F1 »

Brawn confident 'resilient' Schumacher still has what it takes

Following further criticism of his form in F1 2011 from Bernie Ecclestone and Nigel Mansell, the under-fire Michael Schumacher has received a resounding vote of confidence from Mercedes Grand Prix team principal Ross Brawn
In the wake of further criticism of his form in F1 since his much-hyped but crushingly underwhelming return to the grand prix grid at the beginning of last year – this time from the sport's supremo, Bernie Ecclestone – Ross Brawn has tipped a 'resilient' Michael Schumacher to roll with the punches and 'be back where we want him' around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya this weekend.

Following an abject performance in the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul just under a fortnight ago – during the course of which he caused a needless collision with Lotus Renault GP rival Vitaly Petrov, requiring a new front wing and taking the chequered flag a distant twelfth for his troubles, with Mercedes Grand Prix team-mate Nico Rosberg well ahead in fifth – Schumacher confessed that 'the big joy is not there right now' [see separate story – click here].

Amidst revived rumours that the German legend might elect to cut his losses and walk away again come season's end to prevent further embarrassment, 1992 F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell has mused that 'if things haven't improved by the end of the year, maybe what some people are saying he should take heed'. Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Ecclestone agrees that the 91-time grand prix-winner's comeback has fallen a long way short of expectations thus far – although he warns against ever writing him off.

“I am surprised and disappointed,” the British billionaire – one of many to have forecast a significant step forward from Schumacher this year – told Swiss newspaper Blick. “I would like to see him in a Red Bull, though, because you don't know how good the Mercedes is. Compared to his team-mate Rosberg, it doesn't look good – but Michael is a fighter, and he can still win. I'll be the first to cheer when he beats [Sebastian] Vettel.”

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug, however, has sprung to Schumacher's defence, insisting that 'he will succeed again – he has the speed, the talent and the willpower to do so' and telling Salzburger Nachrichten: “I would not underestimate him or his ability. So far this year, his true capabilities have been clear not in results, but in lap times – yes.”

Brawn concurs with that assessment, reaffirming his unwavering faith in the man whom he helped to engineer to all seven of his world championship crowns at first Benetton and then Ferrari between 1994 and 2004 and contending that even at the comparatively grand old age of 42 now, Schumacher's raw speed, motivation and commitment remain undimmed.

“I am sure the last race wasn't very joyful, and that is what he was referring to,” the Englishman is quoted as having said by AFP on the eve of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, a race that 'Schumi' has in the past won on no fewer than six occasions. “When you have a race like that, it's going to knock you back, but I think he's pretty resilient and I'm optimistic this weekend he will be back where we want him.

“[Suggesting he is eyeing retirement again] is definitely taking it too far. I have spoken to him since then (the Turkish Grand Prix). We had a lot of technical discussions, and he was hassling about what we were doing about the car, what is coming along, what improvements we have got – so nothing has changed.

“It is just looking at the things that go wrong. They are quite small, and – although they were all significant in Turkey – until final qualifying, he was incredibly strong but then he had some problems. It is that last little bit that he needs to finish off. If he was slow from the beginning then you would be worried, but I am not worried because he is still very quick. We are optimistic.”




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sunday, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Saturday Practice, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
08.05.2011- Race, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
07.05.2011- Saturday Practice, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
06.05.2011- Friday Practice 2, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
06.05.2011- Friday Practice 1, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
06.05.2011- Friday Practice 1, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
06.05.2011- Friday Practice 1, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
17.04.2011- Race, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02 and Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
16.04.2011- Saturday, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
17.04.2011- Race, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02 leads Kamui Kobayashi (JAP), Sauber F1 Team C30
06.05.2011- Friday Practice 1, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
07.05.2011- Saturday Practice, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
03.02.2010 Valencia, Spain, Ross Brawn (GBR) Team Principal, Mercedes GP and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP
03.02.2010 Valencia, Spain, Ross Brawn (GBR) Team Principal, Mercedes GP and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP - Formula 1 Testing, Valencia
01.02.2010 Valencia, Spain, Ross Brawn (GBR) Team Principal, Mercedes GP and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP - Formula 1 Testing, Valencia
Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02 and Ross Brawn (GBR), Team Principal, Mercedes GP
27.07.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


rfd1 - Unregistered

May 19, 2011 10:40 PM

Hey, Michael. I just turned 65, drive a Mustang and ride a Kawasaki "Ninja" ZX14, fastest production motorcycle in the world. I still got it and, at twenty-three years younger than me, so do you. So put the whip to that baby and I'll see you in Austin in 2012 when you're pushin' for that eighth World Drivers' Championship...

elijah - Unregistered

May 19, 2011 5:35 PM

Schumacher clearly has more off days than he ever had before his sabbatical .But he is still right up there. A great driver. Yappers do not underestimate him .



© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.