So Michael announces his retirement in Suzuka. Adam Cooper has the full and rather emotional speech here, so I won’t publish it all. What surprises me is that Schumacher has been driving pretty well this year, here’s some head to heads
Head to Head – Schumacher/Rosberg/Massa
Ave grid position Ave qualifying time outside poll position
7.5 Schmacher 0.936secs Schumacher
8.5 Rosberg 1.145secs Rosberg
10.8 Massa 1.095secs Massa
Ave finish position Head to head qualifying
7.1 Schumacher Schumacher/Massa 10 to 4
8.1 Rosberg Schumacher/Rosberg 8 to 6
Finished ahead of (completed races)
Schumacher/Massa 3 to 4
Schumacher/Rosberg 6 to 1
People have criticised Schumacher for not finishing enough races, 7 in fact, but If you consider the list of problems Schumacher has had, his contribution has been minimal (in bold)
Australia – gearbox DNF
Malaysia – qualified 3rd, Hit at start by Grosjean, 1 point
China – Mechanics forget to put wheel nut on DNF
Bharain – defective DRS in qualifying and gearbox failure started 23rd – finished 10th 1point
Barcelona – CAUSED A COLLISION WITH SENNA DNF
Monaco – qualified on pole. started 6th Hit by Grosjean at start DNF
Canada – After second pit stop, DRS jammed – car retired DNF
Hungary – gearbox DNF
Singapore – CAUSED A COLLISION WITH JA DNF
Not only has Schumacher driven well this year, but I’m highly surprised at the combination of the timing of this announcement and the primary reason give. Its 6 days since Hamilton in effect ousted Michael from his Mercedes drive and Schumacher is telling us the reason for retiring is the old batteries in the red zone again. Yet if that’s the case why not make a joint announcement as was practically done with Perez – another 6 days to decide if the batteries are not recheargeable?
Some people have accused me of being a cynic – I think possessing an inert healthy scepticism would be a better description. I hope Michael is not trying to re-write history and claim this was going to happen regardless of Hamilton leaving McLaren because as we all know now he actually got caught out by events outside his control.
After yesterdays semantic busting article, my brain is a little fried to get too forensic over this, but I smell a rat on the whole “batteries are run down” line after Michael’s best season since returning. I wonder if there may be some connection with what the boss of Ferrari said a couple of days ago on the issue of Fernando’s team mate.
Montezemolo said, “He’s right [Fernando] that there aren’t any “phenomenons” in circulation. But first Fernando should win the world title and then we will certainly not put anyone alongside him who would bother him. It is the case that the decisions on drivers are taken by us, obviously sharing them with him. Massa has been very strong in the last two races. I’m taking a few days to reflect.”
Fernando has been quite vocal recently about who deserves the No.2 drive at Ferrari, couching his opinions in the 2nd person, almost a “Royal we” that includes him as part of the decision making process. In the statement above from Luca M, he clearly puts down any notion that Fernando is part of the driver decision making process. James Allen has a piece on this that explains the translation into English is a little weak and what is said is an absolute claim of Authority from Luca with them “sharing” the decision once it is made with Alonso, rather Fernando sharing in the decision making.
Even without this explanation, this is still crystal clear from Montezemelo when he says, “first Fernando should win the world title and then we will certainly not put anyone alongside him who would bother him”.
Does this last comment leave the door open for Schumacher? The rules over who they recruit are set out by Montezemolo are as follows.
If Fernando wins the world title – and we may not know until late November, Ferrari will not recruit a driver “who would bother him”.
If Fernando does not win the world drivers’ title – we may recruit a driver who could challenge his number 1 status within the team.
Who on earth could that be?
A couple of weeks ago Ferrari dismissed Perez as not experienced enough for a drive with their team. By this reasoning you have to exclude Di Resta, Hulkenberg, Maldonado and Grosjean as drivers who do not have enough time served.
Obviously Perez, Jenson, Hamilton Rosberg, Vettel and , Webber are all contracted up.
Raikkonen is certainly one who would give Fernando a run for his money, but the nature of his departure less than 5 years ago would suggest that just won’t happeni
Kovaleinen’s poor performance in a McLaren still leaves big questions over how he would handle being in a fromt running car again.
Senna and Kobayashi may be out of F1 altogether next season and the rest are just not credible options.
Who does this leave available to even remotely offer a challenge to Fernando’s no.1 status next year if he fails to win the title in 2012?
Michael Schumacher? It means Ferrari don’t have to make any decisions until December. Massa can stay if Fernado is champion otherwise he is out of contract and in comes a driver who can ‘bother’ Fernando.
Could it be that this that would excite Michael and he may then find his missing battery charger lurking in the laundry basket, fire them up one more time for one last hurrah?
Its all a bit crazy – but this is F1.
Please comment and enter the debate – whether you agree or not.
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