Schumacher: F1 was closer during comeback

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Michael Schumacher says the margins between the drivers were closer on his return to Formula One.


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Competition greater now – Schumi (ESPN)

“In my early days, there was always the chance to be quicker than another driver not just by a couple of tenths, but a full second. Why? Because the cars aerodynamically were not so balanced and were therefore very sharp to drive.”

AirAsia hopes Lion Air will lose its roar (FT, registration required)

“[Tony] Fernandes retorts that 80 per cent of his time is spent on AirAsia – but admits football is a source of greater worry. ‘QPR keeps me awake at night, not the aviation business,’ he says.”

Ecclestone gives Ferrari his backing “I hope they can win in 2013” (La Gazzetta dello Sport)

“Montezemolo is still a friend and I’m convinced that he didn’t really intend to say the things he said about me, about my age and my ability to continue to work. I’m happy – it’s just ‘role playing’!”

Di Montezemolo steps back from political role (Crash)

“I will not run for a seat. I will leave it to the many qualified people who have supported and worked for the association in the past few years. It is only fair that they are the key players.”

Red Bull ‘caught out’ by 2012 changes (Autosport)

Christian Horner: “It took a while to understand [the exhaust-blown diffusers restrictions], and that combined with a different tyre took Adrian [Newey] and his team time to get his head around. But they relentlessly stuck at it and the performance came.”

2014 Russian F1 track construction – Sochi Olympic Park Circuit (YouTube)

Why Today’s Racecar Drivers Are So Damn Boring (Jalopnik)

Alex Lloyd: “Today’s superstars are bound and gagged by society, and stifled by a wealth of corporate expectation. It makes exciting extroverts off-camera appear like comatose robots on-camera. Money talks, and the fear of losing it is enough to squash any hint of noteworthy presence.”

Pictures of the Year 2012 (Jamey Price Photo)

“As a life long follower of F1, it was something like a dream come true to stand in the paddock of an F1 test in Barcelona, Spain, with a credential hanging around my neck.”


Comment of the day

@Andrewt on Force India’s choice of drivers for 2013:

If the team’s short-list has really been narrowed down to these two drivers, than it will be a very hard decision.

If it’s a political decision, then Bianchi will earn the seat, but it tells a lot about the uncertainty that he has not been confirmed yet, in the previous seasons the team announced their line-up much earlier.

If it’s a financial decision, Sutil must be the choice, as he will bring the Medion sponsorship money, plus experience, plus he knows the environment. If it’s a financial decision for a longer term, cheaper Ferrari engines, maybe further technological support, and the fact that they don’t have to pay for a ‘loaned’ driver could however also mean that Bianchi would be chosen.

But, with Jaime Alguersuari with all his Pirelli testing experience and a strong 2011 second half performance, Heikki Kovalainen and Kamui Kobayashi still looking for a seat, I’m not sure I would be happy to chose from those two above.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ajokay and Coefficient!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Bringing us neatly back where we came in it’s happy birthday to Michael Schumacher who is 44 today.

Are you a Schumacher expert? Tackle this quiz:

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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56 comments on “Schumacher: F1 was closer during comeback”

  1. Those are some great pictures!!!!

    1. Especially the ones from Pike’s Peak

  2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    3rd January 2013, 0:53

    Sochi track without elevations? I thought F1 minds had their lesson learned in the Las Vegas car park circuit… let’s hope the track gets worth watching

    1. That single long curve looks dreadful, unless it turns out someone can actually make a pass around the outside which I highly doubt, then it’s just a stop gap between the track before and after it.

    2. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
      3rd January 2013, 4:35

      I too have my doubts on the track layout – there seems to be an abundance of rather typical 90-degree corners, like turns 4 through 8, and 11 through 16 – but you can’t really knock it just for lack of elevation. Silverstone, Albert Park and Montreal, for instance, have no real elevation changes, but they’re still considered great circuits. I’m cautiously optimistic, however, about Turns 1 and 9/10, not to mention the visual impact of seeing F1 cars whiz around monumental Olympics buildings.

      1. Penfold (@tony-vandervell)
        3rd January 2013, 9:24

        Turns 9/10 (and to a lesser extent no. 1) look more like kinks to be driven through with foot flat on floor rather than genuinely challenging corners – and I’m with Mike on turn 3, just awful. Turn 7 is the only one I have any hope for, it seems to be a more open ‘proper’ corner instead of your standard 90-degree affair.

        1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
          3rd January 2013, 11:20

          True, but not many tracks, or indeed street circuits, have such fast kinks, which could very well set Sochi apart from the rest. Turn 1 creates the potential for some interesting race starts, while Turns 9/10 add to the visual spectacle.

          As for Turn 7, it seems rather tame to me – with the presumably low-speed (2nd or 3rd gear) Turn 6 right before it, the cars shouldn’t be carrying too much speed through there. In a way, it’s vaguely reminiscent of Marina Bay’s Turn 6.

          1. Penfold (@tony-vandervell)
            3rd January 2013, 12:31

            Bob, consider my mild warmth towards turn 7 as more of a ‘best of a bad bunch’ kind of thing: a mid-speed corner in a sea of low-speed ones.

            I really hope somehow this track works as a whole, because otherwise there’s two fast kinks and not much else. Puts me in mind of the old Detroit layout, but then an abundance of right-angle corners always do.

          2. Penfold (@tony-vandervell)
            3rd January 2013, 12:36

            … always does. Oh for an edit facility.

          3. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
            3rd January 2013, 13:58

            I really hope somehow this track works as a whole, because otherwise there’s two fast kinks and not much else.

            Couldn’t agree more.

    3. Elevation isn’t an essential requirement for great tracks.

      Tracks that are hailed as great classics, Silverstone and Monza, don’t have elevation.

  3. The Sochi track looks terrible. It is designed to go around some silly Olympic venue buildings, not anything organic or interesting or unique. There is no elevation. There are no challenging corners. I am definitely not looking forward to this addition to the calendar.

    1. It is designed to go around some silly Olympic venue buildings, not anything organic or interesting or unique.

      It’s built around the venues for the Winter Olympics, most notably the ice hockey, speed and figure skating, and curling venues. And they all have one thing in common: they need to be kept in a constant state of below-freezing temperatures to maintain their icy surfaces. I have been told that all of this is centrally controlled (with each venue having its own power supply as a back-up), so the net result is a vast network of pipes extending under the Olympic precinct and the circuit. This will create an effect whereby the track temperature is both cooler and more stable than than at other venues, creating a very unique surface.

      There is no elevation.

      Silverstone doesn’t have any elevation. It was, after all, a Royal Airforce base during World War II, and practically all runways are flat (there are a few in the Himalayas that aren’t). Silverstone is hailed as one of the great circuits. Conversely, Abu Dhabi has over thirty metres’ worth of elevation, and is considered to be a poor circuit.

      It’s ironic that you should criticise the circuit for not having certain key elements that you think are conductive to good racing, because I believe that is precisely what Hermann Tilke does. He tries to break circuit design down into a mathematical formula, that A plus B equals overtaking, and will always equal overtaking irrespective of where or how it is implemented.

      The great circuits are great because they transcend the sum of their parts. They don’t work because of individual corners, but because of the way every corner of the circuit influences every other corner of the circuit. If Sochi works, it will work because everything compliments everything else, and it’s impossible to tell from a two-dimensional drawing. After all, look at the way the Circuit of the Americas was received: when it was announced, everyone ssumed it would be bad. When the first circuit plan was released, everyone liked it. After free practice and qualifying last year, everyone as negative about it. But after the race, it was very well-received – even the double Hockenheim switchback which was constantly criticised.

      There are no challenging corners.

      There’s the incredibly long third corner. There’s Turn 7, which is likely to be taken close to flat-out. There’s the high-speed Turns 9 and 10. And the circuit will be one of the few on the calendar where the cars actually accelerate through the first turn on the opening lap, which will at least make the start interesting.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys

        when it was announced, everyone assumed it would be bad

        No they didn’t. Here are the first three comments from when the track was announced:

        “Wow! That actually looks pretty good!”
        “It looks pretty good”
        “Not bad, I’d say.”

        Austin reveals track for 2012 F1 race

        1. No they didn’t.

          Okay, the overhwelming majority of fans assumed it would be bad. As soon as the name Tilke gets mentioned, a lot of people devolve into harbingers of doom.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys

            the overhwelming majority of fans assumed it would be bad

            I don’t agree with that either. There are many more positive comments on the page I linked to and from what I recall of the build-up to the race the popular expectation of the track was fairly positive.

          2. Penfold (@tony-vandervell)
            3rd January 2013, 9:06

            True, but to be fair that is based on past experience.

          3. Penfold (@tony-vandervell)
            3rd January 2013, 9:36

            Ahh, I see Keith snuck in a comment before mine. Just to clarify, my: “True, but to be fair that is based on past experience” was in response to PM’s: “As soon as the name Tilke gets mentioned, a lot of people devolve into harbingers of doom.”

            Must remember to quote the post to which I’m responding….

    2. Turn 3-4 will catch a lot of the inexperienced drivers out, if you cannot keep the speed up through turn 3 then the driver will be a sitting duck in T4 and T5. It will be interesting to see how the cars get around it in lap 1, I can think of more than one driver who is liable for not doing what he should (his name begins with G and ends with an N and he is, for some reason, still in a Lotus cockpit). It looks like a track where tyre temperature is key, and if the track temp is low (and going by previous comments that will be the case), that could be an issue for the less agressive drivers.

  4. Turn 2 & 3 looks good on the Sochi track, not great for spectating, but good to test aero and drivers. Having said that, plans are plans and the true test will be a fast automobile being hurtled around it after all the tarmac, kerbs and other physical components are laid.

  5. @keithcollantine That RBR article was a good find, I’m always intrigued in the mindset of team principals, and it gives great insight into how RBR saw their own season. I don’t think it was any surprise that the 2012 rules that effectively forced them to do away with their greatest strength in 2011 was going to be a challenge for the team to overcome.

    Reading everyones retrospective comments on 2012, one common theme is raised, “understanding the tyres”, the changes that Pirelli brought in, really did test every single team, and top 3 constructors at the end of 2012 probably reflected the 3 teams that got their head around the tyres quicker than others. It ties in nicely with what Brawn stated at Merc saying that they couldn’t get the information from the 50% scale.

  6. “I will not run for a seat. I will leave it to the many qualified people who have supported and worked for the association in the past few years. It is only fair that they are the key players.”

    Hasn’t Luca had political ambitions for years?

    Call me a cynic, but if he has had them, then I find the timing of his announcement to abandon a political career just days after he criticised Bernie Ecclestone for his running of the sport – and Ecclestone’s admission that he could be removed from his position – to be too coincidental to be simple coincidence.

    Maybe my fears are without precedent, but I just don’t think I’d be able to trust di Montezemolo taking over from Bernie. When Jean Todt ran for FIA President, a lot of people were afraid that his connection to Ferrari would override his ability to remain impartial, but he’s so far maanged to stay out of it. Luca, on the other hand, has always been Ferrari’s man, has always felt that Ferrari is Formula 1, and is a political animal to boot. I’m just concerned that the first thing he would do is use his newfound powers to consolidate Ferrari’s position, usher in a new era of Ferrari dominance and expect everyone to thank him for it.

    1. I don’t think so.
      There are two directions in F1 – the old one with engine development and testing wich was beneficial for the manufacturers and the one we have now – the “aero show” where the development goes in the wind tunnel, testing restrictions which allows more privateers (along with pay drivers) to get in the sport but disinterests manufacturers.
      From what Luca said earlier about how F1 should look like it’s clear he wants a series with more manufacturers and this doesn’t mean that only Ferrari will benefit.
      Maybe it’s better to have less teams but 3 drivers per team. Imagine what show we’d have if Koba, Perez, Hulkenberg, Glock, di Resta etc. were filling the top teams’ seats this season.

      1. Maybe it’s better to have less teams but 3 drivers per team.

        No, I disagree completely – three-car teams will kill the sport. All it is going to do is consolidate the power of the top teams; what do you think would happen if three Ferraris, three McLarens and three Red Bulls finished in the top nine places of a race? There would only be one points-scoring position left over for the likes of Sauber, Force India, Williams, Lotus and anyone else who might continue racing.

        1. Isn’t the quintesence of the sport to watch the best guy and the best car win? With the combination you wrote above theoretically we’d have a 9 horse race title. But there are still Mercedes, Lotus, Williams maybe who are capable of building race-winning cars.
          What do we have on the other end of the grid – teams who didn’t manage to even score a point in 3 years of their existence and most likely won’t do it either next season. Young drivers starting the season with the certainty that they won’t score a point not to talk about podiums or wins and dreaming about moving to a front-running team in order to get their true racing career started. F1 has enough feeder series, it doesn’t need one inside it too.

  7. I think the article about the ‘boring’ generation of racing drivers is pretty nonsensical. To be honest, I have always found this discussion weird.

    First of all, I don’t like the example of James Hunt that is usually given when talking about ‘real characters’. Hunt was an extraordinary driver even in his time and he died at the age of 45. I don’t think any sane fan would wish his favourite driver such a premature death.

    Second, the lifestyle of F1 drivers in 70s is not possible today not just because the sponsors wouldn’t accept it. I believe that the nature of today’s cars and the competitiveness of the field require better physical shape from the drivers. And it’s a good thing as F1 should be about physical and mental strength, discipline and dedication.

    Third, it’s childish to think that you have to smoke weed, drink a lot of vodka and basically be a heterosexual Brian Kinney to be interesting. But that is what the Jalopnik article suggests. There are clearly many more ways to be a ‘character’ and I think there are actually many interesting personalities on the current grid.

    Finally, if you desperately want to watch people swear, get drunk and do other ‘dirty’ things, then you should simply turn your attention to one of the millions of websites, magazines or TV channels that provide it all and F1 is obviously not the right place for you. This is a sport after all.

    1. I hate boring drivers, but I’m totally with you. You don’t have to be an **** to be interesting. James Hunt was an interesting character, but ultimately a tragic one, I think.

      I think modern F1 drivers do take it all a bit seriously though. Jenson usually seems game for a laugh, but knows where to draw the line. Hakkinen always seemed to have a good sense of humour, too. And looking at other motorsports shows that drivers don’t have to be two-dimensional when placed in front of a microphone, and still maintain professional concentration. But I hope the expectation of sponsors that drivers never say anything controversial, or put their opinions on the line, doesn’t filter down to every corner of publicised motorsport. It would be a shame.

      I think what ultimately makes it unattractive to me is the fear to be honest, which is tantamount to insincerity. A driver who says something with great honesty, even if its not exactly revolutionary, is surely better than a rather cowardly stock-in-trade answer. But people coming down on a driver for making a PR error (ahem, Lewis, Monaco, 2011) isn’t going to encourage that.

      1. I agree and I also would like to hear drivers speak their mind on issues that matter to them and to fans as well, such as (un)attractiveness of the new circuits, Bahrain GP, penalties etc. I always hate when drivers delete completely harmless tweets just because they’re not good from the PR point of view.

        Talking about current drivers’ personalities, I personally find Kimi interesting but not because of the reasons mentioned in the article. I don’t think he’s cool just because he once fell off a boat and said he had been taking a you-know-what in Brazil 2006. I think his personality is more complicated than it might seem at first sight. For instance, when he thanked the fans on Spa podium last year, I felt that he truly meant it. But F1 media rarely pay attention to such details, which are actually important. If we did that, we would probably find drivers such as di Resta more interesting as well.

    2. I noticed that everytime a driver cracks the PR shell and speaks his mind, the media is all over him – usually they ask the opinion of the sport’s fossils who tag the ‘naughty’ driver as childish and immature. Or as most recently, the FIA invents a new conduct code as the ‘anti-swearing’ one. So it’s understandable why most drivers prefer to stay in the PR robot-mode, least they’ll have to answer less questions in future interviews.
      I like how the MotoGP drivers are celebrating their wins, compared to that F1 looks like a convent. But this is due to rigid rules like – not being allowed to stop the car on the slow-down lap, no objects (flags) in the cockpit etc.

    3. @girts While I agree with 90% of what you write here, I think that there was obviously a lot more to Hunt than just drinking and womanising etc. I love the idea of him because he believed in himself and didn’t care what anyone thought of him. The stories of no shoes, swearing during commentaries and bringing a second hand mini with a deck-chair in it to a race in brands hatch are what shaped my view on him long before I knew he was a drug addict of sorts. Although I entirely agree that that’s a phrase we never associate with him. I think Senna was a interesting character and he was almost polar opposite to Hunt in terms of his stance on alcohol and such.
      I fear that with sponsors rules its not that the drivers are more boring, just that it’s impossible to say anything without the media twisting it for their own agenda. You only have to look at Alonso’s portrayal in Britain to understand that. I remember when he could do no wrong, then was a complete villain and now back to a healthy respect for him. However, drivers like Paul Di Resta need to show a little more excitement imo, or, ironically, the sponsors will not be there to apply the rules!

    4. Fully concur with you there girts. Why would someone long for such absurd behaviour in a sport as demanding as F1 and of course, as life-threatening aswell?

      Although describing such views as “childish” is a bit too harsh, I still understand your emotions.

    5. Not even sure why they have to be heterosexual version of Kinney, either. Though I’m not sure many sponsors would want to be associated with a gay driver. Maybe we should keep all sexuality out of racing.

      1. @TimothyKatz I’m not sure if it’s possible to ignore the sexuality completely but I think it certainly shouldn’t be a major talking point.

        As for a gay driver, I believe it’s just that nobody wants to be the first, who comes out. It’s also possible that no one wants to be ‘the gay F1 driver’, just like I doubt if Hamilton wants to be ‘the black F1 driver’. Drivers should be judged by their achievements and attitude, not their looks or what happens in their hotel rooms.

        1. @girts While I do understand your point, I think it is a bit unfair to suggest that Alex Lloyd wants more Hunt like behaviour from F1 drivers. He clearly states that he is not condoning the drugs etc. and that they don’t have to go that far to be more exciting, but that they are now corporate robots. I think his point is that there is a happy middle ground, and his point is not that he expects drivers to emulate James Hunt literally.

          One of my all time favourite drivers is Jacques Villeneuve, and I think he struck a great balance between being a hard and fair racer on the track, but not afraid to speak his mind off the track, and sometimes he even got his knuckles rapped for it. To him the grooved tires were ‘a joke’ and he got hauled up on the FIA carpet for it. When he was gone from F1, BE said F1 needed more guys like him.

          Yet at the same time I think F1 and it’s fans are as much to blame for the ‘corporate robots’ as anyone. F1, because it seems it’s alright for them to inconsistantly enforce rules to suit the direction they want a season to go, it’s alright for F1 to be extremely political and backstabby, but you don’t dare say something about it or you are a whiner in the opinion of the fans.

          Back to JV for a second. I noticed that many people around here panned him for his opinions when he worked for Sky doing commentary at the Canadian GP. Some felt he was trying to steer the drivers that he interviewed into agreeing with him that the tires were too cliffy and the DRS is in essence ‘a joke’. Most fans agree with that, but because JV was saying it, he was the one called ‘a joke’.

          With just a short time of thinking about this topic I think I would bottom line it this way. Sure Alex Lloyd would like to see more exciting drivers out there. Perhaps many would. But I’m not convinced though that the fans can handle it. Many shot down JV for it, and essentially told him to ‘shut up and drive.’ I think other drivers have been told the same in countless internet entities by both authors and posters.

          The ironic thing is JV mostly only ever spoke out with the end goal being better racing. Or to try to cut through the political nonsense. He risked his career at a time when Williams was no longer going anywhere, to try to do the ultimate…start a brand new team and try to win a WDC that way which would have had the maximum reward factor. But it didn’t pan out and the hindsighters haven’t stopped telling him what he woulda, shoulda, coulda have done.

          So I think in many ways F1 and the fans simply don’t want anything but corporate robots. Anything different and it’s ‘shut up and drive,’ or if you are an iceman you are ‘unmotivated,’ or if you are successful you are ‘finger boy,’ or if you are good looking and a former F1 racer’s son you are ‘Britney Spears’ and will never amount to anything.

          And in some respects I am as guilty as any. When LH admitted in 2011 that off-track distractions cost him on Sundays, I was almost alone on this site in repeatedly pointing out that what everyone was just calling ‘too many mistakes’ was imho of his own doing from off-track stuff, and that must have been terrible for the team and it’s sponsors to accept. I think it was the start of his downfall at Mac. Perhaps it would have been ‘ok’ if he partied but didn’t let that affect him on Sundays, but he admitted it did, and Mac is not the team on which that would get you very far. And it didn’t.

          So while some like Alex Lloyd might decry the corporate robots, I’m not sure there is room anymore for anything but.

          1. @Robbie To be honest, I believe that Jacques Villeneuve is a reminder why we should be careful with encouraging drivers to “show their inner Hunt”, as Lloyd suggests in his article. As I said above, drivers should be allowed to speak their mind (although that is not really what Lloyd’s article is about) and I have sometimes agreed with JV’s opinions myself. But I think that at least today he’s become more of a ‘Gimme a bandwagon and I’ll jump on it!‘ ((c) @KeithCollantine ). In other words, he seems to deliberately say things, which guarantee a lot of attention. And I don’t think we need to replace ‘the corporate robots’ with drivers, who deliberately act aggressively to draw people’s attention to them.

          2. Can’t say I agree. I don’t think JV is anything but consistant with his opinions on what makes for a good racer and good racing. ie. I don’t think there is anything deliberate about JV’s comments other than to provide his strong opinion without caring if he is being ‘politically incorrect’ or fearing offending someone. I don’t see him feeling the need to draw attention to himself. I think he is known for speaking his mind, because that is what he needs to do in order to sleep at night, and that reputation is what guarantees him a lot of attention, and is why BE wishes there were more like him in F1, and why he has been asked to contibute monthly to mags like F1 Racing, and why he is asked to commentate on entities such as Sky.

            As a proven WDC I really don’t think he needs to be given a bandwagon to jump on. He has lived the bandwagon. He is the bandwagon. If a former F1 WDC can’t comment on F1 and the direction it has taken, who can?

            And of course drivers shouldn’t deliberately act aggressively to draw people’s attention to them. I think Lloyd’s point is that today they are held back from being themselves, something that nobody was going to do to the likes of JV. He has never feared being himself. Likely stemming from losing his racing father, becoming a racer himself, and having to define himself, as soon as he started racing and the media hounded him, as his own person and seperate from his Dad and his historic tenure in F1.

  8. in your early days, only you are allow to find few sec gap due to customized tyre, fia rules, superb car, unlimited in season testings…

    so much excuses…..this guy is more on quantity rather than quality.

    1. Well.. I wouldn’t expect Schumacher to come out and say that he couldn’t match the drivers of today.

      Schumacher is lucky to have had a competitive car and some relatively sub standard competition during the 94-2004 era. I think he should just leave it at that, instead of trying to justify why his comeback was such a failure

      1. Yeah agreed for the most part, except that I wouldn’t say that MS’s competition from 94-04 was substandard.

        I find it quite odd that MS would talk about aerodynamic balance as a standout issue when even if that is true it would seem that the last thing he had in his last 3 year’s cars was much balance at all, be it because of the tires or the chassis or the aerodynamics. But it shouldn’t surprise that he would blame it on something like that, and not the umpteen mistakes he made and his failure as a supposed car developing genius to produce a winner by his 3rd year (other than for NR).

        And he arrogantly pats himself on the back for seemingly single-handedly setting the standard for hard work on a team, when in fact I highly doubt that given the bottomless pit of resources that went into his Ferrari tenure, he was the one saying hey guys I want to go testing tomorrow…and it was so.

        So while he had unlimited testing and a tire maker right at the teams personal track and therefore the luxury to look like a harder worker, and as a result had near perfectly balanced cars, today’s drivers simply haven’t got anywhere near the same luxury and so can hardly be following in some supposed standard that he himself set. Just as it was for his competition when he was at Ferrari. It was never an apples to apples comparison when it came to the FIA’s desire to move MS to Ferrari (why would he have left Benetton having just won 2 WDC’s) to end the WDC drought there. It wasn’t apples to apples to his teammate, let alone the rest of the grid, yet the likes of Hill, Villeneuve, and Haakinen prevailed. And DC and Alonso and Montoya et al were no slouches. Just guilty of having to compete against an FIA elephant in the room.

    2. Schumi didn’t have any of those things in his first years. Other than 1995, it wasn’t until 2000 that he had a car that was at least equal fastest in the field. Remember he only got to his position of king of the sport at Ferrari by doing the hard work, basically driving fast. Regardless of what we all think of the rest of his career, I think he is in a better position than any of us to comment on the differences between cars then and now.

      1. No he didn’t ‘only’ get to his position by doing the hard work. There were many many ingredients that no other driver in the history of F1 were provided all at once for such a long time that helped him along the way and helped he and his car be fast. He drove the car and provided the input like all drivers do. It was the massive resources behind him in terms of staff and infrastructure and sheer amount of testing that he was provided that moulded the car to his liking, ignoring that of his teammate’s.

        And sure, he may be in a better position than any of us to comment, but I find his comments are usually disingenuine and grossly shade the reality of his career, the massive resources it took for him to compile the numbers, and his unethical behaviour on the track.

        He is basically saying the reason he no longer dominated (or even won or was a threat) in his second F1 tenure is that the cars are all more aerodynamically stable (I guess he means similar or closer in performance) and because he himself paved the way for everyone after him to work as hard as he did, which was more than anyone else, so he no longer had that advantage. So I read it as without a car advantage, and with the other drivers working as hard as him (like they all weren’t when he was at Ferrari), he is a midfield runner.

        I’m sure if every team got an extra 100 mill a year just because, not to mention their own tracks, and the tire maker at that track, why they too would have had a lot more testing going on, and would have also appeared just as hard working as MS at Ferrari. But in fact, having lesser resources than MS enjoyed at Ferrari probably meant that the other teams and drivers had to work even harder to try to compete against the elephant in the room, only to find themselves limited by the lack of extra funding and material resources.

        1. You people seem to not have any memory capacity at all or else you haven’t watched F1 for the period you refer to. MS is one of the best in wet. MS is one of the best in working hard (both physical exersise and driving distance in practice). MS is one of the best in providing feedback to team and tire mechanics. All these are told because of the proofs existing. Read some interviews from past years with engineers talking about him. Watch again some wet races. Watch Monaco GP when he begun from PP and gained 30 secs in 30 laps from DC (2nd) whose home was there and won some PPs from Mika past years. In that specific race the exchaust had a hole and melt the suspension and MS retired. Who else would ever gain 1 sec/lap in dry Monaco for 30 continuous laps? And 3.5 sec/lap in wet Barcelona? That proves EVERYTHING about the legend Michael Schumacher.

          1. Much easier to do the things you are pointing out when you have unlimited resources and a designer car which really means what MS had was not an apples to apples comparison to the rest of the field. What his tenure proved was what a bloke can do with unlimited EVERYTHING.

        2. mechanics=enginners

          1. @Robbi: Unlimited everything in wet Spain GP 1996 when he lapped 3.5″/lap faster than the 2nd fastest? And in Monaco he was running against Hakkinen who made Senna furious in McLaren because as a tester he lapped faster. You don’t know much about F1, admit it and let MS alone with your arrogant critic…

      2. Remember he only got to his position of king of the sport at Ferrari by doing the hard work, basically driving fast

        @newdecade . Hard work and being fast are prerequisites for any f1 driver. The privileges he had were unlimited testing, unlimited resources, a dream team (byrne, brawn, todt) and the FIA in his back pocket.

        Since he didn’t enjoy any of these perks on returning to the sport… it now becomes an issue of how today’s cars are too closely matched for the driver’s talent to really shine.

        1. And he proved it in the driver’s ability testing race of the year: Monaco GP Q3! Where the car matters least. Ever Spa has a thirst for power which hinders least powered teams. Monaco has only thrist for will and ability to scratch the limit. Aero doesn’t matter. Setup is typical. That’s what he meant in that interview and has already proved this year also.

  9. Aww, you missed my birthday @keithcollantine

    Anyway, as a gift to myself, an ad-free subscription to F1F has been bought.

    1. Happy birthday, @ajokay ! And welcome to the supporters club :)

    2. @ajokay Oops, got the wrong birthdays on today’s round-up, sorry about that. Have changed it now.

      I think it might be time to automate the birthdays bit, got rather a lot on the list these days!

      And thanks, of course, for becoming a supporter – it really is very much appreciated.

      1. @keithcollantine. No problem, very happy to. Hopefully see you at a circuit somewhere again in 2013 if you let yourself venture out for a Sunday visit!

    3. Happy birthday!!!

  10. A couple of comments have mentioned that Silverstone is considered a great circuit. Yet I remember from my childhood that the track was not held in particularly high regard. An F1 book which was given to me as a present in about 1999 wrote excitedly about F1’s planned return to Brands Hatch, which was considered a much more exciting track. As for the new section of the circuit, I don’t think anyone feels particularly enthusiastic about it. Even Damon Hill, while president of the BRDC, said that they were not building a dream circuit.

    Nowadays, Silverstone feels like one of the highlights of the year, but it has never been one of my favourite tracks, and I think it only stands out because of the dreary tracks that have been added to the calendar over the past decade.

    1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
      3rd January 2013, 11:43

      Interesting – I’ve always thought Silverstone as the “home of British motorsport”, hence the FOM contract to host races through 2017.

      Silverstone has always stood out for me because of its raw speed, and corners which are, for the most part, fast and flowing (I’m not that big a fan of the new section either, but it’s passable compared to other “Mickey Mouse” infield sections that F1 has seen). Moreover, I’ve always found it a pleasure to drive on F1 2011, owing to its intrinsic rhythm, and the appeal of such famous corners as the Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel sequence.

      1. The 2017 contract was Bernie’s reward for the BDRC finally caving to his demands to improve the circuit facilities.

        It was a chicken & egg argument with Bernie refusing to offer a long-term contract without a massive investment & the club being unable to raise the money from investors, especially with the vague potential threat of FOM taking its business to Donnington, especially when it had all the PR bluster behind that failed Ventures effort. Bernie was forced to accept Silverstone in the short-term and when the investors realised the existing circuit was the only real option, it all fell into place.

        I don’t think Brands Hatch was ever going to be a threat – it’s too small and likely doesn’t come close to meeting FIA standards for testing, let alone racing.

        1. Brands Hatch had the F1 contract in the late ’90s but lost it due to disputes between the local council, environmental groups and F1 relating to the upgrades planned for the circuit. In terms of the “home of British motorsport”, I’m sure most would agree that despite the lack of an F1 grand prix for many years now, Brands Hatch still holds this title.

          I agree that Silverstone is usually one of the highlights of the year but it doesn’t always produce the most exciting races. One of the main reasons I love it so much is that the crowd’s enthusiasm is so palpable that you get a sense of it even watching on TV. That is one thing that is sorely lacking from many of the newer F1 circuits (COTA notwithstanding).

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