Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Istanbul, 2011

Little improvement in Schumacher’s second year

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Istanbul, 2011
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Istanbul, 2011

Michael Schumacher’s troubled weekend in Istanbul has brought his decision to return to F1 into question once again.

His post-race remarks that he wasn’t getting “big joy” from his racing any more were widely reported.

With the results still not coming in the second year of his comeback, how much longer will he stick around?

His difficulties last year were explained away by unhappiness with the Bridgestone tyres. In his absence, F1 turned into a single-tyre championship, and the weaker front tyre now used by Bridgestone did not suit his driving style.

Schumacher complained about the lack of opportunity for in-season testing, and over the winter we discovered he suffers from nausea when driving Mercedes’ simulator.

Problems with the Drag Reduction System were blamed for his poor qualifying compared to Rosberg in the fly-away races.

But even making allowances for all these setbacks, his performance in 23 races as Nico Rosberg’s team mate has been disappointing. Here’s how their race finishing positions compare:


2010-1 2010-2 2010-3 2010-4 2010-5 2010-6 2010-7 2010-8 2010-9 2010-10 2010-11 2010-12 2010-13 2010-14 2010-15 2010-16 2010-17 2010-18 2010-19 2011-1 2011-2 2011-3 2011-4
Michael Schumacher 6 10 10 4 12 4 11 15 9 9 11 7 9 13 6 4 7 9 8 12
Nico Rosberg 5 5 3 3 13 7 5 6 10 3 8 6 5 5 17 6 4 12 5 5

Rosberg has made it into Q3 in every race, Schumacher once, and Rosberg has typically been around two-thirds of a second faster on a hot lap.

While Rosberg has spent 84 laps in the top five so far this year, Schumacher has managed just one.

This is strange territory for Schumacher. In his pre-comeback F1 life being beaten by a team mate on a race weekend was a rarity.

His return to F1 is supposed to be a three-year plan. But it’s hard to imagine that graph extending to sixty or so races with no improvement in Schumacher’s form. Surely something has to change.

And if, as he admitted after Turkey, he is no longer enjoying his racing, then why hang around at all?

There are signs that frustration at his difficulties are translating into mistakes at the wheel – not least his bizarre swerve into the back of Vitaly Petrov’s Renault during the Turkish Grand Prix.

There are many examples of great sporting champions who stayed on past their prime, the scale of their achievements irrevocably diminished by their inability to judge when to stop.

F1 is no exception – think of Nigel Mansell’s ill-advised appearances for McLaren in 1995, or Graham Hill racing at the back of the field for year after year in the seventies.

It may already be too late for Schumacher to avoid a similar fate.

Form changes quickly in F1, and this is one driver who must never be underestimated. But if his performances continue to disappoint, and he really is no longer enjoying what he’s doing, he may decide to hang up that red helmet for good.

Read about Schumacher’s former life at Mercedes in this earlier article: Michael Schumacher: the Mercedes years

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164 comments on “Little improvement in Schumacher’s second year”

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  1. I spend every race thinking “Well maybe next race he’ll be better” but it’s just not happening.

    1. Yeah, most of us who saw him racing before just keep thinking he certainly must show some great racing on the line.

      But it seems it just won’t happen.

      1. to be fair we’ve seen he’s still got awesome defensive driving prowess.. he gives some younger drivers a lesson.
        but gone are the days you can just man-handle the car to get more out of it which is a shame.
        shumi loved the oversteer but the mercedes looks more of an understeerer to me

      2. It’s sad to see some of Michael’s mistakes but I disagree greatly that MS is past it or doesn’t have what it takes. It’s not that he no longer has “it” but rather he refuses to let “it” go. Defensive driving is dead with the new rules, if a faster car approaches you there are two outcomes, he overtakes you now or he overtakes you in a lap or two. The simple fact is Michael Schumacher is an anachronism, he still believes that he should prevent anyone overtaking him at all costs; this iteration of F1 – and it pains me to say this – you have to just let drivers go past you and hope they will come back to you later.

        Last year, he went too far in Hungary and Canada; both situations where he was at a tyre disadvantage and tried to make the difference himself. Michael has to learn to pick his fights more carefully, his street fighter tactics are no longer conducive to producing good results. Nico no doubt has a few tenths in quali but Schumacher is ending up nowhere in the races by picking unnecessary and futile fights.

        Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, he has to realise and accept that drivers are becoming less and less responsible for making the difference. The tyres are gone after 70km, drive more aggressively and you won’t see north of 55km. The fuel is lean, turn the wick up to keep pace with a faster car and you’ll be crawling to the finish line. Michael is habitually used to winning, F1 in 2011 is managing things so you don’t end up losing (Ă  la Lewis in Malaysia). I have no doubt in his abilities behind the wheel but I’m not sure he can readjust from the “football” Formula One with its two or three significant overtakes per race to the everyone-overtakes-everyone-half-a-dozen-times slam dunk, alley ‘oop “basketball” F1 that we have today.

        1. The football vs. basketball analogy is a good one, was that your own? I agree that things have changed since Schumacher was so dominant, but I’m also not convinced that he’s still at the same level he once was. He’s shown glimmers of that skill, but not consistently enough for me to confidently say he’s the same as he always was…

    2. It’s strange when you look at him, he is just slow. I guess he’s driving like he did some years ago, but just can’t reach that perfection.

    3. I’ll be honest, when I first heard about him coming back, I was looking forward to him getting shown a thing or two by the Hamiltons and Vettels of the F1 world.

      But now, after 23 races without merely a hint of being above average in any way, its really quite sad… embarrassing almost. Now I want nothing more for him to get on the podium.

  2. Schumacher will only go when he decides to do so. It would be awful PR for Mercedes to push him out, no matter how stagnant his form is. Michael is a proud man, and I can’t see him bailing out mid-season. Most likely he will quietly continue until the end of 2011, then retire permanently.

    I think he’s been poor since his comeback, but I’m not surprised by it. He was noticeably in decline even as he neared the end of his “first” F1 career.

    1. Schumacher clearly isn’t as competitive as he used to be, he is definitely combative as we saw last Sunday. But I think his negative and over aggressive driving may even hurt the Mercedes brand.

      Surely the longer Schumacher persists the longer it will take for Mercedes to reap some reward from their investment. A younger driver may be hungry and develop a lot quicker.

      I think he should bow out gracefully soon, instead of embarrassing himself as he is doing now.

      1. On the other hand, I bet Ross and Shumacher are still the #1 car-development team at Mercedes. I thing Mike has simply just gotten a bit too old to drive the car like he needs to, but he was always regarded as being supreme at discussing the car with the mechanics and getting the most out of development. Especially with Ross Brawn at Ferrari and Benetton. If they keep him around despite iffy results, that will be why they do it. I wonder if Mike is making Nico’s car faster….

    2. noticeably in decline even as he neared the end of his first career???
      His last race in 2006 was one of the best he ever drove!

      1. Yes, Brazil was undoubtedly a great race for Michael. But, 2006 as a whole was the only season where Schumi lost the championship to another driver, despite being in a superior car. Honestly, I don’t believe the Michael of the late ’90s and early 2000s would have lost that year.

        1. Can anyone say “mass damper”?

        2. damn renault had the superior car in the first half of 2006. After that the mass dampers were found illegal and renault had to take them off. The comeback began, msc overtook Alonso, and then in the last two crucial races his car broke down. If not he would have 8 championships!

          1. Ferrari were already ahead of Renault by the time the mass damper was banned. See, for instance, the races in the US and France. There’s no denying the Renault was faster in the opening few races, but by the time we were into the European season Ferrari had well and truly caught up.

          2. The point rather is that the mass damper gave Renault a head-start, a bit like the EBD and DDD for Red Bull and Brawn respectively.

            Renault had the best car for about the first half, Ferrari for about the second half. It was a pretty even championship that Alonso deservedly won.

          3. McLaren had a similar device (often called a J-damper) from the end of 2005.

          4. @Red Andy the US and France gp were races 10 and 11. That’s past the first half of the season since there were 18 races in total.

            The first 9 races Alonso won 6 races, the last nine msc 5. Anyway Alonso won, i would have rather seen MSC take the title that year and kimi in 2005, but i can’t say Alonso titles were undeserved and i didn’t. So we agree on the last part

        3. Charging bull
          11th May 2011, 20:21

          Sorry I thought you said the 06 Ferrari was superior to alonso’s Renault. The renault was the class of the field in 05 and 06 and it still went to the wire!

  3. team mate thats allowed to beat him, much better competition, no spare car set up for him and no unlimiting testing- does anyone think this has also had an impact?

    1. You talk as though Schumacher was never beaten by his team mates, he was but the fact is in the same machinery none of the team mates could get close on a regular basis. The reason favouritism came into play was because Michael put himself into a championship winning situation so early, as did Alonso at Renault/Ferrari, Hamilton in ’08.

      As for unlimited testing, something all teams, had. You talk as though Ferrari were the only ones in the paddock. It benefited everyone.

      And when has Michael needed a spare car since his return?

      It’s just simply down to age and not being in the sport for 3 years, Hakkinen tried to come back after the same time away and was 3 seconds of the pace. Which in reflection puts Michael’s achievements pretty damn high.

        1. Prost said last year: If anyone can do it (have a good comeback, etc), it is Michael.
          I would love to know how fast Nico really is right now. He has clearly evolved…

          1. I think Nico is probably in the top 5 drivers on the grid. The valuable experience at Williams has set him up well for Mercedes i’m sure if the car is up to it he will bag his first win.

      1. The spare care offers an alternate setup, which he did in fact use on occasion in changing weather. I think it’s a valid point that it’s not available now due to parc ferme conditions following qualifying.

        Yes, he was away for 3 years, but what about now? He’s got a year under his belt and isn’t doing much better than last year. In fact, I honestly feel like we’re seeing MORE mistakes this year than last year.

        I feel like it’s excuse after excuse from fans in hopes to defend his legacy and legend. “He’s good considering X.” “He just doesn’t like the tires.” “Other drivers have more experience.” At what point will people admit that he is past his prime? Yes, he was clearly once an incredible driver. But without his history, if he simply came in as a rookie, would people still be giving him so many chances? And moreover, what of the rookies who seem to be adapting and racing cleanly? Why aren’t they having the same problems as he has?

        1. At what point will people admit that he is past his prime?

          I agree he is pas his prime, but in fairness the post you quoted did also indicate this:

          It’s just simply down to age

      2. Geordie Porker
        11th May 2011, 15:24

        RIISE – whilst I largely agree with your statement, what a lot of people forget is that Schumacher was also the development driver for Bridgestone, so he got tyres which were really well suited to his driving style: a ‘pointy front end’ I think is the term. These tyres don’t behave like that and Schumacher, after a lifetime of one driving style, is struggling to adapt.
        Having said that, he’s still faster than I’ll EVER be, so you have to admire him – still extremely talented and it’s a shame seeing him struggling.

    2. Charging bull
      11th May 2011, 23:21


  4. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again here. In my opinion Schumacher is too old to drive without TC on the cars and cannot adjust for wheel spin as much as the younger drivers these days.

    1. I don’t think age has as much to do with it as his time away from the cockpit. Personally I feel it would be easier for a driving to keep going such as Rubens and constantly adjusting than a driver -no matter what age- spending three years away from a sport that has seen many changes and suddenly being thrown in at the deep end.

  5. After 1994 (and obviously 1997) I’ve had a bit of an issue with Schumacher. I am not his biggest fan by a long way. In fact I used to support anyone but him.

    I am finding his comeback to be quite uncomfortable though. He is one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen, in a good car or a bad car (in his previous F1 stint at least).

    Seeing him fail to battle it out with kids 20 years younger than him and failing is heart breaking to watch. I can see why he came back, who wants to give up on what they were born to do? I hope he gets one last podium before he leaves, but it doesn’t look likely at the moment. :(

    It’s funny how my opinion has actually changed towards him. I actually like him these days.

    1. I second that emotion – used to hate Schui, now I just kinda wish he could find some form.

      I’m sure if he found the front I’d switch back and be cheering for Hamilton and Button to beat him again, but it would be nice for that to be an achievement…

      1. I think that both of you are right – Schumi’s return has brought us a different driver.

        The Schumi of today isn’t as fast, precise, instinctive, or formidable. That’s not in any way surprising for a man of 41 years old. Comparing him to 23 year old Schumacher is a ridiculous exercise to start with, and I don’t know why commentators are bothering, other than to Phil Space in their bylines or TV coverage. 23 year old Schumi would never have gotten caught up in the scrapes and battles that he has the past 2 years.

        He’s also not as arrogant, aloof, predatory, or, for want of a better phrase, vicious, on the track. 41 year old Schumi would not repeat his actions on Hill, Jaques, or at the Rascasse, I think. Yes there was the incident with Rubens in the wall. But 23 year old Schumi would never have hung around the media square, looking genuinely concerned, waiting for Rubens to show up, so that he could apologise personally and explain himself.

        Somewhere in a point of time there was a moment when 23 year old and 41 year old Schumi merged, and we had a perfect mix of inspirational speed, winning aggression, humour, decency and a balanced outlook on life. Unfortunately it looks like that moment was when he was retired from F1.

        I think he’ll bow out gracefully at the end of the year, and I hope he gets to stand on that podium one more time before he does. I think we all would.

  6. I have my fingers crossed for him literally every qualifying, every race and even practice sessions. I feature him in my predictions for various competitions more through hope than real judgement and I am completely devastated to see such a true legend fall from grace so publically and, dare I say it, in a slightly humiliating way.

    He has done nothing in that Mercedes car that, say, Heidfeld or Glock couldn’t have done and at times he has looked desperate. His moves against Barrichello in Hungary and Massa in Canada last year and now this on Petrov show that he does not know when to give up. Obviously his moves on Hill and Villeneuve were similarly unsporting, but also understandable. I think Michael needs to realise the difference between fighting tooth and nail for a WDC and fighting tooth and nail for 12th or 13th place in a mid season GP.

    This may seem harsh but I assure you I am a huge fan of his – it just pains me to see him so far down the order. I hope he can pick up the pace and salvage some of his comeback with a podium or even a top 3 grid position!

    Good luck Michael!

    1. I feature him in my predictions for various competitions more through hope than real judgement…

      So true! My bitter hope is costing me dearly in the F1F prediction championship.

  7. What’s the vertical axis of the graph supposed to be exactly?

    1. Race position.

      1. lol.. i wondered that too.. what could 2.5 mean and why is it the lowest marker on the scale :S

  8. I think Schumacher is a lot like Vettel. Or maybe Vettel is a lot like Schumacher. They’re both very good at controlling the field when they’re out front, but there’s at least half a dozen drivers who are better than both of them when they’re in the thick of the action. If Schumacher were to get himself out in front at some point, I have no doubt he could thrive – but so long as he’s in the middle, he’s in unfamiliar territory. Especially since the removal of refuelling has changed the nature of racing. It’s no longer a series of time trials where drivers have to head one another off, which was where Schumacher was so strong. But since you now have to pass on the circuit, Schumacher is out of his element.

    1. I definitely disagree with this statement. Schumacher of all the drivers who have ever raced F1 has proven himself as a superb attacking and defensive driver. Qualities required to perform in the thick of the action.
      Vettel is yet to prove himself but given his skill level I don’t see aggressive racing being a problem for him.
      True he has made some simple errors in overtakes last year but so too has Hamilton who is hailed as a great over taker.
      But he has at times demonstrated decisive and clinical overtaking ability eg. Button in Melbourne, albeit on fresher tyres but he showed here that he has the ability to think quickly and react spontaneously.
      Back to Schumacher, I think he’s just gone off the boil and lacking the general sharpness, that’s not to say it was never there.

      1. What Hamilton did in Monza/2010 and Turkey/2011 should put him down in the list of overtakers… :)
        Come on… We should always encourage overtakings…

    2. In short words and very sharp. Great insight, Prisoner. I can’t agree more!

    3. I disagree. In my opinion Schumacher and Hamilton are the best drivers at overtaking on the grid. And Schumi is by a mile the best at defending a position, Webber and Lewis being the worst defending drivers (both have put in danger a lot of cars when been overtaken, and no I don’t think Schumacher’s move on Barrichello was wrong, it was from the another F1 era). Vettel reminds me of Mika Hakkinen, easy winners when they start on pole but not good at overtaking. Check F1 from 1995 to 1999 and you’ll see Schumacher skills at overtaking and winning a lot of races when not starting on pole.

      1. I don’t think Schumacher’s move on Barrichello was wrong, it was from the another F1 era

        What do you mean?

        1. The two young hopefuls who were weaned on the aggressive manoeuvres of Ayrton Senna, crossing swords once again more than a decade and a half later.

        2. The era when Michael got away with everything. :)

        3. It seems many would disagree, but at the time of that incident, that’s pretty much what Gerhard Berger was saying: no one would have thought twice about it in his day!

        4. Icemangrins
          11th May 2011, 19:44

          People forget what Webber did to Massa in Fuji pit straight. Yet, Schumi got the stick .. because he is Schumi !

          He will leave when he wants to leave. We don’t need a article to question why he should hang around !

          1. Webber was against the line when Massa went over the line BEFORE he overtook Webber. It was Massa’s own choice to go over the line.

            Schumacher was in the middle of the track and he pushed Barrichello off track. Barrichello was “crowded” off track.

            That is why schumacher got punished. Massa got away with it because in fact he did keep half a wheel on track.

            People don’t blame Button for “pushing” Vettel off track in Australia either. Vettel, as Massa, choose to go off track by themselves.

      2. Hakkinen not good at overtaking!?

        Did you not see Spa 2000!?

        1. Well you can’t judge a driver on one incident but looking at the larger picture many a time Hakkinen had to come back from the 6th or 7th row to claim a podium.

    4. Nonsense. Sebastian is quicker on a single lap than Michael ever was but a 2o-something year old Michael would humiliate him when it comes to driving through the field which is far more impressive than watching somebody race to the flag with an empty track ahead of him. Both impressive but very different skills.

      1. Thats addressed to the PM.

  9. I get the impression that Schumacher really doesn’t like qualifying. Apparently the range in optimum set-up for qualifying and the race is quite large with the Pirellis, larger than we had with the Bridgestones. Schumacher’s race pace has looked pretty decent, if not as good as Rosberg’s, but he keeps getting into all these needless scraps as if he’s defending the lead with 2 laps to go. It’s probably an instinctive thing as Schumacher was such a cerebral racer.

    I think Schumacher is simply not as good, coupled with not being able to get the right balance between qualifying and the race and tangling too many times. Honestly he would probably be better sacrificing all qualifying and “doing Webbers”. Then he might have some of the joy back, carving the field up instead of defending from midfielders.

    1. I think he likes to have several laps to improve on himself during qualifying.

      1. Don’t you think that is better though? Seeing a driver improve constantly and showing their true pace instead of having to hook it up perfectly first time. Qualifying is very deceiving nowadays.

        1. I must say, I certainly enjoy seeing drivers slice a few tenths off several laps in a row to make a tense battle for pole.

          Sure, its impressive to have a smashing pole in from nowhere. But it is not as satisfying to watch and see how a driver gets there.

    2. Icthyes, I must disagree.
      Schumacher threaten to shake up the field during practice at Turkey, yet come pressure time, the wheels fell off.
      Schumacher is not handling the pressure, whether it be qualifying or racing. Maybe it’s the many years of running at the front that have hampered him, but Sundays drove was a joke. Michael displayed the driving skills of an amateur and while he has always been a great defender, I feel he’s become a great pretender.
      Shame to see as I’d like to see him up there as much as Id like to see Vettel start from the back off the grid

      1. I don’t see where we disagree to be honest.

        The thing about Sunday was that all people seem to remember was the Petrov incident, which if you look at it from an alternative angle looks a lot more like a video game overtake gone wrong than a Jerez-style shunt – when they make contact Patrov is actually pointing away from the apex, towards Schumacher. On balance it was still a scrappy race with poor pace, but not quite as bad.

        I’m just as ready to criticise Schumacher as praise him but I think it’s pretty obvious a lot of people just want to glee at the guy who ran rings around their favourites 10 years ago.

  10. Bigbadderboom
    11th May 2011, 10:44

    Has Schumis form dipped that much or is the calibre of the opposition so much better these days, much has been made of the “Playstation Generation” but perhaps todays drivers are simply fitter, quicker and more intelligent. Over the years many drivers have done something extra, Senna made it his business to understand the car fully, others have made physical condiotioning a priority, and Schumachers complete commitment to car development was often what gave him the edge. But every driver does all of these things now, they have learnt from great champions, perhaps now Schumi is struggling to find that edge. F1 is more about fitness and reactions now and unfortunatley age comes to us all, and with age fitness diminishes. I hope to see him call it a day at the end of this season, for the sake of his legacy.

    1. I dissagree youre either on the limit or your not and michael was always on the the limit pre comeback. He just cant find that extra two or three tenths, and i hope im wrong but i think thats his age.

    2. Well, he’s a champion of old battling it out with the young guns. There’s a certain sentimental ring to it. And, for what it’s worth, he actually does a decent job. In my opinion he’s just a bit too old to compete at the very top, but he’s still hanging in there, scoring points.

      Also, I think that the drivers aren’t much better now, than they were fifteen years ago. I feel like the sport is more forgiving today and drivers can afford more mistakes without being punished for them.

      Finally, I disagree strongly about Shumacher’s achievements being diminished by his “inability to judge when to stop”. His achievements will be just as impressive next year as they were four years ago. His achievements will be there, regardless of his success with Mercedes.

      1. Bigbadderboom
        11th May 2011, 16:02

        I agree Ben that for me his acheivements wont be tarnished, as for many people. Unfortunatly as younger fans enter the sport their living memory of Schumacher will be different to those that watched him through his whole career. And that is what I meant be his legacy. As for the sport being more forgiving, I’m not so sure, the sport is definatley different, requiring different skill sets. Obviousley the fatilities are (touch wood) almost non existant now, and incidents rarer. But the young new drivers have far more to contend with in the cockpit, whilst maintaining their speed. Schumacher was for me the best modern f1 driver but he is no longer the ideal fit for the sport he once was.

        1. Unfortunatly as younger fans enter the sport their living memory of Schumacher will be different to those that watched him through his whole career

          Being from a younger generation who really got into F1 during Schumacher’s reign I can agree that many of my generation will find it hard to see the ‘new’ Schumacher and believe that this was the man who was so dominant and relentless on the track just several years before. However, for me, I don’t think this period will ever stay in my mind. He will always be the guy who helped save Ferrari, who was ruthless, pushed the rules, relentlessly quick in a race and rarely had to carve through the field but when he did he could do it as though he was a terminator like at Brazil and that won’t ever fade. Hopefully I’ll remember the more pleasant side he’s shown of his character the last two years though…

          1. That’s well said Steph, I feel much the same about him now!

  11. Rosberg has typically been around two-thirds of a second on a hot lap.

    Maybe I’ve got this one wrong, but I think there should be a “faster” in this.

    1. To add something more productive to the article, I think the biggest problem Michael has is, surprisingly, his lack of confidence. This is not only due to being beaten by Rosberg, I think he can handle that. What’s his bigger problem is is that he is driving in a field which has neither fear nor respect for him unlike in his dominating Ferrari years. Back then, it was an achievement to beat him and his team – that leads to said “fear”.

      I don’t think he should end his career before his contract ends, but I am interested in whether Mercedes are patient enough with him. They were very patient with his brother and it seems like the patience has payed off somewhat – can a F1 team, however afford to wait four years for a driver to bring good results?

    2. Thanks Klon, fixed it.

  12. Mr JoeBlack
    11th May 2011, 11:15

    Actually, I’m really sad to Micheal in this shape.
    i believe F1 is very demanding sports, and the new changes, DRS specially will make it more complex for Micheal.
    the fact is Micheal older than the other drivers, hes reflex is slower, and this is explain why he is much slower in the qualifications than hes team mate by far. simply because of the use of DRS over a complete lap, which shows how rosberg the younger driver is able to handle it more efficiently.
    During the race Micheal is behind rosberg around 0.3 s/lap
    During the qualifications he is behind 0.6/sec

    DRS is the difference.

  13. I’ve found myself almost ignoring Schumacher, certainly more this year than last. He’s just become one of those anonymous drivers who wander around the midfield. Not far enough in front to be noteworthy, not having battles with anyone just behind, and not making a nuisance of himself at the back, and he doesn’t get too much television coverage either.

    It’s like he’s just not there any more.

  14. good work schuey! another 7 years and you’ll be on the podium!
    tbh though.. he has had some moments of pace this season, but his performance in turkey kind of nullified it all..

  15. The guy is used to winning. Why would he enjoy this?

    1. In fact he left motor racing because he didn’t want to simply race, he wanted to compete for the championship.

  16. not least his bizarre swerve into the back of Vitaly Petrov’s Renault during the Turkish Grand Prix.

    What? If by that, you actually mean “holding to his line and petrov sliding into his car”, fine, if not, just a weird thing to say.

    1. No that’s not what I meant.

      Schumacher had a clear view of Petrov’s car and clearly steered into the back of it. Even if Petrov had lost control of his car (and I’m not convinced he had), it was Schumacher who turned in and hit the Renault.

      1. It looked to me like he was trying to switch back and pull an over and under, but misjudged it rather badly and took off the wing.

        You seem to be suggesting that this was another Villeneuve incident. I don’t think that was the case.

    2. Even with rose tinted specs it was still 100% MSCs error

      1. It’s very hard to see, but check this animated gif posted by Burnout: http://i53.tinypic.com/2ymhild.gif

        Schumacher expected Petrov to make the apex, he starts turning wide, you can see a brief attempt at avoidance my Schumacher and then the two collide.

        It’s entirely obvious that Schumacher should have surrendered because Petrov was never going to make the corner. Pretty obvious, that is, if you know the other car is going to lose control and create a Renault-sized barrier to the apex.

        1. Petrov only lost control because Schumacher hit the rear of his car. He was already turning in when Schumacher hit him, and then the car straightened up and he didn’t make the corner.
          There happened a lot of overtakes there on the inside in that corner, and most of the other drivers were able to avoid hitting the car that overtook them.

          1. It was Michael’s dirty habit of trying to squeeze and intimidate drivers that caused it. He could have just chose a defensive line to begin with, but no, he was on the racing line and when Petrov got on the inside and beside him, he just kept squeezing him off line and almost off the track. You can clearly see that Schumacher’s focus was not on taking the corner but just making sure Petrov fails. That was some of the worst driving I have ever seen by any F1 driver.

        2. Cant get any clearer than what this gif shows, like I said above, schumacher is on his line, already conceded position, petrov brakes too late, slides, and hits schumacher. There is no “steering to the back of it” at all.

          1. At the point at which Schumacher turns left the Renault is still alongside him.

            Whatever Petrov was doing, whether he was in control or not, the car was there and Schumacher made the misjudgement of steering towards it.

        3. Thanks for the plug Icthyes, but I got that link from sw6569.

      2. He said so himself.

  17. The current generation of drivers are the most amazing F1 has ever had, but they hardly get any recognition for their ability.
    It takes the travails of Schumacher, to put into perspective, the quality of the field.
    Schumacher is well known for his ability to process a vast amount of onformation while driving. While I doubt many are his exact equal in that regard, one can still conclude that the driving abilities of his rivals, is hardly as a result of the weight of a lead foot on the throttle, but someting more cerebral

    1. I’m sorry but the theory that the current crop of drivers are faster just does not add up. A lot of people consider alonso to be the current “best driver” and schumacher had no problem beating him,in fact if it wasn’t for a couple of rare dnf’s in 2006 he would have taken the title from him.

      1. So maybe Alonso improved in the years between then and now? I think he learned a lot from 2007, 2008-09, being under pressure from Hamilton; maybe not right away, but with reflection, and working to be better in the not very competitive renault, and last year he again worked hard on himself and the team to get back into the WDC fight.

      2. But while Ferrari was on the pace after mid season, Renault really suffered a lot from suddenly having the Mass dampers deemed illegal as moveable aero devices. Without that it would have been a lot harder to catch Alonso.

  18. I think what Schumacher is showing is that it is just simply not possible anymore to spend three years out of the most advanced and fast moving sport in the world. Even for someone like Schumacher the changes between the cars he left in 06 and the ones he came back to last year are massively different.

    I mean Barrichello is of comparable age and is/has been performing as well if not better than Michael over the last few seasons but he has been part of the development process all the way through.

    I really don’t think age is that much of a factor, he’s probably lost a little bit of speed which is just natural but that three years out of the car really really hurt him most.

    Mansell won his title aged 39, Prost was 38 in 1993 and had a year out the year before so you can still compete at the top as you get older (granted they were in the best car but they were still dominant.) People talk about Mansell in 1995 but people forget he won the last race of ’94 and was competitive in comparison to Hill, he just realised the Mclaren wasn’t a great car and didn’t want to compete unless he was winning things. I think Schumacher is starting to feel the same way as we saw at the weekend.

    1. Exellent point.

  19. I think it was a mistake him coming back as a driver. For sure he’s a big talent and got great expertise to bring to a developing team maybe, but driving should be for younger guys, with quicker reactions and no fear. The drive should go to Bruno Senna or some of the many talented drivers on the scene. Schuey should impart his expertise as a team manager or owner (god knows he already has enough money!!)

  20. Mansell won his title aged 39, Prost was 38 in 1993 and had a year out the year before so you can still compete at the top as you get older

    No you can’t, no anymore and MSC is proof of that, and your examples are all approx 4 years younger than MSC is now, almost a lifetime in any competitive sport.

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