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Fresh questions over struggling Schumacher

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Andrew Benson | 17:12 UK time, Monday, 14 May 2012

Michael Schumacher's collision with Williams driver Bruno Senna in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix has once again focused awkward attention on the German legend's lacklustre performances for Mercedes.

A senior member of the Mercedes team used the word "mediocre" last weekend when discussing the 43-year-old's driving, and that was before Schumacher clumsily ran into the back of Senna's car in the race.

It was the sort of error you might expect from a beginner, not a man with 91 grand prix victories and seven world titles under his belt.

Coming at Senna from a long way back, Schumacher seemed simply to misjudge the closing speed of the two cars and, caught in two minds about which direction to go, he ran into the back of the Williams.

Schumacher called Senna an "idiot" on the radio as he sat in the gravel trap in the immediate aftermath, and, even after watching replays, he still seemed convinced it was his rival's fault. The stewards disagreed and gave him a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Monaco.

Schumacher's reaction will have surprised no-one in F1 - he has always seemed to lack the ability to accept he can ever be wrong.

In an aspiring young driver, this is a characteristic one might expect. But age is supposed to bring wisdom and, in this aspect at least, it appears not to be the case with Schumacher.

With the passing years comes an inevitable waning of physical abilities, and it is surely now beyond dispute that this has come even to him.

Michael Schumacher collides with Bruno Senna during the Spanish Grand Prix. Photo: Reuters

How long can he go on raging against the dying of the light? More to the point, perhaps, how long can Mercedes accept it?

There is no shame in Schumacher not being the driver he was - one can argue there is honour in him being able to achieve even what he has as he heads into the middle of his fifth decade.

The facts, though, are that he is now no more than a decent F1 driver - and some may argue not even that.

Statistically, this is the worst start to a season in Schumacher's career. But statistics can be misleading - Schumacher actually started the season well. He was the stronger of the two Mercedes drivers in the first two races.

But then came China and Nico Rosberg's qualifying lap, half a second quicker than his team-mate, who was second on the grid.

The gap was explained almost entirely by a stunning middle sector of the lap from Rosberg, which Schumacher, I'm told, justified to himself by Rosberg managing to turn his tyres on better.

That may well have been the reason, but the gap was there nonetheless. As it was again in the race, when that excuse was less justifiable. Schumacher was simply outclassed by his team-mate.

They have been more evenly matched since, but still Schumacher is almost certainly getting no more from the car than a number of other drivers could manage.

The contrast, with what Fernando Alonso is doing in the Ferrari - which is not dissimilar to the sort of thing Schumacher used to achieve in his early years with the team - is stark.

The tragedy of Schumacher's current situation is that it is leading some people to question his earlier achievements of seven world titles; two with Benetton and five with Ferrari between 1994 and 2004.

His criticisms of the Pirelli tyres after Bahrain drew uncomfortable parallels with the bespoke tyres from Bridgestone which Schumacher enjoyed for much of his Ferrari career, a subject that was largely unexplored during his pomp.

Some are beginning to wonder if seven titles really was such an amazing achievement, given the advantages he had at his disposal?

This would be wrong, though. There is no doubt that the Schumacher of the 1990s and early 2000s was an outstanding racing driver, one of the greatest there has ever been.
But that Schumacher belongs to the past.

The current one is out of contract at the end of this season. This, in fact, was the context in which the "mediocre" remark came up.

So what reasons do Mercedes have to keep him on, rather than try for someone else?
Lewis Hamilton, also looking for a new deal in 2013, may well not be available, or interested. Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button are committed to their current teams. Those left are all unproven.

Schumacher may continue to embarrass himself in wheel-to-wheel racing occasionally, but he's close to Rosberg's pace these days - and Mercedes' top management rate their younger driver very highly indeed.

The other reason is less palatable for those who like to consider F1 as the arena in which the very best drivers in the world do battle. It's commercial.

Schumacher's marketing value to Mercedes is huge. After Rosberg's victory in China, vice-president of Mercedes motorsport Norbert Haug delighted in how "fantastic" Schumacher had been in front of 800 guests at the launch of a new road car model in Shanghai the previous night. It had been, Haug said, "the perfect weekend".

Schumacher may no longer be one of the best F1 drivers, but around the world he remains arguably the most famous - and therefore the most valuable to Mercedes off the track. And in Germany, Mercedes' home, he is largely untouchable, voted recently the greatest national sportsman in history.

Ultimately, though, Mercedes are in F1 to win - and it is no secret that, after two disappointing seasons, the pressure on the team at the start of this season was enormous.

It will have been alleviated somewhat by their win in China, but the team have faded after a promising start and currently look no better than they did through much of last year.

In a season as topsy-turvy as this, that could easily change - and, who knows, if everything comes together perhaps Schumacher can win again. After all, who before the weekend would have predicted Pastor Maldonado's victory in Spain?

But, all things being equal, that looks unlikely. For a team with an average car who need to win, is a "mediocre" driver, however famous, good enough?

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Schumachers fault 100%

    He has a car that can win this season and he needs to make sure mistakes by him or the pitcrew dont stop him from getting the results he needs.

  • Comment number 2.

    'For a team with an average car who need to win, is a "mediocre" driver, however famous, good enough?'

    Oh now there's a tough question, what could the answer be.....

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    I saw an interview with Schumacher after he had reviewed the tapes himself but before the race had finished. Although he stuck to his story, his body language indicated differently.

    This seems to be a issues across all modern sports, rather than admit guilt and move on it seems that the preferred tact is to stick a story of innocence until an official has made a ruling.

  • Comment number 5.

    Nice of the Stewards to give Schui a 5 place penalty for incredibly dangerous driving on the same weekend that the penalised Louis by 23 places for a fuel error (that he admitted to). Rules for one, and rules for others?

  • Comment number 6.

    Schumacher has had his day. Mercedes can surely find a second driver with youth, talent and a future?

    On a side note - a five place grid penalty for a very dangerous crash and taking someone out of the race? But a 23 place penalty for a technical infringement? Get a grip F1.

  • Comment number 7.

    Despite some bad luck and his error last weekend, Schumacher has actually shown some decent pace at times this season. There are a lot of races to go and if Mercedes can get their car up to speed again, there is no reason Schumacher can't win again.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Schumi is past it.

    I feel sorry for him more than anything. He went largely unchallenged for most of his career (he blossomed just as Prost and Mansell were in their twilight and Senna had passed away) and only transient challengers appeared from the likes of Williams (Hill, Villeneuve) and McLaren (Hakkinen) during a period of domination for Ferrari.

    For me, the fact that he went largely unchallenged diminishes him in the eyes of history. The drivers we all regard as all-time greats were so because they were never permitted dominance by their peers - their successes came in the face of constant challenges. For Schumacher, he was either miles ahead of the competition or subdued in his defeat. He retired when it became apparent he could no longer compete against the likes of Alonso, Raikonnen and Hamilton and not much has changed since.

    Sure, he holds the records for world titles, pole positions and grand prix victories, but nobody managed his longevity or had the benefit of not being challenged for so long. All things taken into account, were his 7 more of an achievement than Prost's 4 or Stewart's 3? I think not.

  • Comment number 10.

    You just could not wait to get the knive out for Michael.So who exactly are asking if his achievements are not as good as they seem??
    If Maunsell,Hill,Herbert,Button etc had such a record would you now question the greatness of what was achieved???
    He now older, but can outdrive some of the young upcoming talent that is out there.
    I suggest you enjoy while he is still about because when he is gone for good we will all miss him.

  • Comment number 11.

    In the case of Schumacher its possible to admire his achievements but not to admire the man. The complete lack of grace or generosity, difficult to watch when he was in his prime, now looks like a freak show. There was space to pass on either side of Senna and Schumacher did not clip his car but ran straight into the back of him. Hamilton, Button, Alonso et al would have swept past and disappeared into the distance. The press interview given by Schumacher afterwards was an absolute disgrace.

  • Comment number 12.

    I am not a shui fan but maybe someone should look at the speed diferential between cars today. With kers drs and the tyres its too much. Remember Weber airbourne?

  • Comment number 13.

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  • Comment number 14.

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  • Comment number 15.

    haha ..button is proven but kimi is not..british bias at its absolute best

  • Comment number 16.

    @ Pete Stock and ayrtonsenna

    Lewis was disqualified as the team effectively cheated (all be it by mistake) and so was sent to the back of the grid.

    Schumacher ruined another drivers race and deserves the 5 place grid penalty.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    This is an utterly awful, partial article. It keeps stating "the fact is" when the subject is not a matter of fact but of opinion and conjecture.

    Schumacher qualified very well in the first three races and was blighted by awful luck; he was then out-qualified by half a second; how far does Hamilton regularly qualify ahead of Button? Is Button washed up? No. We have all seen some curiously off-colour performances by all the top drivers (bar Alonso) this year, and Schumacher is no different, other than that he's also had some extremely bad reliability to boot.

    Of course he's not as good as he was. He *was* unbelievably brilliant. Now he is not out-performing his car as he used to. But is he consistently slower than Rosberg? No he is not, so he is clearly still able to "cut it" in F1 alongside a good, young driver. To react to one error of his with this kind of knee-jerk commentary is the same kind of reactionary sensationalism that labelled (GP champion) Maldonado a "pay driver".

  • Comment number 19.

    Am I the only one who saw Bruno 'only in racing because of his name!' Senna move right and then left, in the breaking zone, knowing his tyres were shot and with a car behind him!? I suspect had Button (for example, although many would react as he probably would) wouldn't have had that coming together with Schumacher. Although Schumacher is partly to blame for assuming Senna wouldn't be breaking early, moving around in the braking area, equally there are drivers that Schumacher could have relied on to react differrently and not have had this accident with at all.

    I'm no fan of Schumacher, but I actually think this was an unfortunate racing incident brought upon by a moments poor driving and decisions by both drivers.

    The media, I'm sure, are happy though; it's another article to write, another sportsperson to write off, and yet another moan about a rather boring subject... should Schumacher go!? Is this really a worthwhile subject for the BBC to concentrate on over every other team and driver? Seems a little pathetic and weak to me.

    Equally, there are several drivers who the sport could easily do without; how about we discuss just how poor Ferraris second-rate driver is, who is simply out of his league now. Incidentally, I think Barichello would prove a better driver in Ferraris second car, athough I know that would never happen. The best or right drivers are not always in the correct teams, or sports for that matter.

    I'm sure the experience and advice Schumacher brings to Mercedes is helping his team mate do better this year. Maybe he isn't the driver he was or maybe he is, but the the car, the rules and team aren't specifically tailored to his needs and so he's unable to shine like he used to. Maybe he's being shown up – as has been the case with another German driver – that some people need the best car and everything in their favour in order to excel, and when up against it and relying on pure talent can't perform as well as others.

    Shumacher adds to the soap-opera, the drama of the show, and for that reason alone, I'm more than happy to see him slowly erode away his history.

  • Comment number 20.

    14) RelentlessTrev - Disqualification, 23 place penalty or what was effectively a 1 race ban (given Hamilton had to drive his tyres beyond what was believed was their limit to score points) - call it what you like. There is no balance between what punishments Lewis & Michael got. Again.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think it is an unfair criticism of Schmi not performing. The fact that the tyres playing a key role in how the performance of a driver is really dictates the outcome of the result. In the last 5 races if you look at other drivers in the same team, one teammate has completely outperformed the other teammate in a race. For example, Perez outperforming Kamui in Malaysia, Lewis outperforming Button in Spain etc and the sole major factor have been switching the tyres on.

    I also feel Schumi tends to perform much better in the latter half of the season when he tends to understand the car/tyre situation better. That was the case last season. Its a bit too early to judge from the performances so far. Unlike last season, he has improved is quali pace which is evident from the first two races of the season where he outqualifed his teammate. His race pace has always been comparable to his teammate apart from the race in China where Rosberg had the advantage of clear air to a degree.

  • Comment number 22.

    GFSimon With five winners in five races dont you think pirelli are doing the same thing with their tyres as bridgestone did for shui

  • Comment number 23.

    This article is completely unfair in my opinion of criticising Michael. Ok, the crash was his fault, big deal one crash. He's still a 43 year old who is better than half the grid. He's been incredibly unlucky this season and I'm sure everyone can agree with that. Mechanical issues a couple of times and something else have caused him to retire when nothing's been his fault causing him the inability to be able to gain any points, now say he had finished these races (which in all of them he was 3rd or 4th in) he'd be sat on similar points to Rosberg maybe slightly less but even so, I bet this article wouldn't exist and nobody would be questioning his seat in F1. He has shown signs of brilliance since he has been back, Montreal 2011 etc. it's completely unfair to raise questions over him because of one crash. Formula 1 would not be the same without Schumacher.

  • Comment number 24.

    Don't rule out Alguersuari for that Mercedes seat in 2013.

    By the way, Schumacher was to blame but I think the one move rule here is slightly in question in the sense that Senna moved once, then moved again to take up the racing line before the corner. I guess my point is at what point is he allowed to move twice to take up the racing line? Bit of a grey area.

  • Comment number 25.

    Never would have thought you would stoop as low as character assassination, Andrew.

    Besides, schumi does have a point about the tyres (notwithstanding your catty remarks about past favouritism) - everyone seems to struggle with the fact that they have such a narrow optimal temperature range. Red Bull go from winning a race to being nowhere. Mercedes the same after China. Ferrari have a car they know not to be as quick, but thanks to others' unpredictable performance they find themselves in a good position. And just about the only team that has been consistently quick is Lotus, but they've failed to capitalise on that.

    Schumi is right to ask questions about whether the tyres are now playing too big a role.

  • Comment number 26.

    Marcus wrote :

    > 4) Hill, Coulthard, Villeneuve all ' also rans' with mediocre talent.

    Although you are talking about the very few greats, Hill's drive to 'almost' win in an Arrows in Hungary, falling back to second place with mechanical failure in the last couple of laps, was one of those that sets some drivers apart ... in other words ... able to win in a car that should be nowhere near the front. In that race, he also 'drove around' Schumacher, on the outside of turn 1 early on in the race. A fabulous manouevre.

  • Comment number 27.

    @18

    'Of course he's not as good as he was. He *was* unbelievably brilliant. Now he is not out-performing his car as he used to.'

    Correction, no- one has ever been able to 'outperform' their car. This idea is a stupid fantasy. Whenever you think that a driver has exceeded his cars potential whats really happening is, he is driving at his cars maximum potential, while other drivers are slightly underperforming.

    unbelievably brilliant?? An ignorant view for the reasons stated above.

  • Comment number 28.

    This article was of course to be expected. Fresh questions are being asked by who exactly - a couple of journos and an F1 photographer maybe.
    Just to clarify, Schumacher has made one mistake this season, the rest have been made by the perhaps "mediocre " team. As for the tyres, Schumacher is not alone in his thoughts - check out Mark Webbers website.
    Talking of Mark webber, please take a moment to watch is unpunished crash into Kovillinen and plea then explain the difference. If anything it was more clumsy, Kovi did not change direction, whereas Senna certainly did.
    Oh and by the way Schumacher came from dead last to 10th in Bahrain with 3 stops, and Lewis last to 8th with 2 stops in Spain - so performance about the same.

  • Comment number 29.

    hra109a wrote :

    > GFSimon With five winners in five races dont you think pirelli are doing the same thing with their tyres as bridgestone did for shui

    No, it's not the same at all. Bridgestone developed tyres that were exclusive to Ferrari. The also supplied other teams, but not with the same tyres.

    Today, everyone has the same tyres.

  • Comment number 30.

    I am not a Schumacher fan but feel this artical is rather unfair, do you remember Webber running into another car not so long ago ? nobody said he was past it !! do you think Vettel would have won 2 championships in the Mercedes. I also agree with Schumacher that the Pirrelli tyres are rubbish as F1 is supposed to be about speed and driving skill NOT tyre wear managment, lets have some tyres that will last the full race if required or could be changed if the team/driver felt they would bennefit from fresh rubber. Yes we have had some different results but the the drop off in tyre pace is much to great, was it the right result when Kimi went from 2nd to virtualy no where in the last stages of a recent race just because his tyres were gone.

  • Comment number 31.

    The collision with Senna had very serious consequences for the Williams pit crew because the damaged batteries caught fire. The reality is that incompetent driving at speeds of up to 300kph should be adressed by a ban in the same way that it is on the public highway. Just ask Hill, Irvine, Coulthard, Barrichello or Senna for a judgement.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    I would suspect this was more of a frustration thing. He was doing very well in the race. The phot shows how far behind Nico he was, 1 corner.
    He wanted to pass Senna and get on with his race. There have been a few cases, Kimi for one, of race drivers hanging on to tyres that are dangerously slow compared to the guy around them. Senna should have pitted that lap, if he braked that early then he and williams knew that his tyres were shot to bits.
    A couple of times we have seen Schuii collect the back of a car at the end of a DRS zone since his return. Probably because he is still instinctively trying to use all the slipstream to pass, instead of the mirror signal DRS which is now the way to go.
    Mix so he arrives at a much greater speed than previously and Senna brakes way earlier than schuii needed to on new tyres. This is what caused the crash, seems simple to me.
    Yes the grid penalty was always going to come, he did run into the back of a car.
    Lets not write him off yet.
    Although this sort of article is why i only wacth F1 on Sky now. The BBC do not rely on facts when hearsay and anicdotal evidence seems far more sensationalist.

  • Comment number 34.

    i feel all alone. i saw senna slow early, move right and then move back left, and then make a tiny twitch left. i absolutely called it as senna's fault at the time and haven't seen anything that changes my mind.

  • Comment number 35.

    What a load of utter rubbish.

    His retirement on sunday was the first this season were he could be partly at fault for, it was just a racing incident, with blame in my view being shared between Schumacher and Senna.

    I don't really understand this blog.
    In Australia he was running 3rd managing to keep ahead of Vettel before his car let him down. In Malaysia he got tagged at the 4th corner and sent right down to the back of the pack. In China he was second when after coming into the pits he had to retire because a wheel nut hadn't gone on properly. In Bahrain the team as a whole made the wrong call in qualifying, plus a changed gearbox and 5 place penalty meant he started right at the back yet finished in the points. Minus Bahrain he's performed well in qualifying

    So yesterday was the first race were you can portion any blame on him.

    Did DC write this Benson?

  • Comment number 36.

    No 34 He defo moved ,portion blame to both parties.but i did nt see senna get any blame in the article.

  • Comment number 37.

    GFSimon Tyres are alocated to cars and drivers then taken back after the race.How do you know they are all the same?

  • Comment number 38.

    This article was waiting to happen after all the Pirrelli controversy it was Schumacher's interest to keep his head down and deliver. He didn't so fair questions are being asked.

    He should calm down and drive within himself instead of going about his business like someone who is running out of time (which gives credence to him wanting to end racing this season).




    .........

    OT question to BBC f1- what’s your media strategy with Hamilton these days?

    He is not talking to the media outside of the official press circle, which in a way is lucky for you bearing in mind if SKY had unofficial access to him but you didn’t it would be more obvious there is a problem (having said that SKY got hold of A Hamilton recently and he gave a fun enlightening idea of how Lewis was getting on, including their non-shop talk of which car to buy!).

    However, some of us would have loved to access him via forum and regret his harsh treatment from likes of Brundle (although he did tend to apologise if he got things wrong) Coulthard and EJ last year which has resulted in him snubbing you to date.

    The very obvious slight of your programme opening credits where you can’t even make him out (A world champion!), is a constant reminder of your determination to foist your preference for Button on all of us (and rewrite history in the process) but I pay my license fee too and am quite fed up of seeing his face all the time ( and hearing your staff’s more solicitous treatment of him when he has a bad day-treat them both the same!).

    I would like to request that you find a way to sort your relationship with Hamilton out so we can enjoy him when he has a good race and understand his point of view when he doesn’t.

    Sort it out please.

  • Comment number 39.

    In my opinion, Schumacher was always overrated, although he was also very good.

    As we are seeing this season, there are many many drivers on the grid, who given a competitive car, can win grand prix and look good doing it. Many more than we used to think possible.

    Schumacher has a history of 'incidents'. He ignored a black flag (the only time I've ever seen one in 45 years of watching F1). The Damon Hill incident at the last race of the season which resulted in Schumacher's first championship should perhaps have been a several race ban and would have meant one championship less. Then the similar incident with Villeneuve, which did result in a race ban and which this time failed to win him the championship. It too was the last race of the season and he needed his opponent to not finish in order to win the championship. To me the only difference from the Hill incident, is that it was so clearly caught on camera. He, denied it for days until the FIA report came out at which point he admitted responsibility.

    He was at that time in a team run by Briatore, who was later banned from the sport for cheating following the incident in the Spanish Grand Prix when Piquet Jr deliberately crashed in order to block the track. The entire paddock thought that Benneton were outside the rules with their throttle control, but proving it in the software was apparently beyond the FIA in those days. So perhaps you could take away those 2 championships, if you want to look at genuinely won championships.

    Then of course, at Ferrari, there were many many many wins when his team mates had to pull-aside to let him win. Maybe as many as 4 or 5 per season. When Eddie Irvine first joined Ferrari, for the first test of the pre-season, he spent 3 days on the pit-wall before being allowed to drive. Schumacher was able to decide when to hand over to him.

    Ferrari also had a truly massive budget and unlimited testing at their own track, Fiorano. But the real crux in those days, was that Bridgestone made special tyres that suited Schumacher and they were only available to Ferrari!! How ridiculous was that? They were estimated to be worth about 1 sec per lap. Schumacher used to regularly win, with a 60 sec margin. What a surprise!

    No ... in my mind there is no doubt that Schumacher was not as great as his career stats suggest. He was extremely good ... but not nearly that good.

  • Comment number 40.

    hra109a wrote :
    >GFSimon Tyres are alocated to cars and drivers then taken back after the race.How >do you know they are all the same?

    I expect you're not being serious. That would be the mother of all sporting scandals. Worse than cricket even! Ha!

  • Comment number 41.

    @39

    I'm sorry mate, but you can't argue with 7 titles and 91 race wins.
    It was up to the opposition to raise their game to beat him, instead you had to rely on the FIA changing the rules to hamper him and the team. Much in the same way they've done with Vettel and Red Bull.

  • Comment number 42.

    A ghastly article dripping with unjustified loathing of the subject, are Mr. Benson and Mr. Coultard related? Both seem to be afflicted with uncontrollable wrath that they explode upon any gullible fool willing to listen to them in all matters Schumacher. What a pity neither has or had the talent to match their venom.

  • Comment number 43.

    Typical_English_No8 wrote :
    >I'm sorry mate, but you can't argue with 7 titles and 91 race wins.

    Yes you can. History is not just about results, but also about how they are achieved.

  • Comment number 44.

    @41

    The FIA haven't changed the rules, everybody has raised their game to beat Vettel and catch up, what on earth are you babbling about??

  • Comment number 45.

    Australia
    Button 0.152 behind Hamilton.
    Schumacher 0.350 ahead of Rosberg.
    Malaysia
    Button 0.149 behind Hamilton.
    Schumacher 0.273 ahead of Rosberg.
    China
    Button 0.565 behind Hamilton.
    Rosberg 0.570 ahead of Schumacher.
    Bahrein
    Button 0.191 behind Hamilton
    Schumacher didn’t go past Q3 (DRS failure), Rosberg qualified 5th.
    Spain
    Button didn’t go past Q2, Hamilton on pole position before being dropped to the back of the grid.
    Schumacher didn’t register a time in Q3 he qualified 8th, Rosberg qualified 6th with a registered time

    3 things:
    1 The average car (Mercedes) already won a race this year.
    2 Question? Is Button a mediocre driver?
    3 Schumacher retired just once this year because of a fault of his own (Spain, Rosberg finishing 7th). The two others retirements were due to car (Australia, he was third at the time, Rosberg finished 12th) or team failure (China, he was second before going to the pits, Rosbger won the race) His 2 other results were a 10th place in Malaysia (with Rosberg being 13th) and Bahrein (Came back from 22th on the grid to finish 10th whilst Rosberg started 5th to finish 5h). Great to have people who can give their “views” off the record, isn't it? By the way it s so great you can make it yourself and then hides behind "the secret of your sources", that must be why more and more people dislike journalists.

  • Comment number 46.

    It seems I am in a minority here, but as I watched it live, I turned to my wife and said I thought Senna moved in the braking zone. Nothing I have seen since has changed my mind. I thought it left Schumacher no where to go, he feigned one way, Senna moved, then as Schumacher went the other, he mvoed again, slightly, but moved none the less. I actually thought Senna had to accept some of the blame. I was quite surprised to see Schumacher punished. I may add, that I am no fan of the person, or the driver, but just wanted to add what I thought, from an objective viewpoint.

  • Comment number 47.

    Andrew, you say of China: "...That may well have been the reason, but the gap was there nonetheless. As it was again in the race, when that excuse was less justifiable. Schumacher was simply outclassed by his team-mate."

    Did you miss the part where Schumacher had to retire from that race as the mechanics didn't fit his tyre correctly?

    Your colleague Gary Anderson had this to say about Schumacher in China:

    "Rosberg was pushing on at a competitive level but not abusing the tyres, whereas Schumacher was driving as quickly as the car behind him to minimise the tyre problems the team were worried about.

    I don't think Schumacher was deliberately holding up the cars behind him. I think he was being quite clever - driving at the lap time he needed to stay that bit ahead.

    It was sensible of him to not chase Rosberg because Mercedes didn't know, going into this race, what their tyre wear would be."

    Your blogs strike me as bitter and unbalanced - sure Schumacher made a mistake in this race, although Senna wasn't completely innocent, but if he had better luck in the other races he would have been much closer to Rosberg in the standings.

  • Comment number 48.

    @44
    So the blown diffusers that were legal last year and the Red Bull's used to great affect, are now banned, i'd say that was the FIA directly hampering Red Bull.

  • Comment number 49.

    Schumacher won races at any cost even if it meant filling the fuel tank quicker by having the filter removed taking out another driver, trying to take out another driver, is was he great , I don't think so good but not great. Jim Clark, Fangio now they were great drivers.

  • Comment number 50.

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  • Comment number 51.

    I have never been a believer in Schumacher as the greatest driver of all time. His statistics indicate this but few outside Germany would agree. As has been said he competed for the most part against mediocre drivers with the exception of Alonso or Mika Hakkinen who even Michael admitted was the only driver he really feared. He also has some serious flaws in his personality which some would say the best drivers need but for many detracts from his legacy. I think it was a simple misjudgement in Barcelona. He underestimated his closing speed to Senna and like Mark Webber with Kovalainen he was greedy for that last few meters of slip stream from the Williams before the corner. I also do not think Bruno was blameless but he thought Schumacher would take him on the inside and not the unnecessarily risky gravel side of the corner.
    As for being past it I am not sure. It is true he likes the tyres and setup to work for him but the same could equally be said for Jenson who was wearing the mediocre hat in Spain and doing a fair amount of whinging too.

  • Comment number 52.

    @26

    I agree with you, and here's how I can agree with you without contradicting myself! Taken in isolation, that was a great drive from hill, BUT that's exactly the problem, the race is an isolated case.

    I believe the difference between the good and the great drivers in F1 is consistency. The good, on occasion, are able to achieve the cars maximum potential, but they can't do it often enough to be considered great.

  • Comment number 53.

    Great....! More BBC drivel !

    It's the same old stories, either Schumacher is past it or McLaren/Lewis is hard done by...get a grip and actually report something worthwhile, or is that the problem?

    When it comes to the BBC it's as if McLaren are the only British team in the paddock...in case nobody has noticed the majority of the teams are "British"!

    It's mentioned in China Schumacher was out qualified by Rosberg by such a huge margin of 0.570sec. The gap between Hamilton and Button was 0.565sec; hell, Vettel didn't even get into Q3 - why are non of these FACTS singled out?

    I'm not a Hamilton fan and thought last year he drove really poorly.
    But to be honest he had things going on in the background that would affect anybody - we're all human.
    You Andrew, and the rest of the BBC tore him to shreds - are you now working on an article saying he's now the best driver ever and can look after his tyres better than Button because he managed to be the only driver to do a two-stop-strategy?

    I'm surprised there's not an article on Alonso, he's driving the nuts off that Ferrari...I suppose, unless it's Schumi-bashing or McLaren praising then it's just not worth it!


    Sorry if I'm way off topic or anything, I'm just sick to the back teeth of reading the same "opinions" from the same people over and over again.

  • Comment number 54.

    "Some are beginning to wonder if seven titles really was such an amazing achievement, given the advantages he had at his disposal?" +1

  • Comment number 55.

    @47
    Totally agree. The bbc saved money by not having the full F1 coverage yet still pay for this drivel to be written.

  • Comment number 56.

    @48 - Mclaren were the most improved car of the year and had finally come to term with the EBD. If you want a conspiracy, look there.

    For me, whats hampering RBR, is the flexing wing and body, which appears to have been eradicated.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    I just get the feeling that this article might be the turning point of Schumacher's season.

    "Is Raikkonen worth the risk?" --> The iceman is doing a brilliant job
    "How Webber turned tables on Vettel" --> Vettel wins in Bahrain and leads the WDC
    "Fresh questions over struggling Schumacher" --> ???

    Now I'm backing Schumacher to win the Monaco GP.

  • Comment number 59.

    Not only did Schumacher enjoy racing for the most dominant team in F1 history. His main competition was from N02 drivers at Williams and a guy who took nearly 100 races for his first win. As soon as talent came along in a half decent car schumacher was history. That was 2005, time for his fans to finally let go.
    He never had to race a team mate and when he had the chance to payback fans and give some entertainment from within the dominant Ferrari team, he bottled it and retired. All he can do now is whine, hypocritical to boot.

  • Comment number 60.

    @56
    Isn't that what people want though? Teams getting on level terms on the back for trial and error and hard graft, as opposed to the rule makers simply banning a piece of kit that one team uses more successfully than others. Had the Mercs been on pole for every race this year I bet their 'fandabbydossy' DRS system wouldve been put under the spotlight more rigidly.

  • Comment number 61.

    Schumaher had a charmed earlier existance in Formula 1 and especially in his time with Ferrari. It is common belief that Bridgestone developed tyres that were exclusive to Ferrari, so no wonder he won so many races.... and that if true is not fair for the other drivers and teams. For me he showed a dominance which became boring.

    I share the coment of Theopany when he says, "He retired when it became apparent he could no longer compete against the likes of Alonso, Raikonnen and Hamilton and not much has changed since." Schumaher does not always like to admit the truth when he is wrong and for this trait I regard him as a bad sportsman.

    Schumaher should not be given a 5 place penalty in the next race, he should be banned from the next race for his crash into Senna. This would show all the drivers that they need to have more respect and consideration for their fellow drivers and F1 rules.

    To give Lewis a 23 place grid penalty was in my opinion way too harsh and out of order by those concerned in the F1 Organisation. But well done Lewis for taking it on the chin and being so level headed in the Spanish GP. Before giving Schumaher a 5 place penalty, F1 Officials should have thought about the lack of harshness of their award to Schumaher in light of what Lewis was awarded.

  • Comment number 62.

    18. At 09:12 15th May 2012, f1316 wrote:
    This is an utterly awful, partial article. It keeps stating "the fact is" when the subject is not a matter of fact but of opinion and conjecture.

    -----------------------------------------------

    Absolutely. Couldn't agree more with your entire post - this article is incredibly biased, and a huge overreaction to a driver error. Schumacher isn't as quick as he was, but he is still quick and I think currently just about deserving of his place at Mercedes.

    One week, it is all about how sensational Rosberg was in China and how he is finally proving what a first class driver he is. A couple of weeks later, and suddenly it's about how Schumacher must have been under-performing considering his team mate blew him away in qualifying and in the race. It seems to me Rosberg just got everything right in China. Let's not forget Mercedes forgot to put his wheels on while he was running in second.

    The whole article reads as if written by a man who simply doesn't like Schumacher - a trait not uncommon in British F1 fans who have been following the sport since the 90's. But lets drop the bitterness of Australia 1994, and focus on the Schumacher of the present. The whole 'mediocre' comment, from an unnamed senior source at Mercedes when discussing contract renewals with a journalist is laughable.

  • Comment number 63.

    Mess up and take yourself and another driver out of race - 5 grid place penalty.

    Not enough fuel in car during last qualifying lap - 23 grid place penalty.

    Unfortunately having watching F1 since the 1980s, the application of the rules is just as inconsistent and, I am sad to say - political - as it ever has been.

    Regarding this years 'competitive' racing... i don't think the cars or drivers are any closer than last year. What has changed is that the tyres are so flaky and sensitive to small changes in conditions that this far outweighs the quality of the car or driver. It's now 90% about getting lucky with the tyres (and it is largely luck since no team really has good data on the tyres) and only 10% down to driver skill and the quality of the car. So Merc/McLaren/RB/Williams can have a dominant weekend if they get lucky, or a total disaster if they don't. It's a lottery.

    I'd say drivers of the season so far - Alonso and Hamilton. The Ferrari isn't as bad as everyone says (Massa is making it look a lot worse than it is), but Alonso is doing a great job of keeping it on the track and taking points. The McLaren isn't as good as everyone thinks, but Hamilton has shown in qualifying he's got real pace and consistency - unfortunately he's dealing with poor stewards decisions and a team that seem to be messing things up for him.

  • Comment number 64.

    I can see where Schumacher is coming from, Senna did move to the right, then back to the left in the braking zone. If Senna had moved right half way down the pit lane, i'm sure Michael would have committed to a pass on the outside, but he was not close enough to do this. So he should have waited another lap, it would have cost him time, but not a DNF.

    His comments afterwards I totally understand where he says Senna moved right, then left, that's clear to see, and in the breaking zone. But he should have allowed for the car in front, seeing that Schumacher wasn't close enough until right at the end of the pit straight.

    We saw a few moves with cars going around the outside in Turn 1, those cars being alongside each other heading into the breaking zone, and they all worked out fine.

    There was a questionable move by Grosjean, diving up the inside of Senna, didn't see anything wrong with Senna in that one though.

    All in all, a misjudgment by Michael for me, but he was helped by Senna's slight right- left in the braking area. I don't think it's fair to use this incident to lay into Schumacher, he started the season very well, was unfortunate in Melbourne and Qualified very well in Malaysia.

    It's possible, he is not enjoying F1 as much, after his jibe At Pirelli with the tyres and his car being so close with pace at times, but just falling short with bad luck in the early races also would have been frustrating, not to mention Nico scoring the new Mercedes GP victory. I still believe Schumacher was happy to see the team win, but it still would have niggled a 7 time champion.

    I always thought if Michael was giving F1 another go, he would only do it for 3 years, and this seems like it will be the case. If he gets a few weekends that come together, things might change, as it always can and most probably will do in Formula One.

    Oh and who said Schumacher was 'mediocre' ? Jock Clear most probably.. wouldn't surprise me!

    I'm not the world's biggest Michael Schumacher fan, but I believe in fair play and rights for everyone, I would pass judgement on him until the season is over.

  • Comment number 65.

    Ahh the Schumacher bashing begins!

    Its always this time of year when it seems like some sort of ritual!

    This year this (crasing into senna) has really been the first 'mistake' and all his other bad results have been car trouble, pit stop error, having to fight back from poor quali due to another car issue and punted off by Grosjean. Where in that shows that he no longer has it or whatever bumpf this blog called it.

    If anything he's continued to improve as he did towards last 8-9 races of last year. His quali pace has been closer than ever to rosberg, out pacing him in 50% of races where there were no issues for either driver.

    On the subject of hamiltons penalty in relation to schumachers... eh what are you on about! the two incidents could not be further apart so obviously the penaltys are going to be!

    Leave him be and watch him shine, Montreal, schumi ftw!

  • Comment number 66.

    This crash seems to come down to the tyres again.
    Senna on worn tyres having to brake a lot earlier then Schui on newer rubber.
    With DRS and KERS do we really need tyres that fall apart so quickly?
    These tyres are requiring the teams to make more stops - putting the mechanics under even more pressure and it has been the case recently of the mechanics making mistakes that effects the outcome of the race, more so then the driver of the car.
    These tyres are bad for F1.

  • Comment number 67.

    @58. As much as I've disliked Schumi, it would be great to see him win once more- but not at Monaco. If he did, he would match Senna's 6 wins there, and I'd not want to see that record broken (or matched by MS)...

  • Comment number 68.

    You say Schumacher is heading into the middle of his fith decade ? he is 43 so how do you work that one out ? as for the incident Senna initially moves to close to door on the left AFTER Schumacher goes left to pass on the outside but then moves right AFTER Schumacher goes right. I think it's unfair journalism on your part to lay the blame at Schumachers feet as senna played his part in the accident, Whatever the outcome of the move it was not even a split second decision and would probably have resulted in the same result had it been your beloved Lewis Hamilton that was involved, enough of the sensationalist writing proclaiming the end of schumachers career please, i am sure with all the other things that occured over the grand prix weekend you can find better things to write about than the rubbish in this article.

  • Comment number 69.

    19. At 09:12 15th May 2012, JensonJet wrote:
    Am I the only one who saw Bruno 'only in racing because of his name!' Senna move right and then left, in the breaking zone

    -----------------------------------------------

    Yes, I saw that.

    Let me be clear - the blame for the incident has to lie solely at Schumacher's door, and the grid penalty is probably fair considering he ruined Senna's race. Had Senna continued, maybe you'd call it a racing incident and let it go, but he took him out and as the car behind, deserves his punishment.

    But the point I tried, and failed, to make to a friend of mine on Sunday, was that as Senna began moving left, Schumacher likely thought he was coming all the way across to block the outside line. Schumacher presumably made a split second decision to go the other way and put it up the inside*, but Senna stopped moving across (and in fact moved right a little). Maybe we shouldn't criticise Senna too much there, though - he possibly stopped going left as he was leaving space for a car on the outside.

    * I don't think there would have been enough room to get back across to the inside anyway, considering Schumacher's closing speed and the fact Senna needed to get on the brakes early. But I think it is this movement left-then-right that Schumacher was talking about in his post accident interview.

  • Comment number 70.

    I was never a huge Schumi fan in his day because I wanted F1 to be more competitive. And of course he was Hill's rival, so I was against him as I was against Piquet for being Mansell's rival. But it is very good to know that I'm not alone in getting tired of the continual criticism of Schumacher that seems to come from the BBC. Last season it was DC and Brundle, and now it appears to be DC and Benson. Brundle and DC seem to be so happy that he is not quite the driver that he was, but I'd like to see where they'd have been in their mid-40s (I was a big fan of both of them when they were driving, by the way). I'm glad that a number of people have had the sense to point out that Schumacher has had a lot of bad luck this season. At no point since his return has his team mate blown him away, so how can anyone write an article questioning whether he's past it? Last season he ended up almost level on points with Rosberg, and if his car hadn't broken, his pit crew hadn't messed up (like so many pit crews this season) and he hadn't been spun out by other drivers, Schumacher would probably right up with Rosberg in the points again.

    And as for 'mediocre', well it's a mediocre team so one would expect the results to match that. One bit of dominance in China, and we were denied the chance to see what Scumacher could have done over a whole race by the mediocre pit crew.

    By the way, Ben Edwards has been brilliant so far. And I haven't heard a single 'business end' or 'no brainer' from him yet, so keep it up!

  • Comment number 71.

    "That may well have been the reason, but the gap was there nonetheless. As it was again in the race, when that excuse was less justifiable. Schumacher was simply outclassed by his team-mate."

    Erm... He was second and went out due to finger trouble, that's not exactly "outclassed" (I'm not a Schumi fan either).

  • Comment number 72.

    Yet another potential collision-disaster.It really is time he went.
    I also agree with other comments about a 5 place grid penalty v. a 23 place penalty for Lewis. One is driver error bigtime, the other team error - not so big time and not as dangerous.
    I really think the media should put some attention to this. It does seem unfair and illogical.

  • Comment number 73.

    I am in no way here to support Schumacher, but I don't think this single moment should be brought out to try and dminish his great achievements.

    What I think happened:
    1. His Mercedes had a massive closing speed on Senna's Williams. This point cannot be argued.
    2. Senna braked early, due to his worn tires; which should have been changed in the pits that lap. This point cannot be argued.
    3. Senna moved in the braking area, but not enough to warrant a penalty. For all of those that argue that this is the cause of the accident, please watch the footage again. He left plenty of space (two car widths) on both sides of his car for Michael to choose which side he wanted to pass on. Any driver in F1 would not be put off by a gap of that size to throw a pass, and so this movement could not be the cause. I don't really think this can be argued either.
    4. Michael through a dumby at Senna so he thought that it looked like he was going to pass on the outside, before trying to repositioning his car to pass on the inside, but because of the closing speed (due to; KERS, DRS, a faster Mercedes in a straight line, early braking by Bruno, slipstream), Michael mis-judged the space that he had to manouevre his car around the Williams, and he then ran into the back of it. Should Michael have read the situation a little better, he would have known that it was a simple manouevre due to his cars superior performance at that stage of te race, he wouldn't have needed to make do a dumby move as Senna was more or less letting him pass. But, in Michaels position, his engineer should have given him the information regarding Bruno. Whether he did this or not, I don't know.

    Michaels misjudgement of the speed differential and Bruno's early braking caused the accident, and therefore warrants a penalty. I feel that a 5 place grid drop at Monaco is suitable.

    Hamilton's disqualification from qualifying cannot be justified. He quite rightly deserved penalising for it, as it's in the Tech. regs. in black and white, even if it was caused by a mistake (may be the left rear wheel man got moved on to fuelling duties?? :D ). I think that it was quite clear that Lewis had a much faster car than many people over the weekend, and for that reason the penalty shouldn't have been so severe. May be he should have just had his final time removed?

    Comments about DC writing the article above are not really fair. Yes, him and Michael have a bit of a history, but it hasn't lead to a hatred for the man. I don't know if any body saw their track walk last season together? I'm pretty sure that would have been a lot more awkward if they did feel that way toward each other. Rubens on the other hand...

  • Comment number 74.

    Perhaps this senior member of Mercedes who calls MS "mediocre" knows something about all the strange things that have been happening to Michael's car during this season .......... loose nuts ... loose tyres ... DRS failures ... gearbox failures ... The poor guy practically has been unable to race in 2012 ... Perhaps this senior member has something to do with it ??

  • Comment number 75.

    Schumacher in his forties is past it. On the other hand, my countryman Juan Manuel Fangio won four of his five championships in his forties. He was the complete gentleman and never cheated like Schumacher. He was the complete master of his sport and could even win in poor cars.

  • Comment number 76.

    Firstly I disagree with this article, it is overly critical of Schumacher and barely attempts to be objective.

    I find it laughable that people are still going on about not racing his teammates or any other competition. The reason why there didn't seem to be any competition was because Schumacher and Ferrari were so much better. The reason why he never had a teammate who was quick enough because like Alonso in his element (with the exception of Hamilton) no one has been able to compete. People seem to forget that Barrichello was extremely highly rated before he came to Ferrari, remember performances like Monaco 1997.

    At the end of the day people are getting ridiculous because a) he never raced in the same team as Hakkinen (who was a McLaren man) b) never raced Alonso in the same car and c) never raced Raikkonen in the same car. Schumacher did have the opportunity to race Raikkonen but he didn't want to displace Massa and potentially damage his career when he felt it was time to call it a day. Schumacher came back for a test in 2007 and was 0.1 seconds quicker than Raikkonen so there's no doubt he would have been very competitive especially because Massa fared far better against Raikkonen than Schumacher.

    Both Irvine and Barrichello have identified that Schumacher was a nightmare as a teammate because he could do things they'd struggled to understand especially on entry to the corner with the careful balancing of the throttle and the brake.

    I think 57 (and 39) mention that Schumacher was a cheat because of 1997 and no one else had ever been disqualified from the championship before but those were symptoms of a new era. Senna's move in 1990 was dangerous and potentially life threatening in comparison, he would have been banned from the championship for that as well if it was 1997. This is a very subjective area and Schumacher's panic at being overtaken was far less malicious than a pre-meditated attack on Prost.

    In my opinion Schumacher's career is an example of a top-tier driver honing his talent and capitalising on opportunities better than anyone else has ever done with perhaps the exception of Prost. Was Schumacher the most naturally talented driver ever? No but this driver probably wasn't in F1 at all.

    Overall I think the crash in Spain was a miscommunication between the two drivers and was a racing incident. I see absolutely no need for the penalty as Senna has to accept some responsibility for the crash, moving in the braking zone like that is a no-no especially with the potential speed differential. I could name countless examples of drivers doing similar things or ending other cars races and not getting a penalty, another example of inconsistent stewarding that we've come to love...

  • Comment number 77.

    If Schumacher was only after titles and nothing else I think he would have moved to the Williams in 1997 and won two more titles. The man (not alone) re-built the empire at Ferrari which is one of the greatest achievements in F1 history.

    Schumacher the team-hopper may have won 10 titles.

  • Comment number 78.

    Of course I meant 1996 above.

  • Comment number 79.

    Ok, he was disqualified from qually, gets to the same end - demoted to the end of the grid. Semantics.

    Point is, how is dangerous driving less of a menace than technical ingringement of a *relatively* (appreciate there is debate) minor nature. It was even agreed by the stewards that it made little if any difference.

    I'm not bothered that it was Mclaren or Hamilton, had it been the other way around i'd have been miffed by the rulings still. What I want is consistent punishment akin to the infrimgment. What we have now is draconian punishment of some infringements and realitvely light punishment of other serious ones.

  • Comment number 80.

    @26

    One good drive in a mediocre car does not make you an all time great driver (otherwise the list would be huge!), even if you have struggled to beat a rookie team mate in the best car on the grid to win the title a year earlier...

    Besides, Hill had the opportunity to drive for McLaren (who were about to come up with a very competitve car) but felt they 'didn't properly value his World Champion status!' ...please!!! McLaren obviously realised he would've made a good No.2 to Hakkinen (instead of DC...) and weren't going to pay him according to past achievements in superior machinery...

  • Comment number 81.

    Should also point out that where one is a team offence and the other is a driver error, the driver got punished more severely for the team offence.

    For other team offences, i.e. team member in the pits after hours etc, wasn't there a recent £10k fine rather than a grid penalty? It just doesn't stack up, it's inconsistent.

  • Comment number 82.

    @79: The problem is that the lack of fuel was only a technical infringement that affected one qualifying run. It didn't make a difference to the outcome but there are two problems with the regulations:

    1) qualifying is seen as one session in the rules and
    2) this problem is seen as a technical infringement and the rules make no distinction between running a rocket pack on the back of the car and having 0.01 litres of less fuel in the car. Sad but another failing of the regulations.

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    I think that 'unfortunately' Schui is past his best and we have a breed of younger drivers coming up now that are honing their skills in GP2, which is the class that transforms 'drivers' into 'racers'.

    Schui albeit a very talented driver hasn't got the race craft that these young racers have developed, although he was successful amongst his peers in his day, with undoubted advantages such as a car designed to be driven by him at the expense of the second driver, and a team built around him. I suspect that they tried this approach with the Mercedes this year, hence the two successful first races, but Rosberg was able to adapt his style and get the best out of the car.

    In my humble opinion, it's time to recognise that he has had his day in the sun, all the time he is sat in the Mercedes he is taking the seat of some young driver that has their future stretching out in front of them. Michael is, sadly embarrassing himself and it isn't pretty to watch.

  • Comment number 85.

    I like Michael Schumacher but it has to be said that his raw driving ability wasn't as good as most of the greats. He cheated his way to the F3 title by taking Mika Hakkinen off the road,his first F1 title by doing the same to Damon Hill. He then brought his gang to Ferrari where they were treated to a bottomless pit of money and an F1 seat with no plausible team mate. He then won many titles in the most cynical fashion robbing the viewing public of any competition and making F1 boring.

    I was hoping he would reflect on this as he moves into his 40's and try to embrace the new competitive,sporting era of F1 but it looks like enlightenment will take a while longer.

  • Comment number 86.

    Just throwing it out there, but wouldn't be surprised to see Hamilton at Mercedes if AND ONLY IF:
    1. Schumi doesn't stay there by the end of this year (may be he will move the the Massa's seat).
    2. He doesn't resign for Mclaren (obviously).

  • Comment number 87.

    What a load of handpicked "proof" of Schumacher's demise. Most of his seemingly poor start to the season is down to a mechanical failure, a pit stop error and getting punted from behind by a Renault in China. Sure, he was at fault for the Senna incident (i.e. now there's a driver who doesn't even belong on the grid!).

    As others have mentioned, there are plenty of other drivers who deserve as much of this populist "analysis". Hell, Webber and Button didn't even make Q3 last weekend!

  • Comment number 88.

    Just what I needed, another post from Andrew Benson.

  • Comment number 89.

    Its nice to see once again that an article about Schumacher is turned around by the so called fans into a Button bashing session. When are you all going to remember that JB has raced in some of the worst cars and teams during his career. Maybe the management of McLaren who incidentally are the experts see something in JB which you all don't. Its nice to see you arm chair experts know more than experienced team owners and managers.

    Leave JB alone, he is far more talented than LH who is inconsistent most of the time. As for Mercedes and Schumacher, maybe he is not as good as he was or maybe the rest of the field is better these days. Who cares, he is over 40 and still driving in a sport which he loves. How many of you critics could achieve what he has.

    Show the guys some respect. It doesn't matter if he wins or doesn't, it is the fact he is still competitive which should be counted.

    There are some outstanding drivers who never reach their potential due to poor racing decisions and judgements and the field is the best it has been for a lot of years. I see no poor drivers on the grid, just drivers lacking experience or well developed cars.

    I hope Schumacher, Raikkonen, Webber, Senna and Petrov improve their pace and find the top step to the podium this year and maybe it would be nice to see Caterham, HRT and Marussia challenging for some points finishes.

    Back to Schumacher, he has more talent in his little finger than most of his critics.

    Long may he race in F1 just to annoy you all!

  • Comment number 90.

    I predict we will have the same debate about Vettel in another 10 years time... which would be ridiculous, as he is clearly an exceptionally talented driver.

  • Comment number 91.

    @ 61 You seem to have a very steady one eye.

  • Comment number 92.

    I'm afraid you need to question your ability to do your job, Andrew.

    This is a biased and flawed article. It makes no reference to the four incidents which Michael had no control over. The gerabox failure in the opening race, the touch and spin in the next, the wheel falling off in the third or the DRS failure in the fourth.

    In the two races he has actually finished this year he has battled against the odds to rescue a point. He is still one of the world's greatest drivers and will return to the podium this year, now that the car is competetive.

    His remarks about tyres are valid as you cannot push a car to its limits - where driver skill is the differentiating factor - with these tyres.

    He is known for his skill in the wet for the reason alone, where the car's limits are that low, it is entirely dependent on driver and handling skill.

    I can't wait until he wins again to wipe the smile off most at the BBC's faces.

  • Comment number 93.

    Mr Benson, this is such a BAD piece of journalism. I can't stand it when people start dropping in defamatory comments from secret sources. Why should we believe you if you won't name your source and how senior are they? If they won't say it to somebody's face then they should keep their mouths shut, not expect some second-rate journalist to do their dirty work for them. Nobody is going to die if they reveal they think Schumacher is mediocre, or perhaps you think he may have some sort of hit-squad who takes people out if they are rude about him? Anything is possible, I suppose, of such a deluded and mediocre has-been!?

    It was a racing incident; Senna did move twice but Schumacher had misjudged his closing speed and seemed to have forgotten how early Senna was having to brake. If Senna hadn't have wiggled about I think Schumacher would have avoided him, but only just, and certainly would have not made the overtake. It would have shown Schumacher in a better light if he had said that in the post-race interview and avoided referring to Senna as an idiot (funnily enough, this incident aside, I thought he had got better at admitting his mistakes in recent years) but I suspect he is massively frustrated after all the other incidents he has suffered so far this season which have not been his fault and which you seem to have conveniently forgotten about. Yes, he was slow compared to Rosberg in China, but he also lost his wheel in a pitstop error which meant he was out of the race from 4th place; in Australia he went out with gearbox failure from 3rd; qualified 3rd in Malaysia but was shunted into at the start of the race and knocked back, eventually finishing 10th and in Bahrain he had problems in qualifying with his DRS and was put back to 22nd on the grid from where he finished in 10th. So to write him off as a shadow of his former self is a bit premature.

    To question the legitimacy of his world championship titles by suggesting he was getting special treatment is appalling. He not only won seven, but in the years between 1994 - 2006, he was runner up in all but three of the years when he didn't win. One of those years he would have surely won another if he hadn't have broken his leg and in 2005 he was third. In 1997 he finished second but had his points taken away for being a bad and evil man. So he pretty well reigned supreme for over a decade. Now he's got older and a bit slower, but he is still one of the best drivers in the world and I suspect that Mercedes and Rosberg have benefitted

  • Comment number 94.

    So,

    Hamilton: Qualifies in pole position but is a little short of fuel in the car, parks it up, no problems with safety.

    Penalty: send to the back of the grid.

    Schumacher: Drives into the back of another driver, both drivers at risk, destroys Senna's race, then blames Senna and calls him an idiot, the stewards disagree and blame Schumacher.

    Penalty: drops 5 places on the grid at the next race.

    Does that seem consistent and fair?

    I'm not saying that McLaren shouldn't have been penalised but I really think the FIA/stewards need to review the range of penalties to ensure that they are fair and equitable.

  • Comment number 95.

    I'm curious as to why posts referring to "Schumacher" and "cheating" are being removed. May I respectfully remind the mods that Michael Schumacher was repeatedly punished by the FIA for breaking the rules.

    It is not defamatory: it is a statement of fact.

  • Comment number 96.

    "I like Michael Schumacher but it has to be said that his raw driving ability wasn't as good as most of the greats. He cheated his way to the F3 title by taking Mika Hakkinen off the road,his first F1 title by doing the same to Damon Hill. He then brought his gang to Ferrari where they were treated to a bottomless pit of money and an F1 seat with no plausible team mate. He then won many titles in the most cynical fashion robbing the viewing public of any competition and making F1 boring.

    I was hoping he would reflect on this as he moves into his 40's and try to embrace the new competitive,sporting era of F1 but it looks like enlightenment will take a while longer."

    Oh, Rushfan100. Rush are my favourite band but your comments don't flatter you.

    Last time I checked Hakkinen drove into the back of Schumacher at Macau when Schumacher was moving to defend his position. There was absolutely no part of Hakkinen's car level or ahead. You say you like Schumacher but I think that is an excuse to abuse him and sound objective.

    Schumacher's first title in 1994 happened after only starting effectively 12 of the 16 races. 10 of which he finished and 8 of which he won. He was the far better driver that year and Schumacher's absence for 4 of the 16 races gave Hill the opportunity to be even remotely close in that year's championship.

    Again, the only teammate anyone would have been happy with would have been Hakkinen. Irvine and Barrichello were both rated very highly at the time. Anyone under any doubt what would have happened with Coulthard, Hill, Villeneuve etc. as teammates is a lot more confused than me.

    I like you but I feel you're completely biased and uncompromising ;)

  • Comment number 97.

    For those of you unable to understand why Hamilton got put to the back as a penalty compared to Schumachers 5 place penalty, here’s a little help.
    The FIA insist on a sample of fuel to ensure that no one is using super-charged rocket fuel or any other illegal additives; everyone knows the punishment for this failure before they go out of the pit lane, so it should come as no surprise. Schumacher on the other hand had a racing incident, an error which put himself out of the race, a self punishment, added to that the FIA gave him a further 5 place punishment in the next Gran Prix.
    To simplify consider 2 runners in a 3000 mtr steeplechase race one runner trips up an opponent who is a lap behind and falls with him putting both out of race the other smashes the world record but flatly refuses to provide a sample for a drug test, tell me do you think they should be treated the

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    This blog is too harsh and too tabloidy, are you deliberately going extreme just to get a reaction. Please try one blog, on anything F1, that doesn't mention Schumacher or Hamilton...

    Speaking as someone who disliked Schumacher's dubious tactics in his Benneton and Ferrari years, I wouldn't write him off like this. The Merc car has been one of the hardest on tyres except for Rosbergs good win where he always had clear air in front. Look at Rosberg in Spain, he was a sitting duck in the race and especially at the end.

    Schumacher hasn't been too bad this year despite lack of points, and the Senna incident was a misjudgement by MS nothing more. His closing speed with DRS and Sennas early braking on worn tyres reminded me of a LeMans style incident between two cars of different racing classes in the same race.

    Schumacher saw Senna move slightly left and misjudged switching to his other side which turns out was not needed as Senna didn't continue to move left. Senna himself said he moved left as he thought Schu would lunge up the inside, so was aware of him approaching.

    Schumachers other mistake was to whinge about the tyres, when he was previously spoiled by his custom Bridgestones, he should just get his head down and drive. The tyres are giving great racing, credit to Pirelli, and managing tyres has always been in F1. (tyre differences for Mansell V Senna Monaco 92 or Mansell v Piquet with the chase down and dummy pass at Silverstone)

  • Comment number 100.

    I'm sorry to have to say it, but I think Schumi has passed his sell-by-date. Mercedes should appoint him as assistant to Ross Brawn ASAP and get in some fresh blood - Gosjean, Di Resta..... ??????

 

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