Michael Schumacher 'must be out of his mind' to be making an F1 comeback in 2010 at the age of 41, and has 'not a hope' of adding to his extraordinary tally of seven drivers' world championship crowns – that is the opinion of the man who gave the record-breaking German his initial break in the sport almost two decades ago, Eddie Jordan.
Giving away at least ten years to all of his principal rivals, Schumacher has sensationally returned to the fray with Mercedes Grand Prix this year in an effort to take on the young guns and prove that the 'old man' can still hack it at the highest level, even into his fifth decade.
On the pace in testing, the early signs are encouraging – although it remains to be seen how the Kerpen native's fitness withstands the rigours of an intense, 19-stop calendar, particularly in the wake of the neck injury he sustained in a motorcycling fall at Cartagena in Spain just over a year ago.
However, former team owner Jordan – who handed Schumacher his debut in F1 with his eponymously-named Jordan Grand Prix outfit in the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, with the driver of the green, 7UP-sponsored #32 entry going on to stun seasoned observers by qualifying a remarkable seventh – contends that the 91-time grand prix-winner is 'mad' to risk his glittering reputation should he come off second-best or even worse.
The colourful Irishman – now a BBC F1
pundit – suggests that the most successful driver in top flight history has betrayed one of sport's golden rules, that of knowing when to walk away and not look back, and fears that 'Schumi' could wind up 'sad' and 'rejected' as a result of his ill-advised enthusiasm to continue to compete.
“If I was his father I would have said to him, 'Son, why? Why?!'” Jordan remarked during a special BBC
pre-season discussion. “Seven times a world champion – he must be out of his mind! In life, you – as an individual with that sporting legacy – have to give your sport up, not the sport give you up, and he's putting himself in that position.
“He's heading into a situation where he could become a sad, rejected man if he gets whipped – although he won't get whipped because he's that good. Can he win a race? Yes. Why should he do it? He's mad. Title? Not a hope.”