Michael Schumacher is continuing to act coy on his ultimate goal for his celebrated comeback in F1 2010 with Mercedes Grand Prix, insisting that he will not raise himself up only to risk being shot down again by the media should he come up short at season's end – but acknowledging that in the final reckoning, he like everybody else will be 'judged on results'.
Schumacher's return to active competition in the curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir earlier this month yielded a low-key seventh place in qualifying and sixth in the race – on both occasions behind young team-mate and compatriot Nico Rosberg.
Being beaten by the driver in the other half of the pit garage is not something of which the German legend has a great deal of experience from his 16 campaigns in the top flight to-date, and some have used his performance under the baking heat of the desert sun to claim that at 41 years of age, the Kerpen native can no longer cut it right at the front of the field and consequently may well find his legacy weakened should he prove not to be the same force that he once so clearly was.
The man himself, though, maintains that he never expected to simply be able to pick up again from where he left off three years ago when he initially hung up his F1 helmet – and when asked to divulge his objectives in Melbourne this weekend, and whether he has had to re-assess the situation in the light of his form in Sakhir, 'Schumi' is staying tight-lipped indeed.
“[Bahrain was] the first race at the beginning of a new challenge for me, so I'm quite relaxed by that,” the 91-time grand prix-winner is quoted as having said by Reuters
in Albert Park on the eve of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, a race in which he has triumphed on no fewer than four previous occasions. “[Rosberg is] a very good and fast driver, so I don't think I need to be ashamed of where I was in Bahrain.
“Why do you want to fix me on something that you can come back by the end and tell me 'ah, you were much worse than you said and much later, da da da...'? Keep trying, but I don't go with it. I think it's fair enough to be judged on results, absolutely, but I don't feel I need to give guidelines or references of when and how I will achieve them.
“I'm mainly here for the enjoyment, but at the same time I am not here to finish last – I want to win. That's natural. The joy is much better and higher if you are successful. Maybe I'm a little bit addicted to challenges...”