp in a dogfight anymore, but still a very good driver.

He’s always going to suffer in his comeback from people trying to put one over on him.

Id like to see one more win…


Come on Andy, what did they (Prost, Senna) do that Michael couldn’t? They both joined top teams and won titles. Not to take anything away from them, but Michael joined unsuccessful teams and played a key role and bringing them to the top which is something that modern drivers are trying to achieve. Prost drove for Ferrari, but did not succeed. The most gifted driver vs the most complete driver, well, it would have been close.

Clark was greatest of his era but I think its irrelevant to compare. Different era means different sports which demanded different skill sets.


Personal opinion….and not intending to get into an argument 🙂

I think Rory Byrne, Jean todt and Ross brawn can take credit for ferraris period of success also.

I wouldn’t say benetton or Ferrari would be classed as unsuccessful?


A fair analysis and I am pleased you talked about his legacy. My view has always been no one will talk about these years. An anology I use is looking at George, all people talk now about Best are when he was in his prime and winning the European Cup not when he was in the USA.

In terms of his current state of mind I think he always thought that when the car improved he would be able to raise his game. What he is experiencing now is what his team mates would always experience and I’m sure that is hard to swallow.

As an optimist I still see positive signs there it’s just he is on a learning curve and he possibly isn’t as fast a learner as he once was. Also, dealing with pressure situations he is probably getting tight and not letting it flow as he once would. As you pointed out up until Q3 he had a great weekend and there was an indication of something special. Also, his race pace has always been ok.

I just really hope he sticks at it as I’m sure he will turn it around and if the Merc continues to improve he will get an opportunity and I’m sure he will seize the moment!! I would love to see that leap just once more!!!!!


I cannot wait to see that leap from the top step. That would make the comeback worth while.


I am not sure on what to think. But he still pulls some pretty strong races, while it looks that on Qualifying Rosberg is stronger by few tenth. That happens every else in the field as well and he’s probably closer to Rosberg, than Webber to Vettel, Button to Hamilton, Massa to Alonso.

And that entire article appears to be built around that one single statement. This a fairly risky approach from my point of view, as things are always misinterpreted, and you never know what someone really means and more important the circumstances around the statement…

Tom Haythornthwaite

I was never a Schumacher fan but I have nothing but respect for him for attempting this comeback. If he sought the joy of racing and was willing to risk being out-qualified by his team mate then he’s got a lot more courage than me.


Here here!

If you take the time it took to change Schumi’s front wing and subtract that from his finishing time behind the leader, he would have finished behind Rosberg. If you take into account the fact that Rosberg started 3rd and Schumi started 8th, Schumi actually did better.

P.S love the website James! Any chance you would go back to TV?


I’m not in any hurry. Enjoying what I’m doing online and social media, it has less boundaries


This is why I respect you James Allen… you are not out there to bash Schumacher like people in BBC..

thank you for your honest opinion




I never would have thought I’d write this, but I hope MS gets at least a podium, or better a win, out of his comeback. I never liked him and his approach back in the day, but obviously he as earned all kinds of respect, and his more relaxed self in his second career has grown on me.


My thoughts EXACTLY


Regarding the Petrov incident, from the outside camera view I thought Schumacher turned in on Petrov – a behavior I was also inclined to expect based on his past. But Matt W is right, the inside curve view showed Petrov overcooked it and slid out into MS. A real shame as Nico showed the Merc clearly has become competitive. I’ve never been a Schumacher fan, but I do believe he has something left to give on the track and hope we begin to see it soon.


If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck – guess what. Schumi is a marketing tool and his place in the team has nothing to do with racing.

Mercedes has already oriented (some would say compromised) their car development to give him the best chance but – he’s just not up to it in the new modern F1 world. Suck it up Michael, you’re there to sell the Merc brand, not to have fun.

So…Michael – smile, take the money ’till the end of the season then move over for someone who can get the team more points and Mercedes – don’t try to kid the F1 fans that having Schumi in the car is anything other than the bald publicity stunt that we all see it for.


that’s a bit harsh considering Schumi has 7 world titles to his name…. its not like Mercedes got David Beckham to drive an F1 car for the first time….


You’re right Don, he has – from the past – years and years ago. He WAS the king of qualifying, he WAS the rainMeister but NOW, he’s toast and is realising it. The same thing is actually happening to Beckham but fortunately, there is a team selection dynamic easing him out (and when he is on the pitch he can be carried by his team mates and eventually substituted, the way Schumi should be).

It is sad and if it seems harsh, that’s because it’s a harsh sport with nowhere to hide. He is taking the cash, hogging a valuable seat and putting himself on TV every couple of weeks when he has failed to match up.

Sadly, instead of behaving with the dignity of a former champion and withdrawing at the right time, it looks like he’ll crash his way to the end of the season, looking grumpy and blaming the car/other drivers/whatever else.

He has his superstar place in the sport and it’s in the past.


Ya I guess you’re right…. the truth is rather harsh though! 🙂


If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck – guess what.

FrankF1, I’ve had a bad day today, so thanks for gving me a chuckle! 🙂


Im a massive fan of michael schumacher and i always follow michaels progress throughout the weekend very closely. There is no doubt that he has lost something in qualifying compared to when he was in his prime, he just doesnt seem to be able to get a lap together, however in terms of race pace he is pretty much there with rosberg, in fact michael was quicker than rosberg in the first 2 stints (check out f1 fanatic). Obviously no one noticed this, also he actually overtook quite a few cars. The camera always seemed to go to him when he was at the end of his stint and his tyres were absolutely shot so clearly cars on newer tyres can overtake very easliy. He is a brilliant starter, has lots of experience so in terms of all the doom and gloom,ignore it, just let michael get on with it. Will michael win an 8th title?-no

can he win a race in his remaining races?-yes


As for Schumacher ‘damaging’ his legacy – nonsense! Ironically, most sports icons actually gain more respect from the fans for staying a year too long at the fair. Maybe it’s a way of paying homage to the game that made them famous. Babe Ruth in basketball, Joe Namath in American football, Eddie Merckx in cycling to name a few.


Yes, I think the comeback has “softened” his image in some ways. It’s made you see a side of him you rarely saw before, a “human side” (for want of a better term) and to be honest that has given me a lot more respect for him than I previously had.


Although I support and commend his decision to come back, because I think life is about making the most of opportunities, I think to an extent his legacy is being affected. There’s simply more ammunition to the view that his 7 world titles were against historically inferior opposition. And there’s also some possible credence to the opinion that he can’t produce against a strong teammate in a team not built directly around him.

I’m agnostic about those two suggestions and as I said I commend his comeback call, but for whatever legacy is worth, I just don’t think his or anyone’s is invulnerable to damage.


I’ve never been a Schumacher fan, in his heyday he was arrogant and he intimidated some of his opponents with aggressive moves in the knowledge that as a Ferrari driver he would always get away with it, and did so on most occasions.

However I did admire his extraordinary car control which very plainly exceeded that of his peers. His other great ability was to be able to drive the car with only part of his brain capacity and work discussing strategy (with Ross) with the rest.

Some may remember the time before he came back, there were many discussions on here courtesy of James. In particular I remember saying “What if he turns out to be only as good as the rest?” (or something very much along those lines) Well that is what has happened.

With the same kit Nico has beaten him more often than not. His great era and the reasons he was so good have gone, he spent days testing, tuning, perfecting and practising until he had the car exactly how how wanted it, he worked harder and longer than most of his competitors.

Now that’s gone, no testing, the cars have too long a wheel base for him, the hand in glove, tyre development for him has gone. The concept of fairness has crept into the rules. The RRA is supposedly restricting something, although it is very hard to see what, as the vast disparity between teams resources continues, but still, it is different to the virtually unlimited resource he enjoyed at Ferrari (Still Todt is talking about bringing back in season testing which may help him).

As I said, not a fan, but in a way, I would like to see some of the old magic impossible car control again, but sadly I don’t expect we will.

The other thing that has not been mentioned here is Ross Brawn’s legendary strategy implementation has lost a bit of it’s shine too. Brawn/Schumacher used to be unbeatable.

I wonder if Ross will go when Schumacher does.


I dont think Michaels pace is the issue here & I’m surprised no one has pointed this out before, but in Q3 in particular he is always pushing too hard- every session, over driving the car- if there is such a thing. I get very nervous watching him in Q3, it’s as though you can feel the immense pressure he’s putting on himself through the Television screen & he’s just not in the same mind set he is in the race.

Look at his time in the last practice session 1 tenth off Vettle, I don’t buy that he’s two tenths behind Rosberg consistently. Free practice time averages & race pace-overall, he’s more than a tenth close, however qualifying he’s not. Psychologically he’s not in a good place when qualifying, whether that’s worse than lacking a tenth or two on his team mate I don’t know. Question is how do you fix that?

I just hope he see’s out his contract & can over come those qualifying jitters. Am I alone in this way of thinking, regarding his Q3 performance since his return to the sport?


I completely agree about Q3. I knew it was going to happen at Turkey again…..that was why I was baffled that Merc, again, decided to go with the strategy of letting him put it all on the line for a last minute Lap in Q3 (well, Q2 the other times). He definitely seems to ‘over-do’ it…it’s uncomfortable to watch. He just needs to chill out, keep calm. With Q3 especially, he should definitely go out a bit earlier in the 10min window, to take some of that pressure off. At least then he knows he can take another crack at it if it goes wrong. Just knew he was gonna stuff up that last minute lap.

His pace in practice was almost a second faster……he clearly has some awesome pace still in him, there’s no doubt about that. I don’t know, it’s his frame of mind he seems to need to sort out. Just like in the races when he doesn’t know when to give up a spot. By the way, I wouldn’t include the Petrov incident in that necessarily. I saw that as more of a 50-50……Petrov made a lunge with that one, and it looked like he was going to keep on skidding past, so Schumacher misjudged it a bit. There’s definitely no similarity to Jerez ’97 like some have said, that’s ridiculous. Petrov took a wild chance, as is his right, but it doesn’t make it a good manoeuvre. Just look at some of his other driving…..the way he tried to shove Heidfeld into the pits, and that ridiculous ‘jump’ in Malaysia where he broke his steering column?? I find the guy a bit of a moron, to be honest. He’s not the worst driver, sure….but he’s shoddy as hell a lot of the time. Even when he came on the radio right after the Schumacher crash, “It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault”…..he sounded like a little brat.

Anyway. Schumacher……we’ll see. Like I said, he has shown he has the pace. He just needs to settle a bit. How long that takes? I think the short-wheel base Merc could be a demon around Monaco…..and if so, he’ll be right on it.


You said everything I have been saying, but in better words! Well done, I think what both of you have said is very fair. I’m not going to give up hoping – it hurts, but I just think of how happy I would be to see that Schumi grin on his face, and I knuckle down with my support 😉

Agree about Petrov – it was chancy, definitely still more blame on Schumi, but definitely not as clear cut as DC and Brundle were saying. And exactly – I would refer everyone to how Petrov treated his team mate later on in the race too – not cool.

Arg, the point at which DC really bugged me was when he said that Schumi had no experience in wheel to wheel racing because he had always been at the front. Who on earth was he talking about?! (And also, more recently, did he even watch the Chinese Grand Prix)

Anyway thank you both – I’ve posted both your comments on my facebook wall 😉


I’m sure if Schumacher had by far the best car and ten times more practise than his team mate, and the whole team centered on him with tyres made just for him, he’d be fine. 🙂


Well said…


Come on Dom, I’m not a Michael fan, but you can’t honestly say its best car and lot of practice. 🙂

Someone has to drive the thing round about 70 laps too 😉


I’m not convinced but at least he and Nico are getting the same terms and conditions now!


That’s part of the challenge of f1 isn’t it. Senna found a way to get his teams on his side. Guess that’s the aim.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I am a huge fan on Michael Schumacher, ever since he burst onto the scene in 1991.

I was excited by his comeback and really thought that this superhuman would be back to his best.

Sadly, I have to admit that I think he’s made a terrible mistake and is only damaging his legacy. People will start to confuse his current performances with how great he really was. Being compared to Nico Rosberg and Sebastien Vettel is an indignity for this man.

Having said this, I think that none of the current crop will be able to be as competitive when they get to 42 and it is a tribute to Schumacher that he is still able to competer near the top after 20 years.

Michael, go quietly at the end of the season and slip gracefully into some sort of team management role. I want to remember you at your best.


I guess people expect the early 2000’s Schumacher, dominating nearly everything in sight. If that doesn’t happen, they expect the late ’90s Schumacher, putting up a great fight even if he comes up short at the end. When that doesn’t happen either, he can apparently do nothing right.

Yes, he’s been having trouble and yes he’s not able to keep up with his teammate. But in absolute terms, he isn’t nearly as bad people make him out to be.

I’m more worried by the fact that the Mercedes pit wall seems to get a lot of strategic calls wrong these days. For instance, why did they send Schumacher back out on lap 2 with soft tyres when they knew he was out of sync with everybody else. If he’d gone out on hard tyres he would benefit by either:

a) staying out longer on the first stint

b) saving soft tyres for the end of the race when they’d be most useful.

We just aren’t seeing the Portugal ’93, Hungary ’98 or France ’04 sort of inspired strategies that made Brawn and Schumacher famous and I think that’s a bigger worry because the current Mercedes strategists will probably continue with the team well beyond 2012.


Any other driver would about to get sacked, he should retire again and let a young driver have his seat.


Totally agree with Matt… he says he doesn’t enjoy one race all eof a sudden everyone’s saying he should retire!


Y’know, that’s exactly how I took his post-Turkey GP comments too… I didn’t feel he was talking generally, I thought he was talking specifically about the Turkish race. And as to what exactly he meant by “big joy”… well, that’s open to interpretation too. I took it as a “I had a chance today to do something (make the podium), I blew it, so the big joy is not there (today)” type comment.

I never was his biggest fan during his “first” F1 career, but I’m very pleased Schumi has come back into F1; he’s shown his human, affable side much more (apparently it’s always been there, he just chose to never show it when in race mode – which is fair enough).

I tell you what, I reckon he’d get a massive and positive reception if he were to get on the podium.


Not a fan of all the pressure being put on Schumacher. Let me just say that for the majority of my being an F1 Fan, i loathed Michael Schumacher. At times he was a bully a cheat. That said, I don’t see the rush to get rid of him at all. Rosberg in my opinion is a great driver, I think if he was in a Mclaren he’d be giving Button and Hamilton trouble.

I really believe that given the right encouragement and if Michael can keep his desire, he’ll close the gap to Rosberg significantly by the end of the year. He might not be quite as fast in qualifying this year, but his strength could lie in race trim; his racing moves have more often led to collisions, once he curbs that he’ll start hauling good points for the improving Mercedes. If we had a handful of wet races, everyone might be singing a different tune. I’d rather have a slower Michael Schumacher in F1 than no Schumacher at all.


I guess the bright side is that he could have hypothetically finished right around where Rosberg ended up as per your analysis, but having said that is accepting that he will always be a couple of tenths behind him enjoyable at all?

Having said that the fact that he is there is quite entertaining, if just for the fact that Brundle and DC couldn’t have themselves at poking fun at him. They must’ve had more go’s at Schumi in the last few broadcasts than when they were racing on track during their careers…

Conrad M. Sathirweth

It annoys me so much when people take umbrage with anything slightly negative a commentator or journalist says about their favourite driver and makes it out like it is some comspiracy theory or that they are just out to get them. Schumacher in Turkey looked out of his depth, whenever he was involved in a battle with another car he lost it. Martin Brundle and David Coulthard had every right to comment on his poor performance seeing as that is their job and they did it with no malice or going over the top.

Seriously the tin foil business must owe half its market to F1 fans.


They are just jealous / bitter about him. In 1992 Brundle and Schumi were teamates, Schumi wasnt much (if any) faster than Brundle who had struggled his whole career in rubbish cars, but Schumi was the favoured son and Brundle didnt get a 93 contract. Very similar to the Red Bull scenario at the moment when you think about it.

Schumi and Coulthard have never really got on, Spa 98 anyone? Schumi got him really riled in mid 2001 when he refused to acnowledge Coulthard as a challenger for the title. Even though DC was his closest rival. Schumi still said Hakkinen was his only rival. This angered Coulthard who didnt particularly like Schumi anyway and didnt take well to him saying Hakkinen (who he had an inferiority complex about anyway over preferential treatment by Mclaren) was his rival even though Hakkinen was clearly out of the title race. I was a massive DC fan by the way before anyone starts.


Slight correction – Martin didn’t get a 1993 contract because Patrese was pushed out of Williams and certain influential people wanted him to stay in F1 so Briatore obliged by giving him a seat at Benetton. Big mistake because Schuey blew him into the weeds.


I like that Nico is now doing this, I am currently a big fan of Team Lotus as they stream a lot of videos and pictures to their fans via Facebook and the JAonF1 twitter feed


This one’s for you Schumacher:

Get up!

Stand up!

Don’t give up the fight!

Bob Marley:

Let’s celebrate your F1 anniversary in style with a podium/victory in Spa! DON’T GIVE UP THE FIGHT!


Schumi definitely has the right to be in F1. And obviously he brings in massive number of fans. I for one am going to Montreal GP twice in a row just to see him. I would not do this if he wasn’t there.


I thought Schuey had an unlucky start with contact with Petrov,after that he did well,he wasn’t far out of the points so he didn’t deserve the insults and nasty comments he gets ALL the time,the presenters are really nasty about him and as a Schuey fan since 94 it upsets me and puts me off bbc coverage,I might start watching just the race and not listen to the Schuey insults after every race,Eddie Jordans the worst for it.

Schuey will ALWAYS be the best ever,I just hope he gets a podium soon to lift him as he did seem abit down after the race.I was so happy when he came back out of retirement and I have been to all european races to see him over the 17yrs as a fan,he’s the best thing about f1 and it will never be the same without him.

Go Schuey!


Petrov vs Shumacher – in my view it was Petrov who made a mistake. He break too late and knocked Schumacher out.

Legacy – I agree with you James. He is the man who won 7 titles. Noone is going to take ti awat from him.

As for the situation today – I like what my friend said – he made a mistake when he came back. We did not know whether he is going to be a 8th WDC or not, but the feeling was that it is a mistake. You make a decision to retire, so please stick to it. Your family was supporting you for the whole life – please give something back and start living for them, not for yourself. Enough is enough….and there is time for everything…


He didn’t technically make the decision to retire. He was ‘forced’ into it by Ferrari.


I am sure you know the truth…thanks for sharing.


Am I the only one who thought the Petrov incident was not that dis-similar to Jerez 97?

Maxime Labelle

Yes you are…


Lol it was the first thing that entered my mind, carbon copy. Not even a drive through this time! Grumble moan stewards consistancy grumble

Andrew Woodruff



I have always enjoyed Nico’s outreach. When he was at Williams we (in the US) got to enjoy his race previews. He seems to be a very affable guy and genuinely wants to communicate with his fans.


Has this man not earned the right to do whatever the heck he pleases in F1?

If there is a seat with his name and “reserved” next to it, I don’t see a problem with him being on the field. His presence hardly takes away from the spectacle, even if his best days are behind him. And if he wins a race, will you argue with the emotion and joy we’ll feel for him?

Let’s not forget that for whatever it’s worth, Kimi, Lewis and Jenson did not win their titles with Schumi on the track. Vettel meanwhile will tell his kids one day he won his first championship(s) with Schumi – the most successful F1 racer of all time – on the grid. Ouch! 🙂


And Alonso won his beating MS to it, that’s even a greater story to tell! 🙂


Well, I was just having a bit of fun. Of course Alonso’s second means more because he battled Schumi in ’06 – hard. But Vettel’s “fun statement” will still be true – Schumi, the most successful driver in our time was on the field.

While we’re talking about Alonso vs. Schumi circa 2006 – does anyone know if that Ferrari engine from Suzuka was melted and turned into a urinal so I can schedule an appointment?


Whats up with this Alonso beat him blur blur, its not like he was beaten in the same car by some rookie driver. Its like Jenson beat Vettel in 2009 or Vettel beat Alonso in 2010 which doesn’t necessarily mean one is better than the other.


That’s definitely a great story. Vettel’s story won’t carry the same weight, however.


Well said. MS generates a lot of interest into the sport. It’s easy to criticize him because of his record & even himself expect more than what he achieved in last 2 years. F1 has recovered from it’s bad reputation in last 2 years as well. So, it’s good for the sports regardless of the result. We all want him to win & if he doesn’t it’s acceptable because F1 owes something to Schumacher.


My heart goes out to Michael. I desperately want him to do well and I can’t help but feel that his luck will change for the better. Of course he’s older and has lost about 1/2 a second but regardless, it was only 3 weeks back when his performance in that race was hailed by all those involved in the sport; now, coulthard and brundle are questioning his ability. Coulthard even made the ridiculous claim that he wasn’t used to wheel to wheel racing as in his day, he was always leading from the front and in the best car! I mean, what’s wrong with all these people (and I include Stirling Moss in that for his disgraceful comments re Michael being overrated and lucky to have won all those titles). Do they forget the constant battling and charging through the grid in an inferior car (he was in an inferior car up to 2001), the performances in the wet, fastest lap after fastest lap, his ability to always be there or there abouts for nearly 15 years etc. He’s in his 40’s racing against ‘kids’ who are bloody quick. He’s also in a crap car! How on earth does that mean that he was never any good to begin with?!

James, I agree that his legacy is untouchable but this constant desire to kick the man when he’s down really is poor form. What makes these attacks all the more saddening is it’s those that are involved in the sport who appear to really enjoy doing the kicking and seem all too quick to forget just how vital he was to F1’s success back in the day.


well said!i think some of the people doing the critizing are a bit jelous of his talent and succes(dc)


Well said, couldn’t agree more.


LOL I like how that “crap” car qualified 3rd. The truth is that in his winning years he didnt have the level of competition that there is today in F1. The only driver that could match him was Hakkinen, and he lost 2 WCs to him. And dont tell me how Ferrari wasnt always the best because I dont buy that.


James did a very good analysis about the race strategy. He said that the teams had to find a balance between quali and race.

Well, if that’s the case, and as Ross Brawn stated that their car doesn’t have good race pace on high fuel, then they must’ve set it up for quali. In the race, all Rosberg did was to slow down Webber, Alonso, Button, Hamilton and even Massa.

I am actually starting to get frustrated with Rosberg, because at least twice this season he deprived us of a possible good fight at the front.


I agree, the problem is that Rosberg is proving that it is not a crap car. Not the best car but not a crap car. Although I rate Rosberg as a very good driver I do not class him as one of the super kids like Vettel and Hamilton who possess unbeleviable natural speed.


I wouldn’t miss Schu. I only say Hungary 2010.


What about Petrov pushing Heidfeld off the racetrack (and into the pitlane)? Turkey 2011.


here he crosses the “thin red line” as nobody did before.

to see the difference to the “prost-senna-battle”:


Petrov was about to pit, and then Heidfeld was in the way. Bad team communication, Heidfeld was fighting for a position he would have inherited anyways.


I thought Schumacher was a good 2nd division driver yesterday, and I think he can improve and get on the podium if he keeps working at it. The Rosberg video blog was great, thanks Nico 🙂


I think with Schumacher there is a large number of people who want to kick him while he’s down, and some seem to be enjoying it.

What I see is someone who’s willing to take risks and put his reputation ‘on the line’ to try and do something special. This is a guy who’s willing to get a KZ kart and still mix it with the locals at his Kerpen kart circuit too.

Why there is this constant negativity I don’t know. We should rejoice that someone of Schumi’s vintage is willing to put himself out there.

The motivation of Schumi’s comeback is why he won so many titles in the first place. He constantly wants to test himself. This is the very DNA of champions. Despite being a tad too old he still wants to get out there. Had he not been like this, he may have won zero titles.

Get behind the old man for once people! 🙂


Couldnt agree more !… I have to say though that i’ve always been a Schumacher fan, so it’s a biased view.

My hopes this year is quite high for Merc, challenging for podiums consistently with the odd win or two; and then ‘mop-the-floor’ with everyone next year.

Of course, “total performance = engine + chassis + aero + tyres + driver + pre-race strategy + race strategy flexibility”

(care to add more variables James?.. U know heaps more than we do); and ALL factors to be successfully managed by the teams… so, where did it go wrong with Schumi?

With all things being equal, it looks like Schumi is being ‘wooped’ by Rosberg, but this is a valid point. I’m a Schumi fan first and foremost, but i’ve got to be an idiot not to recognize Rosberg’s talent.

I believe Rosberg’s made of the same ‘stuff’ as Schumi, and potential world champion material in the making, not unlike Vettel. Assuming he keeps developing at the same pace, he may be the one i’ll put my money on to help Merc win the championship next year.

So, the media should start giving Rosberg more air-time coz this is the 2nd year that he’s consistently got the upper-hand of Schumi; this deserves due credit and recognition.

James, have you got a piece lined-up featuring Rosberg in the pipeline?


Exactly, Well said mate.


I don’t get the doom and gloom all of a sudden. The inside curve camera view of the Petrov incident shows that Petrov had outbraked himself and although Schumacher shouldn’t have turned it I don’t think he expected Petrov to be flying straight on.

His actual race pace is fine. He was near Massa at the finish which I think is actually quite impressive given he had to replace the nose.

Any other driver wouldn’t attract anywhere near the criticism he got for yesterday. Some sites were calling it a “terrible” performance, but aside from one mistake on the second lap I actually though his pace was solid.


When I saw him and Petrov crash my imediate thought was that its a carbon copy of Jerez 97. Petrov had out breaked himself and was taking a wild lunge but Schumi turned in where he should have let him go.

Apart from that his race was alright I thought. As the commentators said his wheel to wheel scrapping has never been his forte (mainly due to never needing too) can you remember some decent combats where he pulled off great moves (i’ll prepare myself for an avelaunch of times ;). He has always been prone to hot headed moments, Jerez 97, Monaco 06, Hungary 10, Australia 94 etc etc.

I dont know what it is with him and Qualifying, quite a few times he has looked very good in practice and Q1 but has failed to deliver when it really matters. Is this just a few tenths he has lost, can he not handle the pressure, or are the others just plain better now.

I would say F1 is a bit more competative now than it was 10 years ago, especially the midfield. The top 10 is pretty well set in the absence of mistakes, reliability issues are virtually a thing of the past, which is where Schumi got quite a few of his wins from.

The lack of testing is really hurting him I think, as it is to anyone who is new to these cars. The thing that set Schumi apart before was the sheer effort he put in to every aspect of going faster, thats been taken away from him. Look at Luca Badoer in 2009, a few years back in the old grooved tyre cars he was just as fast if not faster than Schumi and Barrichello over a lap but throw him into these new cars with no testing and he floundered badly.

As someone who has never liked Schumi I find myself in the uncomfortable position of feeling sorry for him. I would love for him to win a race this year. Remember if he gets to 92 race wins that is the same as Senna & Prost combined, that would reconfirm him as an all time great.

I think it is tainting his legacy slightly, mainly due to the fact he went out on top the first time. If he retired after an uncompetitive 2005 I dont think it would have been so bad but only bad luck (for once) stopped him winning the title in 2006. He didnt retire the first time because he wasnt good enough anymore basically. He retired because Ferrari kicked him out basically but thats a different story.


Darren u question his Racecraft?! does anyone remember nurburgring 95, spa 1995, barcelona 96, spa 1996 and every race 1997 pre jerez?

On a side note, british media (commentary team/journos) can be a sad bunch, worst bit is when fans just parrot their drivel.


I do: Nurburgring ’95 – basically Alesi on slicks with the Ferrari was awesome but fell asleep during the last 10/15 laps, gifting the win to Schumacher. (With that win, and no mechanical issues @ Monza, Ferrari would have won 3 times in 95 – same as Schumacher in ’96…Hardly much difference really – the team just needed someone to manage Alesi effectively.

Spa 95 – well Schumacher barged Damon off the road when Damon was on the better tyres so he won but had to resort to wheel banging to do it – oh and wasn’t Schumacher running underweight that year +2 tenths at every race courtesy of a lead lined helmet at initial weigh in? – After 95 the FIA changed the driver weighting rules…. 🙂

Barcelona 96 – well the Williams drivers were pretty crap there (wasn’t that Villeneuve’s first ever wet race and Hill just lost it and spun) and the Ferrari was faster than the Benetton in qualie so no surprise it finished ahead.

97: a really good Ferrari if I recall, or you can believe the myth… 🙂


It’s like Lance Armstrong – dominant career, not without its controversies. Comes back because he misses it, doesn’t win anything but it’s a footnote in his story. Michael needs at least one really good result though to make it all stand up ie a podium


Given how competitive F1 is compared to 10 years ago, I actually admire Schumacher for coming back. He could have shyed away but decided to test himself against a new generation.

When all is said and done, if the comeback isn’t successful at least he knows he tried but that time has moved on.

The way I look at it, is that at 42 for him to still be regularly in the top 10 of what is considered the pinnacle of motorsport is mighty impressive.


Lance Armstrong did come in on the podium, a creditable third in his Tour de France comeback in 2009. That was quite an achievement after being out 4 years! Enhanced his legacy with the extra 2 years rather than harmed it. I think Schumacher and even his fans would be pleased with the equivalent.

I do not know if Schumacher has the same drive that Armstrong had with his determination to raise awareness about cancer (which he certainly did).


I would say Armstrong’s return was handled and faired much better than Schumi’s. Officially Lance justified his return as a way for raising funds for his foundation Livestrong. In this respect, his podium finish in 2009 after four years out of competitive cycling and beaten by kids one and a half a decade younger than him was definitely a success.Not to forget that he did this after a crash in March, only a couple of months before the Tour.

Besides, i would say driving a formula one car for a couple of hours over a weekend and having 14 days of rest in between each race is much easier than cycling over 3000kms continously for three weeks. Not to mention other races Lance participated in during the 2009 season.

I would not hold not winning anything against Lance – it was incredible enough that he got onto the TDF podium in 2009. Contrast that with Schumacher who is having problems making it into the top ten let alone the podium. That his team mate has consistently made it to the top ten tells you he has the machinery to do so.


Yes, spot on.

Barcelona will be interesting as MD surely have some good reference set-ups form testing.

Also, I think Monaco could be the place for Michael to get a result. He looked good there last year and the short wheel base and slow corner traction might suit the streets perfectly.


I feel the same. If you watch his pace in the races it is nearly always good or in line with others in the same car or on the same strategy.

There was nothing in the Petrov incident that shows him as being over the hill. If there is to be any takeaway from that incident then it’s that Petrov’s overtaking is a bit reckless.

When the tyres are ‘over the cliff’, MS has a tendency to defend his position far more aggressively than the other racers. His races then become a bit more memorable than the others and that draws attention and a certain amount of negativity.

I can’t help but feel that things will start to happen at MB soon. They are spluttering forwards but definitely heading in the right direction and once they have a better understanding of how to set the car-up I think MS will start to deliver. You just get the feeling one good result will be enough to put the swagger back in his step and he will be back in business.


I saw him involved in two incidents. The Petrov one they both made errors, the second one with the Force Indias he actually did nothing wrong and was three abrest on the straight from what I remember. I have no idea where these claims of desperate moves have come from.

It wasn’t anything like Singapore last year. He lost a wing at the start, got up to 12th and had a few decent wheel to wheel battles. If anything is of concern it is his qualifying pace. If he qualified well he would be finishing with Nico but his problem is qualifying badly meaning he has to take risks from the start.


Good post. Some “journalists” are quick to set fire to Schumacher but this is James Allen entry is one of the few reasonable, level headed articles written about Schumacher. And James Allen clearly knows Schumacher more than any journalist out there so I think this post holds much more to it than other dire pieces floating around the web.


It’s interesting. If you look at the results Michael and Nico both have one DNF, one 12th and two top tens. Nico has clearly won the qualifying battle but I don’t know how that justifies some writers calling Shumi “unsafe” or saying that he’s washed up and can’t cut it any more as an F1 driver.

Perhaps it has more to do with Schumacher’s personality. Slighting some journalists or refusing interviews back in the Ferrari days? The facts can be interpreted in many ways depending on how you look at it.


James, thank you for your level heading journalism. Perhaps you could refresh f1racing as editor in chief. They need you over there!



Andrew Woodruff

Race pace has generally been less of a problem on his comeback than quali pace though, and in qualifying this year he has been dreadful (albeit that he has been let down a couple of times by KERS and DRS). Whereas last season people were able to point to the understeery Bridgestones and poor chassis as reasons for his struggles, this season those issues have been largely removed.

I was desperate for his comeback to be a success, but I have to say that watching him at times in the race yesterday, he looked out of his depth with other cars in close proximity. You could almost picture drivers like Alguesuari, Petrov and Kobayashi muttering “get out of the way grandad” into their helmets, let alone the top aggressive drivers like Hamilton, Webber and Alonso. It must be embarrassing for him to be honest.

Unless things turn round significantly in the next half dozen races, I could see him calling time on himself before the end of the season. The odds on him being on the grid at the start of next season must be very small indeed.

I fully agree with James though, I don’t see these last two seasons as damaging the legacy of his first career at all. He had a crack at it, it didn’t worked out, end of story. As I posted a while ago on another thread, in my opinion the Schumacher of 1994-2002 would have taken any championship with any other driver from history down to the wire.


1992-1997 was the schumi underdog years (and my opinion the best), 1998-2004 pure greatness and 2005-present unfinished business. Michael if u’re out there listening, dont stop until you bag your 8th title. Whether watching Young schumi or slightly older schumi, its been an honour.


I think the problem was that every time he was in a battle with another car he seemed desperate. He either made a mistake, let cars past easily, or battled too hard and lost time. I think the Petrov incident is a good example. Although Petrov out braked himself Schumacher should have knew that was coming, slowed, and cut under him to retake the place. This is something a 7 time champion should have realised.

His race reminded me of (I think) Singapore last year where he drove like a rookie and made moves out of desperation rather than skill.

I don’t think Schumacher has lost his ability. I still think he will be able to get podiums and victories but he doesn’t seem to have the calm and common sense he used to.

Disclosure: I was and still and a huge Schumacher fan. I support Ferrari but will always be a fan of Schumacher.


I think this is a good point actually which wasn’t picked up on at any point by commentators. It was clearly visible that Petrov had lost the car and was sailing straight on. Although Schumacher probably should have anticipated this, I think had Petrov made the corner, there would have been enough room for him to complete the pass.

As an aside, admittedly I’m a Schumacher fan, I’m actually just enjoying watching him drive again. I have no expectations, I’m just pleased he chose to put on his helmet once more and compete.

Like him or loathe him, he brings excitement and debate!


Hi David

Both Brundle and Coulthard commented on that fact immediately during the race. Said that there was no way that Petrov was going to make the corner.


I think the Petrov incident is a bit more complicated: Petrov starts turning in, and Schumacher reacts to this. It is only then that Petrov loses front end grip. Schumi reacts to slowly or is just to close to avoid Petrov and they collide, pretty straight forward race incident.

For qualifying schumacher made a mistake in the first corner and cooked the tyres while trying to compensate in the remainder of the lap.

For me this shows that ‘skillwise’ he is still good enough to be in F1. It is just that he seems to make small mistakes everywhere, which end up costing him a lot.

However i must say i have enjoyed seeing schumacher racing the last season as well as this season: he is in lots of battles and still takes defending to the limit, as seen in his battle with Kobayashi.


Interesting comment. I actually was a Schumacher “hater” before his retirement. Then when he came back, I got quite excited. He’s kind of a bridge to another era – he was racing against Senna, Mansell, Prost, Hakkinen, etc.

I’ve now actually warmed to him to the point that when I went to Melbourne (my first ever GP I’ve attended in person), I felt privileged to be able to see him race. That was an opportunity I thought I’d never be able to say I’d had.

Now I just want to see him succeed. From my point of view, anything less than a win makes the comeback unsuccessful, and I’m desperate to see him get it. You can’t dispute that he is statistically the best ever.

I would love to see him get a win this time around so he can give all the knockers a big “up yours”.


The thing is Matt, Nico is beating him pretty much all of the time in quali and in races. Any other driver would fear for his seat in this circumstance. Schuey makes sense for Mercedes only so long as he can at least match his team mate. No one wants to see him trailing in outside the points. His past gives him a pass only so far in my opinion which is as it should be.

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