Schumacher’s comeback was a mistake – Ecclestone

F1 Fanatic round-up

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2012In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone says Michael Schumacher shouldn’t have made a return to Formula One.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Schumi ‘shouldn’t have returned’ (ESPN)

Bernie Ecclestone: “With hindsight Schumacher shouldn’t have started [his comeback]. How would he have performed if he was in a Red Bull? Or a Ferrari? I suppose when he went there [to Mercedes] he expected the team to do a lot better than they have.”

Hamilton can roar Mercedes to F1 title, says Ross Brawn (The Sun)

“I think Lewis was just playing things down. I?m sure in his heart he wants to win and set pole positions, but he understands the journey we must go on.”

Button wants more accessible tyres (Autosport)

“As a lot of teams have, we’ve struggled to get it working and in the right region, and there just needs to be a bigger band of working range for everyone. It just makes it a little bit more fair. Some guys luck in to the tyres with their car at the start of the year and others luck out.”

Olympic Park F1 bid fails (Crash)

“Having looked at the different bids, West Ham has now been named as preferred bidder in a move that will end the dreams of an F1 race around the park, which hosted the successful London Games this summer.”

Rolex signs global partnership with Formula One (F1)

“Rolex, the leading luxury watchmaking brand and a pioneer of sports sponsorship, will become a major long-term partner of Formula One from 2013 as Official Timekeeper and Official Timepiece.”

Tweets

Comment of the day

GT_Racer believes the original proposal to reintroduce ground effect aerodynamics in F1 from 2014 was a good one:

A lot of people seem to believe that the scrapping of ground effects for 2014 was good because ground effects is too dangerous and would cause cars to take off and fly a lot easier. This is simply not true.

What was proposed for 2014 was not the full on ground effects that was seen in the early eighties, It was a more limited form similar to what is been used in many other open wheel categories around the world (GP2 and the new for 2012 IndyCar for example).

Categories that use the sort of ground effects that was planned for F1 in 2014 are not more dangerous and do not see cars flying through the air any more often than is seen in F1 currently and its all down to wheel to wheel contact rather than cars simply taking off for no reason because there running ground effects.

There were problems with ground effects in the early eighties, Problems caused purely by the fact cars were scraping the floor and had practically no suspension. Advances in technology and a better understanding of ground effects would erase these problems even if a full-on return with sliding skirts etc… was on the cards.

If the designers/engineers believed the proposed ground effects rules for 2014 were dangerous they would never had proposed them and the FIA would never have accepted/implemented them.

The reason the plan was eventually scrapped was purely because teams believed it would increase the cost?s too much as they would have to totally scrap current designs, plus they believe DRS is great and is working perfectly well so any big aero changes are no longer needed.
GT_Racer

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today.

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Five years ago today the FIA announced Renault would not be punished despite deciding the team had brought the sport into disrepute by using confidential information obtained from McLaren:

Advert | Go Ad-free

75 comments on Schumacher’s comeback was a mistake – Ecclestone

  1. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 6th December 2012, 0:23

    People (especially Bernie) should stop analysing whether it was a good or bad decision for Michael to return. It’s a moot point: The fact is that he did. He may not have gotten the results he or his fans wanted, but the only person who can determine whether it was worth coming back is Schumacher himself.
    From what I saw of him on TV over the past three seasons it looked like he enjoyed himself, despite the difficulties. He was relaxed and even likeable! The man loves F1, loves to race. I think Michael Schumacher made the right choice for himself. He was able to do what he loves to do for three more years.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 6th December 2012, 0:35

      @colossal-squid Amen.

      Although when Michael was asked by RTL in the Netherlands whether he enjoyed his comeback… he answered, “No, not really.” It’s hard to enjoy not winning after all. Still, he did say it was good for him and that he learned a lot from it, so no regrets.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 6th December 2012, 0:43

        Oh…that’s pretty depressing! That’s my theory kind of out the window. At least he doesn’t regret it. As a fan I got to enjoy his comeback, even if he never won!

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th December 2012, 8:30

        @journeyer

        when Michael was asked by RTL in the Netherlands whether he enjoyed his comeback… he answered, “No, not really.”

        Really? Hadn’t heard that. Was that in the race weekend in Brazil?

          • magon4 (@magon4) said on 6th December 2012, 9:20

            You misquoted (shame on you!). The question was: did you enjoy it more than the years before, and the answer was no, because success is always more enjoyable. But he did enjoy himself!

          • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 6th December 2012, 10:49

            Actually it’s an interesting video and you find in it the reason why Michael had to come back for the benefit of himself as a human, I’m sure that helped him a lot to become who he is, less arrogant, more accessible, fan as no fan from him will definitly agree he’s become a beter person and that’s enough to justify his return. We couldn’t let anyone do that, but he was still competitive in his car. He never was bad to the point where people suggest the team should change him (Cf Massa for example) that means nothing wrong with him still being in F1 …

          • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 6th December 2012, 14:44

            @magon4 Yeah, I may have misquoted there. Sorry about that. Still, I’m not sure he enjoyed himself all that much. Why dither over the career choice this year if he was? But what was important is that he made sure he didn’t let all that failure get to him and make him a grumpy old man. He took it in his stride and is all the better for it.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th December 2012, 15:20

            @journeyer Definitely one of the better interviews I’ve seen with Schumacher recently – very interesting, thanks for that.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th December 2012, 15:49

            Thanks for posting that @journeyer, quite an interview with Schumi giving a lot of insights in him.

    • Gerry de C said on 6th December 2012, 11:53

      +1

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th December 2012, 21:07

        While I do agree that it is really only MS who can decide whether the comeback was worth it or not, that doesn’t mean others aren’t allowed an opinion. BE’s is just one opinion, and in fairness to him, he does say ‘in hindsight.’

        In foresight, upon the announcement of MS’s return to F1 with Merc, Reubens opined that he had more to lose than to gain, and I agreed. While we didn’t yet know what his first Merc would be like until they ran some races and found themselves unable to fight for podiums, many people thought he would only need a handful of races to be up to speed, and Brawn even had him as 2010 WDC.

        Personally, I think any of this talk about him becoming a better person, a ‘kinder, gentler MS,’ if you will is a bit bogus because on the track he certainly showed the same bullying colours as before. If he is talking like he is less arrogant, just enjoying the racing, etc etc, I think that is more down to him not having the car to back up anything more. ie. he has been humbled without all the bottomless resources he enjoyed at Ferrari.

        And I think that is what MS’s return proved. The stripes didn’t change, but the package wasn’t there, and the results are there for all to see. Without all the resources the best one can say is that he was a bully who at best was at times slightly better than Rosberg, but usually not. No miracle worker after all. No incredible car developer. And I’m sure he didn’t enjoy being unable to fight for podiums, nor did he enjoy not having things like designer tires etc etc, but I guess he had to make it sound somewhat like he was just there to enjoy racing. I think he was humbled more than anything, but that’s just my one opinion.

        • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 6th December 2012, 23:44

          the best one can say is that he was a bully

          Looks like somebody else is showing their stripes. The best one can say of Schumacher in his comeback years is that he was not the master he once was, but still showed flashes of genius (Barcelona 2010, Canada 2011, Monza 2011, Monaco 2012) while also doing some questionable acts (Hungary 2010). To call him at best a bully is massively reductionist.

          I love the way some Schumacher haters take his comeback performances as proof that he was nothing special, that he won through having the best car, designer tyres ect. He was 41 when he returned, and has lost a lot of what made him such a great driver (the car beneath him being but one factor).

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 7th December 2012, 3:17

            But you see, I don’t think he “lost a lot of what made him such a great driver”, in terms of lost ability, or reflexes, or whatever age related factors might be implying that isn’t the one factor that is the car…I don’t think his age should have made that much of a difference, nor should it be used as an excuse since, if MS is to be the only one to judge the sense of his comeback, many think, then surely he must also be held responsible for asserting himself as F1-worthy at 41.

            I’ve certainly never said he was ‘nothing special…’ it’s just that I’m not the guy to look to to compliment him. I didn’t like his style on the track, nor his arrogance, nor his compilation of numbers on the back of a contracted subservient. He took way more luxuries ever afforded an F1 driver on the path to WDC(s) and was a boar on the track to boot. Simply not my style of driver nor sportsman. A good driver I’ll give him, but a genius? Maybe a very flawed one if that, but I think more accurately one needing not just WCC winning cars but pretty much dominant ones even when illegal, and one huge ingredient being the missing competing teammate in the only car in the rest of the field that could beat him, to win.

            Virtually all WDC’s need the WCC winning car, and MS had treatment on the team and within the rules structure at the time, to romp away with numbers galore until they were compelled to change it up with rule changes that started to disadvantage Ferrari. It seems he was even pushed out of Ferrari in 06, so high a maintanance regime he must have been to the team. They couldn’t sustain the deep pockets for ever, nor did F1 any longer need or want more MS/Ferrari predictability. Most MS fans agree and bemoan the fact that rules were changed to start to stop the dominance of MS/Ferrari, but yet deny that F1 was capable of setting the whole deal up to begin with. MS just went to Ferrari for the challenge. Right. Because he got tired of winning WDCs at Benetton.

            I think it very much comes down not just to the one huge factor of the necessary car, but the tires, the endless testing, the close relationship with the FIA and the extra money no doubt going back to 96, the contracted subservient as witnessed in plain full view in Austria 02, the whole team mantra at Ferrari as even recently admitted to by LdM…an awful lot went behind MS’s numbers that just wasn’t there for the last 3 years.

            The only thing MS brought with him from Ferrari besides his experience, was the bullying. Everything else he had, was lost. Of course he was going to have some shining moments…many good drivers did this year and in previous ones. If he did ‘genius’ things then NR ‘outgeniused’ him with a win and a huge amount more poles and points over the 3 years, and far fewer collisions and penalties. All when one would have understood him being more intimidated than that given all that MS has been built up to be and the treatment to which he had become accustomed. I think well more than feeling his age, MS felt a huge loss in luxuries that must have made it feel so much harder than for someone who will never know them to any degree close to that.

          • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 7th December 2012, 12:07

            But there you go again, attributing EVERYTHING about Schumacher’s success to an external factor. If you genuinely think that Schumacher was as good at 41 as he was at 28 I can’t really comprehend that. Time, and time away from the sport coupled with age, does more than you think and why Hakkinen never came back.

            He had subservient team-mates, but where on track did they ever really look like beating him? Are you saying journeymen like Irvine and Barrichello were capable of beating him on track anyway?

            Schumacher was at the centre of a Ferrari rebirth that included Jean Todt, Rory Byrne, Aldo Costa and Ross Brawn to name but a few. He took a huge risk and put in great performances in sub standard cars in 1996,1997 and 1998. But hey, Ferrari entitlement, FIA assistance and all the other tinfoil hat wearing conspiracies that say that Ferrari walked into their run of dominance through FIA machinations, rule manipulation and no hard work of Schumacher’s or anyone else’s.

            Also any proof of the situation that led to Schumi being pushed from Ferrari on 2006? I know he was shown the door at the twilight of his first career to make room for Kimi but the rest you spouted is absolute unfounded drivel.

            Your view of Schumacher is one of an entitled bully that never won fairly, or on a fair playing field and is highly overrated. I heartily disagree, as it would seem do most of those who watch F1 who would admit that he was one of the best at his peak. Look no further than the Forum, where Schumacher is being voted the best driver of the 21st Century (so far).
            I’m not saying he was a god. He was talented, determined, committed and also horribly ruthless. He was a flawed sportsman, a flawed human. So too are Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton. Schumacher the man and the sportsman is far too complex for me to accurately describe here, and you over simplify and hyper exaggerate some negative aspects to suit your own argument in my opinion.
            If you’re interested in a more or less balanced biography of the man I’d suggest checking out the excellent James Allen book The Edge of Greatness.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 7th December 2012, 16:09

            No not AN external factor…many external factors that no driver in the history of F1 has ever had all at once to such a degree for such a sustained period of time. And he had to go and be a bully to boot.

            “He had subservient team-mates, but where on track did they ever really look like beating him? Are you saying journeymen like Irvine and Barrichello were capable of beating him on track anyway?”

            Again with this…my questions are…why did he move from Benetton where he was winning? Why did he need subservient teammates? Could he not beat them on his own merit without a decision in the boardroom and a contract? They were never WDC level drivers so shame on Ferrari for that, plus they were driving a car built for MS. EI and RB were never capable, nor meant to beat MS, by team design, so we the viewing audience were robbed because we knew the outcome between MS and his teammates before they even turned a wheel. And we didn’t get to see how MS would have done with genuine competition, that is, until he had to go up against NR, who’s WDC ability is still to be proven, and we know the results there.

            I have no proof that MS was pushed out in 06 other than Steve Matchett on Speed saying recently that he saw LdM approach MS for a hug after his last race before his first retirement and MS practically recoiled in horror. There is other anecdotal info on this when those more in the know than you and I get talking about the possibility that MS wasn’t ready to retire yet in 06 but had his hand forced. I don’t just pull stuff out of a hat. Nor have you likely anything to disprove my comment.
            Btw, James Allen has always been an MS lover so I don’t think I would look to his book for balance. RB once said he would come out with a book and that we don’t know the half of what went on at Ferrari.

          • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 7th December 2012, 16:23

            I apologise, I misused the word ‘an’.
            We are both far too entrenched in our views on this matter to come to some kind of an understanding. I say Schumacher was one of the all time greats, although a flawed sports-person.
            You say he was and is a bully and had his success manufactured and manipulated for him, overlooking the huge skill he displayed many many times on track throughout his career.
            I thoroughly disagree for a many number of reasons. I’ve nothing more to say other than I think your personal bias has resulted in an unbalanced view of his career and achievements.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 7th December 2012, 18:25

            Yeah, that’s fair enough. We should agree to disagree.

            It’s not that I don’t think he has any skill, but I think that he didn’t do anything special in this sense…I think many drivers given the same treatment he got would have compiled the same numbers, only I don’t think they would have been bullys about it.

            If my view appears to be unbalanced, it’s because the treatment he got, and his behaviour on the track was unbalanced and was not an apples to apples comparison to the rest of the field. That’s the other side of the coin to him getting the treatment he did which allowed him to compile the numbers he did. His skill level is shaded by having non-competing contracted subservients that he didn’t have to beat first and foremost, and by having a designer car and tires when everybody else did not.

  2. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate) said on 6th December 2012, 0:25

    Hindsight is 20/20, Mr. Ecclestone.

  3. notTheStig (@iamnotthestig) said on 6th December 2012, 0:26

    So sick of people saying Schumacher’s return was a mistake/it’s ruined his legacy yadda yadda.
    If Schumacher himself has said that coming back made him a better man then who are we to say it was a mistake.
    Personally his comeback has made me a greater fan and i’m grateful for the extra 3 years i had watching a master perform

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 6th December 2012, 7:14

      If there is one driver I strongly dislike… its Schumacher. Yet I wouldn’t go as far as saying his comeback was a mistake. He added a lot of hype around the 2010 season, and whether he was crashing into other drivers or pushing them into walls, etc. he still added excitement to the sport. I think Bernie should get his head checked, as Schumacher might have not tasted success on his comeback but Bernie definitely profited from it… so I do not understand the point of him making this statement.

      Personally I’m glad he made his comeback…it went to show that the current crop of drivers are good enough to make a 7 time world champ look below average. It says a lot about the level of driving in the sport today

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 6th December 2012, 9:42

        I actually like Schumacher more as a result of the comeback.

        I never liked him before – too focused, to clinical, to uncompromising, to (sorry) German. The more recent, humble Schumacher – open to making jokes, enjoying himself, admitting fault – is much more tolerable a character.

        • @optimaximal – true but that’s what garnered him 7 titles! Vettel is similar in a sense that he is very focused on the job and is dedicated to improving his driving through reading over data and working with the engineers. For example, in Abu Dhabi last year (I know, it’s not really performance-based!) he looked over the data himself after his race was prematurely ended, whilst some other drivers would just do a few interviews and go back to the hotel!

          There is a crucial difference between the two though: Vettel manages to have a sense of humour as well!

          • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 6th December 2012, 20:59

            You’re right – it was his strength, but it made him incredibly hard to like if you weren’t of the same mindset/nationality and enjoyed him winning.

            My guess is Vettel understands this, which is why he is more open in interviews, but as Joe Saward has pointed out, he’s equally as closed when pressed on anything but F1.

      • spartacus (@spartacus) said on 6th December 2012, 9:59

        Yes Bernie should have his head checked he is loosing it….the man should call it a day

      • Personally I’m glad he made his comeback…it went to show that the current crop of drivers are good enough to make a 7 time world champ look below average. It says a lot about the level of driving in the sport today

        @ Todfod. You mean Lewis, Hamy, Nando, Seb are all 43 yrs old hence you compare the level of the Gret Master MSC. :)

  4. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 6th December 2012, 0:29

    I suppose when he went there [to Mercedes] he expected the team to do a lot better than they have.

    We all did, didn’t we? Mercedes, a big carmaker, and one with a lot of experience in F1, buying the champion team, was always going to be seen as a big challenger.

    • Theo1 said on 6th December 2012, 11:38

      Vicarious experience* as an engine supplier mostly, buying a champion* team which was manufactured by inputting $1 Billion and by sacrificing 2.5 seasons in planning. Everyone expected better of Schumacher, even if the team struggled, and atleast not to be flogged for 3 years by the young Rosberg.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 6th December 2012, 12:29

        Meh, to be honest, I expected more from Rosberg.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th December 2012, 21:13

          Considering all the accolades MS gets, and the historical numbers compilation he managed at Ferrari, I would say NR did amazingly well. The announcement of MS coming to Merc to be his teammate could have had him face in palm, quaking in his boots at the thought of being hung out to dry while they favoured MS ala MS/Benetton and MS/Ferrari. But it didn’t phaze him and in fact it seemed to do the opposite. And now he has won a race in a car that is a distant 5th in the WCC. I think we may have just seen the tip of the iceberg with Rosberg.

  5. Lateralus (@lateralus) said on 6th December 2012, 0:46

    This whole notion of “we don’t need big aero changes because DRS will suffice” is worrying. The current cars look like ****. They should at least make the cars looks slim and sleek and sexy before freezing the aero rules.

  6. TheJudge (@thejudge) said on 6th December 2012, 1:16

    It was a mistake because of Mercedes’s form,more or less. If it was a car like Button had in 09,then would’ve shined so bright,that most of you would be blind by now.

    • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 6th December 2012, 1:56

      I agree. I mean, when you think about it, Schumacher in 2012 has only made about 2 or 3 serious driving errors this season; and his pace was on par with Rosberg. Had he driven the Brawn of 2009, it would’ve been a whole other story.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 6th December 2012, 2:06

      It’s a pity he never really had a strong car, only at the start of this year, It’s very sad that things didn’t go right for him, he could have had a great season.

      • TheJudge (@thejudge) said on 6th December 2012, 4:39

        He did,what he felt was right at the moment. But it all turned out as it did,but I still respect him as the best driver in the history,because altough he didn’t win,he gave us the joy of that red helmet putting quite a few shows out there,and that is the best part of what we had. More memories.

  7. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 6th December 2012, 1:54

    I disagree. His comeback might not have been as successful as most people prospected, but you could see that the fighter in him was still there, and he still provided us with some memorable moments.

  8. Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 6th December 2012, 2:00

    So for the London F1 possibility, how does a team playing a sport inside the stadium prevent an F1 race weekend from taking place on the roads around the stadium? (unless they were planning some setup like in Mexico City where part of the track cuts through the stadium, but even still as seen in Mexico that can work) I mean I’m sure the FIA and the Premier League could work out a schedule where the F1 race is either before the season starts (so before August) or held on a weekend when West Ham has an away game.

  9. Michael Brown (@) said on 6th December 2012, 2:21

    No, it wasn’t a mistake. He didn’t perform as well as we all expected, but the problem was in the car. The Mercedes always had some problem with the tires that both Rosberg and Schumacher couldn’t get past. Towards the latter half of the season Mercedes started to fall back in qualifying and races, until they got to a point where neither driver scored a point in something like 5 consecutive Grands Prix. Nonetheless, Schumacher still put on some performances that echoed the Schumacher of old.

  10. Oblong_Cheese (@oblong_cheese) said on 6th December 2012, 2:21

    Love the Williams driver video!

    It shows that Pastor does actually know how to smile and has a sense of humor!

  11. icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 6th December 2012, 2:22

    “I think Lewis was just playing things down”

    Ross: The nature of Albert Park will suit MGP W04 better

    Lewis on Twitter: No, they don’t

  12. david d.m. said on 6th December 2012, 4:53

    Having read the article its not clear for me, does the Rolex partnership means they will now do the timings for all the sessions or just put a couple of boards with the time?

  13. Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 6th December 2012, 8:06

    FIA Officials will still work the timing & scoring and will continue to use whatever brand transponder they already use (not Tag Heuer probaly AMB which supplies them to most every other series in the world) and are just branded (read “Sponsored” by) as whatever watchmaker steps-up to foot the bill.

    Grand-Am, 24hrs of Le Mans, the Indy 500 (guessing Indycar in general) all are “Rolex” series for timing & scoring yet all use AMB transponders. NASCAR I believe lists Timken as theirs yet the actual transponders & timing equipment is AMB, etc..

    In the days before Electronic Scoring the “Timing & Scoring Brand” may have actually provided the timing equipment, but in the electronic age they’re nothing but just another product sponsor for the series to be slapped onto whatever equipment they’ve been already using.

  14. Dimitris 1395 (@dimitris-1395) said on 6th December 2012, 8:09

    I disagree with Bernie in every way possible. Schumacher showed in many races after his comeback why he is a 7-time world champion and he is considered to be the greatest driver of all time. And the only wonder should have been what would’ve happened if he ‘d started from pole in Monaco.

    • BigAlex said on 6th December 2012, 8:30

      Shumacher is part of F1 story, forever, that´s all. Watch Vettel now going to their 4th title, these Germans know how to drive a F1…

      • sorin (@) said on 6th December 2012, 8:59

        They have better cars.

        • @sorin – they had to earn their place in those cars! I can’t disagree with you in the respect that they had better machinery whilst winning their titles (by “best” I mean having the best overall package, not necessarily always the fastest) but they both did extremely well with it. The shared total of 10 drivers’ titles between Vettel & Schumacher is a testament to this.

  15. Obi-Spa Kenobi (@obi-spa-kenobi) said on 6th December 2012, 8:26

    Bernie needs to stop talking and retire himself. Of course Shumi wouldn’t have returned if he thought he wouldn’t have a chance. But he was teaming up with Brawn and a factory team. There’s nothing there that screams ‘bad idea’.
    While he didn’t perform up to anyone’s expectations, let alone his own, he did have his moments http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2012/11/30/top-ten-schumacher-comeback-moments/
    If he had been able to score a ride back with the Scuderia or on a Bull, there’s no doubt in my mind he would have done better. Though it probably would’ve been more along the lines of Webbah than Vettel.

    Personally I don’t think his reputation is tarnished. In my mind it’s bolstered by that fact that he still had the desire to go fast and compete.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.