Schumacher's Next Two: The Decisive Weekends?


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I think it is fair to say that Michael Schumacher's comeback has not gone as well as Schumacher or his fans would have hoped when it was announced he would return in 2010. His stats remain constant: 91 wins, 68 poles, 76 fastest laps and 154 podiums.

However, there has been, particularly towards the latter end of 2011 and the early knockings of this season, some room for promise from Schumacher's performance. He has come a lot closer to his team-mate, Nico Rosberg, beating him in the first two of this year's qualifying sessions. He still only has two points to his name this season, but it is obvious that he would have had more if not for misfortune.

The Circuit de Catalunya, meanwhile, is somewhere that Schumacher has always run well at. Six wins and six other podiums were the headlines from his earlier career, which is unbelievable by anyone else's standards and above-par even for his. Monaco has seen five victories for Schumacher too.

More relevant, however, is that the Michael Schumacher of 2010-11 has excelled at these tracks. His fourth in Barcelona in 2010 is his joint-best result since his return, he beat Rosberg at Barcelona in 2011 too and his two failures to beat his team-mate at Monaco have been down to a regulatory ambiguity and retirement respectively.

Therefore, do the next two weekends offer that best chance for Schumacher to notch win #92? The Mercedes is clearly faster than it has been, and in Rosberg's hands it was a race winning car in Shanghai. Schumacher should achieve a podium this season, with one probable and one possible podium ruined by retirement this year already, and coming up to two races where he has run well in the last two years, surely this is his best opportunity.

Of course, I'm not saying that if he doesn't get a podium now, then he will bow out without achieving one this season. If he doesn't have to start at the back at Spa as he did for the last two years there may be an opportunity there. But I would suggest that Schumacher's fans have reason to feel hope that his first time on the steps for five and a half years should come soon, and maybe even see him achieve one of the more special landmarks left for him to achieve. 92 is a significant milestone because he will have won as many races as Prost and Senna combined, should he achieve it.
Even though this is certainly the time to do it, it's going to be a behemoth accomplishment if he does it, Rosberg has the confidence to continue his winning streak and the other teams are expecting to make ground is Spain. It's true it's crucial for Schumacher to grab this opportunity. If he is unable to take that elusive win, it may be the time for him to step down. In some way is great to have him around, but he's no longer the man that could trounce the opposition without breaking a sweat. On the other hand if he does achieve success, my hope is that he figures out the right time to hand his helmet. Others were not wise and kept going when they shouldn't have.
If he has an incident free race, I think he'll go well in Spain. I don't think a win is likely, but a podium or 4th place is definitely possible. I believe his best chances of victory lie in Monaco, Spa or Monza. Unfortunately, I think the lack of success is what is making him soldier on, so a victory or two might lead to him retiring at the end of the season.
I guess it's hard to compare Schumi and Kimi's comebacks since it could be said that this years Lotus may be more competitive relatively speaking than the Mercedes was for Schumi on his return. However, even taking into consideration the issues Mercedes have had with their car, I can't help thinking that Kimi has done somewhat better. This leads me to think that it is highly unlikely that we will ever see Schumi replicate his best form or result.

Arguably, several things have happened that will go against a true resurgance of form. Not least is the fact that he no longer has the absolute number one status that he had at Ferrari. His team does not have the favouritism that was so blatantly afforded to Ferrari by the sports governing body.

Finally, I think although he has not lost any of his craft and agression, I also don't think he has lost any of his on track arrogance. The young bloods out there don't have any of the reserve or trepidition about locking wheels with him unlike many of his competitors in the past. Many a time I watched the other guys jump out of his way like frightened rabbits just because it was Ferrari red filling their mirrors.

He is back but without some critical advantages that he had in the past. Anyway, time will tell. It will be interesting to see if he will prove me wrong ... and I won't be displeased if he does so.

Please Note: I'm sure that Ferrari supporters will have an alternative view to the favouritism point but I've watched the machinations of Ferrari, the FIA and Mr Ecclestone long enough to stand my ground on that one but i won't be engaging in an argument about it, sorry.

IMHO, the only disadvantage MS has now relative to the other drivers is his age. Mid 40s is ANCIENT in F1 terms. If he were 10 years younger, I think he would mop the floor with all of the other drivers.

As for "on-track arrogance"--name a top-flight driver who lacks that. It is part of what it takes to reach that level.
siffert_fan 40 is only old if one lets one's fitness and reactions slide. There is also the benefit of experience. Age may be a problem for him but I doubt it as he is extremely fit and as far as i can tell his reflexes are in god shape. With regard to arrogance, I believe that there is a fine line between having self belief and confidence and having a mindset that says that one owns the track and (at the extreme) thinking one hs a god given right to be number one. And, yes arrogance is not a trait exclusive to one competitor.
I guess it's hard to compare Schumi and Kimi's comebacks since it could be said that this years Lotus may be more competitive relatively speaking than the Mercedes was for Schumi on his return.

Don't forget it would have been easier for Kimi as he was still in F1 after the BIG aero changes for the start of 2009, along with the fact that he had only been away for 2 seasons so things wouldn't have been that different for him coming back into the sport. As far as Schumacher is concerned, this season he has shown that he still does have the pace to compete towards the front, but for various different reasons over the first 5 races has failed to turn it into a complete weekend of performance. It's still hard to judge where he fits in with the 2012 picture as most of his races so far have been affected by incidents or reliability.
siffert_fan 40 is only old if one lets one's fitness and reactions slide.
You can't do anything about reaction time and general strength as you age.

I've been going to the gym since I was a teenager, for the last 30 years or so.
I can't lift as much as I could even 5 years ago, can't run as fast, can't react as quick, etc.

I said it at the time that Schumacher would never be able to perform as he did before he retired.
MCLS I had not forgotten. Methinks that those are also issues that actually work against him and hopes of future success.

Brogan I don't for a moment believe one can retain the strength and fitness of youth. However, it is possible to maintain a level of fitness whereby any loss can, for a time, be counterbalanced by experience and wisdom. That's why I don't think Schumi's age is his problem. Having said that, today's incident does seem to hint that his judgement isn't all it should be. I may yet change my mind.
Well when braking points are based on hundredths of a second, a 20 year old man is going to beat an experienced 40 year old man any day of the week.
But the wise old man knows the young blood with the worn out tyres is likely to want to brake earlier for longer ...
The part where MS lost my feeling that no further penalty should be applied was when he said that BS should have got out of his way because he was a backmarker. Apart from being arrogant he should look at himself and see what he has done this season.
As far as I can see Senna makes a minor movement , less than a car's width and then moves back into his original line. At the time he was back in his original line (with a good car's width either side) Schumacher is still behind him, no overlap at all. The only time there is any overlap is when Schumacher runs into the back of Senna.
He made a movement nevertheless.

I'm not defending Schumacher's actions, they were both to blame, a minor movement is enough to cause a reaction from the driver behind, especially under braking.

As for Schumacher, well he should have braked earlier and stayed on his original line.

But who knows what we would do in the same position of either of the two drivers.
It looked like Michael overreacted to Senna's movement. Senna shouldn't have been moving, but I'm not really sure where Schumi was planning to go. Around his outside?

The way they've both been driving, it may not be the last we see of no.s 7 and 19 under investigation this year.
I've thought the same when he came back into Formula One, as i do today. Michael Schumacher is far to old to be driving with all the young whipper snappers up the front. Pedro De La Rosa is ok for the moment at HRT because he's at the back trying to help them move forward. Been in a Mercedes with all the pressure that comes with it Schumacher could be doing with out that. I think at his age, with all the money he's earned Schumacher could do so much more for the German kids coming through the motorsport ranks. I would like to see him take some German whipper snapper from a really rough family and make him into the best racing driver in the world. If I was Schumacher i'd be seriously consider becoming an agent for German racers.
Well he would be leading Rosberg in the championship if he didn't have all those problems in the first 4 races.

Ifs and buts though, I do think he's been very unlucky this season, and really should have a podium.

Just isn't to be though.
Deep down all the romantics were hoping he'll come back the driver he once was. But in this F1 world there are alot of drivers who aren't neccessarily better than him but don't know when there beaten. In some of Schumachers days all he needed to do was beat his teammate and the odd Williams and Mclaren. Until Alonso and the new mob came into F1 the talent is of a much higher scale and it's not just a couple of teams dominating week after week.
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