A former team mate of Michael Schumacher who wished to remain anonymous has made the audacious claim that Schumacher is no longer good enough to drive in Formula One.
Schumacher, 41, rejoined Formula One in a shock move just before Christmas to race for the all German Mercedes Benz team alongside Nico Rosberg. However, any fears that his neck would not be able to cope with the pressures following a motorbike accident in Germany were muted because of the performance of the former world champion. He has yet to beat his team mate in a race, and despite scoring regular points thanks to the new 10 place scoring system he has been relatively poor with his racing.
One would have thought he would excel in the damp conditions seen in China, the sort of races where he would dominate back when driving for Ferrari, however he did not, with fumbled tyre changes and a genuine air of nervousness over his car-pit radio system.
“I can tell you, he was always very vulnerable when he lost, whenever I beat him; it was as if he needed a cuddle afterwards.” One of his former team mates told The Independent newspaper.
“You can see his head has dropped after four races in which Rosberg has been quicker; he just isn’t used to that. He is the kind of guy who even when we were at the Madonna di Campiglia pre-season skiing publicity event with Ferrari in the old days, he had to be the fastest. And if he wasn’t, he would keep demanding another go until he was. That’s how driven he used to be.
“After the beating he got on Sunday, in conditions in which the old Michael Schumacher excelled, I don’t think he’ll ever come back to his old level.”
Speculation is now rife to the source, which has been touted as former team mate Eddie Irvine who moved to Jaguar in 2000 after a few seasons with Ferrari, or perhaps Rubens Barrichello who now races with Williams and spent much of his time with Ferrari in the shade of the former master.
Michael Schumacher has been, unsurprisingly, the cause of increased viewing figures of F1 in his homeland of Germany.
The 7 time world champion sensationally made his F1 comeback last weekend in Bahrain, and while national F1 broadcaster RTL expected slightly higher viewing figures they were astonished by the actual statistics.
In 2009, 5.3 million Germans tuned in to watch the Australian Grand Prix, the first round of the season. Last weekend, some 10.5 million people, about 50 percent of the available market share, tuned in to watch Schumi make his return with Mercedes.
“We did expect higher viewing figures but we never dared to think that they would be that much higher,” commented RTL’s Manfred Loppe.
Michael Schumacher got behind the wheel of a GP2 test car today as he begins preparations for his eagerly awaited Formula One comeback.
The seven time world champion signed a contract to drive with the Mercedes Benz team, reuniting him with the sport that delievered him so much success, and the man that helped him – Ross Brawn.
The multi-million pound, 3 year contract will see Michael race until the age of 44.
Since retiring in 2006 he worked as a consultant and occassional tester for the Ferrari team, and was set to replace Felipe Massa mid-way through last season when the Brazilian got injured in a massive accident, but was unable to do so due to a neck injury sustained in a motorbike accident. This test is designed to show he is now over that injury.
However, despite some good running and completing some 52 laps, his day was cut short by poor weather conditions. He will pick up the action again tomorrow and Thursday.
“The day today was good especially because after a long time I could drive again in a car that came almost close to a current Formula 1. Despite the weather not being what we all would have liked all my senses were nevertheless on full alert – this alone was worth it,” he said.
“I felt comfortable out on the track from the very beginning, and naturally I’d like to thank our Team and the GP2 series very much for the opportunity to drive.”
Michael Schumacher’s Formula One return with Mercedes Benz has been confirmed today after an official announcement with the German driver.
Schumacher, who will be 41 at the season opener in Bahrain, has been signed on a three year deal.
He is known as the most successful F1 driver ever, with 7 titles and some 91 wins to his name and painted Formula One red with a highly successful period in the early 2000’s with Ferrari.
Ferrari as a team, and its fans will be bitterly disappointed on the announcement of Schumacher’s return with a rival team, and not with the Scuderia who make their 2010 title assault with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
“The motivation I think is pretty straightforward,” Schumacher said. “The call I got from Ross at the end of November concerning the chance to go racing, Mercedes being involved, I felt great.
“I never left the race track. I was tired of F1 by the end of 2006, but in three years of absence I got back all the energy that I am feeling right now. I played around with motorbikes and I feel ready for some serious stuff now.”
“It [Mercedes GP] is a team that has won both championships this year,” he said. “With Mercedes Benz as a strong partner, our aim can only be to fight for the championship.
“There will be strong competition, as we have seen, but I am thrilled to be back in this one.”
“I played around with motorbikes, and I feel ready for some serious stuff now.”
Schumacher returns to team up with Ross Brawn a man who helped mastermind many of his titles through the years with Benetton and Ferrari.
The unstoppable duo will be back, with German backing and Nico Rosberg too. Ross was understandably delighted that Schumacher is back.
“I asked Michael that question and he is the best judge of what he can do,” Brawn said. “I trust him explicitly and he told me he can do it.
“He has always been his own best critic, the man himself knows what he is capable of. I am very comfortable and confident and put my trust in Michael, and it won’t be misplaced.”
The comeback of Formula One’s most successful driver Michael Schumacher now looks to be just a matter of hours away.
The German driver will be racing for the Mercedes Benz GP team in a shock come back, the first time he will have raced since quitting the sport at the end of 2006.
Schumacher, who will be 41 at the season start, ended his career after a record number of World Championships, wins and pole positions. He has been working for his team, Ferrari, since retirement as a special consultant however it is understood he has been released from the role within the team.
He almost made a Ferrari comeback part way through last season, when it appeared he would drive in place of injured Felipe Massa but a motorcycle accident sustained earlier in 2009 put pay to that drive, Schumacher had injured his neck.
Now all Mercedes Benz are waiting for is a 100% health confirmation, which could come through within hours or just a matter of days and then announce a deal with Michael – a contract which could potentially have a record salary.
Fans of Ferrari will be no doubt disappointed that their prodigal son and hero Schumacher will be leaving the team, some have branded him a “traitor” already.
“I hadn’t spoken to him since Abu Dhabi but I spoke to him yesterday (Wednesday),” Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo told a news conference yesterday evening.
“He phoned me and he told me that there is a very, very, very strong possibility [of racing for Mercedes-Benz]. Having said that, it is not 100 per cent decided. But that is what he said yesterday morning.”
“A guy called Michael Schumacher told us at Monza (in September) he would renew his (Ferrari consultancy) contract,” Di Montezemolo said. “And it looked like his career would finish with Ferrari.
“But then there’s another one who looks like him, 40, 41 yrs old, German, same name and decided to do a new career.
“Everybody in life can do what they prefer, and I understand that there is somebody at 41 years who wants to try again.
“So I think it’s possible this twin, another Michael Schumacher, same age, same capability, some determination and spirit, will drive for Mercedes next year.”
Montezemolo added that as a friend, he was glad to see Schumacher return and would be rooting for him. He also part acknowledged the Ferrari fans unhappiness towards the move, but stated he was happy to see Schumacher in a Mercedes.
Michael Schumacher has made the unprecedented step of cancelling his Formula One comeback after he claims to be suffering from neck related problems.
The German 7 time world champion was announced as being Felipe Massa’s substitute driver after the Brazilian was forced to miss the Hungarian GP after an accident in qualifying. So severe was this accident, he has only recently left hospital and returned home in Sao Paolo.
Schumacher had a motorbike incident in February which caused him some neck problems, and after testing an F2007 Clienti machine he found his neck unable to withstand the G-Forces put upon it.
Its a bitter blow for the German, and for his legions of fans and adversaries who were looking forward to the return of the “meister”. Indeed ticket sales for the otherwise unloved Valencian race skyrocketed, but many will be left feeling mis-sold and disappointed.
“Yesterday evening, I had to inform Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and team principal Stefano Domenicali that unfortunately I’m not able to step in for Felipe,” he said.
“I really tried everything to make that temporary comeback possible, however, much to my regret it didn’t work out. Unfortunately we did not manage to get a grip on the pain in the neck which occurred after the private F1-day in Mugello, even if medically or therapeutically we tried everything possible.”
“The consequences of the injuries caused by the bike-accident in February, fractures in the area of head and neck, unfortunately have turned out to be still too severe,” added Schumacher.
“That is why my neck cannot stand the extreme stresses caused by Formula 1 yet. These are the clear results of the examinations we did on the course of the past two weeks and the final examination yesterday afternoon.
“As there were no improvements after the day in Mugello, I decided at short notice on Sunday to do that thorough examination already yesterday.
“I am disappointed to the core. I am awfully sorry for the guys of Ferrari and for all the fans which crossed fingers for me. I can only repeat that I tried everything that was within my power. All I can do now is to keep my fingers crossed for the whole team for the coming races.”
Never one to shy away from controversy, Niki Lauda has said that Michael Schumacher’s return to Ferrari and F1 could well show Kimi Raikkonen up.
Raikkonen, the 2007 World Champion has not really performed well since his championship win, and with a poor car in 2009 the team have been sliding. His second place in Hungary last week is his best result of the season thus far. Lauda reckons Schumacher’s return will force him to be faster.
Lauda himself made an F1 comeback after retirement in the 1980’s and won the world championship. Whether Schumacher can do the same thing is unknown, but highly unlikely. Race wins and podiums are expected, but he has 10 races less experience than the other drivers, doesn’t know Valencia and may well not be fit.
“The most interesting thing will be to see him up against Kimi Raikkonen in the other Ferrari – who will be faster?” the Austrian told Britain’s Daily Mail. “Put it this way: Kimi has to get his act together or be shown up.”
Michael Schumacher, the most successful racing driver of all time has made the shock decision to come out of retirement to race for Ferrari from the next Grand Prix onwards after Felipe Massa’s unfortunate incident in the last grand prix weekend.
Schumacher, who won the F1 world championship 7 times, will now spend the next few weeks preparing himself to drive the Ferrari F60 car, he has not tested it thus far. The last time Schumacher drove an F1 car was testing in 2008, and he retired in 2006 at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Since Massa’s incident, rumour has been flying about who would replace the Brazilian for Ferrari, and now the rumours are put to bed as Schumacher returns.
“The most important thing first: thanks God, all news concerning Felipe are positive. I wish him all the best again,” said Schumacher.
“I was meeting this afternoon with Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe.
“Though it is true that the chapter Formula 1 has been closed for me since long and completely, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I am, I also very much look forward to facing this challenge.”
The popular BBC motoring magazine show Top Gear returned to UK television screen’s this evening with a brand new series, and a promise that the infamous “Stig” character would be revealed.
The Stig, also known as the Tame Racing Driver has been a prominent feature of the show since it returned to television screen’s under the guidance of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and later James May. The original Stig, former F1 and sportscar driver Perry McCarthy was killed off in a fictitious aircraft carrier accident using the old TG Jaguar after he revealed his identity in his Autobiography.
The new white overalled Stig’s identity has been talked about on the internet for years, with most fans thinking it was either Ben Collins or Damon Hill. After Hill visisted Top Gear and was photographed with The Stig, Ben Collins was the sure favourite for the role.
However when Stig finally removed the white helmet for the first time it was indeed Michael Schumacher under the lid, the famous 7 time F1 World Champion. He had a brief, comic interview with Clarkson after hustling a Ferrari FXX supercar around the track in a 1.10 lap time taking it to the top of the powerlap leaderboard over the Gumpert Apollo.
Clarkson jokingly pretended not to recognise the German driver and asked him his name, before shouting to the audience: “It’s Michael Schumacher!”
“As a television moment, it’s up there with Neil Armstrong walking on the… corpse of JR Ewing,” Clarkson claimed in The Sun this morning.
Rumour’s have started that the German isn’t the Stig and was only brought in to drive the FXX, but I think if the show is to be believeable then we have to give Clarkson & Co the benefit of the doubt that The Stig is the greatest racing driver of all time. What a fitting man to be under the overalls.