Briatore Confident Schumacher Will Win Races
Flavio Briatore has expressed his belief that Michael Schumacher will be instantly competitive in the new Mercedes Benz, and likely to win races – if not the championship upon his return to F1.
Briatore, the disgraced former team principal who is now banned from Formula One following his part in the crash-gate scnadal, was boss of Michael, 40, during his time with the Benetton F1 team where Schumacher won two of his seven world titles in 1994 and 1995.
“I think it’s a good thing for F1 (that he’s returned),” Briatore told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Knowing him, I think he’s reflected on it for a long time, and if he’s decided to come back it’s because he’s convinced he can still be quick.
“If you have a race-winning car, it [age] doesn’t matter much.
“The last season demonstrates this clearly, because the driver who’s become world champion is certainly not the best on the scene.”
Briatore reitterated his belief that Schumacher retired too ealry in 2006, and would have been competitive last season with Ferrari if he had been fit enough to stand in for Felipe Massa.
“I’m convinced that, had he been physically fit, he would have come back last season already with Ferrari,” continued Briatore.
“Michael belongs to that category of racing drivers who just can’t have a normal life, who can’t stay away from racing.
“And besides, I’ll repeat an old idea of mine: when he quit three years ago, he wasn’t ready to retire, he could have been competitive for two or three more seasons.”