Schumacher: “I’m still one of the best”
Mercedes
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Mar 2012   |  4:02 pm GMT  |  265 comments

On the eve of the new F1 season Michael Schumacher has said that he is still one of the sport’s top draws and expects to compete for podiums this season in the new Mercedes.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport the seven times world champion said, “I was out (of F1) for three years, I’m now 43 and I don’t know if I can compare myself to when I was 30. But I know I’m still one of the best in the world, that I’m motivated, that I enjoy myself and that most people are happy to have me still in F1.”

Bernie Ecclestone has endorsed that last point, speaking today in an interview on F1.com, the official F1 website, the 81 year old was asked whether he thought Schumacher would have a breakthrough this year, “If the car is fast enough, yes. I do hope that’s the case,” he said. “For him and all the Schumacher fans. He is still a big name and we all profit more from a successful Michael Schumacher than from a beaten one. Ask in the USA – he is still the biggest name there.”

Schumacher has played his part in patiently building Mercedes into a title winning outfit. As part of the Ferrari team with Ross Brawn which set the benchmark in the 2000s, the German knows what it takes to win in F1 and to beat the current benchmark, Red Bull. Schumacher and Brawn know how hard it is to keep a team at the very top and they know the signs that it’s beginning to slip. That will be Mercedes’ moment to strike and the timing looks positive for the Brackley team.

“We’ve set the basis for a future at the highest level,” Schumacher said. “But I doubt we will reach it this year.”

As to whether he sees himself in the cockpit as part of that future, Schumacher said, “Right now I’m focussed on the project, I don’t see the need to start discussions on the future.”

There is little doubt that the main candidate for Schumacher’s seat would be Lewis Hamilton, soon to be a free agent, should the 2008 champion wanted to look around for alternatives to McLaren, who have Jenson Button under contract for three more years.

Mercedes is definitely building nicely for a championship assault, with Ross Brawn and a highly experienced management team around him. A driver of Hamilton’s calibre would be the final piece of the jigsaw. Vettel is committed to Red Bull for a few more years and Alonso is locked in at Ferrari on a five year deal.

Likewise Hamilton wants to win more championships and needs a team that will put him at least on level pegging with Vettel, preferably give him a faster car, better pit-stops and all the other little details. McLaren looks like it has a quick car this year; he may feel he’s better off sticking with what he knows.

Whether – and how aggressively – Mercedes go after Hamilton this year, will show us how highly they rate Nico Rosberg. Ross Brawn and other management figures speak highly of him and he certainly has had a good advantage over Schumacher in qualifying. But last season Schumacher performed better in a number of races and it leads one to wonder whether Rosberg has that little bit extra. Equally, Mercedes and McLaren will be looking at how Hamilton attacks the F1 season. Last year, by his own admission he had his eye off the ball,
“Last year quite a lot of times I went out and enjoyed myself thinking that these things don’t affect you but in actual fact they do, they have a knock-on effect. It takes you two days to recover, you miss two days of training and your mind is somewhere else when you get to the race, ” he said.

That’s not what a top team wants for its £12 million + a year investment. Hamilton says he’s fully focussed on F1 again now. So is Schumacher.

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1

its so tight this year and really hard to win
only Alonso and Mark have win twice. Can you say rest are sh*t?

3

If all goes well for the new Silver-Arrow W03 2012 :

Five victories for Michael in 2012

+

4 victories for Michael in 2013 = 100

and (with Barrichello at 323 GPs)

307 GPs at end of 2012

327 GPs at end of 2013

then retirement (maybe cause new engine in 2014) migth see him on a few more GP to give input to to the team about new car, new engine, etc…

4

True Formula one is all about the marketing and contraversy and that’s why Schuey is good for the sport because he’s experienced and doesn’t let it get to him and still pulls a big draw card in fans watching and attending the sport.

I’m sure Bernie is laughing all the way to the bank.

5

Schumacher is one of Bernie F1 property for Marketing

There is always sometihing to talk about him either Schumacher perform well or poor, he always been in the topic to talk about.

Schumacher . . come back . . Big news

Schumacher . . poor performance . . on topic

Schumacher . . confidence about his performance . . on topic

Schumacher . . crash . . on topic

Schumacher . . continue or retire . . on topic

if Schumacher . . on podium . . big news for discussion

if Schumacher . . win some race . . very big big news

Bernie like it.

6

Michael Schumacher is an asset to the sport and I would love to see him be competative in the car this year mixing it with the front runners.

Just like many other sports the old champions we loved to watch race have now moved on and I think these younger drivers need mentors that are still around showing them you can still achieve positive results if you set your mind to it.

Some may argue that Shuey had a couple of Titles handed to him but at the end of the day he has showed that he never gives up and flys the flag for us older guys who remember the days of Senna,Prost,Mansell(il Leone),Berger,Alesi,Hill & Hakkinen who made each race exciting to watch.Shumacher was their during this time and gave us some amazing races.

These young guys are exceptional drivers who in time will be respected in the history books of F1 and will hopefully see that Schumacher was a fierce competitor even in his 40’s.

Let’s hope the Mercedes can deliver what Schuey needs to get on the podium.

Watch this space !!!!!!!!!!!!

ACE

7

The fact that Schumacher is 43 and still a better driver than half the field is enough to continue justifying his legendary status in my opinion!

I’ve always been a massive fan of his but happy to admit he is not at the level he was. I would even say he was in slight decline in the final years of his Ferrari days.

I’m expecting Rosberg to finish the season with a bigger points tally again, but hopefully Schu can contribute some podiums and provide us with some more exciting battles on track 🙂

8

yeah, that drive in Brazil ’06 where he was more than a second a lap faster than the entire field in dry conditions after Fisi took him out in was a clear indication of decline….

9

Hope the gap from Red Bull to McLaren and Mercedes is much smaller this year. it would be good to see Michael Schumacher

win again http://bit.ly/A59aUk

10

A 43 year old will never be the future for a team, no matter what he can pull out of the bag for 2012.

I think a Lewis/Nico combination would be exciting at Mercedes and I for one would welcome someone else at McLaren alongside Jenson to drive that team forward.

11

Never a great fan of Schumacher at Ferrari – largely because all of the unsporting tricks they used to get up to – I would still like to see Michael score a few victories for Mercedes before hanging up his helmet for good.

As for the Mercedes lineup in 2013, I can’t see Lewis moving from Woking but I wonder how long Kimi is locked into the Enstone squad – do you know, James ?

After all, Enstone to Brackley is only a 20 miles move…………

12

He’s contracted for 2 years if he finishes in the top eight. He’s a free agent in 2014.

13

As much as i like Kimi, Brawn/Mercedes and their teutonic way of working wont touch Kimi with a 20ft barge pole! For all Kimi’s speed, his ability to communicate and lead a team is as good as my refrigerator being an ideal saturday night date. Kimster will be around Lotus for a couple of years, then probably knock on Williams door and then call it a day for good. If Lotus is as good as it is in tests, i expect him to get a few podiums this season, nothing more.

14

I like Kimi and yes, his ability to communicate could do with some improvement.

A speech tharapist would do Kimi wonders. Serious. I don’t think he has much control over his diaphram and vocal chords, making his speech inconsistent and difficult to understand – often resulting phrases end in low pitch croaks. This occurs when he speak Finnish or English. He gets away with it in the pressies, but the Top Gear performance, it was quite pronounced.

15

I understood him fine & I’m just a ‘slow’ Aussie???? Poor bloke, he speaks better than alot of people I know thats for sure!

16

He fell of his bike as a kid and hurt himself that’s why he can’t talk properly. Most people don’t know this.

17

Knock on Williams door?? strange view! i very much doubt there would be anything close to being a need or view for him to do that other than for that previously spoke of big take over! Likely future of Kimi (if in F1) i would say is cemented to Lotus or yes poss Mercedes maybe Force India and even Redbull depending on his performances from here on.

18

On a side note, Hamilton really needs to learn how to keep certain things to himself! Why tell you employer,who by the way is paying you a whooping 18m $/yr that you were “enjoying and knocked yourself out” so couldn’t concentrate on your work ? Sheesh!

19

It can be argued that there are people hired just to find something wrong in anything Lewis says, does or looks like – a crack team of detectives is about to figure out who pays them 😉

20
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

McLaren would not be paying Hamilton $18 million a year if he was not bringing in at least that amount of sponsorship and prize money.

Hamilton’s high profile is a big draw for sponsors.

If McLaren were to lose Hamilton they would be challenged to raise the same amount of revenue going forward.

So it works both ways.

21

Love all the comments on here..I for one was not a big of Schumi until he secretly donated $10 miilion to Bali fund some years ago…respect his due!

Thank you all.

22

LMAO, that secret that we all know about it!!!

23

@hero_was_senna

But Schuamcher intended to give the money in private. He didn’t actually want to make it public just to boost his image.

24

So what if we all know about it?
Schumacher is a great guy and does a lot of good off the track? It is something we should aspire to not make fun of.
[mod]

25

Didn’t mean to sound frivolous but I have always been of the opinion that charity is something you give of, not make a public statement of.

There are countless wealthy people who give money to charitable causes, but I’m somewhat cynical of the ones who make public what they have done.

For eg, he got involved with road safety campaigns because the FIA deemed him guilty for driving into Villeneuve in 1997, and this was his punishment, not because he was giving something back.

When someone like Damon Hill makes public his support of the Downs Syndrome charity, it’s because his son has the condition and he raises awareness.

26

I read a interview with two times F1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi and he had stated that to win a F1 race is very complex because of the variations involved. Man, Schumacher won 7 World Championships. The Schumacher is alive legend. Who does not agree with that?

27

A true legend on and off the track.

Seeing him back in F1 is fantastic for the sport and I can’t wait to see him in Melbourne next week! Vamos!

28

Never liked him in his ‘1st career’, but I have warmed to the more mellow Schumacher that has returned.

Part of me would like him to win one more race as it would be a great story for F1. I was actually cheering for him in Canada last year.

Reality is though he has no where near the same level of speed as he used to have.

29

Haug and Mercedes CEO, Zetsche, have repeatedly said that if Schumi wanted to extend his contract, all he had to do is SIGN on the dotted line any time he liked

you have to assume that Schumi has NOT done so simply because he wants to see how well he performs compared to Rosberg; if the highly rated youngster makes Schumi look downright POOR, pride may get the better of “grand-dad”

as long as Schumi can compete with Rosberg, he will probably remain in F1 for YEARS to come

———

I wonder though whether James is a tad too kind to Hamilton and his chances of snatching the Mercedes cockpit, should Schumi decide to punch out at the end of the season

Mercedes may be based in England, but they are a German team, and decisions are taken in Stuttgart; and the way Hamilton is perceived in England is rather different to his image in Germany; these days , Lewis mostly draws attention to himself with his endless clashes with Massa, his reckless driving (throwing away points left, right and center for no reason) as well as his off-the-track distractions; he was beaten fair and square by his team-mate now as well, making it a bit difficult to say “all McLaren need to do is give me the right car and I will win the title”; in England, these on and off antics are often seen as “adding excitement”, in other countries, people just get bored with him; on German TV, Lauda was still RAVING about Hamilton two years ago, even when Vettel ended winning the title, it was ALL about the genius of Hamilton; last season it was ALL about Vettel and Lauda just dropped the Lewis-love-fest completely

A LOT will now depend on whether Lewis can beat Button. Chances are, the new tyres favour Button, and let’s face it, getting back together with his Pussy Cat and moving to Monaco now, since Geneva was “too boring” will not help Hamilton focus on beating Button

IF Button edges it yet AGAIN though, in the same car, WHY on earth would Mercedes want to sign Hamilton ??????

let’s face it, he would NOT see himself as a driver supporting Rosberg

a more likely scenario would be this

a) Schumi can still compete with Rosberg and extends his contract

b) Schumi cannot compete with Rosberg, leaves F1, and Hülkenberg (after a strong season) joins Mercedes, otherwise, Kimi gets signed (as long as he impresses this season)

c) Schumi leaves, and Mercedes buy VETTEL out of his contract (assuming that the Silver Arrows look like the cars to beat NEXT season): note: the Red Bull owner Mateschitz has already said that they would NOT insist on Vettel staying with them, if they could no longer provide the lad with a winning car; they know they OWE him. And Vettel has repeatedly raved about the MYTH of the SILVER ARROWS

30

Are you trying to suggest that teams have just been waiting for Hamilton to be beaten by a teammate so that they cannot hire him? I believe Mercedes would also consider how many team mates Lewis had beaten before JB to make a call on whether overall he is as lousy a driver as you imply. Stuttgart let JB go as a WDC so there something they know about JB that we don’t. He may not be the unit against which performance is measured at Mercedes. If Stuttgart holds Alonso in high regard, 2007 may play very big role in their hiring decision. Let’s not forget – teams do not hire based on the same emotional profiles of the fans.

31
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Agree with your assessment of of Hamilton maybe being not German enough or blonde enough for the Mercedes home fanbase.

32

Only just noticed this comment Mike pmsl but i get what you mean exactly! and that’s the primary reason he is doomed for the other top 3 or 4 teams too, but for his questionable off track antics and with another title under his belt who knows. But even if he did win another title now i reckon he would still be overlooked by the other desirable teams.

33

If a driver is good, nationality and haircolour are meaningless. Remember their stars in the 50ies were Argentinian and British, none of them German and none of them blonde.

34

Zurich actually, even more boring than Geneva!

35

Red Bull owner Mateschitz has already said that they would NOT insist on Vettel staying with them

Why would he? Much like Williams in the 90’s and Ferrari before the old man died, it’s the car that’s important, not the driver. So Vettel leaves, do you honestly believe Red Bull wouldn’t be able to get two drivers to carry on winning??

And what exactly do they OWE him?

36

I believe Mateschitz knows that Vettel will leave the team sooner or later to take Alonso’s seat in 2017 or perhaps to take over from Michael in 2015 already. Who knows how many titles he will have won by then and being still young his retainer might be astronomically high so that only Ferrari and Mercedes can afford having him on their payroll. That’s why RBR are eager to find a replacement for him (Ricciardo or Vergne) since Buemi/Alguersuari were not deemed fast enough. And Webber isn’t young anymore so he is not the future of RBR.

37

He has to beat a non Champ like Rosberg much more than he has before I can put him up there with Vettel, Hamilton, etc

He also, almost always is slower in qualy than Nico which in Schumi’s day was his strength

38

Take out silly crashes (petrov X 3) & mechanical retirements & he DID beat him last year

39

There’s no doubt that Schumacher has been one of the all time greats, and he still has the potential to be near the front given a good car, but I doubt he will win a GP because the competition is simply too fierce, and the bar very high. One thing I don’t like about him is that some of his tactics are unfair and unsporting such as the blocking manoeurve he pulled on Hamilton was against the rules and the stunt he pulled on Barrichello was downright dangerous. All drivers will need to be careful about blocking, and the one move rule when defending a position.

40

Obvioulsy not a Senna fan. By the way, watching Senna trash Jackie Stewart in his bio film was priceless!

41

On the contrary I think Senna was again one of the all time greats, possible even the greatest, but such comparisons are pointless because circumstances are too varied. The thing is that the sport was far more dangerous then and that sort of thing was to a degree acceptable. Today however the FIA has tightened up the rules to make the sport safer, and to be fair that’s how it should be. That did not stop Button putting Hamilton in the wall though, and I appreciate it can be difficult with two egos competing, but I think he knew perfectly well that Hamilton was there.

42

I wasn’t a Schumacher fan for many years, but his drive at Monza last year was the best entertainment in F1 for ages! The fact it was against Hamilton was the icing on the cake!

I kept on replaying those laps and still grin watching them!!

I really hope Michael wins races this year and shakes things up – all we need after that is Kimi winning in Spa!!

43

I enjoyed that immensely as well. I was speechless when the FIA made Ross Brawn tell MS to move over so Lewis could go through.. MS was tough but fair. It took Button about half a lap to pass MS and Hamilton needed help from the steward to do the same.

I’m not implying the Button was/is better than Hamilton. Hamilton tyres were probably near the “cliff” but thats racing so he should have had to deal with it by himself.

44

We know and you know what you are implying

45

What I’m implying is that we saw a great battle between Button/Hamilton/Schumacher and that its a shame that the race steward got involded. I’m also implying that both Button AND Hamilton are great drivers and the reason Hamilton was unable to overtake Schumacher was because his tires were worn out.

46

How sad that the FIA had to step in again and write rules regarding the one move defence because of Schumi/ Hamilton.

There are days when I wonder what Enzo Ferrari would have said about how Ferrari has become.

But increasingly, I wonder what would Senna have said about the PC rules that govern F1 driving to the absurd level it’s reached now.

47

What are PC rules?

48

I believe Horner has jumped in a pool naked? Definitely not politically correct by many stands.

49

How exactly have Red Bull forgotten how to be human? I would say the way they conduct themselves (e.g. loud music in the garage, the Monaco pool celebrations, Seb’s title celebrations at Suzuka) shows that they are comfortable with who they are and are happy to show their fun-loving side.

They may be good at the corporate side aswell, but the access they give to fans puts some of the other teams to shame.

50

Politically Correct.

For example, I grew up in an era where F1 drivers were truly hard men, not kids. Blue flags were waved by marshalls but if a driver ignored them, they weren’t punished.

Senna’s fearsome reputation passing back markers won him many races.

They had racing incidents in the 80’s, and they just got on with it.

Circuits weren’t anodyne Tilke snorefests.

Drivers were allowed to have opinions. Nowadays they speak like mini adverts!

Even MotoGP is going that way. TV rules it seems.

It’s not just F! or motorsport, it exists in every form of sport. No-one is allowed to say or do anything, in case Mr sponsor doesn’t like it.

On another level, do you remember when DC left Mclaren?

He moved to Red Bull and immediately sported a beard. Problem is Red Bull have forgotten how to be human, they have developed into this corporate machine

51

His past contribution to the sport is impressive and cannot be denied and I for one do not begrudge him a seat on the grid. However his days of winning the WDC are over, despite his considerable talents and experience he can no longer realistically measure himself against the likes of Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso and Button.

Despite this I do wish him all the best this season (his final?) and would certainly love him to score a podium or two along the way.

52

Schumacher – Raced for the majority of his career in the sports dominant car, and did very well, all credit to him.

Button – Has raced for perhaps half a season in the sports dominant car and guess what he did very well too.

Here in lies the rub, when Schumacher is not in the sports dominant car, what does he achieve?

If Schumacher& Button had been team mates in 2005, perhaps your opinion would be different but we have never seen them in comparable F1 cars so I guess we will never know (ROC is not F1 i’m afraid). However I suspect that if Jenson was to swap with Nico today, you would see him head and shoulders above Michael (see what I did there!!) Simply put Jenson is at his peak and Michael is past his.

P.S I spent my hard earned money this year on tickets to real F1 events (Silverstone & Spa) instead of stadium side shows!

53

Spend some dosh and go to the ROC. Button has never beaten Schuey. You seem to forget that Button has been around since 2000. Schuey has crushed Button so many times that it says Welcome on his forehead. Frankly, button has never been anything in any other car but the Mclaren and triple decked diffused Brawn…Dude, get your facts straight. I watched Schuey go past Button in Imola 2005 through a chicane like he was driving a Yugo. Good things the folks in Woking are sniffing glue cause Button would be out of the sport were he not driving one of their cars. This is the man has driven for Williams, Mclaren, Renault, Honda, and Brawn. You add up his victories outside of Brawn and Mclaren and that total is 1!!!!!!

54

I think time away from F1, changes to the cars and tyres in that time and restricted testing have impacted Schumacher’s ability. Plus he is now older so must have slightly slower reactions and is probably less focused than before (but still obviously very focused) as he has had an appreciation of life outside of F1.

I think Schumacher’s biggest talents are his intelligence and his ability to build (and lead) a team.

With regards to Hamilton going to Mercedes, I wonder what would happen if Schumacher became his mentor? Remember how Massa was the crash kid before he moved to Ferrari and Schumacher took him under his wing?

55
TheGreatCornholio

I would absolutely love to see MS pick up a win this year and that comes from a man who stopped watching F1 during the Schumacher/Ferrari years due to the predictability of results!

56

A drive like this does not lose his touch so easily!!! Schumacher is one of the best of all time!!!! Period. He has the potential, if given the car, to win a grand prix still! And if you have the potential to win a grand prix often you can win a championship!!! Go schumi!! A lot of people still believe in you despite your move from Ferrari!!

57
Craig in Manila

Is it just me or are Lewis Hamilton’s comments starting to become funnier and funnier albeit in a sad/embarassing kinda way ?

58
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

It’s probably just you.

59

Yup, probably. 🙂

I just wouldn’t want one of my staff to be saying such things regarding their own performances ! Just me again probably.

Flight leaves in 6 hours so best I get organised or I’ll be watching it on TV instead of trackside. Cheers,

60

Lewis is not your staff?

61

I believe that if Mercedes wins a race this year, it will be Michael taking the winners trophy home, not Nico.

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