Sorry Ferrari, Michael Schumacher is still the main event in Formula 1

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Alonso fans packed the grandstands at Valencia
Alonso fans packed the grandstands at Valencia

Over 36,000 F1 fans packed the grandstands in Valencia to see Fernando Alonso make his first appearance for Ferrari on Wednesday.

Ferrari hailed the reception as a sign that Alonso, not Michael Schumacher, is Formula 1’s biggest star draw:

It has to be said that the Ricardo Tormo circuit was hosting seven new cars making their debuts and at some point or other, no less than four world champions were in action. Added to that was the return of Michael Schumacher, but the main attraction was undoubtedly, Fernando Alonso’s first official appearance in red.
Ferrari statement

Let’s not confuse Alonso’s staggering popularity in Spain with the worldwide pull of the Schumacher brand.

The number of searches for each driver recorded by Google paint an interesting portrait of the popularity of the two stars.

Don’t be put off by the fact that Alonso attracted more searches in total from 2004-2009 – remember first that Schumacher has had three years out of action:

Searches for Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher (click to enlarge)
Searches for Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher (click to enlarge)

A closer look at the figures reveals the picture is distorted by the mania for Alonso in Spain – where there are so many searches for his name they outnumber those for ‘Michael Schumacher’ by a factor of 1:0, according to Google.

Looking at the same figure for other countries shows interest in Schumacher spreads far wider, and not just in Germany where they outnumber searches for Alonso by 34:1.

Here in the UK – hardly the world capital for Schumacher devotion – he’s up 2:1.

Those important North American markets? Schumacher’s up 1:0 in Canada and 6.5:1 in the United States.

It’s when we look at the new countries F1 has begun racing in recently, and will race in soon, that we see the true evidence of Schumacher’s popularity. In Malaysia and India searches for ‘Michael Schumacher‘ outstrip those for ‘Fernando Alonso’ by 1:0.

Perhaps most depressingly for Ferrari, there are four searches for ‘Michael Schumacher’ in Italy for every search for “Fernando Alonso”.

It would be wrong to write off Alonso’s popularity as a mile deep and an inch wide – he fares well against Schumacher in Brazil and France for example. But he hasn’t captured the attention of fans beyond his home country in the way Schumacher has. A prolonged period of success in a top team may well be enough to change that.

Do I detect the bitterness of the jilted lover in Ferrari’s attitude towards Schumacher since his defection to Mercedes? That SLS advert can’t have helped matters.

If they’re looking for the next F1 driver who can command the same levels of worldwide interest Schumacher can, I think they might have backed the wrong horse. Lewis Hamilton is catching them up quickly after just three years in the sport.

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140 comments on “Sorry Ferrari, Michael Schumacher is still the main event in Formula 1”

  1. Curious stats, Keith.
    They reflect the inner struggle I also felt. I’m a Ferrari fan, and supported Schumi and later on Raikkonen.
    The next year I will support Schumi…but it is hard to see Ferrari as a competitor…
    And I agree with you Hamilton has a great appeal, too.

    Interesting year, indeed.

    1. Back Schumi for drivers but Ferrari for WCC. Best of both worlds :)

      1. I’m going to get crazy: “Overtake him, overtake him…no, no I was wrong, stay behind, stay behind!” :-D

    2. I’m with you there….
      I’ll support Schumacher first, but I won’t go as far as supporting Mercedes as a team. They’ve been racing against Schumacher for years and it is basically impossible to support them as a long-time Schumacher fan.

      1. hmm, tough dilemma for me too… Yeah I’m prob with Schuey, but not the team. But it’s hard to support Ferrari with teflonso on board…

  2. I think that is right. Schumi’;s return obviously increases the hype and the gap means Alonso had the spotlight but generally Schumi would win probably over anyone. His stats show him as the greatest racer ever, he’s a love/hate character and Spain is obsessed with Alonso.
    Speaking in general and simplistic terms and only about casual fans I don’t know what to think about Britain-Schumi’s racing for an all German side vs the all-Brit side which could bring interest albeit negative one. Alonso has always had a bad rep here since 07 which either means he’s ignored by Lewis fans or gets interest for the wrong reasons but the Singapore scandal breaking last year would have bumped up interest so I think for the last few years it all depends on circumstance. Had Schumi not retired I think you’re spot no that Schumi would win this internet popularity contest.

    1. Yup, Michael is part of the F1 Olympian Gods and Fernando is far from this position.

      On the other hand, Michael made possible Ferrari returns back to being a winning team after more than 20 years of almost nothing in F1. How can any truly Ferrari supporter forgot that? In fact I read some (serious) Italian blogs and they are with their heart divided:

      They love Ferrari, but at the same time they love the man who make possible the most successful time for Ferrari, and now Michael has become a rival for them.

      I Think this will be the most challenging issue for Ferrari PR.

      That said, I cannot find any reason for saying “Spain is obsessed with Alonso”.

      At the end the first practice session was in Spain and there have been 3 Spanish drivers on the track. And don’t forget that for Spain Fernando Alonso is an exception for a country with no big tradition in F1.

      But on the other hand, Spain has a lot of tradition and a big fan base in other motor sport categories as Rallies and Motorbikes. (Many of them in Valencia) So much of those fans, has a long tradition following other motor racing categories. They are not “trolls” knowing nothing about motor sports.

      I think every F1 fan would find that as positive issue irrespective of wether country or nationality is involved.

      Long answer for a small point… sorry for that!

      1. Don’t worry I likle long answers.
        To clarify, I just meant it’s natural that Alonso gets the majority of his support from Spain (like Hamilton Britain and Massa Brazil or how Brit has Murray fever right now) which is brilliant in some ways as it brings in Spain who as you point out, had little interests in F1 before. Whereas, Schumi is an international star because of his stats and what he achieved with Ferrari.
        The mainn reason why Schumi will always be the biggest name in F1 is because of his results. I was just looking at also home support etc.
        I never once said mentioned trolls as I don’t even consider them fans of the sport if they are willing to be disrespectful which harms the sport and sites like these more than anhything.

  3. I’m not sure it’s fair to say that the UK is “hardly the world capital for Schumacher devotion” – I think especially since he retired people here in the UK have warmed to him a lot. Maybe it’s an element of rose-tinted specs, remembering the great drives but not the dirty tactics. He got a very warm reception on Top Gear when he was “revelaed” as the Stig, didn’t he? Also many of my British friends who are casual F1 fans are genuinely excited about his return. Its got them talking. They seem to be more excited about this than the whole Button & Hamilton at McLaren thing, surprisingly.

    Of course Germany and Italy probably outrank us but I think the UK is well up there on the Schumi devotion league.

    1. I used to despise Schumacher, but since he retired I had time to appreciate how good he really is (with the help of James Allen’s excellent book) and now this year I hope he can do well.

    2. I think what he did to Damon in ’94 really destroyed his image in the UK (not that he didn’t have plenty of dubious incidents after that), but being 16 years ago a lot of people will have forgiven/forgotten/never known about it. My dad is still pretty bitter, but even though I know what he did and I’ve seen the incident enough times, it doesn’t have the same emotional link for me.

      I got into F1 in the mid-late 90s, so I’m quite used to the thought that if Michael gets in front the race is over, he made something of a joke of the sport in the early 00s.

      As far as I’m concerned Schumi has a clean slate, if he uses this brief return to try and clear his name then good for him, if he uses it to create more controversy then that will be fun too ;).

  4. Not so sure about Hamilton and significant worldwide popularity. The problem is English sports people are rarely popular outside England for whatever reason. Not at all saying they are not as successful though. I genuinely believe it is hard for an English sportsperson to have the same international appeal that Schumi had in F1, Federer in tennis, Rossi in motoGP, Woods in Golf etc…. Other Europeans are pretty patriotic and unlikely to support an English driver, nor are the ‘Colonies’ of US, Canada and Australia. Just my thoughts and ramblings. I do like Hamilton though and I’m an Aussie, so maybe I’ve proved my own point wrong !

    1. I think Hamilton is a lot more popular abroad amongst F1 fans, in the US and Germany for instance, than in the UK. Most F1 fans in Britain were over exposed to Hamilton during 2007 and took a dislike to him, where as this wasnt the case for many foreign fans. Obviously Lewis isn’t very popular in Spain and other Latin countries, but I think a quite large global following.

      1. Obviously isnt !

      2. Sorry,Hamilton is not popular in Japan at all.
        Raikonen is the most popular (I am not a fan of Raikonen though)in Japan.
        And there are lot of people who hate Button due to the Button-gate(Sato was suffed and lost his seat and Honda was made fool of by Button)

        I think not only in Japan, Raikonen is more populre than any other drivers in many countris.

    2. Speaking as a former colonist (US citizen), I’m more inclined to favor British sports figures/teams than others from Europe. I think it is probably from learning about WWII and the common (mostly) language.

      Three cheers for xenophobia!

      1. I’m with you Pete, I’m from the US and support Mclaren as my team, and alway cheered for the English drivers (Moss, Mansel, Hill, Ham, Button, just too name a few) I know they didn’t all race for Mclaren. I will always cheer for the Brits, until the US can field a viable driver!!

    3. As I am from the UK I dont really know how British sports people, teams & events are viewed in other countries.

      For example if a foreign sportsperson is interviewed while competing in the UK and says that the event in question is one they have always wanted to win, I usually think they will say that to the local media in every country.

      But I think the reason there may not be many British global sports stars is because there arent many you could class in the same bracket as Roger Federer or Tiger Woods in recent years.

      I suppose the biggest British sports person globally at the moment will be David Beckham.

      I think Hamilton could achieve significant worldwide popularity but I doubt he will become as popular as Schumacher because I dont think he will match Schumachers achievements in the sport and also I think some of Schumachers popularity is due to winning most of his titles with Ferrari who are the biggest name in F1 overall.

      1. I am Dutch. i think they should forbid sportsmen to be interview anyway. No matter where they come from. Look at all the depth interview at the car launches, being confident, high hopes, challenges, not sure of anything. Why would the new teams have the goal to become the best new team. Aiming to be 9th in a field of 13 is the best way to attract sponsors?
        Let’s leave the sportsmen alone until they have done their thing and then we discuss things here among ourselves.

    4. one of the reasons for the “animosity” against english sports people surely is a not-so-subtle arrogance of the english press combined with the “misfortune” that most people are able to understand it due to the dominance of the english language. that is not the fault of the englishmen nor the athletes. but it doesn’t help.

      “player by player we are better than the germans”. i could vomit whenever i read that. please, just show it on the field during a tournament sometime. not even in our tabloids you would read those cock-and-bull stories.

      “lewis is the greatest racer since ben hur”. sure he is good. he is damn good. but history shows the greatest drivers, not reading the tea leaves. let him win some WDCs and then we’ll see.

      and finally all the would-could-should. that drives me crazy. if it wasn’t for the penalties. if it wasn’t for alonso. if it wasn’t for (insert excuse here). just win it. there is no “if” in winning.

      it’s the attitude of the press that makes it almost impossible to cheer for english athletes. although i know a lot of people who really like jenson button.

      1. I agree. I grew to loathe Tim Henman over the years because the media circus surrounding him was so over-the-top. He was never more than an average player but the way the British press went on about him was unbearable.

        One of my favourite sporting moments of all time came when Henman won a tournament in Tashkent. Some twerp from the BBC (or somewhere) asked John McEnroe to comment, along the lines of, “Isn’t it wonderful Tim’s won something?” McEnroe’s response: “Where in the hell is Tashkent?” Priceless.

        (Tashkent, for those who don’t know, is the capital of Uzbekistan).

        1. Ahhhh come on! Tiger Tim! Henman Hill! “COME ON TIM!”

          lol thank god it’s all over now.

      2. Not just the English media (though they are very bad examples), but media in general. People are whipped up to love certain drivers and hate others, particularly if nationality comes into play. It happens in most sport and there’s an alarming lack of respect for sportsmen (and sometimes sportswomen, though it seems to be less common) as athletes and achievers and a lot of disrespect for trivial things such as simply competing for a rival team or against a personal favourite.

        When Hakkinen was racing, I always put him down because he was Schumacher’s rival. Now I look back and regret that I could never appreciate his driving when I was watching it live.

    5. One word: Beckham? Other English footballers too clearly have global appeal, past and present. English tennis players simply aren’t good enough!

      From what I can pick up in Brazil, I’d say Mansell is respected (not overly talented but brilliantly fearless/reckless), Hunt admired (mostly for his lifestyle) but Hill and Button judged nor more than competent and very lucky with their cars. Hamilton is divisive, in big part, of course, because of the way he arrived in 2007. Clearly he’s talented, but seen by many to be flawed. In Brazil he’s inevitably judged by his own adulation of Senna (which works for and against him) and the fact he competed against Massa for the WDC in 2008. I’d say if he impresses this year and next, maybe winning another title, he’ll become a global icon of the sport for sure.

      1. What about Clark, G.Hill and Stewart? Obviously these are historical figures but particularly Clark these guys where giants.

        I know there revered in England but how are they veiwed outside of the country?

        1. England is outside of Stewart’s home country.

          1. An yet as I live in england that is how I know the english revere him.

            Clark is scottish too apparently.

          2. lol

            I always forget that Clarke was Scottish…

            Well they’re all British that’s the important thing ;)

        2. Clark was sublime: simply the best of the best and, like Senna for Brazil, a massive loss for British motor racing.

      2. Good point about Beckham. I didn’t really think of him as Football isn’t obviously that big in Australia, but yes he seems to have global appeal. I do believe as someone said above that the English media talk up English Sports people a lot, which may be taken overseas to be arrogant, even if the Sportsperson is not arrogant at all. On the flip side the English media seem to turn on its sportspeople very fast too when they slip up!

  5. The most interesting graph to see is the announcement by Ferrari that Schumacher could return.
    There you see an obvious peak, whilst his confirmed comeback by Mercedes drew a lot less interest.
    I never get the, for example, 6 to 1 odd/bet. Whats the deal with that? Here in Holland we dont use these odds too much, so could anyone explain me in noob language what these comparisons mean?
    If I get it correctly, in England virtually no one is interested, and in America Schumacher hitted the sky with many hits on Google.

    By the way, are these fixed numbers? Or percentages by inhabitants per country? Because that could be of an obvious influence as well. In America are much more motorsports fanatics in comparisson to England. But therefor America has 5 times more inhabitants compared to England.

    1. There you see an obvious peak, whilst his confirmed comeback by Mercedes drew a lot less interest.

      True but consider the timings – the Ferrari announcement was in the middle of the F1 season – the Mercedes announcement was two days before Christmas.

      Also I would say the Ferrari announcement had more impact because up until then the possibility of a Schumacher comeback had never been seriously entertained.

      1. Keith, I think what Beri is trying to say is that “Ferrari + Schumacher” is bigger than anything else in Formula 1.

        And this is backed up by stats: The peak of Schumi’s planned comeback (B) probably beats the combined peaks of Schumi’s comeback with Mercedez (F) and Ferrari signing Alonso (E).

        Its curious to see the following results though.

        1. No peaks for Schumacher during 2004.
        2. A huge peak for Alonso in 2005
        3. Matched only by Hamilton in 2008, and no peak of Schumi measures upto these 2.
        4. And how easily, Schumacher outstrips Alonso in 2006.

        1. E is for Singapore gate!! ugh!!

          1. L is for Labour, L is for Lice.

    2. m/n is the ratio of your winnings. For every “n” you put in, you get “m” out + the original “n” you put in.


      6/1, you put in 1 you get 7 back (1*6 + 1)

      2/5, you put in 1 you get 1.40 back (1*0.4 + 1)

      Hope this helps :-)

  6. Mouse_Nightshirt
    5th February 2010, 10:07

    I don’t think Ferrari were lying when they said Fernando Alonso was the biggest draw for that test – it was in Spain.

    However, take the test outside Spain, and as you rightly point out, it’s a completely different picture.

    I think in effect you’re both right ;)

  7. You have a point Keith. Many folks here in SA supported Ferrari simply because of MS. Many those fans (many of whom were “fair weather sports fans who tend to support whoever wins in whatever sport e.g Rossi, Manchester United etc) stopped watching F1 because “it’s not the same without Schumi.” Now he is back, they are excited again.

    Does Fernando Alonso on his own have the same pulling power as Michael Schumacher? I doubt it. But Fernando Alonso in a Ferrari which is capable of winning world championships might…

  8. What does google search have to do with the Valencia test? Obviously Fernando was the main attraction there not Michael.That Ferrari statement refers only to that Valencia test. But in general yes, Schumacher is the main attraction. So Ferrari was right “the main attraction was undoubtedly, Fernando Alonsos first official appearance in red.”

  9. Hardly a supprise that a 7 times WDC has more hits than a driver with 5 titles less and 10 years less driving in F1. Italian fans and Ferrari fans around the world waited to long for a title and when MSC won the first title for them his name was made with the fans that support the most famous team. If Alonso drives for the team for several years and delivers the same will happen. With ferrari it is all about the team not the driver. As they say in the UK the king is dead, long live the king.
    @Dingle Dell I suggest you go and buy the bumper book of F1 facts with pictures and parts that you can colour in before making posts like that.

    1. You’re forgetting the big picture mate. For the past 3 years, we have had incredible championships – 3 different winners and yet Formula1 was losing its appeal. No one cares about a good driver. We all want to see a RACER! Thats where Schumacher outsmarted everyone. He used to drive with a loose rear making him look an even more super-duper racer and not to forget he had so many on-track incidents that watching him race made it all the more fun. Lewis is getting there, but unless he leaves Mclaren and shows his mettle in an inferior car, no one’s gonna take him seriously.

  10. The main attraction in Valencia and the number of searches for each driver recorded by Google are two seperate things. You shouldn’t post these kind of craps only because you don’t like Ferrari…

  11. Bernie’s probably worn away his hands from rubbing them with glee for the last month.

  12. Hi Keith,

    Thank you for the web and congratulations.

    I think Ferrari statement is only related to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo testings last day and indeed the main attraction was Alonso which is absolutely normal as it is been taken place in Spain.

    Best regards

  13. Interesting that on the FOTA poll of which team you’ll be following I choose Ferrari. On the question of the driver I chose Shumi…I really wanted to pull for Fred but I just couldn’t…I just love that nefarious German :)

  14. Well, one thing i can say for sure, next week ill be in Spain to see Ferrari and Alonso on the wheel, not Shumacher!
    In Spain Shumacher does not exist, only Alonso, anyone who thinks the opposite should go to a race or a test and check it by himself.
    I was a Shumacher fan for many years, but as i said a douzen times before i think his time have passed and its time for the new drivers to prove themselves.
    Ferrari does not need Shumacher,but Shumacher admited he missed Ferrari.

  15. Penelope Pitstop
    5th February 2010, 10:59

    We don’t even know if Campos will make it to the grid. Their situation is looking far more unstable than that of USF1, and yet USF1 is on the receiving end of the most criticism of the new teams. I think a lot of fans have been giving Campos a free pass simply because they have Bruno Senna, and people are so intoxicated with the idea of the Senna name returning to F1 that they refuse to believe that he might lose out on a drive.

    1. USF1 have also had a higher public profile so on that account it makes sense that they receive more attention. Campos have been quite quiet by comparison.

      1. Penelope Pitstop
        5th February 2010, 13:14

        But there was a point at which USF1 was being doubted for that reason: people thought that they were too quiet.

        That said, I hope both teams make it to Bahrain. It’d be such a waste to have come as far as they have, only to find their season was over before it began.

        1. lol (reply glitch)

          I think there was/is a feeling that USF1 were not one of the stronger teams to bid for a 2010 grid slot and that they are there unjustly. I think Stefan GP have proved that. They have a launch date, they have a test date and they will be in Bahrain for the season opener. You can’t say any of these things about USF1.

          I really don’t care where a team is from, in fact I think teams that are based outside the traditional European locations are a good thing but I think there are other things that are more important like the ability to turn up to races and race (as opposed to testing at races or not turning up at all).

          1. @K Stefan GP have a launch date, etc, etc, but they’ve basically bought up a ready-made car.

            USF1 have a sort-of launch date for mid-February and somehow I don’t think they would keep saying that they’ll be there if they thought they weren’t – what would be the point? People who aren’t getting the work done usually hide, rather than pipe up about how they’re doing. Of course it’s anyone’s guess what their real progress has been, but going what they have put up on their website my feeling is that they might be the surprise success among the new teams. That’s only a guess of course, but I I’m choosing to interpret their reluctance to launch as a cautious, gradual approach.

            + Is it just me, or do I smell something slightly rotten in Ecclestone’s unrelenting jibes at the team every time he has an opportunity?

          2. I have a feeling that USf1 will be the best of the American teams.

          3. I have strong doubts about that, and would place a bet against you if I hadn’t been cleaned out betting against the English at last year’s FA Cup final.

          4. so do i :)

          5. @Maciek

            There is something rotten about Ecclestone full stop.

            Surely it’s to Stefan GP’s credit they bought the Toyota. USF1 had the same opportunity. The old Toyota was pretty good at the end of the season, even Martin Whitmarsh expressed surprise that none of the new entrants had bought it and I think he is right.

            There are good examples of teams choosing to launch late and having success.

            There are more questions than answers really (as it should be otherwise life would be a bit dull). Either way we’ll have the relevant answers at some point. If it all goes to plan it will be good to have a US team in F1, although if they are always at the back it could be counter productive.

    2. Agree I also think geography plays a part. A lot of F1 is still mainly focussed upon Europe so media and attention is there and F1 hasn’t had the best reslationship with the US so it’s easier to picture a US team coming out of the equation. There have also been rumours that Campos now has a deal in place to secure there future although we don’t know what the deal involves etc.

    3. That, and there is a good dose snooty Britishness looking at Americans as if they were dumb cowboys.

      1. umm, okay, reply button not working….?

      2. wow! wher’d that come from!

    4. I think recently USF1 has seemed more credible and stable than Campos. The Campos buisness plan was a pretty safe one, except in recession.

      It’s just a shame they haven’t been able to grab more sponsorship

  16. Prisoner Monkeys
    5th February 2010, 11:00

    I wouldn’t go telling the Spanish that Schumacher is more popular than Alonso …

    1. I’m Spanish and it’s clear Schumacher is much more popular than Alonso.

  17. nice and contentious!

    Im pretty sure Paris Hilton gets more hits than Kristen Scott Thomas, it doesnt make her more attractive.

    1. No certainly not, but it does mean she has greater popularity, which is what the article is about.

  18. Think a few people have nailed it already. The Ferrari statement is mainly talking about the recent test in Valencia where Alonso would’ve been the main attraction. I think to have an entire article proving Ferrari wrong by showing how popular Schumi is on a wider scale (which doesen’t seem to surprise anyone) is a little unfair.
    Had Ferrari been talking about the season ahead I think you’d have a point. But as it is I feel you’ve taken Ferrari’s statement out of context and then gone to alot of Google-trouble to make a fairly minor, and slightly petty, point. Soz :p

    1. Agreed completely with you Weasel Chops. What is the point of this article. We all know that Michael is 7 times world Champion…what are you trying to prove Keith? Is it your dislike of Alonso? I thought we did enough of the FA subjects with Singapore… obviously I was wrong.

    2. I appreciate your point Weasel Chops (it’s hard to say that name without sounding like I’m insulting you!) and a few other people have made it too.

      Ferrari clearly aren’t saying “Alonso is more popular than Schumacher.” Nor am I claiming they did (“Lets not confuse Alonsos staggering popularity in Spain with the worldwide pull of the Schumacher brand.”)

      But there are signs of displeasure at Ferrari that Schumacher has ended up at one of their rivals and this is one of them. Luca di Montezemolo made remarks along the same lines at the launch if the F10 – claiming credit for talking Schumacher into making a comeback, only to see him end up at another team.

      And, as some other comments have mentioned, it’s surprising that Ferrari feel the need to make any kind of remark about the relative popularity about their drivers compared to another.

      Those two things were what inspired me to write the article. If some people felt it was intended to be provocative just to stir up a debate, it wasn’t intended that way.

  19. Penelope Pitstop
    5th February 2010, 11:17

    It’s hard to exaggerate just how exciting it is for German fans (and I count myself among them, even though I live in the US) to have a Mercedes factory team with an all-German lineup. It would be major news with or without Schumi’s involvement–that’s just a bonus!

    And of course, we have a team with an all-British lineup, too. Hmm, Germany vs Britain…should Belgium be worried? Haha…

    1. Haha, Imagine McLaren showing up at Spa with RAF Roundels on the side and Merc with the Iron Cross, and with an extra set of wings on top of the existing ones.

      OK back to reality…

      1. Penelope Pitstop
        5th February 2010, 12:16

        Sure, and Schumi and Rosberg can grow “Kaiser” mustaches and wear Pickelhauben (the spiky helmets)!

        1. And Hamilton and Button could make pit stops at tea time and call everyone “jolly old chap”.

  20. Try Google Trends using this search: Ferrari, Michael Schumacher. So Schumacher is still the main event, or is it?

    1. Mark Hitchcock
      5th February 2010, 16:12

      It’s pretty obvious that Ferrari would have more searches. They’re not just an F1 team, there are gonna be plenty of people searching for information about their road cars as well. So it’s not really a fair comparison.

      Look at: Ferrari F1, Michael Schumacher and you get a much different result.

    2. I put in Hamilton Schumacher Alonso and Ferrari and Google trends rated ferrari about,

      lewis hamilton 1.00, fernando alonso 3.50
      michael schumacher 2.00, ferrari 44.5

      on the other hand Mercedes 102, Mercedes GP 0.

      Basically what this says to me is try Scuderia Ferrari. well 0.

      What this says to me is that you can’t acurately rate how popular the Formula 1 wing of ferrari is because any results will get swallowed up by the road cars. Plus not enough people search ferrari by its true name being Scuderia Ferrari. It’s very easy to work the system and get results like this.
      Scuderia Ferrari 1.00) Mclaren 28.5)
      mercedes gp 0)

      Essentailly you cant really use global trends for accurate readings on anything because it’s all terrifically skewed.

  21. A german team aye, if you ignore that the car and engine are built in England and the boss is English too!

    1. Penelope Pitstop
      5th February 2010, 11:34

      Well, after his success with Schumi, Ross Brawn is kind of an honorary German!

  22. I think comparing Schumi to Alonso as far as ‘interest’ at this point is a bit asinine. You’ve got a racer who many say was the greatest driver in F1 history coming back after a three year retirement….Don’t you think that would cause a bit of an uptake in ‘interest’ relative to ANY driver who has been in the sport for a few years?

    Schumi’s going to make news no matter what he does, we get that, but what’s the point in trying to rub that in everyone’s faces?

    I think it’s pretty clear you’re a Schumi fan and you’re pretty upset he left Ferrari to drive for Brawn. The fact that Ferrari is happy they signed Alonso and isn’t showing remorse for letting Schumi go prompted you to write this article to show your allegiance to Schumi.

    1. No,absolutely no! obviously Keith is not a Schumacher fan

    2. I think you just hit the point. This discussion is pretty absurd.

  23. “Lewis Hamilton is catching them up quickly after just three years in the sport.” – NO

    If I talk about Schumacher everybody knows him also not F1 fans, but nobody knows Lewis Hamilton.

    He is still unknown to public outside UK

    1. I think I’d agree with you there. Britain’s very similar with Lewis to how Spain is with Alonso and it’s also quite unavoidable since 07 that there is a see saw effect of love Alonso hate Hamilton vice versa.
      I don’t really care about the tabloids etc from either side as I think both have been pretty biased and cruel at times.
      I do find this interesting though and it shows that there is a huge interest no matter who you support which is good for the sport.

      1. Here here!!!

        I agree with 100% of what you said!!!

        Excellent comment!!!

    2. “He is still unknown to public outside UK”
      Not really. He is well known in Poland and so probably in any country where F1 is popular.
      Obviously, F1’s main audience is in Europe. And I guess it is also as popular in Brasil and Japan. So it’s safe to say Hamilton is a recognizable celebrity there.

      1. Yep, he is well known in France. Maybe because we don’t have a French pilot to cheer. I believe Schumacher would be way in front and Alonso slightly ahead however. Hamilton should learn French and speak French during interviews (like Rosberg, Alonso, Trulli, Fisichella and Kobayashi do)

        1. Hamilton is also popular in Latvia, the average Joe here could robably name two drivers from the top of their head – Hamilton and Schumi.

      2. @ Hezla I’d have to disagree with He is still unknown to public outside UK

        He’s very popular in the Middle East as well. He gained a lot of popularity after his rookie year and after winning the Championship. Schumacher is more known of course generally speaking, but Hamilton is known to anyone who’s recently heard about F1.

  24. Nor a Ferrari fan

  25. what so you’ve gone up to people and said “who is lewis hamilton”? haha unlikely. if i asked my gran who schumacher was she’d probably say, is it that cobbler from the town?

  26. there is no doubting schumi is a great driver. But he is not the greatest. When confronted with the likes of alonso, hakkinen, raikkonen he had a real fight, alonso beat him to two crowns with inferior equipment. Hakkinen and kimi were nearly always quicker not to mention he stole one world championship of hill. he also inherited a couple through others misfortune (mechanical failures). Lets face it for most of his career hes been in the best car with a second driver backing him all the way. I think we’ll see schumi crushed this year. I can only hope

    1. “Hakkinen and kimi were nearly always quicker”
      Nearly ‘never’ you should’ve said.

      “alonso beat him to two crowns with inferior equipment.”
      This is very doubtful.

      Anyway, it’s funny you mention inferior equipment, when in 1998 Hakkinen’s McLaren to Ferrari was like last last-year’s Brawn to Renault. Despite that Schumi was able to keep the champioship alive to the last race.
      It was Schumacher who had the inferior equipment throughout the entire 90s.

      1. Agree with Damon, Schumacher had the best car in ’95, ’01, ’02 and ’04. The other years his car was either inferior to or about equal to the fastest car.

        Hakkinen could be quicker than Schumacher, but he couldn’t do it often enough and he was a tad error prone. He was nearly beaten to the title in ’99 by Irvine so I’m fairly sure that Schumacher would have taken it that year if it wasn’t for the accident at Silverstone (I’m not one to care for what if’s though).

        And Alonso’s Renault was only inferior to the Ferrari after the mass damper was banned midway through 2006.

        As for Hill being robbed? No. Not at all.

        1. schumacher with out any doubt at all stole a a drivers title of hill. You know that as well as me. I can argue with the crowns and i will. I dont think schumacher is as good a driver as hakkinen, kimi or alonso. Least they played by the book and wont be remembered as cheats. I cant wait to see hamilton assert himself of one of the true greats next year.

          1. Schumacher scored more points than Hill did despite only being classified for 12 races, as he was somewhat controversially excluded/DQ’d for 4 races. When Hill went for the inside at Adelaide it was a touch rash because the gap wasn’t there, and was as much his fault as Schumachers. He thoroughly outdrove everyone after Senna was killed that year and if Hill had won the title in 1994 it would have been an absolute travesty.

            I’m a huge Alonso fan but he isn’s as good as Schumacher. Hakkinen could match Schumacher for three seasons in often superior machinery, but he spent the years before and after that being beaten by DC. Raikkonen was fast, and that’s about it. No other driver (Apart from perhaps Senna) was so complete in so many different aspects of the sport or as competitive over such a large period of time.

          2. “schumacher with out any doubt at all stole a drivers title of hill.”
            – There’s not a single reason to think Hill was better than Schumacher in 1994 (the season you’re obviously referring to).
            Schumacher was DQ and taken away points in two races, and he was excluded from two more races.
            This makes 4 races without Schumacher!
            Despite having four races advantage (that he all won!), Hill wasn’t able to score more points than Schumi in his underpowered Benetton-Ford.
            In that season Hill came second to Schumi on as many as 5 occasions, and only two times was he able to finish a race in front of Schumi [sic!].

            How in the right mind can one think Damon Hill deserved the 1994 WDC?

            The 1995 season, without all the turmoil of the 1994 season, showed the difference between Schumacher and Hill (who still had the better car).

          3. I don’t think you can say that Schumacher stole the title off Hill given the precedent set by Senna and Prost.

            Schumacher had inferior equipment throughout the ’90s although we might also consider Benetton’s alleged illegal use of traction control. The Williams was still a better car in ’95.

            The R25 and R26 were very competitive cars with excellent tyres, also given that the FIA had been changing the rules every year to try and stop Ferrari winning you’d have to say that this played a part in Alonso’s championships.

            It’s funny Theo that you site mechanical failure as if no other F1 driver has benefited from the mechanical failure of his competitors. There was a time not too long ago where is was not uncommon to see little more than 10 cars finish a race. I kind of miss that now in the ultra reliable 21st century.

        2. fantasticplanet
          5th February 2010, 13:31

          Schumi did have superior equipment in 2003, just not initially. The other teams were hampered by reliability and slowed development- e.g. didn’t mclaren make a car they didn’t even race?

          I think his best championship was 1995, it was so scrappy, and his car was definitely inferior to the rest of the paddock.

          My argument is that Schumacher, though great, represents a coming together of man, moment, and machine. Rory Byrne, Ross Brawn, Jean Todt… in their prime no less, that’s an automotive aligning of the planets.

          1. schumi intentionally drove into hill in 1994. Despite people saying he drove better over the season which may or may not be true. But the fact is he drove into hill intentionally when he knew he was out of the race after binning it into the wall. It was the work of a cheat which is universally known except to a few die hard schumi fans. He tried the same in 1997, it was so blatant, brundle commentating couldn’t believe it. Then parking at monaco etc. He’s a great talent but his career has a very dark side. SOmething all drivers and f1 fans know about. For these reasons alone he will never be known as the greatest. The likes of hamilton and alonso, vettel will hopefully show people schumacher is not the driver everyone thinks he is.

          2. i really love those “absolute truth” allegations.

            theo, it is universally known that he was a cheat? in wich universe? the british empire? he is not one of the greatest? i am pretty sure 80 million germans believe schumacher to be a pretty decent driver. some italians probably like(d) him too.

            with your arguments you are surely able to strip him off every single title. and don’t forget that his competition was really bad. what would that make of “the little great one” hamilton should schumacher win anything this year?

          3. IF schumi wins this year.. People will again talk how how the field was lacking in competition. The thing is … Schumacher is soo blooody good, the opposition just look mediocre.

    2. Theo, you can read the numbers as you want.
      But Schumi won 7, Hakkinen, Alonso and Raikkonen 5 in three.
      Then it is hard to say that Alonso won two crowns in an inferior car…2005 Ferrari was anything but competitive.

      1. I agree. Every year inevitably someone will be F1 world champion. Parking in Monaco does not make you 7 times world champion.
        Every F1-driver is flawed, but it only shows all the flaws if you keep persisitently in the spotlights for a decade.

      2. Theo, I think that Senna and Prost has made each other the same thing that Schumacher did to Hill (Senna even more dangerously).
        And I also remember some cases when Senna was accused to slow the others during qualifying, to obstacle them in pole fight (Monaco 80’s…).
        I’m a Schumacher fan, I’m keen to admit that he made some wrong acts (you told which they was), but for sure he’s not been the only one in history. And not the worst.

        1. Originally in 94 it did seem that Schumacher may have gone for Damon on purpose.

          In 95 Schumacher won a title in equipment often not the equal of the Williams.

          In 97 Schumacher definately, unequivocally tried to take Villenurve out. He knew it, he has since alluded to regreting it. You can see him steering into him from his onboard, an the Schumi fans who deny it make it harder for themselves to make the case for his racing greatness elsewhere.

          It is undeniable that Schumacher is one of the all time greats, it is undeniable that 91 race wins can only be acheived by a feat of incredible racing genius. But it is also silly to deny that Schumi’s competative mind got the better of his sporting valour on a few occasions.

          The fact that we can see him steering into Villenurve throws his 94 championship into doubt.

          It is also very probable in 06 that he parked it in Monaco, the stewards wouldn’t have penalised him if he didn’t. In my opinion Schumi deserves six of his seven titles. I also think his behavior since retiring has soften many hearts, particularly in Britain and we are now able to take him up more on his sporting greatness than the fact that he stole a title from our guy. The comments he has made about doing things differantly this time around are very brave and show a side to him I’d definately like to see more of. Finally I think its time that Schumacher’s fans show the same humility that he has and acept his genius was sometimes flawed by it’s pairing with his competative instinct.
          Acept that and you are much more able to admire his genius along with his flaws.

    3. yeah, well he lost a couple to misfortune as well.

      1. Great point!

      2. @Sam, your point being? Misfortune has lost every front runner at least a win.

        There’s a differance between luck and deliberatly knocking someone off the road.

        This is kinda petty tbh, an not really what I was saying.

    4. Praveen Titus
      6th February 2010, 13:55

      very well said

  27. Why would any serious F1 fan use Google to find info about Alonso, Schumacher or Ferrari?

    1. Good point…

      1. Well I guess it’s not really about “serious” fans it’s about popularity/appeal in general.

    2. Why would anyone imply that only serious F1 fans search for info about drivers?

    3. Mark Hitchcock
      5th February 2010, 16:15

      Yeah, all serious F1 fans are born with all the information about their favourite driver already in their brain…

  28. I don’t think Ferrari were that wrong. The huge crowd this week was most likely more Alonso mania, than Schumacher.

    Not to say that a lot of fans wouldn’t have been there for Schumi, but I think the majority of the Spanish crowd would have been there for Alonso in a Ferrari.

    1. Totaly agree! It makes the headline somewhat silly. Of course Schumacher is the main event this season so far, but I doubt if he was in Spain at Ricardo Tormo the 3rd day…..

  29. What a facile and pointless and clearly biased article. Clearly Alonso is the main attraction to fans in Spain so Ferrari’s statement was totally justified. Moreover, what f1 fan searches their preferred driver by their name rather than just keep up with their news via specialist web sites (increasingly not this one in my case)?

    1. I couldn’t agree more with you.

      I don’t know if it’s me being paranoid, or something else, but it seems Keith isn’t Ferrari’s biggest fan, and it can often be shown in the choice of articles run.

  30. Well, i am a Portuguese fan and i think any statistics should reflect just the years both/several drivers run against each other. Why compare Shumacher statistics 10 years ago, when all other drivers with exception from Barrichelo and De La Rosa, were not running.
    Schumacher is an excellent driver but please compare the statistics sice hes racing against Alonso, not 10 years before.

  31. Keith, perhaps you could talk a bit about what motivated the choice of article for you – just out of curiosity. I have to say I find it an unusual angle for you to take. A bit of a non-story, no?

    1. I have to say I agree.

  32. just like Schumi says, I don’t expect him to win this year. It is easily possible though that he will win at least once in the next three years.

    My money (metaphorically as I’m not a betting man) would go on Alonso this year for the championship.

    Hamilton will be a close second and Button will struggle to crack the top five.

    I like the man and I hope he’s able to prove me (and countless others) wrong, but I don’t think he’s got what it takes to compete this year, world champion or not.

    In my opinion, moving to McLaren was a huge mistake. the only way it’ll work for him is if he’s able to adapt his driving style (and he hasn’t so far in his career).

  33. Ferrari fans are crazy for Alonso! And how about Massa?

  34. To paraphrase Harry Hill, there’s only one way to resolve this…. GOOGLEFIGHT!!!

    1. The results are wrong.

  35. How do you know that USF1 does not show up in Bahrain? Stefan GP did but they don’t have a slot. So why bother. Stefan GP did not make a car it just bought Toyota. Very smart development strategy, but why did he not show up at the testing in Valencia if all things are right?
    Let’s wait and see. I hope USF1 will make it on the grid. USA is seriously missing in F1.

  36. this is an english website. if you want to hear wall to wall schumacher praise, find the appropriate blog. duh!

  37. I almost laughed when I read that Ferrari statement. I think it does show a touch of bitterness, to even start comparing Schumacher and Alonso, let alone to then imply Alonso is more popular, when a) he’s driving for the most popular team and b) the test was in his home country. Had the test been in Germany, the Schumacher fans would have dwarfed everyone else by ridiculous amounts. Would Ferrari have mentioned the disparity in numbers then? I thought not.

    For a “pure” racing team, Ferrari seem to be getting a bit obsessed with PR and marketing, which is mostly nonsense even when communicating “facts”.

  38. Well the Truth that such prolonged success compounded with Ferrari’s name has etched Schumi’s name into a lot of minds unintentionally.

    Couple of years ago I remember telling one of my acquaintance who was’nt a F1 follower that F1 is the sport I follow very keenly. The only question he asked is “Hey is’nt it the sport where the guy named Schumacher is in ? “. He frankly admitted that apart from Schumacher he has’nt heard anything about F1.

    I am sure a million such people would be present out there with this thought. Fortunately for Schumi he shot into fame when the media’s reach was expanding in different forms likes Internet, blogging, microblogging and higher technology imaging/Transmission.

    Adding to the fact that Asian(China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Middle east) and African countries exploded into the economic and technology frontier along with Formula 1 races in them in the late 90s and early 2000s which was schumi’s Golden era.

    If my statistics in not wrong, Schumi is the single most Winningest driver in the Asian Continent including and excluding Japan.

    Keith Just a thought, How about a statistical breakup of the continent or countrywise winning drivers ?

  39. gee. lewis can be so grateful that the rest of the world will love him if he wins more championships!

    i always thought racing was about racing but in the Beckham era ( not a great player by any stretch) it would seem more who little fan boys idolise.

    Give me a good race over global stars any day.

  40. Senna and Schumi are preatty close on google trends, in the years 2007 senna 1: schumi 1.4 and
    2008 Senna 1.01: schumi 1.00, and senna has been away for 15 years

  41. fantasticplanet
    5th February 2010, 15:53

    I think it’s funny how Alonso seems like he’s still wearing a mild seven livery on his head.

  42. Praveen Titus
    5th February 2010, 19:53

    Being an Alonso fan I’m thoroughly disturbed by this article. But emotions aside, I believe Alonso can garner all that popularity if he keeps winning and beating Schumacher to the title. Google searches may be one thing, but two years down the line they could all change.

    Alonso with Ferrari is already a mouth watering prospect and I think the Spaniard’s best races are yet to come. That would change everything. With added success in the scarlet beast, Alonso would not only have Spain cheering for him but also Italy, and quite soon the world.

  43. Wow.

    Keith I love you, but that could have been the most pointless and trifling article you have ever put your name on top of.

    Even if we are to assume that someone out there cares about this subject, and that Google is an infallible source of popularity. If. It doesn’t matter because the premise was that Valencia was well-attended because of Alonso’s first meaningful time in a Ferrari.

    And that’s true.

    1. To follow up (sorry), does it really matter? Alonso isn’t Tiger Woods. He’s not Lewis Hamilton, and no he’s not Michael Schumacher, but to be in that elite level of marketing sportsman, you have to try to do so. You think Alonso really cares about pitching Gillette items or being forced to be a cock by wearing a hat that gives him millions of bank notes every season?

      It’s obvious to me that Alonso cares nothing more than being in the car.

  44. If Sauber have Ferrari engines- What happened to the BMW engine? At one time I heard that Ron Dennis was interested & would seem to suit McClarens long term plans perfectly?

  45. I do think Schumacher is the most popular F1 driver in the world.Even many people who don’t watch F1 do know Schumacher,such has been his popularity around the world.

    I do think as he is returning in F1 the ticket sales & the viewing figure will increase in 2010.Fingers crossed.

  46. It rather looks unnecessary to have such comparisons, both for Ferrari and us. Keith, these stats may favor Schumacher, and yes, of course he has the popularity that would top him when compared to any other driver. But, it is unnecessary to compare one is better than the other this way… off the track! Useless politics, — we’re starting one or Ferrari had started one. :) Either way, I didn’t like this comparison!

  47. Praveen Titus
    6th February 2010, 14:10

    Alonso is only a two-time champion. Schumacher is a 7-time champion. On the basis of this alone Google searches for the German would soar – not necessarily because everyone adores him, but only because he has broken a few records in a recognized sport.

    Did Schumacher have all this popularity in 1996 when he had just won 2 world championships with Benetton? No. Similarly, Alonso is in that stage. As he begins to score more world championships and win more races with Ferrari he could reach that level of popualrity.

    These are 2 sportsmen at 2 different stages of their career. Not a straightforward comparison. This is like comparing the popularity of Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier, or Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo!

  48. I think you make some very valid points Keith. I think from the perspective of Ferrari, they have been completely taken by surprise by Schumacher’s decision to race for Mercedes Benz. When Michael retired in 2006, I believe Ferrari as did millions of fans, assumed that his decision to retire was perminant. At the very least, if he were to return, then it would be for Ferrari and Ferrari alone.
    In Schumacher you have the very symbol of Ferrari’s staggering success over the last fourteen years. Along with Ross Brawn, Rory Bryne, and Jean Todt, Schumacher brought Ferrari back to a place they had not seen in nearly two decades. The level of their dominance is almost unprecedented in any sport of the modern era, and as a driver his statistics speak for themselves.
    Fernando Alonso has, in many ways, introduced F1 to the Spanish nation enmasse. Before his rise to the top, Spain had only two F1 drivers in Marc Gene and Pedro De La Rosa. In due respect to these men, as gifted as they are, they are not on the same level as the man from Oviedo.
    Alonso is a sponsors dream. His passion and patriotic drive are very evident, he speaks his mind, and takes no prisoners both on and off the track. He realises the following in Spain he has created by his success on the track, and his fans there have reacted in kind.
    When we look at Kimi Raikkonen’s tenure at Ferrari, his style and general personality were never going to win over the Tifosi the way Schumacher did. Raikkonen always kept his emotions to himself, his relationship to the media and sponsors was luke warm at best. Here was a man who wanted to drive the balls off the car, cash his vast paycheck each year, and go home.
    With Ferrari they need someone who shows passion and commitment to their cause, who can unliven the fans and who can satisfy the demands and needs of the sponsors. That is the sad reality of the world we live in, but that is how it all works. I just always felt that Raikkonen had seen inside the belly of the beast and didn’t like what he saw. He had lost interest.
    The passion and drive in men like Alonso and Schumacher is self evident, it practically oozes out of them. However, Alonso as good as he is still has a point to prove and still has alot of potential to fulfill.
    The events of 2007 I believe still linger within the Spaniard, and inadvertenly he has spent two years at a team clearly in trouble because of it. His year ahead at Ferrari is his first real opportunity to right those wrongs, and avenge the events of 2007.
    Michael has had nineteen years in the public eye, in one way or another he has always been there. He was around during the years of great legends such as Senna, Prost, and Mansell. He has taken on all comers, and nine times out of ten has defeated them. If Alonso’s career and success lasts that amount of time, then he ‘WILL’ be the big draw as Ferrari have suggested. Only time will tell on that one.

  49. Very very illuminating, and dare I say as I would have suspected…

  50. what is his biggest regret

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