Tag Archives: Michael Schumacher

Time to say goodbye: Michael Schumacher

21 Dec

So what’s he managed in his career then?

Not much, he was only the world champion 7 times and that includes five years in a row from 2000 to 2004, only managed to win 91 races.

So his resume’s not very impressive is it. When did it all start?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, or as it’s usually put in Belgium in 1991. After impressing in F3 and the World Sportscar Championship Schumacher was spotted by Eddie Jordan and was signed to replace on a one off basis to cover for the imprisoned Bertrand Gachot. Despite not having driven the track before qualified 7th despite the fact that the Jordan was a pretty average car, that hadn’t qualified higher than 7th all season.

Wow that’s very impressive, where did it go from there?

After that impressive debut most of the other teams were intent on signing Michael, but it was Benetton who were graced with getting the driver who would go on to smash pretty much every record.

I guess a few people were a bit upset by that decision.

You’d be right there Schumacher’s first few months were rigged with controversy, Jordan appealed in court for them to block the move after claiming they’d already agreed a contract but since it hadn’t been signed the move was allowed to go through. Then at the end of the 1991 season Sauber joined Formula 1 with Mercedes’ backing and looked to sign the German due to a clause in one of Schumacher’s previous contracts meant that Schumacher would join Mercedes if they entered F1. But due to Schumacher not wanting to move Peter Sauber decided not to push it.

Did it turn out to be the correct decision? 

Definitely Schumacher’s first full season went with a bang, winning the Belgium Grand Prix and then going on to finish 3rd in the drivers championship, and then in 1994 he won his first of two world championships with Benetton winning the second in 1995.

So I guess he stayed there since they were clearly providing him with a very good car.

You’d be wrong. Once he’d won his second championship Schumacher moved to Ferrari for the 1996 season.

How did that go?

Phenomenal, despite it taking four years to win his first world championship with Ferrari (he almost won  the championship in 1997, but was disqualified from the season for dangerous driving). But once the 90s were over Schumacher became king, winning five consecutive championships beating the likes of David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, team mate Rubens Barrichello and his nemesis from 1998 and 1999 Mika Hakkinen. But he couldn’t hold off Fernando Alonso’s Renault who broke the run in 2005 before adding to that by taking 2006 too, this led to Schumacher retiring from the sport in 2006.

He retired in 2006? I thought he’d only just retired?

Well he retired for the first time in 2006 but after being linked to a return in 2009 when Felipe Massa’s horror crash left him out of half the season, but it was in 2010 he returned with Mercedes who had been Braun F1, the 2009 world champions.

So I imagine that was as successful a move as his his previous ones?

You’d think so, but sadly it was a disaster. In the three years since the return Schumacher finished on the podium once and once only, at this years European GP. Apart from that good results had been good to come by for Michael.

So has the great name been tarnished? 

Yes and no. Despite ruining his average points and win percentage there have been good things to come from it, he added another podium to the record and took his tally to over 300 races, also it represents the passing of the baton from one German king of F1 to another with Sebastian Vettel taking over the reigns.

So what 3 will he forever be remembered for?

Winning 7 world championships, appearing on Top Gear and for being to put it simply the best driver F1 has ever seen.

 

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Swansong pole for Hamilton as McLaren go 1-2.

24 Nov

3 winners and losers of qualifying, Brazil 12.

Winners:

  • Lewis Hamilton – Q1: Despite already being ruled out of the drivers championship Hamilton was second to none in qualifying. Interlagos has never been a circuit where Lewis has performed strongly but if he has a good day tomorrow he could get his final McLaren victory before the move to the mediocre Mercedes.
  • Sebastian Vettel – Q4: It appears that so long as there’s no rain tomorrow Vettel will be only the third driver to take 3 championships on the trot, Vettel could only manage 4th in qualifying but with Alonso 8th only rain can realistically stop Vettel’s title charge.
  • Nico Hulkenburg – Q7: In comparison to his last F1 qualifying at Interlagos today was a massive disappointment but then again he’d set the target high. Hulkenburg’s 7th grid spot puts him ahead of 3 world champions (Alonso, Raikkonen and Schumacher since you ask) and ahead of team mate Di Resta. Hulkenburg’s talents are going to be wasted at Sauber next season, he should easily be driving for one of the bigger teams.

Losers:

  • Romain Grosjean – Q18: After an incident with Pedro De La Rosa and then a loss of a front wing Grosjean just couldn’t pull out a good enough lap to make it through to Q2. The start of the race will be vital for Grosjean tomorrow, with so many slower cars around him there’s a chance he could crash out on lap 1 again.
  • Michael Schumacher – Q14: 7 world championships, 91 race victories and 155 podiums. It all comes to an end tomorrow for the greatest F1 driver so far but it’s disappointing to see him so low down on the grid as Mercedes just haven’t been able to make a good enough car.
  • Fernando Alonso – Q8: Ferrari fans around the world will be hoping that Alonso’s car was on a wet setup when he qualified today because if he wasn’t then the championships as good as lost, the same can be said for if it doesn’t rain tomorrow. Alonso’s title chances hang by a thread.

Prediction:

With a front row lock out it looks like it will be a McLaren victory and from the performances so far this weekend I’d plump for Hamilton with Button 3rd. Webber is my bet for 2nd but I fully expect Vettel to come close to the podium, Massa will also be fighting for the podium so long as he doesn’t A, have to give up his position to Alonso or B, if he ‘accidentally’ collides with Vettel. If it rains then my prediction will definitely not be correct with maybe Button winning and the chance of both of the Ferrari drivers joining him on the podium.

The prediction for the championship is that Vettel will be the champion so long as there isn’t rain or a retirement for the German. If it does rain then predicting the champion is going to nigh on impossible.

Hamilton set to announce Mercedes move.

28 Sep

Today (Friday the 28th of September) Lewis Hamilton is expected to announce that he is leaving McLaren and will instead will be driving for Mercedes next year. After 5 season with the team in F1 and many more years being supported by the team in lower racing categories it will be an emotional farewell when Lewis drives his final race for the team in Brazil this year.

In this post I won’t be looking at the reasons behind the deal (my opinions on them can be seen here), instead I will be looking at which drivers could replace Hamilton and who will he replace.

Who will Mercedes drop?

  • Mercedes have one of two options for who will make way for Hamilton, they can drop either Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Schumacher is the obvious choice, there are many people who feel that Schumacher should leave sooner rather than later and in recent races there has been evidence that his powers are waining, most recently running into the back of Vergne in Singapore. If Schumacher is dropped by Mercedes I’d expect him to retire for good. But Mercedes may want to keep Schumacher as he’s a more attractive target for sponsors, and if this is the case the team may decide to drop Nico Rosberg, winner of the 2012 Chinese GP. This would be in my opinion the wrong decision as Rosberg has a lot of potential and Lewis will find it easier to get on with Rosberg than Schumacher (who he has had some disputes with in recent years). If Rosberg does leave I’d expect him to be quickly signed up by another team, maybe replacing Bruno Senna at Williams.

Who could replace Hamilton?

  • Sergio Perez will be touted as the favourite to replace Hamilton, Perez is a fantastic driver: light on his tyres, fast and able to overtake and in the longterm he could have the potential to be better than Hamilton, but there may be resentment to sign him in that the Mexican is part of the Ferrari young drivers program and McLaren may be worried that Ferrari would poach Perez off the team after only a couple of years. If I was Martin Whitmarsh I would sign Perez.
  • Paul Di Resta will also be a likely target and with him being British he’d look ideal to replace Hamilton, especially after last weekend’s performance in Singapore. Di Resta would supply them with a solid driver who probably wouldn’t challenge for next years championship but would give them points and be a possibility in the future.
  • Nico Hulkenburg has been on many team’s radars and is expected to move to a bigger team in the not to distant future, he’s quick, competitive and when he’s having a good day he’s one of the best drivers out there, qualifying 4th in Valencia and finishing 4th at Spa. Nico will be looking to put in another strong performance in the Brazilian GP this year where on his previous outing he took pole. I think Nico is 3rd favourite.

Vettel wins to put himself back in the championship hunt

23 Sep

Good day Bad day, Singapore 12.

Good Day:

Paul Di Resta: 9/10 S6 F4 #DriverOfTheDay

Paul lit up the race today, he wasn’t the most exciting driver to watch, but he picked up the big 12 points to show yet again why he should be on the wanted lists of the big teams.

Sebastian Vettel: 8/10 S3 F1 (S = started from, F = finished)

After a disappointing performance in qualifying yesterday the pressure was on for Vettel to pick up big points and he did just that, overtaking Maldonado at turn 2 before inheriting 1st from Hamilton due to Lewis retiring. Vettel is now 2nd in the championship and it would be a mistake to rule him out of a 3rd championship.

Felipe Massa: 9/10 S13 F8

After a disappointing qualifying session for Massa yesterday and a puncture on lap 1 it took some phenomenal driving skill to pick up 4 points. Massa gave a tutorial in overtaking today pulling a fantastic move on Senna despite being given little room to manoeuvre in. One thing that’s for certain we can’t rule Felipe out of driving for Ferrari next season.

Marussia: 8/10

With Timo Glock putting in a fantastic performance to finish 12th Marussia have moved into the very important 10th place in the constructors standings. If they can stay there then they will pick up a lot more money at the end of the year which will put them in a better position for next season.

Bad Day:

Lewis Hamilton: 7/10 S1 F ret.

Lewis hasn’t had a very lucky season and today’s incident may be the final problem in terms of the world championship. Lewis is now 52 points behind with 6 races left. Lewis had started the race brightly and was regarded by many as the favourite to win until the car lost drive and retired on lap 22.

Michael Schumacher: 3/10 S9 F ret.

Michael was on for a points finish when he lost concentration and just piled into the back of Vergne. In his defence he has had brake problems all weekend but I’d be very surprised if he isn’t disciplined after the race.

Williams: 6/10

Williams started today after getting a driver to the front row of the grid but the good form didn’t last. Senna had problems with his gearbox early on (despite taking a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change) before Maldonado retired with hydraulics problems. Senna then almost received a penalty for an incident with Massa before hitting the barriers once too often to retire with 2 laps remaining.

Sauber: 7/10

Sauber were never expected to be strong in Singapore but I’m very surprised that none of their drivers managed to pick up any points in a weekend where rivals Mercedes and Force India picked up big points. Luckily Sauber are expected to be a lot stronger at Suzuka and we could maybe see another Sauber podium there.

 

 

Hamilton moving closer to Mercedes

5 Sep

Today big news broke in the F1 world. According to BBC analyst Eddie Jordan – former owner of Jordan F1 team – Lewis Hamilton is very close to agreeing a deal with Mercedes to drive for them next year, replacing Michael Schumacher who is expected to retire. This news comes following news in recent weeks that Lewis has been struggling to get McLaren to agree to his high wage demands which would make him the highest paid driver in the grid.

Now many people will take this news as a surprise – I for one – so lets discuss the reasons for the move. Remember it hasn’t been officially announced yet so we don’t know that this is definitely going to happen.

Reasons for the move:

  • Mercedes have fallen a long way behind in the development race after starting brightly, this suggests that already the team has moved fully into 2013 car mode, in a move similar to what Ross Braun did in 2008 before the championship wins in 2009.
  • Mercedes may be more willing to pay him high wages, McLaren have repeatedly told us that they can’t afford his wages, especially with McLaren having to pay for their Mercedes engines for the first time next year.
  • Mercedes would need a big name to replace Schumacher, and Hamilton would definitely give them that.

What would be the immediate consequences of this move:

  • Michael Schumacher would be retiring for the second time following a poor return to F1.
  • Current Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg would almost certainly be sidelined to the 2nd driver spot, this could lead to him becoming unhappy and maybe wanting to leave the team.
  • McLaren would need to replace Hamilton, the obvious choice is Paul Di Resta who is the only other Brit in F1 and could make it as a race winner. But other names should be put in the hat, ex-McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen who McLaren negotiated with in 2010 before signing Button and Nico Hulkenburg, Paul’s Force India and arguably more talented teammate. For any of these three drivers to move McLaren would have to pay their current team compensation.

Reasons why it may not happen:

  • Michael Schumacher may still want to stay in F1.
  • Mercedes were set up to be a team to only use German drivers, I may not be the greatest geographer but I’m sure Stevenage isn’t in Germany.
  • Hamilton has been with McLaren since he was 10, and only made it to F1 due to his McLaren backing, surely he feels he owes the team.
  • If Mercedes give in to Hamilton’s wage demands it will make Lewis the highest paid driver in the field, is that value for money when there are more talented drivers who will be on smaller wages. (By smaller I mean only living on the ‘measly’ wage of £15 million a year).

With an announcement still to be made what do you think will happen, will Hamilton join Mercedes or will he stay with McLaren.

Hamilton takes pole as rivals falter

28 Jul

3 Winners and Losers of qualifying, Hungary 12

Winners:

McLaren: McLaren have received a massive change in fortunes since they added upgrades to the car for last weeks German GP. Last week Jenson used the upgraded car to finish 2nd and this week it looks even better, Lewis has qualified on pole, by a massive o.4 seconds, whilst Jenson is P4.

Bruno Senna: Bruno has struggled this year but it was a great performance by Senna in qualifying today to start in P9 after fighting for the fastest laps in Q1 and Q2.

Nico Hulkenburg: It was a phenomenal performance by Nico in qualifying last week where he went 4th fastest and it was another Q3 position for him today. Nico hasn’t been at his best since his return this year but he’s getting better and is looking the better of the Force India drivers. Nico will start in P10 tomorrow.

Losers:

Mark Webber: Being the driver second in the championship you’d expect him to qualify higher than 11th and to make Q3. This will make Mark’s race tomorrow very hard as the Hungaroring is a track where it’s hard to overtake, and Mark is renowned for not having good starts. To add insult to injury championship leader Alonso is starting 6th.

Mercedes: After a very promising start to the season and a race win in China you’d expect Mercedes to make it to Q3 but because they haven’t upgraded the car as much as rivals and others have started to copy their double DRS system they’ve started to struggle. The result of this is that Rosberg will start 13th whilst Schumacher will start from 17th.

Timo Glock: Timo is regarded as a talented driver at a weak team, but he;s starting to look slower and slower in comparison to his rookie team mate Charles Pic. Pic has really performed in the Marussia car and if he continues to perform he could be the first Marussia rookie to last more than one season.

There will be no driver ratings/tweet review/snapshot of the weekend for tomorrows race (sorry) but the Michael Report will be out on Monday and normal service will resume after the summer break.

Schue for Ferrari?

11 Jul

Many drivers have been linked with replacing Felipe Massa next year: Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Mark Webber, Paul Di Resta, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel, but few have suggested that Michael Schumacher could replace Massa. Michael was Ferrari’s talisman between the years 1997 and 2006 winning the drivers championship 5 times in a row between 2000 and 2004 and was far and away the most successful driver ever in the history of F1.

Michael has been linked with replacing Felipe Massa before, in 2009 when Massa suffered a terrible injury from a flying spring Michael was lined up as the man to replace Massa. But due to Michael still recovering from a neck injury sufered in a motobike crash Schumacher wasn’t available to drive for the team.

Michael has currently been in the form of his reborn life since he returned in 2010, he was fastest in qualifying in Monaco, finished 3rd in Valencia and qualified 3rd in Silverstone, but still the elusive win evades Michael. Maybe that could be ended be a teaming up of old friends?

This post is based on a RUMOUR set up by @IrvineF1.