Schauber or Ferrari? Schumacher’s options

Considering the Hamilton and Perez moves were announced practically simultaneously, the mystery surrounding Michael Schumacher’s future remains. As usual picking the bones out of what the different parties say is not easy.

Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm (Bild), suggests Michael had opportunities with Mercedes and “could have been able to sign if he had wanted to earlier in the summer.” So, we are led to believe it is Schumacher’s indecision over whether he wishes to continue driving at all that has forced Mercedes hand in taking advantage of the Hamilton opportunity.

This may have been the case in the end. Michael’s maybe have been holding out for a 2 year deal instead of the 1 year deal Mercedes had on offer and it is this prevarication that has cost him the seat within the team he has been helping to build. But that does not mean he feels he is done with driving in F1.

Strangely there has been no talk of an offer for Michael to join Mercedes management team and they have already made the slightly inexplicable appointment of Niki Lauda last week to the board. It appears as though there is no room at the Mercedes table for the man who has surely helped build this team since Mercedes acquisition.

Suddenly in 2012, he is the fastest driver in Monaco qualifying and has out qualified Rosberg in 8/14 race weekends. He has only finished 7 races, but in 6 of those he finished ahead of Rosberg (Bahrain being the exception). His average time behind the pole time is (0.936 secs) against NR (1.145secs) and he has also qualified on average 7th and Rosberg has managed 8th.

So without a couple of crashes and some poor pit work meaning a lost tyre and without the numerous gearbox failures, Schumacher would be close if not ahead of Rosberg in the championship and that would be a big story.

Suggesting that Michael may want to retire again would have been more credible after year 2 of his comeback when he clearly struggled get to grips with the driving style required to maximise the off throttle engine blowing that dominated car design. But now?

Peter Sauber has said to Auto Motor und Sport that he would sign Schumacher “immediately” if that is what Michael wanted. Monisha Kaltenborn told Bild today they would be honoured to think Schumacher would consider driving for them.

Of course Sauber may not have the resources of Mercedes, but they are a clever Swiss based outfit, and a with a driver of Schumacher’s experience may have won their first race (as a pure independent team) in Malaysia, when Perez was set to pass Alonso for the win, but made a mistake.

It is worth noting, Schumacher lives in Switzerland near Lake Geneva and Sauber are a 30 minute flight away near Zurich. Mmm.

What of other opportunities for Schumacher? Lotus appear happy with their driver line up despite Grojeans transgressions. Force India may be in financial trouble; Torro Rosso and the bottom 3 would surely not excite Schumacher’s interest.

There is one last possibility. I mentioned several days ago that there were talks between Hamilton and Ferrari and Ferrari have still not concluded the “Yes to Massa” or “No to Massa” issue. Is it possible, Schumacher could return to Ferrari in a bid to help them win the constructers title 2013?

Michael is only 8 points behind Massa in the drivers table and has had a far inferior car than the 2012 Ferrari that is leading the title chase. Other head to head comparisons, Michael has qualified on average 0.936 (Massa 1.095) seconds slower than pole time and MS outqualified FM 9/13 times. Average qualifying position MS (7.8) FM (10.8) . Average race finish position MS (7.1) FM 10.8.

The rumours abound today that Ferrari are talking to Schumacher’s management. Surely this can’t happen. It’s a very different place than the one Michael left, and a certain Amigo called Alonso rules the roost. The ultimate No.1 driver and 7 time world champion becoming Alonso’s No. 2?

Yet maybe all Schumacher needs is to win 1 more race to prove to himself he was right to come out of retirement and Ferrari will give him that opportunity. There will be races where Alonso can’t win and Schumacher with the right car could do so.

So if Michael still has F1 racing desire in his blood surely he has to take the share options Peter Sauber would most likely offer, and race on a year to year basis. You never know maybe Peter will agree to a joint venture called Schauber!

It’s too crazy – Schumacher back to Ferrari? It’s pure Hollywood. But then Hamilton moving to Mercedes was called illogical and risky by those F1 experts in the know – and look what happened.

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25 responses to “Schauber or Ferrari? Schumacher’s options

  1. I think you’re spot on about the share options that would come with the Sauber drive. PS has already retired once and I think it would be a dream for both that Schumacher could ventually become team principal. I also think that he has the mental capacity to do so as well. It’s a thoroughly interesting suggestion.

    I do believe that the Ferrari move would be a flight of fancy. I still believe Schumacher has a win or two in him, and I cann’t see Alonso agreeing to him joining the team, I just can’t see it, if he has the veto on drivers we all assume he has.

    Force India have a seat, as do Williams, for I am sure Senna will not be racing with them next year. Maybe a partner to Kimi at Lotus? Crazier things have happened.

    Good article.

    • I’m glad we finaly agree 🙂

      Seriously, I appreciate your comments and if you go on any other blog sites or forums, a link posted to here every now and then helps get us know.

  2. I will link the site, as the content is good, and the subject matter discussed in an adult manner (an area I could improve on). Try an open discussion on Joe Sewards blog and he will not publish anything that goes against his POV; it’s good to discuss these things, regardless of our positions on things.

  3. Schumacher is actually 8-6 ahead of Rosberg in qualifying. I imagine you got the 7-7 from F1fanatic which bizarrely discounts his pole and qualifying ahead of Rosberg at Monaco because of a penalty that has nothing to do with qualifying.

    If you ever want to quickly compare drivers for research just check link below. Hasn’t been updated with Singapore but they are usually sharper with the updates and their info isn’t left meaningless by gearbox and other penalties like F1fanatic.

    http://www.manipef1.com/stats/drivercomparison/?driver1=mschumacher&driver2=nrosberg&year=2012

    Schumi alongside Alonso is massive box office and I bet Bernie is pushing for that one. If that fails Sauber is a good place but the most important thing is his team is quicker than Merc next year!

    • You’re right – I used F1fanatic for the stats, I’ll try your recommendation in future.

      What I find incredible is the race stats. 6 out of 7 fin favour of Schumacher when he’s not DNF’d and of course when Rosberg won, the pit crew didn’t secure Michael’s wheel properly and he retired.

      I actually believe there is mileage in the Schumacher to Ferrari for all parties, including Alonso. What better for his claim to be the best driver in F1 than beating the former 7 times champion in the same equipment…Alternatively if Schumacher did well..

      • The way I see it Alonso is exceptionally smart and certainly smart enough to know Schumacher is the last team mate on the planet he would want. My reason’s are he knows he has everything to loose and nothing to gain just like in 2007.

        If it was a Schumacher 10 years ago in the same car, Alonso would have had plenty to gain but does he really now against a 43 yr old who the media is probably underrating quite significantly right now?

        I think Luca, Bernie and Schumi would luv for it to happen but Alonso not but maybe the key is Luca and Bernie are very persuasive and used to getting what they want.

        Ya 6-1 in races is good and I think impossible to pass Bahrain where Schumacher started really far back(DRS issue in quali) was where the 1 came from. Was the same last year but he kept getting involved in accidents midfield.

      • Lose lose for Alonso really, which is possibly why I can’t see it happening. I’d love it though, as he, Sch, does have another win in him, and he’d be loathe to leave F1 without it. Monaco was a big chance for him.

      • He’s never going to admit it but he doesn’t have to. If he gets his way Massa will be kept another year and no will question anymore about why they didn’t take back Schumacher.

        He will be asked this weekend about would he like the possibility of Schumacher as a team mate and he will probably say he would love the opportunity to race alongside him but its up to Luca to decide what is best for the team or something to that effect, throw in about Massa driving good this last while and then unto the next question.

        I don’t think Alonso thinks Schumacher will beat him but he is smart enough to know it not a 100% fact things couldn’t go a bit haywire especially with the media bigging him up so much and dishing the ole man.

      • They have come out and stated they are only evaluating 3 drivers: Massa, PDiR and Hulk, but you wonder if anything that comes out of Maranello is the gospel according to Luke. I could also see Hulkenberg lighting a bushel under Alonsos car as he’s no slouch. PDiR I just don’t think too much of, as Sutil regularly outperformed him, and I am not too sure hes from the top drawer.

      • hairgis,
        Agree with you on the DiResta thing. If he is as brilliant as the British media would have you believe then Adrian Sutil is Senna and Schumacher rolled into one.
        Even after Perez is picked above him at McLaren the British media say it was because of sponsorship. And who was Merc’s 2nd choice, it was also Perez not so called Merc driver in waiting DiResta.
        Ya, hope Hulk gets the Ferrari drive as don’t see Schumi getting it.

  4. With Perez leaving, Sauber look like they are facing a big drop in budget for next year. How are they going to pay for a driver like Michael? Share options perhaps, but I don’t think Michael has any real interest in team management; he didn’t do much for Ferrari post-retirement and with Lauda coming in to Merc there doesn’t seem to be a role there for him.

    Ferrari look like a better option – remember they were after Webber earlier this year, another experienced driver for a short term contract. Massa has been given enough chances to improve, he’s miles behind Alonso which is damaging their constructors chances; there is a very real possibility Lotus will have 3rd place off them. A flourish for the last few races isn’t enough for a car with that much potential. I don’t think Alonso would fear MS, he’s already beaten in him in his prime but as you say I can see MS picking off the race win(s) he wants if Alonso falters.

    Otherwise what about Williams? To me this looks like his final option, they appear at last on the up again capable of winning races and Senna’s seat looks precarious.

    Good site btw

    • Good analysis oversteer01

      I agree if Schumacher was offered the chance he’d surely go to Ferrari.

      I did notice I’d ommited Williams from my article and you raise a point of interest. How would they have faired this year with Ruebens? and an experienced driver like Schumacher would definately bring a lot to their party.

      To your other point, I think Michael didn’t want to do anything when he first left F1, and it appears as though he got bored hence the comeback. Therefore we can’t rule out he may have learned something from his first retirement and next time he leaves or is ousted from driving F1 cars his attitude to team management/ownership may well be different. He is after all ultra competative and someone like that needs an outlet – they just don’t do gardening 🙂

    • I have read over the years that Alonso fears nobody, including Hamilton, he’s never asked for No 1, just doesn’t want to be No 2 in the team.
      There’s a lot which hasn’t been revealed of what happened between Mclaren/ Ron and Alonso during 2007.

      They say the greats always see who will replace them. Senna, for eg, recognised MSC as his successor instantly.
      Schumacher was asked in 2002 who he thought would succeed him. He didn’t mention a rival from that year, ie Raikkonen or Montoya, he spoke about Renaults test driver, Alonso, as the next main guy.

      I think Alonso is so well established at Ferrari, speaks fluent Italian and is adored by the team and Tifosi, that he wouldn’t have a problem.
      He always speaks of the satisfaction of having won his WDC’s whilst MSC was still racing. I think to beat him within the same team would be worth even more.

      I’m certain many will disagree, but to my mind Alonso is the best driver since Senna.

      • He is the most complete driver – or best all round driver in my opinion. Since he’s been targeting finishing ahead of nearest rivel each weekend, I think he’s lost some excitement, but to be fair the Ferrari is not a great car so who can blame him for playing the percentages.

  5. the Judge 13- This is my first time on your site, reading all your articles and i have to say i think they are Brilliant and make Great reading 🙂 Informative and insightful! Glad i have come across it all 🙂 Keep up the great writing! Look forward to more 😀 Thanks 🙂

    • Tank you Santino – a pat on the back helps on those nights when I’m researching sources and writing till 3am lol. You can help me by following me on twitter and re-tweeting any of my tweets that announce a new article – it helps getting ranked at the top of #f1 and then gets us a lot more eyeballs. Also if you go on any other sites where you leave comments – post the URL link to a judge13 article you enjoyed which also gets more people involved.

      • Keep the good work!! im following you on Twitter and retweeted article! I will post your link elsewhere too when im on other sites! As an impatient Schumacher fan, i was wondering if you have any further info on him since writing this article! or do you know someone connected with him? All im wanting to hear is that he’ll continue Racing in F1 for 2 or 3 more seasons with some wins at least!! Ferrari would be awesome but Sauber would be great too 🙂

        • What I’ve heard today is that if offered a Ferrari drive Michael will take it. I have to say it would be fantastic to see him in a competative car for 1 more year. If Ferrari were going to get rid of Massa they surely would have gone for Perez – I can’t see how Di Resta and Hulknburg are a better choice. So it looks as though it’s Massa or Schumacher. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see Schumacher in a prancing horse car for one final hurrah.

          • Totally Agree but most are saying its mad to think that as Alonso wouldnt like it! Im really Hoping Di Montezemolo is putting out a contract for him! If not Sauber would be good! I hope Sauber can beat Mercedes in 2013! Dont like way Merc have been with Schumacher at all!

          • It’s not Ross Brawn – he and Schumacher go back too far – the 2 articles I’ve written on Lauda explain the apparent dismissal of Michael without so much as a thank you

          • Yeh Lauda has to me at least always seemed a bit sneaky! can imagine him asserting his authority!

  6. He’s retired. Didn’t expect that, as I thought he’d not want his second coming to end as a failure.

    I wish he hadn’t tainted his record to be honest. What he did pre 2007 was incredible and now he’s diluted it by 60 odd additional races, maybe one at the front.

    • Gutted doesnt cover it! My enthusiasm has not diminished but its certainly less with this Knowledge now! F1 wont be the same! as far as im concerned, Michael was the last piece of a great era for F1, Ie the 90’s!

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