Following his retirement at the Hungarian Grand Prix due to a gearbox problem following a spin, the seven-time champion of the world is equal 9th in the Formula One Drivers’ Championship, two places and 16 points behind Rosberg. He has certainly improved on his 2010 campaign, but is still nowhere near where he or the fans expect him to be.
Schumacher has chosen to race on into 2012 underlying his determination and willingness to get things right, and it appears that he still feels he has more to prove before hanging up his helmet for the final time.
This seems somewhat bizarre considering he’s arguably the best driver in the history of the sport, but he will feel that his recent performances haven’t been strong enough for him to leave on a positive note.
However many have made the mistake of seeing this as a continuation of his first career which has in turn created an unrealistic sense of expectation. This is a completely different journey for Schumacher; he is trying once more to build a championship winning team, and has re-assessed his objectives in months past with neither he nor team-mate Rosberg achieving expected podium positions.
No matter what anyone says though this is certainly the bravest comeback in the history of Formula One. The man had nothing to gain from returning, but felt he could still be competitive in one of the most talented fields in years.
Sadly he’s not been given a car capable of doing this, and he hasn’t been able to replicate the comebacks of Nikki Lauda and Alain Prost, both of whom returned to Formula One to win World Championships (Lauda in 1984 and Prost in 1993). However they were both fortunate enough to step into the best car on the grid with Mclaren and Williams respectively.
Many have now started to question his past successes and whether it was the car, and not him that gave him his success. Nigel Mansell even said he was `gifted titles. ` Of course this is complete rubbish, no champion is `gifted` his success.
I’m ever so slightly biased but Michael didn’t win a title at Ferrari until the year 2000, having already spent four previous seasons with them. During this time he worked with the team, helping to consistently create a reliable car that put him in the best possible position to win a World Championship.
His influence, one minded focus, maintained motivation and ability to bring his team together brought him five consecutive titles. Along the way he beat the likes of Juan Pablo Montoya, Kimi Raikkonen and Mika Hakkinen who I do not consider to be `poor competition.`
In my view Schumacher retired one season too early and/or came back one year too late. I admire him completely for making a comeback but with hindsight it was probably the wrong decision.
<img class="aligncenter" src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/87/241667683_4895cc61ab.jpg" alt="Image courtesy of Rulerof heck” width=”420″ height=”338″ />
But as for all the talk of the man still have something to prove, he simply doesn’t need to. He’s won 91 Grand Prix, seven World Championships and remains one of only a handful of competitors to win the Drivers’ title with not necessarily the best car (meaning that his team that year didn’t win the Constructors’ title).
He re-wrote the handbook of how to be a Formula One driver. He set the standard for what is expected of any driver coming through the ranks, and helped to improve the levels of safety that we currently see in Formula One Motor Racing.
He is a dedicated professional; committed to his team and a magnificent racing driver who has achieved absolutely everything possible in the sport.
Yes he’s had his faults and shown glimpses of desperation at times, but his hero Ayrton Senna was made in a similar mould, and they ended up winning 10 titles between them!
Do I think he has something to prove?
He’s Michael Schumacher.