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Mercedes top brass rubbish talk of early Schu departure

Multiple world champion Michael Schumacher has no intention of curtailing his three-year contract with Mercedes Grand Prix in the wake of an underwhelming start to his grand prix comeback thus far in F1 2010, insist Norbert Haug and Nick Fry
Mercedes Grand Prix top brass Norbert Haug and Nick Fry have poured cold water upon speculation that record-breaking multiple world champion Michael Schumacher could bring a premature end to his return to F1 competition – leaping to the defence of the German legend, who they insist remains 'highly-motivated' and focussed on 'long-term' success.

Schumacher is one of only two drivers in the F1 2010 field – along with Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov at Renault – to have been out-qualified by his team-mate 3-0 thus far this season, causing many to call into question the wisdom of rejoining the fray at 41 years of age and following three full years away from the grand prix grid.

That, assuredly, was not what the Kerpen native had envisaged upon agreeing terms with Mercedes back at the end of last year – and heading to the fourth round of the 2010 campaign in China next weekend, Schumacher trails Nico Rosberg in the internecine, all-Teutonic battle at the Brackley-based outfit by 35 points to just nine. His younger compatriot also achieved a front row start and podium finish in Malaysia last weekend, what Haug acknowledges was 'the best job possible'.

The best his countryman has qualified, by contrast, has been seventh, and his highest finish only sixth. What's more, the Michael Schumacher that spent a jaw-dropping 22 laps tucked up behind the Scuderia Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari – a man with all of eleven grand prix starts to his name – Down Under in Melbourne last month looked a pale shadow of the Michael Schumacher who dominated F1 from 1994 until 2006.

The seven-time title-winner's contract with Mercedes is not due to expire until the end of 2012, but in the light of his off-key form to-date this year, some have surmised that his 'second career' might transpire to be even more short-lived than anticipated, and that the 91-time grand prix-winner could well return to the ranks of retirement after a sole campaign. Far from it, contends Haug.

“It's quite the contrary,” the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President told German publication Bild, a newspaper whose latest headline reads 'Der Schumi-Absturz' – 'The fall of Schumi'. “I know that Michael is highly-motivated and wants to make his comeback for the long-term, with long-term success.

“As soon as the car can [win], so can Michael. The fact that he has not had better results so far is not his fault. The true fans know exactly what has happened so far and why there is the points deficit.”

“Every race he is learning a little bit more and it is all coming together slowly but surely, which is probably what you would expect,” concurred chief executive Fry, speaking to the Press Association. “I would not underestimate him.”

Related Pictures

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Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer, Mercedes GP
Norbet Haug, Vice President, Mercedes Benz Motorsport
Saturday Practice, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP  F1 Team, MGP W01
Race, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP  F1 Team, MGP W01 retires from the race
Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP  F1 Team, MGP W01
Friday Practice 1, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP  F1 Team, MGP W01
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Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP MGP W01
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Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP MGP W01 & Norbet Haug, Vice President, Mercedes Benz Motorsport
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CDFisaknb - Unregistered

April 09, 2010 11:42 AM

CDF you missed out saome important facts: 1. lulu was parachuted into the best car 2. uncle ronny made sure that lulu had it all their own way 3. schumacher has not race in 3 years. when lulu started in f1 he had been racing constantly in previous years and could do as much testing as he liked when schumacher wins will you issue a post admitting you were wrong? doubt it. you aint got the cajones

Calvin _

April 09, 2010 12:00 PM

Come on guys, surely it's way too early to start talking about quitting. I'm not a MS fan, nowhere near it in fact, but I'd give him much more time than 3 races. Actually, having been away for 3 years, I'd treat 2010 as a relearning year and push for something in 2011. So long as he is enjoying himself and not being a disaster on the track, I can't see him giving up so easily. It's not in his character.

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