Schumacher bashing in MotorSport?

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    I would like to hear you opinion on the (in my view) extensive bashing against Schumacher in several articles and podcasts on the site, mainly by good old Nigel Roebuck, but also by guests at the podcasts like Jody Scheckter and specially J. Stewart..
    Too good examples; #(http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/nigel-newsletter/a-new-perpective-on-schumachers-comeback/) – a bit too harsh if you ask me, and the comment section is full of Schuey-haters opinions
    #(http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/readers-evening-with-sir-jackie-stewart/) Roebuck joined by Stewart, both calling Schumacher “generally way too aggressive in both driving style and racing, and every race weekend doing some kind of driving mistakes”.

    So what do you think?


    Roebuck’s a good writer, he’s honest about his attitude towards Schumacher and it’s a fair piece. It’s not “bashing” it’s just criticism.


    As a human, it’s hard to be objective. Michael’s statistics are objective, but whatever I think of him, Roebuck thinks of him, or legions on every Ayrton Senna video on YouTube think, is subjective.

    I admired Schumacher when he was dominating F1, but I still don’t like Vettel, despite rating him highly as a driver. Not to forget, with online comment sections, you often can’t win. This place has fair discussions, but I still get 2/3 weekly comment replies for a comment I once made on a YouTube F1 video well over 6 months ago.



    This place has fair discussions

    Glad you think so!

    but I still get 2/3 weekly comment replies for a comment I once made on a YouTube F1 video well over 6 months ago.

    Yeah I’ve long since given up commenting on YouTube.


    The first article you linked in was actually pretty balanced I would say. Roebuck in no way denies what Schumacher achieved, he is just critical of why a driver with such immense natural skill, talent and dedication would feel the need to do some of the things he did (and, as Roebuck quite rightly pointed out, as Senna did). There is nothing in that piece that hasn’t been said before about Schumacher and won’t be said again. I didn’t bother reading the comments section because the comments sections of most motorsport sites (not this one obviously) are generally the hang out of cretins who are looking to wind up genuine fans of the sport.

    On Schumacher, I have to admit that when he came on the scene I liked him. He was quick and came out fighting the established order from the get go, he seemed like the real deal. I went off him however during 94 due to the string of controversies that hung over Benetton and his fate was finally sealed in my mind after Adelaide. These days I actually can sit back and appreciate what he did during his career and that is due in no small part to his comeback. He was a different man between 2010 and 2012, he seemed to have a much more “human” aspect to his character, he wasn’t the steely faced race winning robot of a man he came across as for so man years. He still pushed the limits (for example with Barrichello at Hungary in 2010) but I think he managed to improve his image in the minds of people like me who disliked him for so many years. He did such a good job of this that I even caught myself smiling when he took “pole” at Monaco in 2012.


    I thought it was a well balanced article as well. If you mention some of his success, you should also mention his atrocities associated with his success.

    Honestly, its hard to deny that he was the best driver in the sport post Senna to pre Alonso/Hamilton era. For 12 seasons he was the driver to beat and that is commendable. But at the same time no driver in the history of the sport has stooped low enough as he has in 1994, 1997 and even in 2006.

    Personally, I always found it hard to respect him as a person and a sports personality, but I cannot deny that when he was in his prime, he was a top notch f1 driver


    I have been listening to the podcast since 2011and the article in my opinion is fair.
    During the podcast though, every time someone raises the question, who the greatest of all racing drivers is, he puts Schumacher out of contention by stating that he can’t be the greatest for crashing into Hill ’94 and into Villeneuve ’97, parking his car in Monaco ’06 and so forth.
    On the other hand, he seems to ignores Sennas incidents and names him as one of the greatest.


    Roebuck usually writes great quality pieces, so it is a shame when he lets his dislike for Schumacher show too much in this article. Still, knowing how much Nigel dislikes Schumi, the fact he admitted that Michael’s comeback deserves a second look is pretty significant coming from him. If that’s all I’ll get from Nigel, I’ll take it.


    I am a big MSC fan, but I dont see Nigel´s article as bashing Schumacher, but just critisising. For all of his career I was also very critical about his usual mis-behaviour on the track and about some things inside of his F1 teams (Adelaide 1994, Jerez 1997,…,…, clear nu. 1 status, ….), because I was and am very sure, that he didnt need to do that. He would have maybe a few less wins, one or two less WDCs, but he would still be very succesfull and not be seen in such a negative way…. But even though I agree with all this critisism about him, I have to say, that I dont understand why he is always presented as a cheater and with other negative nicknames, becaues he was really no different than many F1 drivers in the past (Senna, …) and today (Alonso, Vettel…). A lot of them made similar things, but its not talked so much or even nothing about them (for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E3MEVqBSXg). In my country we have a saying that the biggest dust cloud is behind the fastest horse… In case of MSC, undoubtly, one big reason for bashing is envy because of his such a big succes .
    About Stewart´s words about MSC I can say that I am dissapointed. I really respect him, but he gave only a few facts and then concluded the whole story from them, but the picture is quiet more complex. And I disagree with him, that MSC was not a great driver. If he was not, then it was not Senna also, and Alonso,…. , but we probably all agree that they are in the top 10 in F1 history so far!


    I think Senna often gets off lightly in the press about his less than favourable actions because the press needs to sell. Over recent years, I’ve seen a lot of people, not necessarily Schumacher fans, who are critical of Senna’s actions against Prost and others. I think Schumacher simply became a hotter topic because he was an active driver and with Senna passed away, no clear one-on-one rivalries, he became the face of the sport.

    I still have a Schumacher towel laying around somewhere, but even at 15, I really couldn’t defend his move at Rascasse in 2006. I actually missed both Austria 2002 and USA 2002 due to visiting races at Zandvoort, so I dodged that moral bullet somehow, but seeing the YouTube replays later really opened my eyes at just how disgusting those moves were. It wasn’t all Schumacher’s fault, but it’s easy to see why most of it was directed at him, going by Adelaide and Jerez.

    It’s funny @krtekf1 mentions Vettel and Alonso, because I feel those two drivers have really inherited the anti-crowd from Schumacher (the YouTube comment section kind). Vettel has been bashed for his dominance; with people saying it’s just the car, he doesn’t have an equal teammate, he only drove the fastest cars, best designers, engines, etc. Alonso, on the other hand, has some of the blind hate Schumacher used to receive; he tweets? Hungry for attention. Samurai quotes? He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Unfortunate quotes about luck in the press? He thinks he is the best and all the others are lucky. Team mate isn’t up to the job? He is blocking decent drivers from the second seat.

    As people in the press commenting on Schumacher always compared him to Senna, today’s top drivers (minus Kimi) are compared to Schumacher. ‘Will he break Schumacher’s record?’ ‘Did he do better than Schumacher’ etc.

    As far as Stewart’s and many others’ comment that he isn’t the greatest driver, I wonder the following; Senna was praised for his raw ability and passion, Prost for his calculating nature and intelligence. Schumacher seems to be less absolute, but very much possessive of those elements. I’d figure if anyone in the early 90s predicted a driver would come along that was nearly as quick as Senna, as smart as Prost and as fit as a marathon runner, what would they think?

    As fas as his popularity goes; I think Schumacher also laid the groundwork for today’s ‘characterless’ drivers. If you rewind and watch some late 90s press conferences where he won; he thanks the team, the test crew, etc, he never really went up in arms about other drivers or did anything silly and was far more professional than most other drivers in the 90s. Now, that has become the basics of being an F1 driver. If you look at a 90s F1 magazine, guys like Irvine, Villeneuve and Hill weren’t considered huge characters, but now, any of them would shake up the F1 media.



    But at the same time no driver in the history of the sport has stooped low enough as he has in 1994, 1997 and even in 2006.

    Schumacher actually had an awesome season in 1997, but that is often overlooked because of what he did in Jerez.

    I don’t want to single out one sole fanbase, but Ayrton Senna fans do tend to have a dislike for Schumacher. One of the things I find most annoying is that many people, even great journalists and insiders, will often be highly critical of some of Michael’s actions such as Jerez ’97, but then completely ignore that Senna did very similar things. I find it a very annoying double standard.

    I began watching F1 in 2002 as a huge Ferrari fan, and in my opinion, Michael is the greatest ever, he wasn’t perfect and there were many things about him I did not like, but in all honesty, he was probably better than anyone else ever. If there was ever a definition of a perfect driver, Michael would probably be closest to it. He had no weakness.

    As for YouTube, I would highly recommend not to get in to many arguments there. Most comments are generally spam/troll, and you’d be very lucky to find a decent Formula 1 discussion on YouTube where dogmatic fanatics of different drivers are not telling each other to **** off.

    Jon Sandor

    I didn’t see the promised “fresh perspective”. He just repeated the established position on Schumacher – that he was a fantastic driver who sometimes made some morally questionably choices in his zeal to win. I don’t really disagree with that assessment, though it’s important to remember that standards change over time. If a driver today punched another driver in the face (as Senna once did) he’d be banned from the sport and probably arrested.

    Drivers (and teams) have always done what they could to win while trying to stay more or less within the letter of the law.


    “If a driver today punched another driver in the face (as Senna once did) he’d be banned from the sport and probably arrested.”

    Well the closest we came to that was Raikkonen suggesting someone do that to Perez after Monaco…and it created quite a stir.


    “I actually missed both Austria 2002 and USA 2002 due to visiting races at Zandvoort, […], but seeing the YouTube replays later really opened my eyes at just how disgusting those moves were. “

    What in your opinion was disgusting about the move at the US GP?
    It seems to me, Schumacher at his own choice decided to hand the win to Barrichello but was indecisive at first when doing so, which is why the gap turned out to be as small as it was.
    Schumacher was leading the race that day, he would have won comfortably.
    I think he wanted rectify what had happend in Austria earlier in the season, as the pair of them, at that stage of their career did seem to get on quite well.
    Schumacher also pulled Rubens up onto the top spot on the podium in Austria and handed him the winners trophy. He his the driver, he is and was the one held responsible for the happenings that day but I doubt he demanded Rubens to let him pass, that was merely a decision made by Jean Todt and Ross Brawn.

    Back to the US GP, there is a YouTube video which I can’t find at the moment, in which Barrichello asks what was going on, and Michaels tells him that he had asked Todt if he could let him pass, Todt then replied, “No”.
    Someone might know the video, they’re both on the way to the podium, after having climbed out of their cars.



    I don’t really question Schumacher’s motives in those two moves, and as far as Austria is concerned, like I said, it wasn’t all his fault, but I can see why his critics pinned the move on him partially. He was already known for having his team mates move over for him and Austria 2002 (and 2001) did his image absolutely no favors. While I personally consider his actions on the podium as genuine, like you, I can completely understand why people would find it hypocritical; you give him the spot and trophy, but you take the points. If Vettel had done that in Malaysia this year, Webber would have probably taken a swing at him..

    I also think both Austria 2001 and 2002 put a major strain on their relationship. Post-Ferrari, Rubens always seemed to be on his toes when talking about Ferrari, but his face often said more than words. The decision might have been made by Todt and Brawn, Schumacher took the position with both hands. But Rubens giving up the spot on the final straight wasn’t very practical either, but from his perspective, understandable.

    As far as the US GP goes, it was a dumb move. While I enjoyed their dominance due to being a major fan, showing off your dominance by practically fixing the result is not the way to go in the USA. I don’t think doing it anywhere else than Monza would have been ok, since even Brazilian fans would not have enjoyed the gesture, nor most European fans. It probably was meant as genuine, but it also seemed very naive (crossing the finish line at the same time might sound good at a demonstration, but doing it on purpose in a race?).

    The thing I like about Schumacher is that he typically kept his feet on the ground and worked hard, pushed hard and did his best. Winning a race by getting the position at the final moment wasn’t very flattering, but thinking people would appreciate the same move the other way around, in a country where F1 has always had a hard time establishing a good following was simply naive and stupid, in my opinion. But to me, they’re ugly smudges on an otherwise great career, nothing too disturbing.

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