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Moss: Schumacher 'past it' and 'damaging his achievements'

British grand prix legend Sir Stirling Moss has questioned not only the wisdom of Michael Schumacher's comeback to top flight competition in F1 2010 - but also whether the German was ever truly as good as people perceived him to be...
Record-breaking multiple world champion Michael Schumacher is probably 'past it now' and is only going to 'damage his achievements' by persisting with his thus far underwhelming top flight comeback with Mercedes Grand Prix in F1 2010 – that is the opinion of Sir Stirling Moss, who claims Nico Rosberg's form this year is only going to show that Schumacher was previously over-rated.

Although his return to the grid following three years away in retirement was hailed as a masterstroke for a sport that has been assailed by one crisis after another of late – and an opportunity to add to his incredible tally of 91 grand prix victories from 1991 to 2006 – over the opening four outings of the present campaign, Schumacher has failed to shine.

Whilst his young team-mate and compatriot Rosberg has collected 50 points, started from the front row of the grid and twice mounted the podium to sit an excellent second in the chase for the crown returning to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona early next month, the older German has yet to start any higher than seventh or finish any higher than sixth and lies a lowly ninth in the standings with just ten points to his name.

Even more ignominiously still for someone of his esteemed stature and reputation, the Kerpen native is one of only two drivers in the F1 2010 field to have been out-qualified by the man in the sister machine on every occasion to-date.

That has prompted many observers to question the wisdom of his audacious and much-hyped comeback, musing that his advancing years now at the age of 41 and his absence from the cockpit and the cut-and-thrust of racing at the highest level have dulled Schumacher's once so famously fierce competitive spirit and thirst for the fight – with some wondering whether he will even see out the season, let alone his three-year contract with Mercedes.

Whilst former sparring partner and title rival Mika Hakkinen has called for 'Schumi' to be given more time to re-adapt [see separate story – click here], Moss suggests the return was a mistake and that it has only served to highlight his belief that the most successful driver in F1 history never before had a team-mate as quick and determined as Rosberg is proving to be to genuinely put him under pressure.

“In a word, no,” the British racing legend told Metro, when asked if he could understand Schumacher's decision. “He's a highly intelligent bloke, and I really can't see…all he's going to do is damage his achievements. People are going to say that he's past it now, which he probably is. We've never seen Michael with a 'number two' who has been comparable. He had Rubens Barrichello who no doubt is an extremely good driver, but not necessarily a winner.

“Michael's greatest contribution was bringing English engineers to Ferrari. Ross Brawn and those chaps brought Ferrari from being has-beens back to the front. Because he didn't have a truly competitive team-mate, it was very difficult to know how much of it was down Michael and how much was the car. People say he's the best because he has seven world titles, but that doesn't mean anything really. Well, it does mean something – it's a hell of an achievement – but it doesn't mean he's the greatest ever.”

“People say it's because he's been away for three years and that sort of stuff, but I'm going to stick to what I said at the start of the season,” the 16-time grand prix-winner added in a column on ESPN. “His seven world titles are, in my mind, misleading, and I think we are seeing proof of that now he is up against Rosberg. Rosberg has proved himself as the team's 'number one', and he's been faster than Schumacher in all circumstances.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sir Stirling Moss at the British Women Racing Drivers Club Awards
Sir Stirling Moss with the McLaren Mercedes SLR Stirling Moss [Pic credit: Mercedes]
Sir Stirling Moss, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 16-18/3/ 2007,
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP MGP W01
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP MGP W01
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP MGP W01
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP MGP W01
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP MGP W01
Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP  F1 Team, MGP W01
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP Petronas, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, 2010 [pic credit: Mercedes-Benz]
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP MGP W01
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP MGP W01
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP MGP W01
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads

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Harold - Unregistered

April 28, 2010 12:50 PM

I usually agree with Stirling Moss. But this time I feel he is incorrect. He makes valid point about Shumacher not having a truly competitive team mate. But why was that? Pick up a copy of the 1991 Barcelona GP, first season, wet track, pure class. Belgium 1992, rain again. Nurburgring 1995. Spa 1995. Spain 1996, Monaco 1997. All these races were wet, leveling the playing field and Shumacher shone through. He made the others look average. The teams trusted him so much that the other driver became the number 2. He was great and it would have been nice to see it in China, but perhaps he is just past it. We will find out, but i do not blame him for comming back and having a go.

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