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Ecclestone: Schumi picked wrong team for return

Bernie Ecclestone reckons that Michael Schumacher picked the wrong team for his return to F1 in 2010.
Bernie Ecclestone may have welcomed the extra attention Michael Schumacher's return to F1 produced in 2010, but admits that the German could have made a better choice of team.

Schumacher was tempted out of a three-year retirement by the prospect of linking up with Mercedes, the marque which had backed him as he made his name in sportscars, but the success that both had enjoyed in the early 1990s failed to materialise in the more competitive F1 arena.

Although team-mate Nico Rosberg managed a breakthrough win at this year's Chinese Grand Prix, Schumacher was restricted to a single podium appearance in three seasons with the Brackley-based team, and clearly showed that he had lost a step during his lay-off.

Ecclestone, with the benefit of 58 races from which to form an opinion, now claims that the seven-time champion made the mistake of expecting the Three Pointed Star – which took over the 2009 championship-winning Brawn operation - to be a force.

"With hindsight, Schumacher shouldn't have started," he was quoted by ESPN, “I suppose, when he went there, he expected the team to do a lot better than they have.”

Asking how the German would have performed 'if he was in a Red Bull or a Ferrari' is a little spurious of Ecclestone as neither had a vacancy at the time of his return – and neither subsequently considered him when negotiating with Mark Webber and Felipe Massa respectively – but the F1 ringmaster believes that Schumacher would have called it quits at the end of 2012 regardless of results.

The former Jordan, Benetton and Ferrari driver was apparently offered an extension with Mercedes during the summer, but prevaricated, allowing Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug to swoop for Lewis Hamilton when the Briton revealed that he could be available for 2013. Ecclestone, however, insists that not signing immediately was an indication that Schumacher was considering his future.

"I think he was going to go anyway,” the 82-year claimed, “Hamilton had a number of options."

Schumacher, having tried his hand at motorcycle racing during his last retirement, now appears determined to become competitive in the altogether different discipline of 'reining', having bought a ranch in Texas shortly before the USGP.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
25.11.2012- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 and Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
25.11.2012- Race, Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03 and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7
25.11.2012- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E20 and Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
25.11.2012- Race, Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
25.11.2012- Mercedes Team photograph, Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
28.08.2011- Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management  and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher and the 1996 Ferrari F310
Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
George Russell, Mercedes junior programme, [Credit: Mercedes]
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Nigel Mansell - McLaren-Mercedes
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]

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chris - Unregistered

December 06, 2012 10:26 AM

Kind of stating the obvious. Merc were rubbish. Schumacher would likely have won with Ferrari. Mclaren , Red Bull or even Sauber. He put far too much faith in Ross Brawn who of course is now making the same encouraging noises to Lewis. It was three year plan, now it's 2014 and so on.

Oldtimer - Unregistered

December 06, 2012 10:34 AM

It's just Bernie stating the obvious, its much easier with hindsight. He was glad to have him back and now he's saying he should never have come back, perhaps he should make up his mind, difficult I know at 87 or whatever he is.

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