Sir Jackie Stewart has said that around eight drivers could be contention to win the F1 drivers' title in 2010 – and that he can't 'remember a better package of top teams with top drivers'.
Speaking in an interview with the Metro
, Stewart also added that he didn't think McLaren had made a mistake by opting for an all-British driver line-up, in the shape of 2009 F1 world champion, Jenson Button and 2008 F1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton.
Furthermore he also thinks Mercedes' will go well with record-breaking multiple F1 world champion, Michael Schumacher returning to the sport to team up with former Williams man Nico Rosberg.
“I don't think it will end in tears,” he noted when asked about the driver line-ups at McLaren and Mercedes. “It is great both are based in the United Kingdom. But don't forget Ferrari has Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, and Red Bull has Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. It's an incredible collection and I don't remember a better package of top teams with top drivers. All these names are capable of winning the world championship.”
Pressed on who is his favourite to actually come out top, Stewart refused to make a prediction: “At this stage it is impossible [to choose between them],” the three-time world champion continued.
“Nico Rosberg is the only driver among them yet to win a grand prix, but then he is lining up alongside Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn, who have worked together to land seven world championships.”
As for Schumacher's comeback, Stewart reiterated that the German obviously 'retired' too soon when he hung up his helmet in 2006.
“He clearly missed the sport and his retirement was a mistake. I could have retired in 1971 when I won my second championship. I crossed the Atlantic 86 times that year because I was racing in Europe and America and I could easily have said enough is enough. But I carried on and landed another championship. He obviously got completely bored after leaving F1.
“I mean why in God's name would you go racing would you go riding motorcycles and pretending to be the Stig on Top Gear? It doesn't make sense. He was a frustrated, retired too-soon, multiple world champion.”
Asked how Schumacher will do this season, Stewart reckons he will find F1 a lot harder now than in the past: “When he last competed Ferrari was the best equipped team in the world and everything was focussed on him, as I'm sure his then team-mate, Rubens Barrichello will tell you. There was a void of highly competitive drivers with highly competitive cars but it doesn't look like that is the case this year.”