Poll: Did Michael Schumacher retire too soon?

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Istanbul, 2006Michael Schumacher has topped the testing times for a second consecutive day at the Circuit de Catalunya this week. On the face of it, the seven times champion has lost none of his speed.

Was he wrong to retire from F1 last year?

This poll is closed. Results were as follows:

Yes: 197 (61%)
No: 127 (39%

324 votes cast.

There has long been a suspicion that Michael Schumacher retired earlier than he wanted to because Luca di Montezemolo had signed Kimi Raikkonen. Could Schumacher have beaten Raikkonen if they had been team mates this year – and become champion for an eighth time?

Or, as I suggested in this article, had he seen the writing on the wall long before and picked the right moment to stop?

Could he follow in the footsteps of Niki Lauda, Alan Jones and Nigel Mansell by making a comeback? If so, who would he join?

I know it’s about as likely as me finding I have a talent for rugby, but I’d love to see him at McLaren alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2008.

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19 comments on Poll: Did Michael Schumacher retire too soon?

  1. I voted no, although this in no way reflects his ability to have continued, nor prejudices his return.

    However at the time he said that he did not have the motivation to continue and once a driver questions his own commitment he has to go. The nature of the sport dictates that.

    With Jean Todt shuffled away from the helm of Ferrari, I wonder how well Felipe Massa is sleeping at the moment? He certainly won’t want to make a habit of finishing adrift of his former team mate in tests.

  2. Oooh, this is a hard question!

    I think it depends… if you look at it from his point of view – probably ‘no’.
    If you look at it from the point of view of where he was dominating the sport too much for it to be interesting – then also ‘no.

    But, if like me, you get so excited by the thought of Schumacher showing FA, LH and KR what fighting for a championship and being the fastest really means that you nearly wet yourself, then yes, he did go too soon.

  3. Can you imagine the driver market, from Alonso’s position, if he suddenly announced his return to F1 right now?! The year so far would say it wouldn’t be impossible, but I doubt it.

    And if he did, he would probably want to drive for Ferrari again – but there’s so many factors involved in that happening and I don’t see any of those factors favourable in Schumi’s favour today.

    His career is remarkable, and he’s done just about all there is to be done in F1 – we may not ever see anyone achieve what he’s done in our lifetime in F1, and I have no doubt he could easily win 1 or 2 more championships had he continued. But there comes a point of when does it become worth it…and I agree that he saw it coming.

    Also, I see it much more worthwhile to call it a day when you’re still at the top, and not holding onto seats in a midfield/backmarker team. So when you do jump back in a car, even for testing, you make people talk – just like we are now :)

    Was he wrong to retire from F1? Definately not. Although I would’ve loved to have seen one more championship in the red car :D

  4. Journeyer said on 15th November 2007, 1:32

    Well put, Loki!

    As they say, it’s very hard to retire at the top, while everything is still going your way. Only a select few were able to do that – Fangio, Stewart, Prost, Schumacher.

  5. verasaki said on 15th November 2007, 3:10

    I voted no, I think he may have had some regrets about not doing ’07 but I didn’t pay much attention to the whispers that he was persuaded to leave. I just can’t see anyone but Michael influencing his own decision.

    I doubt anyone doubts he was capable of more. That really does put him into a class apart from the rest. It takes a strong personality to walk away at the right time, before you’ve lost your edge.

  6. verasaki said on 15th November 2007, 3:18

    Oops, and just for the record, I was always a Prost fan. If that car hadn’t been the class of the field that year, I don’t think he’d have won the championship. 1993 was not my favourite Prost year. Oddly, enough, it may have been my favourite Senna years. He fought like hell even for some of non podium finishes he made.

  7. I think he made the right decision to retire.

    On the other hand, after his performance in testing when he jumps into a car after a year break, and into a car without traction control after 7 years break and blows everybody away, after getting on Ducati bike and driving only 6 secs slower than Casey Stoner – of course people start talking … And Schumacher must be enjoying that … He is having fun, fans are happy, sponsors are happy, especially the one sponsoring both Ducati and Ferrari :-)

    Isn’t it much better feeling when people talk about M. Schumacher in terms what else could he do should he stayed on? Compare it with what talks surround his brother who still is (or was) active F1 pilot and stubbornly wants to stay no matter with what team ?

  8. Journeyer said on 15th November 2007, 6:01

    Well, you’re right, verasaki. But Prost was still 1993 champion. Too bad people like Senna and Clark never had the chance to leave at the top.

    milos, love your point on Ralf! Just goes to show how much better Michael is, I guess. Michael’s beating everyone for fun, while Ralf has to scrabble around for a race seat.

  9. Number 38 said on 15th November 2007, 6:01

    He didn’t retire volunteerily, we drove him out. we were sick and tired of one man winning so consistantly. And what did we get in return? Clearly the worst season ever even with a 110, 109, 109 finish. Some of the most boring racing ever ending with Massa’s humiliation handing over a win at his “home” GP to his teammate. He had too, it was the right thing to do, but is this really the F1 we want? I was never a schoomi fan but I was disappointed when he left, I voted YES!

  10. Yes! He retired too soon. Another season or two, to his credit would not have done him, or, his reputation any harm. Well, i guess, may be the press would be crying hoarse about how F1 is boring when Schumi wins. I agree with Number 38, when he says, we drove him out(ahem, am a Schumi fan and well was bloody sad when he retired).

    Retiring on top is fine, but i would like to disagree with a few of you and say, clearly, with the pace he displayed at Catalunya test, he is still the benchmark. What he achieved over a decade and half could not possibly be matched by any. Let’s accept it. Prost was good with his 51 race wins and 4 championships. Schumacher did one better, er, sorry, 3 championships better and many races more (about 40 odd).

    Returns after a year’s sabbatical to test a Ducati and he is only 5 seconds off the lap record(not 6 as someone said). In F1, without TC, he is the fastest. Let’s thank heavens(perhaps also him), for having the opportunity to have such a great driver in our times. We often wish that, “oh, it’d have been so much to have lived in the times…” We did! Thank you Schumi! For all your superlative drives, thank you!

  11. I would love to see him race in F1 again. When he was racing I never used to support him. I hated the fact that he won just too much. but now I miss him. 2007 just hasn’t been the same.

  12. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th November 2007, 10:59

    Number 38, I must protest. Yes, 2007 was not the best year but there have been worse championships – 2002 and 2004 were horrifically dull seasons. At least this year we had decent races at Nurburgring, Shanghai, Fuji and Interlagos.

    And it’s not as though F1 had never been boring before Schumacher came along – there were some pretty tedious lights-to-flag finishes in the ’70s!

  13. Hey Keith, you are forgetting Canada GP, a fantastic race, any race with Sato overtaking Alonso and Anothony Davidson hitting a groundhog/beaver mutant must be one of the highlights of the season!

  14. If he comes back, then no, he didn’t retire too early.

    By taking a year off he has created an unlimited number of options. The prospect of The Ham and The Shu on the same team competing with equal equipment would be amazing. That being said, should he go to McLaren and lose to Hamilton, it would badly tarnish his legendary status.

  15. Nick B said on 15th November 2007, 17:13

    I find it interesting that no one has linked him with a drive at Honda yet…considering Ross Brawn has just gone there.

    I voted no…its time to watch the new generation race for the championship…

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