Will the real Michael Schumacher please stand up!

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
A while ago I posted a poll asking for peoples views on the type of comeback we could expect from Michael Schumacher. The poll asked if his return to the F1 arena would be similar to that of Niki Lauda, Alan Jones or Nigel Mansell.

The overwhelming view (well out of the 14 people that voted) was that the great one would return in the style of Niki Lauda.

Here is the link to the original post:

http://cliptheapex.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1276

I thought after the first four races it would be interesting to see where Schuey sits among the comeback kids and see if anyone had any thoughts on where he goes from here.

Comeback Kids League Table after 4 races (now including Prost)

1) Prost - 1st, Ret, 3rd, 1st (Team Mate - Damon Hill - Ret, 2nd, 2nd, Ret)
2) Lauda - 4th, Ret, 1st, DSQ (Team Mate John Watson - 6th, 2nd, 6th, 1st)
3) Mansell - Ret, Ret, 4th, 1st (Team Mate Damon Hill - 2nd, 2nd, 1st, Ret) **
4) Schumacher - 6th, 10th, Ret, 10th (Team Mate Nico Rosberg - 5th, 5th, 3rd, 3rd)
5) Jones Ret, Ret, Ret, DNS - (Team Mate - 1983 Marc Surer (Arrows) 5th - 1985 Lola N/A)

** I have used Mansells figures from his come back races in 1994 with Williams. His spell at Mclaren consisted of, Missed the first 2 races of the season while they made a cockpit wide enough to take his chunky frame, 10th, Ret, Walked away.

As you can see Schumacher is not living up to his past reputation.

In interviews Eddie Jordan has been making the point that Schuey is a racer at heart and is still finding his feet on his return. Jordan claims that we should watch out for Schuey at Spain or Monaco because by then he'll have the car sorted and be able to push on. Having seen Schueys performance this weekend I'm left wondering if he has that "race anything any time" spirit that Eddie Jordan keeps talking about, left in him. I don't think anyone has seen Schumacher look so lifeless in the Wet, especially given that once again his team mate proved the car has pace.

Is it because he is no longer "The Team" but just a team member and that missing part of his comeback is the fact that he is no longer the centre of the teams efforts like he was at Ferrari? Or is it just the fact that F1 has moved on?

If you look at the number of years out of racing from our comeback kids, Lauda spent 2 years away from the sport but during his time away the cars didn't change that much. Both Prost and Mansell only missed a single season and in Mansells case he returned to the same team he left. Jones missed a sesaon, had a single driver for Arrows in 83, missed another season and then drove for Lola in 85. Schumcher missed 3 seasons and during that time the cars have changed a great deal.

So what is going to happen? Will Schuey get some of his edge back and start picking up the pace? Will he see out his contract or will he walk away at the end of the season? Or will that pesky neck start playing up again and Paul Di Resta suddenly appear in Mercedes Silver during the course of this season?
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Interesting thread and a nice follow up from your previous one.

I must say I'm surprised he's doing as bad as he is, relative to Nico.

Although I did say I didn't think he would be as competitive due to a combination of factors such as his age, new young blood, the changes to the cars, etc., I didn't think he'd be quite so bad.

What's also interesting is a majority of people picked Michael to win in the teammate prediction game.

I think four races in with a mixture of wet and dry running is more than enough time to assess his racing ability and I'm sorry to say I just don't think he can measure up any more.

If he does walk away then at least another one of my predictions will come true :D
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
I am not yet ready to write off MS.

In relation to the returns of Lauda, Prost and Mansell, it should also be noted that they each returned in the dominant team of the day, which the Merc clearly is not. It must also be pointed out that none of the previous comebacks were constrained by the ludicrous ban on testing that is in force today.

I think it all comes down to the car not having the balance that Schumacher prefers-that is to say, it does not oversteer, which is what he prefers. Let's see what happens when the promised updates to the car take place upon the return to Europe. Then we will have a better idea of the true situation.
 

RickD

Pole Sitter
To be fair to Schumacher, he did state all weekend that he was struggling to get traction out of the corners. This would affect any driver, let alone one that has had a three year break. I say wait and see what he delivers with the updated car, if he can start sticking with his team mate, I would say that he is doing a good job, if not, he should have stayed in retirement.

the main point is that 4 races in a car that doesn't feel right for him isn't enough to evalute his comeback, although I do feel it would have been different if he had come back in a Ferrari..
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
We have to say that he has been disappointing even to the lowest expectations. I think he probably will get closer to Rosberg, however I also think he should go now and leave his reputation as the greatest not further damaged. In a clearly inferior car, Robert Kubica is 30 points ahead of him after 4 races. He can't go on in this way imo.
 

Muddytalker

Points Scorer
siffert_fan said:
I am not yet ready to write off MS.

In relation to the returns of Lauda, Prost and Mansell, it should also be noted that they each returned in the dominant team of the day, which the Merc clearly is not. It must also be pointed out that none of the previous comebacks were constrained by the ludicrous ban on testing that is in force today.

I think it all comes down to the car not having the balance that Schumacher prefers-that is to say, it does not oversteer, which is what he prefers. Let's see what happens when the promised updates to the car take place upon the return to Europe. Then we will have a better idea of the true situation.
A minor point, but I'm calling foul here. Lauda returned in '82, a season where no driver won more than 2 races, no team more than 4. The McLaren was in no way a dominant car or team (in fact was often underpowered compared to the turbos of Renault, Brabham and Ferrari), and would regularly qualify in the middle of the grid (Lauda averaged 8th, Watson 11th that year). Where Lauda did benefit was capitalising on the unreliability of others, and his experience and race management would bring the car home and in the points whilst others were showered and heading home.

The rest of that paragraph I can agree with, and it strikes me as something Schumacher should have expected. Add in the relative consistency, closeness and improved reliability of the cars, and you can see that it would always be a tall order to achieve anything like Lauda's 1st season back, nevermind MS' own high standards. Again, you would think that MS ought to have foreseen this, and so his decision to return baffles me as much now as it did when it was announced.
 

snowy

Champion Elect
Had all the races been dry then everything would be ok, with Michael's results reflecting a driver who just needed time to aclimatise to a new team and formula. However the changeable conditions should have suited Michael down to the ground, levelling out the playing field and bringing his racing nouse to the fore.

It can't be just that the car isn't under him... :dunno: There has to be something missing from his armoury that once made him so formidable.

We have to also admit that the quality in depth of F1 drivers today has improved significantly in the past 5 years. With Fernando Alonso having significantly raised the bar well before Michael even left F1. We can see now that the Vettel's, Hamilton's, Kubica's and Rosberg's are formidable opponents given the right equipment.

It is becoming clear now that a driver can be labelled with all sorts of journeyman, can't overtake and smooth tags simply because he isn't in the right car at the right time. Jenson has risen from the ashes, and is showing just how important a racing brain can be. So perhaps we shouldn't be too hasty in writing Michael off, and if anyone can put a fundamentally quick car under him, it is Ross Brawn... And despite Nico's results the Mercedes is not as yet a fundamentally quick car.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
snowy said:
There has to be something missing from his armoury that once made him so formidable.
There is and it's Project Schuey.

When Schuey went to Ferrari he went there as part of a package. They signed the 2 time world champion and then proceeded to sign the best people to help him achieve Ferraris goal of a first title since 1979. Part of that process included things like signing a complient team mate who would pick up points but not harm Schueys title hopes. From the moment he entered the factory at Maranello it was all about being a one man operation with the goal of getting Schuey and therefore Ferrari to the top of the tree. He had first call on parts, strategy, stops, testing miles, everything.

Now it took a couple of years to turn the team around (and how funny would it have been if Eddie Irvine had won the title in 98 !!!) but when everything finally clicked into place it was win after win after win.

Now Schuey would have known that he wouldn't get that same sort of treatment when he went to Merc but here's the thing, I bet he has that much self belief that he's forgotton just how many people were involved in getting him to the top with Ferrari.

This is the guy who passes his team mate due to contracted team orders in Austria and dosn't understand why everyone goes mental at it. This is the guy who can park a car on the corner of the Monaco GP circuit after getting poll to prevent his rival from beating his time and again dosn't see a problem with it. Let's also not forget how the 1994 and 1997 titles were resolved.

I believe that Schuey reckoned he could just walk back into F1 in the car that won last years WDC and WCC and his skill would do the rest. He forgot just how much work it took everyone else to get him to the top from 1996 onwards and just assumed it was all himself. Just look at the thing with the car number and his request to change garage sides in Bahrain? Lucky numbers? Rubbish, that was Schueys mind games at work. In Schueys world it only takes one person to change a light bulb. Himself, He just holds it up and the whole world revolves around him.

As has been pointed out, the strength in depth of the field has increased massively in the last couple of years, Schuey is effectively in a new team that really hasn't taken a grasp on the car yet and he's not going to get that old Ferrari feeling again. The ego may have landed but where, no one really knows yet.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
cider_and_toast said:
In Schueys world it only takes one person to change a light bulb. Himself, He just holds it up and the whole world revolves around him.
Another absolute classic from the master of phrases LOL
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
As an aside, are Brawn/Fry/Mercedes now regretting forcing Jenson Button out?

In my opinion they wanted rid of Button and an all German team and they forced Jenson to leave by offering him a low salary.
Schumacher on the other hand is rumoured to be on a deal worth £21 million so obviously the money was available to pay Jenson.

I've read all the stuff about Schumacher not being able to adapt to the new cars, slicks, lack of traction, etc.

I thought the mark of a great driver is they can adapt and overcome issues and drive around them?
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Here's a little demonstration of magnetic physics with regard to this question:



As you can see, it is unlikely that Fry* can get near a good idea without it moving away. It needs a powerful opposite pole (ROSS BRAWN) to meld the two together and that doesn't always work.

Berk!

*To fans of QI, clearly I was not referring to that Fry. To fans of Futurama, even that Fry has his moments
despite being his own grandfather
. To fans of all-round sportsman C.B. Fry, aren't you dead by now?
 

Attachments

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Glad I'm not the only one who finds Nick Fry repulsive TBY LOL
 

RickD

Pole Sitter
Brogan said:
As an aside, are Brawn/Fry/Mercedes now regretting forcing Jenson Button out?

In my opinion they wanted rid of Button and an all German team and they forced Jenson to leave by offering him a low salary.
Schumacher on the other hand is rumoured to be on a deal worth £21 million so obviously the money was available to pay Jenson.

I've read all the stuff about Schumacher not being able to adapt to the new cars, slicks, lack of traction, etc.

I thought the mark of a great driver is they can adapt and overcome issues and drive around them?
Jense is laughing all the way at the moment.

I really hope Fry et al are really regretting it. the best thing you can do is laugh and point all season..
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
A possible reason for MS's problems?

Ross Brawn says changes Mercedes is set to make to the W01 for the Spanish Grand Prix should help improve the car's weight distribution, after admitting it was one area the team got wrong on the car.

After lagging behind its three chief rivals at the front of the field in the opening flyaway rounds, the reigning world champion Brackley-based squad is aiming to start closing the gap from the next race when it will introduce a particularly big car upgrade.

Mercedes has struggled with understeer with the W01 so far this season – issues that have hampered Michael Schumacher’s performances in particular.
Of course what this means is unless Nico can adapt his driving to the new design then he will start going backwards, won't it? ;)

http://www.itv-f1.com/News_Article.aspx?id=48283&PO=48283
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
If they tailor their car to the driver who is 40 points behind his team-mate in the WDC, then they don't deserve to win anything. Schuey is out of the WDC, Rosberg isn't!
 

McZiderRed

Champion Elect
Supporter
"Will the real Michael Schumacher please stand up!"

:thinking: Actually, thinking about it, when is a Schumacher not "Schumacher-like"? When it's Ralf, of course!
It's not Ralf in his "Michael costume" is it?! :o
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Just searching through old stuff:

EL_NANDO said:
Who cares if Schumacher comes back, Alonso will send him back into retirement AGAIN.
Well, Alonso has certainly been better than Schumi so far, so a creditable nearly-half right for our old friend Nando! If he retires!


McZiderRed said:
:thinking: Actually, thinking about it, when is a Schumacher not "Schumacher-like"? When it's Ralf, of course!
It's not Ralf in his "Michael costume" is it?! :o
We insult Ralf so much, when he was in a top car he didn't get battered by his team-mate. So, he was beaten, usually, and the team-mate was only Montoya, but that's not that bad, is it?



So it is!

I think we should now judge Schumacher on the Micheal-Ralf scale. He's about at the silver mark at the moment

I predict he'll move to the M end of the scale, maybe even get to N, but he won't ever get back to M. He's not been there since 2004!
 

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Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Schumacher's reputation must now be reducing race by race.

Several moves he made today were reminiscent of his old behaviour and to say he had a terrible race is putting it mildly.

David Coulthard's comment after the race that "a leopard never changes its spots" was quite telling I thought.
That showed exactly what he thought of Schumacher's attempts to bully drivers off the circuit.

The car has been changed to suit his driving style more and yet Nico still beat him in qualifying and the race.
Unless we see a significant improvement I can't see him lasting 3 years at Mercedes.
 

Muddytalker

Points Scorer
Additionally, it looked like Nico was held up by Massa and Liuzzi's first tango, and after lap 1 was about 5 places behind; and still, he ended up way ahead of 'The Anachronism'.

{Edit: Have just seen a replay of lap 1 and he was indeed held up and lost many places}

Michael's erm, 'defensive' driving today was from another age, and a return to the bad old days of "make way or we crash". I think that since MS retired there has been less of that, and the majority of drivers (Turkey apart) now allow room when a pass is attempted, and will battle it out side by side.

Close the door on your way out, Michael.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Sorry Michael but after another poor weekend I think this neatly sums up most peoples feelings:

 
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