Sir Stirling Moss has suggested that not only will Michael Schumacher find he has things far from his own way in F1 2010, but indeed that the record-breaking returnee is unlikely to lift the laurels on his comeback to a sport from which he initially hung up his helmet three years ago.
The German – with seven drivers' world championship crowns, 91 grand prix victories, 154 podium finishes and a staggering 1,369 points from 249 previous starts at the highest level between 1991 and 2006 – will complete what has been dubbed arguably the greatest comeback in sporting history when he rejoins the fray with Mercedes Grand Prix for the curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir in just under two months' time.
Some observers have already installed the Kerpen native as one of the pre-season favourites to add an eighth title to his extraordinary career CV – but at 41 and up against the likes of young guns Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa amongst others, Moss reckons the era of Schumacher dominance has now passed.
“I think he is very brave to come back,” the man widely-held to be the greatest racing driver never to win the F1 World Championship is quoted as having said by ESPN
, describing Schumi's return as somewhat ill-advised. “He has gone to the best team I think, but that doesn't mean he is going to win. To beat people like Vettel, and Alonso – who is a very dark horse at the moment – I think he has his work cut out, actually.
“One problem with Michael, from my point-of-view, is that he has never really had a really fast number two. Usually the best way you can tell how fast a driver is, is to look at the number two and see where he is in relation to him. He's had Rubens [Barrichello], who is a terrific man and a very quick driver, but one doesn't look at him as being one of the very fastest – and yet sometimes he was quicker.
“I don't personally think he (Schumacher) will win it. It's too early to say, but I think it will go to Vettel or Alonso. I think it is very good for the sport, but I don't think he was very well-advised to take it.”