Should Schumacher keep on racing?

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Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Singapore, 2012Michael Schumacher is out of a drive at Mercedes for 2013 following today’s announcement that Lewis Hamilton will join the team.

What now for the seven-times world champion? With no seats left at the top teams should he look for a way to stay in F1 or head back into retirement?

For

The third year of Schumacher’s comeback has been his most promising by far. In the seven races he and Rosberg have finished, Schumacher was ahead in all bar one of them.

His position in the championship does not do justice to his performances. Earlier in the season he lost a stack of points due to various car problems. He began the year holding third place in Melbourne until his gearbox gave up. In China a problem during his pit stop meant he had to retire having been running second.

Schumacher has been on an upward trajectory since returning to Formula 1 and he shouldn’t stop now.

Against

Schumacher was criticised after his embarrassing shunt during the Singapore Grand Prix in which he took out Jean-Eric Vergne. It earned him a ten-place grid drop for the next race as he’d had a similar crash at the Spanish round.

In the three years since he returned to F1 with Mercedes he has failed to emulate the success he enjoyed at Ferrari and Benetton.

With the top seats at Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes taken for 2013, and a move to Ferrari looking unlikely, he would not be able to drive for a top team, further diminishing his chance of being able to compete for wins.

I say

Rather too much has been made of Schumacher’s mistakes this year. Even when he was at his peak, Schumacher was prone to the occasional blunder, usually when battling in the midfield. In 2004, his most successful season of all, he had scrappy races in China and Brazil.

Schumacher clearly has the appetite to continue racing and although his options are increasingly limited, it’s possible he could. One option might be to ‘complete the circle’ by taking Sergio Perez’s place at Sauber, having been associated with them when they ran Mercedes’ sports car team in the early nineties.

But for a grid penalty and a fuel pressure problem he might have won the Monaco Grand Prix this year. I don’t think a driver who is capable of that needs to hang up his helmet just yet.

You say

Should Schumacher continue in F1? Cast your vote and have your say in the comments.

Should Schumacher keep on racing in F1?

  • Yes (63%)
  • No (37%)

Total Voters: 452

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120 comments on Should Schumacher keep on racing?

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  1. Victor_RO (@victor_ro) said on 28th September 2012, 20:14

    Not in F1. He shouldn’t hang his helmet up just yet, but if he remains associated with Mercedes, I would personally like to see him try his hand at GT racing in the SLS GT3 somewhere. Not DTM.

    • Commendatore (@commendatore) said on 29th September 2012, 2:37

      I voted YES – for Schumi to continue racing. But, if not (in a competitive team) in F1, than perhaps in WRC.

    • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 29th September 2012, 11:46

      Be interesting seeing him in Indy

      • Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 30th September 2012, 11:03

        For the Grand-Am race? l0l I doubt as his age he’d even consider running an openwheel car on an Oval in anything other then an exhibition run.

        I don’t recall off the top of my head what Mercedes is doing in the WEC this year (or well I guess next) so I’m not sure if he’d be able to keep the Mercedes link but I think a move from F1 to an WEC LMP1 car would be somewhat of a lateral move, be it to the Audi team or even sitting out 2013 & joining in on Porsche when they return to Le Mans style racing in 2014.

        Then again being a greedy American who grew up during the “Schumacher Era” I would love to see him come over here and try his hand at Stockcar racing.

  2. I guess you read my comment in today’s round up, Keith !

    I don’t think Schumi should stop. If a driver sets the fastest qualifying time at Monaco, then that driver clearly has a lot to give, even if he’s not at the peak of his career.

    It’d be sad to see him go now that he’s got in rhythm. People has been very harsh about his mistakes since his comeback, because they keep comparing his performances to his older self. But that’s no justice…

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 28th September 2012, 21:44

      But the weird thing is (and I expect this kept coming back to worry Ross Brawn), if Schumacher could just ‘resolve’ to blitz qualifying in Monaco and go fastest so that he could start sixth, why couldn’t he just resolve to do it elsewhere and start first?
      It almost seemed as though he would only try when it he thinks it was really necessary. Does he lack motivation?
      I voted for Michael to retire again for three different reasons.
      1) I think F1 needs a clear out of drivers to make way for the next intake – Schu, Webber, Glock and even Button, probably.
      2) Michael is devalueing his own reputation by performing below his previous best
      3) I hate to see former gods of racing slipping from great team to lesser team further and further down the grid – like fading rock star playing at smaller and smaller venues.

      • GeoR97G said on 29th September 2012, 8:03

        What is so difficult to understand dear fellow? In Monaco GP aerodynamic forces are minimal due to the low speed on track. So, the main problem for Mercedes GP -lack of downforce – is eliminated and the driver is on par with those of the top teams. It is a driver circuit (exactly on the opposite of Barcelona GP which is a car circuit). So, this year the talent and determination needed in Monaco proved to belong to Schumi more than to other drivers. As Senna somewhen lapped 1.5 secs faster than Prost in the same car. Clear enough?

        I want Schumi to continue in an F1 team that has a car which doesn’t destroy tires as much as Mercedes.

        • Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 29th September 2012, 13:48

          Then again Singapore has the lowest corner speeds of the season and Schumacher didn’t actually shine there.

          It’s nonsense that all cars would be on the same line in Monaco or that driving well in Monaco would tell more about a driver than other tracks. It’s just different aspects of the car that matter in Monaco, unless Schumacher can jump into my Volkswagen Polo and still compete for victory.

          Also, team mates have the same car on every race. Isn’t 1.5 second margin per lap against a team mate impressive on ANY track?

          • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 29th September 2012, 18:06

            wrong

          • Mercedes has had two problems. The first which we saw early in the season, was rear tyre wear. Their solution to this was to reduce the rear down force on the car in order to improve the tyres lifespan. Which is why they struggled for pace from mid season.

            In Monaco, tyre wear is not a big concern so they were able to perform. In Singapore however, tyre wear is quite high, we saw this by the number of pit stops people did.

      • Bobdredds (@bobdredds) said on 29th September 2012, 12:48

        Well as for clearing out older drivers, that should be done by beating them on the race track and only that way. Yes there needs to be more testing. It’s all very fine trying to cut costs but if safety is more important and the more experience the drivers have the safer it is.
        Michael is still no 1 for me, he was never going tto match his previous acchievements but he can still give any of them a run for their money when the car is capable of it. I would like to see him in a Sauber, it’s down the road from where he lives and the roads and views around Hinwell are just stunning. I reckon he could win races in a Sauber. Certainly he could make the podium and get valuable points for the team.
        As for former gods fading, thats just the way that we and they know when its time to stop. It never really affects their acchievements IMHO and is usually only a footnote.

        • Michael Brown (@) said on 29th September 2012, 13:35

          Let’s look at Trulli and Barrichello, who were struggling to match their younger teammates in 2011 despite being younger than Schumacher as well. He’s been doing better than if any other driver in their 40’s was still in F1, which shows his talent.

          • Trulli who was left to drive in a back of the field team and then dropped for a younger rookie… Or Rubens who retired to make way for a cashed up rookie.

            …. Wait… Older drivers DO leave because there are better (for whatever reason) young drivers available.

        • NomadIndian (@nomadindian) said on 29th September 2012, 17:56

          I also think going to Sauber for a final season is not that bad an idea…
          1. He clearly does not need to charge millions from Sauber.
          2. Rather, he could bring loads of sponsorship to a team which surely deserves it, perhaps also a better engine partnership, before 2014.
          3. It could be a chance for him to really lift a team from the Midpack/occasional front-runner to proper race challengers and create a maybe another legacy before bowing out.
          4. It would be fitting for Schumacher to team up with a Peter Sauber, someone who has fought and got his team so far, for a final season before the 2014 season.

      • on je najboljši voznik sam avta ni imel dobrga sauber je boljši od mercedeca

    • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 30th September 2012, 11:31

      I haven’t been impressed with MSC since his return and unfortunately it seems I’ll never get the chance. I think the Mercedes is a pig of a car, Brawn is over rated as a stand alone team principal and Nico Rosberg is proof of that. Neither Nico (which I rate highly) nor Michael have been able to achieve constant results in this car which I believe has no consistancy as Brawn and his gurus are forever changing it, trying to get the results their names stake. This however I believe is about to change. Brawn has built an empire of talent behind him, something he needs to succeed. The financial backing and wealth of talent should provide the car for Lewis that Michael deserved. Back to Michael, I believe his only option is Sauber. As much as that would be great to see, I unfortunately I think Poor old Peter has seen his best car yet this year and with James Key now gone, the excellent car that others have been copying parts off might just be the only chance Sauber has of being competitive. That would just leave Michael in another “middle of the field” car, therefore he may as well just retire now!

  3. Tommo N7 (@tommothfc) said on 28th September 2012, 20:15

    I voted no. Simply because there is not a decent seat available to him. I would like to see him stay in Formula 1, but not in a team like Sauber. Ideally I’d like Massa to reject a new contract at Ferrari and go back to Sauber or out of F1, leaving Schumacher as Ferrari’s best option as a stop-gap for Vettel potentially joining in 2014. But I think I’m more likely to win the lottery than that happening.

    • Valentino (@valentino) said on 28th September 2012, 21:26

      One year in Ferrari would be nice.

    • Schumacher stopped before in part so that Massa would have the Ferrari drive. He had a soft spot for Massa as someone he had nurtured. Now perhaps it is time for Massa to return the favour.

      I also don’t think Sauber is a bad option. The current Sauber is a very good car, better I think than the pilots. Perez is good, but you need a good car to show that, and the simple truth is that the Sauber has been capable of winning on at least 2 occasions this year. People underestimate Sauber, they have the best wind tunnel in F1, and have been on a continuous upward trajectory since its completion. They have all the facilities, good people and have taken more advanced steps than Williams at a succession plan for their figure head, and their culture has not suffered as a result. What they need now is someone who is quick, but can also develop the car and help them break into the the top tier. Schumacher fits the bill.

      In Schumacher’s “2nd career” he has improved constantly, and is now clearly doing better than Rosberg. No one is denying Rosberg should drive for the team Hamilton hopes will take him again to the title. Rosberg will feel he can challenge Hamilton, but if so then surely Schumacher can yet also challenge for the title.

  4. Michael Brown (@) said on 28th September 2012, 20:16

    He’s been beating Rosberg consistently this year. I know the points don’t show it but he’s shown increasing speed over three years, more than most younger drivers. I say keep him, because he will keep getting better.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 2nd October 2012, 18:02

      “He’s been beating Rosberg consistently this year.”

      Like the last race?

      At times MS has had slightly better pace than NR, but not dominantly so. And at times it has been NR that has had the better pace including a win. And this after 2 seasons that may have seen them trying to help MS out with their current rendition of the car moreso than NR who struggled less by far last year and the year before. And reliability of course has been an issue, but MS has also cost himself in 4 races with hits on other cars and ensuing penalties. MS’s experience has still only managed to ‘help’ the car be a distant 5th in the WCC.

      So we have gone from in 2010 Brawn telling us MS would be WDC that year, to him being soundly beaten 2 years in a row, to MS outperforming NR albeit not on the points sheet, to MS being out of a ride, to MS going to Sauber.

      Pack it in MS. Move to Sauber to what end? What close friends will you have there? What time to develope something? Don’t embarass yourself. Leave well enough alone.

  5. James (@jamesf1) said on 28th September 2012, 20:16

    I wish he could race forever, and I voted yes. I’ve followed him since 1994 when I first started watching F1 at 5 (on my own accord, no real interest from anyone else in my family). He’s been the man to beat for a long time, some might say since 1993.

    However, the realist in my knows that all things must come to an end at some point. There’s no denying Schumacher’s talent, he has more now in his later years than many have at the peak of the career. He also needs to consider the future of the sport. James Allen wrote yesterday of the ticking timebomb for F1 in the 5 years, where there will essentially be a group of hapless newbies due to limited opportunities to drive in an F1 car, and also due the money the bring along.

    I want him to stay, but all the same, the next generations of drivers need their shot too. Esteban Guiterez, Robert Wickins, Robyn Frijns – all quick drivers and need a chance. You could chuck Jaime Algusuari and Sebestian Buemi into the mix as well. Both are very young but have already been given the cold shoulder. F1 has proved thaet drivers need time to mature, but they werent given the chance.

    Schumacher is faced with a difficult decision, but it’s one that he will have to make eventually, only this time, for good.

    On a side note though, will he have another parade/pre-race party like last time. Will Kimi be in attendence or making himself lighter for the race? ;)

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 28th September 2012, 20:49

      I think that the best solution for that is to bring the GP2 cars closer to F1 performance, and getting the F1 stewards to steward the GP2/3 races (they might already, but I don’t know that).
      And, for the GP2 ‘owners'(?) (is that the right word), to buy 3 or 4 fairly recent F1 cars of similair performance, and then the GP2 person organises 3 days of testing or so at Paul Ricard for instance.
      Then, on the evening of the last day, the 3 or 4 GP2 drivers have a race of 3/4 F1 race distance, which is judged very harshly by the stewards, to prepare them for F1.
      Will be costly, but experience doesn’t come cheap.
      (to reduce costs for the GP2 owners (that’s what I’m calling them from now on) the GP2 drivers sponsors could partially pay for the testing and racing.

      • dragoll (@dragoll) said on 1st October 2012, 7:37

        @xjr15jaaag
        GP2 and GP3 was created to be feeder classes into F1 specifically, and I think its slowly starting to work. However, I would be reluctant to make wholesale changes to the categories whereby older F1 cars are bought and raced, I think that’s fundamentally wrong for a couple of reasons:

        1. To find sponsorship for GP2 and GP3 is hard enough because the sport receives very little exposure beyond the F1 paddock, so getting additional money to run an older model f1 car is not viable.
        2. F1 teams are hugely protective of their older equipment, there are still internals used from previous years F1 cars used in the latest incarnation for a particular team, e.g. Fuel Cells, electronics, etc… So having this available for purchase by GP2 & GP3 teams isn’t going to be something that someone like Ferrari, Red Bull or McLaren necessarily want.
        3. I honestly think GP2 and GP3 will improve over time and be the natural progression to F1. It just needs a few years under its belt spread its wings, so to speak.

    • Indranil Dudhane (@indranildudhane) said on 28th September 2012, 21:13

      Same here. I wish he could race for ever.
      There’s no doubt Michael is still one of the top drivers on the current grid. I’m however not sure of the position Michael is in now.
      On one side there are reports that Michael’s indecision led Mercedes to chase Hamilton. If that is the case, I don’t see why he would want to continue racing. Why would one work hard for 3 years and then just decide to go to a new team? Especially when you are towards the end of your career.
      On the other hand, there were reports Michael could take on an ambassadorial role at Mercedes. However, in today’s announcement, Mercedes have openly “thanked” Schumacher for his contribution. The kind of “thank you” you say when someone is leaving. Neither have they announced Schumacher is retiring nor are they making him an ambassador. So does that mean he has been sacked?
      I remember Schumacher saying “It would be pity if I didnt win a race in my comeback”. So, has Schumacher suddenly decided it’s ok if he didnt win (Clearly, a win in the last 6 races this year is unlikely)?
      I get a feeling its the latter that is true. Saying Michael was indecisive is just PR. Mercedes wanted Hamilton more than they wanted Schumacher to continue. Schumacher would have preferred giving Mercedes one more year but I dont think it was in his hands.

      If he really wants to continue, he could think of going to Sauber or Williams. I think he should continue. I dont think he will.

  6. I voted no because I’d rather see him come to Indycar. Perhaps he can rejoin Rubens?

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th September 2012, 21:09

      He once did an interview with 60 Minutes, probably a decade ago or so, but he pretty much dismissed Indycar entirely. Unless his attitude has changed, I don’t see him making the hop across the pond like Rubens did.

    • I don’t think it’s gonna happen. Rubens’ had his friend in IndyCar that persuaded him to go racing there, I don’t think IndyCars are something Schumacher ever considered. If anything, he’d probably move to Le Mans or that kind of stuff… if he wants to continue.

      Come to think of it, with Michael’s current connections with Mercedes, and Mika’s recent races with the SLS… wouldn’t it be great if both of them teamed up?!

  7. F1antics (@f1antics) said on 28th September 2012, 20:21

    Your poll is a bit confusing because you ask the question “Is it time for Michael Schumacher to leave F1?” followed by “Should Schumacher keep on racing in F1?” on the next line. I almost ticked the wrong box.

    My answers are No and Yes. He’s still got a lot of followers, he still entertains, and he surely still adds value to any team that would have him. Personally I’d like to see him in a different car/team to see if he does better elsewhere. But I think it’s right that the stewards should keep an eye on him to discourage over-aggressive driving.

  8. literalf1 (@literalf1) said on 28th September 2012, 20:24

    Putting aside all the financial and marketing benefits Schumacher can offer a team like Sauber, I still think Schumacher, the driver, deserves a drive in Formula One next year based on a meritocracy alone. I’m glad you pointed out the stat he’s only once finished behind Rosberg, provided he has finished. Obviously some of it is his own doing and largely it’s been the team’s unreliability slipping away points.

    However, I don’t think Sauber is were he should be, provided the immense legacy he comes with. He sadly doesn’t seem to have any other choice.

    A 43 year old man who wants to coast to retirement doesn’t go testing in Magny Cour…

    • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 29th September 2012, 0:16

      i’d like to add that in regards to this

      “Schumacher was criticised after his embarrassing shunt during the Singapore Grand Prix in which he took out Jean-Eric Vergne. It earned him a ten-place grid drop for the next race as he’d had a similar crash at the Spanish round. ”

      jenson button did the exact same thing on vettel but with out crashing and no ones saying he should retire.

  9. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 28th September 2012, 20:29

    Accidentally picked one; misread the question.
    Could you change my vote to yes please Keith?

  10. Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 28th September 2012, 20:33

    There is very little doubt that Mercedes is getting rid of the faster of the two drivers in 2012. And frankly, there’s no evidence Mercedes would have given him a better car in 2013 than Sauber or Williams could (just saying, the most “likely” options).
    I think the situation is: He’s still a very good driver, He’s still motivated, and a 2013 Mercedes seat could, not at all unlikely, be worth of any other middle of the field seat. He should keep racing, and I’d be extremely disappointed otherwise.

  11. zippyone (@zippyone) said on 28th September 2012, 20:34

    I just ticked the wrong box – duh. Mean’t to tick YES he should carry on !

  12. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 28th September 2012, 20:38

    Yes. He is improving, his 2012 seasons been so much better than 2010, but that’s not showing because of a mediocre car and poor reliability. He is still capable and better than 2/3rds of the current grid. Schumi should go back to Ferrari IMO.

  13. I’m sincerely hoping he stays on with Mercedes in some technical or test driver role. I think a combination of Brawn, Hamilton, Rosberg & Schumacher could be a beautiful thing.

  14. Yes he should continue to race…He proved he still can kick the younger guns *** especially on that uncompetitive cars. Talking about the mistakes Schumacher wasn’t the only one driver that made it even current top drivers prone to error. If in the Red Bull no doubt he will win races easily

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th September 2012, 21:13

      Agreed, though I think any of the drivers from the top 4 or 5 teams could have won a race or two had they been in a RedBull the past couple seasons, I think Schumacher could have potentially won an 8th WDC in one.

      The RedBull rise to dominance has almost been a shame really, it has been great for Vettel, but it essentially sidelined the most competitive field F1 has ever seen for a year of the SV show.

      • Felipe77 said on 29th September 2012, 21:28

        Do you guys know if there is a chance he can drive in RBR ? Contracts don’t mean a lot in F1 anyway and I think Michael would be happy to be the number 2 of his friend and countryman Sebastian Vettel (at least he would prefer that better than to be Alonso’s number two) with chances of winning some races to reach 95 even 100 :). Also Schumi driving a Newey designed car would be epic.

  15. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 28th September 2012, 20:51

    I don’t look at it in terms of ability, I look at it in terms of timeliness and dignity . He needs to go simply because the time has come. In the recent past we’ve had far too many ageing drivers clogging up the grid and making cringe worthy appeals in the media along the lines of “please I want to stay pleeeeease”.

    There are so many places he could go and drive I just don’t understand the urge to continue in F1 when it’s just not happening for him. Even if he didn’t want to drive anywhere else he is a ludicrously wealthy man. Go and enjoy your $ucce$$ Michael and bask in your position as an elder statesman of Formula 1.

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