Bernie backs Schumi

F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone believes Michael Schumacher could yet go on for another ’10 years’ at the highest level, despite the German legend’s somewhat underwhelming return to top flight competition.

For a man with a staggering 91 grand prix victories to his name and seven drivers’ crowns, sixth place in Bahrain and a lowly tenth Down Under in Melbourne last weekend represented unaccustomed territory indeed, and Schumacher’s comparatively inert form in the Australian GP was undeniably a far cry from his level of performance of yore.

Three years away from the grand prix grid and his advancing years at 41 have dimmed the Kerpen native’s scintillating raw pace and competitive spirit, the detractors claim – and should there be no dramatic re-emergence of the ‘Schumi’ of old between now and season’s end, there are predictions that he may decide to call time on his comeback with Mercedes Grand Prix two years before his three-year contract expires at the end of 2010.

The man himself has explained away his unwillingness to rejoin the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) that he formerly led for so long by stating that he is ‘not here for the long-term future, only for a limited time, [so] I don’t think I should get involved’ – but Ecclestone is not so sure.

“I think his new career will be long, maybe even ten years,” the Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, while Mercedes reserve driver Nick Heidfeld concurred in an interview with AZ that his compatriot ‘will continue to get better from now on’.

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I don’t know why a storming start to get past Rosberg, and comfortably contending for a top four place before the off is underwhelming. Why not say Vettel is underwhelming, he is not but results also say otherwise. They are both in fact doing really well.

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frankly im not surprised at all. he was always a mediocre driver when he did not have a far superior car. thats what we are seeing at the moment, since mercedes is not yet on the same level as mclaren, red bull, ferrari. glad to see rosberg giving him a thourough spanking…

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Yes, maybe he could return to full form, but his high expectations are too early in the race year. If he wants to get better, he has to just get used to it after what, 3 years of retirement???

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What about when he was at Benetton and beat the much superior wiliams in 95 or getting 3 wins out of the 96 Ferrari? Senna didnt always do well when he was in an uncompetative mclraen. Is rosberg giving him a spanking? would Rosberg have been much closer to Schumacher if he have had the first corner tangle with alonso instead?.
Im not a Schumacher fan, i have always followed Button and Hamilton but I think that statement is incorrect, maybe he only deserved 3 or 4 titles becuase of a lack of comepetition but I still think he is one of the greats.

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Schumacher is 1 second off the pace of the fastest pace-setter in qualifying, but so is everyone else. He is “only” a few tenths behind first row. You could say that he is “only” 99.5% of the second-row racers in terms of running a hot lap. The lights goes green and they are off and after second or third corner the race is over, unless something breaks. It is a matter of luck. Two samples paint an incomplete picture of the master’s tallent.

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I still think he is holding a seat for Vettel. It’s a novel way to attract attention for the team, but when Vettel becomes available I can’t imagine Schumi staying long.

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Well he doesn’t have exclusive tires, exclusive Numero uno in the team, e.t.c., and by the way Rosberg is much faster driver than Herbert, Irvine, Barichello e.t.c. And what about Hamilton, Alonso, Vetel….

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He may have but will he stay or will he be killed by Mark Webber First

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He _will_ get better, but he wont stay in F1 for long. and massa will win.

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I think he is overly optimistic that F1 will still be around in 10 years.

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I agree with the first commenter, won’t even bother posting my own comment, he said it very well.=)

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Give the man (and team) some time, he surely won’t disappoint.

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I second what Capp(11)said and will go with the first comment – you can’t argue with the cold facts(if you do,you’re just a predictable Schumacher detractor).

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TG say:”somewhat underwhelming return to top flight competition”.Oh how fickle TG is – they milked the MS hype until he was dry just before he returned(a huge boost to their tv ratings and web-site visits,no doubt)and unrealistically raised the expectations of thousands of TG fans by promoting a super-human return where Schumacher would be challenging for race wins right from the off.Now,predictably,Schum acher hasn’t lived up to TG’s hype(how could he?)and now there is hardly a positive to be found here.Give him a (realistic) chance.

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Im confident that at the end of the season he will have shown what he can do, and that Rosberg will have been bettered. He started off the season .500 behind Nico, then was ahead of him until quali, the only 0.100 behind, I think once he settles, he will be in very good shape. dont forget that he has had hardly any running for 3 years and only the preseason testing to get used to the car/tyres.

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I don’t know why most people are down talking Schumacher. And before anyone raises the ‘Age Flag’, if you’ve been doing something for X amount of years it becomes second nature so leave that arguement at the door.

The guy has spent three years out of a sport that constantly changes season in-season out be it drivers or technical guidelines and these nay-sayers expect him to be on the pace immediatley. It isn’t going to happen, simple as that. This seasons grid line-up is the strongest F1 has seen in ages as compared to 2006, and that is another fact to be taken on-board.

But in saying that, Schumi has scored points in Bahrain and Melbourne, which was a torrid race for the German, and that’s as good a drive as anyone should expect from him for now.

Michael’s contract lasts for another two seasons so expect the young(!) German to be up there at the sharp end, and who knows, he might even be up there before the end of this one.

@# 2
It’s good to see Hamilton getting a walloping from Button in his own backyard. An inspired call for drys and a flawless drive to 25 points.

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I think Schumacher is doing a great job. I never expected him to beat Rosberg for at least 5 or 6 races. I think that after that it will be close. People underestimate how good Rosberg is. The fact that Schumacher can stay with Rosberg at all after 3 years out is heroic…

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