Schumacher fan or not, you have to admit it’s about time that Michael Schumacher made his return to Formula One. Yes, he’s physically taken part in four grands prix already this year, but we’re yet to see the ‘King of F1’ back on the track, showing up the crop of youngsters and proving to the world that he won seven world titles not for circumstance, but because he really is that good. With Formula One now heading back to it’s European home, it’s time for the German legend to make his proper comeback.
With rumours of his comeback surfacing after Massa’s near fatal crash last year in Hungary, excitement was massive and every man and dog on the planet looked forward to seeing him back in the shiny red car alongside Raikkonen. It never happened, and in hindsight that was probably a good thing with the 2009 prancing horse proving to be more of a pony, making good drivers look tardy, you never would have thought that Fisichella moving from Force India to Ferrari would be the beginning of the end of his career, which it has pretty much ended up being.
When Alonso was finally confirmed for 2010, rumours begun again of Schumacher coming back to partner the Spaniard, there was even talk of a third Ferrari on the track. It never happened, but Schumacher’s comeback came in the form of him reuniting with ol’ pal Ross Brawn at the ‘new’ Mercedes GP team – a dream marketing scenario for the German manufacturer and potentially a dream team with Ross Brawn who worked with Schumacher on all seven of his world championships. Unfortunately it remains a dream so far in 2010, with Schumacher looking slow against Nico Rosberg who’s currently lying 2nd in the championship.
Before his return in 2010, everyone including ring-leader Bernie Ecclestone tipped him to come back strong and be winning or at least challenging for victories – no one predicted his results to leave him with only 10 points (or only 2 points under previous the points scales). Stirling Moss, for example was very excited at the prospect of Schumacher’s return, but last week it became clear that Moss’ opinion has changed massively and following the four races so far in 2010 he’s proclaimed that Michael is “past it now” and that he’s “damaging his achievements” and even went on to say that team mate Nico Rosberg’s relative performance shows that king is over-rated…
…is he over-rated? No, it’s not possible to over-rate a driver who has claimed titles against some of the other greats of the sport such as Hill, Hakkinen, Alonso to name a few – but is he past it now? It’s difficult to say – we hope not, because if so his current ‘legend’ status will be tarnished. Some are questioning whether it would be worse for Schumacher to quit now or to stay on for the rest of the season with no improvement. A tricky call, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves – Schumacher has every chance to make his comeback yet and it will be all the sweeter after the recent bashing he’s taken in the media.
Let’s look at Schumacher’s words after each of the four races in 2010:
- Bahrain, round 1: After three years away, I’m happy to say that I had fun out there today, especially at the beginning with the good start that I had. I can live very well with sixth position and it gives both me and the team a good base to make progress. I have every confidence that we will improve the car.
- Australia, round 2: I could have had a good race today so it was a pity that I was hit right after the start. That incident decided my race obviously. But things like that happen and you have to just say ‘that’s racing’.
- Malaysia, round 3: It was a shame that I could not finish the race but unfortunately the wheel nut on the left rear wheel was lost. The car suddenly became very unstable in turn six and I could hardly steer and had no drive left.
- China, round 4: Today was one of those races that you do not want to remember, just like the whole weekend really. It was not good for me and not good from me. You have to take it as another experience and accept it even if it is frustrating that I was not able to get my tyres together better.
So, by round 4 he was obviously massively disappointed and downbeat, but, looking at the big picture – it’s hardly a massive disaster – sure, it’s not the best comeback he could have had, but the first race was fine, the second one was chaotic with the weather, but he was hit at the start by Alonso, race three he was forced to retire and China was just a bad weekend – something all drivers have from time to time, just ask Lewis Hamilton about Australia.
And so, here at Badger we’re taking a more positive look at Schumacher’s comeback and have decided that it’s yet to come, it’s definitely in the post and none of the current crop of drivers have written off the threat of the most successful driver in grand prix history. This coming weekend’s Spanish GP could be his first proper race, he’s got a new chassis so the ‘dodgy car’ excuse is no more and he’s had plenty of time to get adjusted to being back in the sport. Your time is now Michael, race hard, like only you know how and make the Spanish GP, the “Return of the king” – it won’t half make the 2010 season a thriller.
So what’s your view on Schumacher and his chances of a comeback? As ever, here at Badger we’d love to hear your thoughts… leave a comment below!