Michael Schumacher’s comeback lacks drive

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Michael Schumacher’s comeback lacks drive

When we all heard of the news that Michael Schumacher was going to return to Formula One last season to replace the injured Felipe Massa all motorsport fans were delighted.

Then, when Schumacher had to announce that his neck injury had scuppered his chances, we all thought that we wouldn’t see him again in a Formula One cockpit.

The takeover of Brawn GP by Mercedes-Benz, which marked a return to the sport of the Silver Arrows after 55 years, only meant one thing in the winter of 2009, and that was that they wanted the best German driver in the world to lead a German team. Schumacher was the man, and suddenly talk of him returning to Formula One buoyed the whole paddock and racing fans all over the world.

At the age of 41, Schumacher came out of retirement after three years. He had bowed out of Formula One in 2006, coming close to an eighth world title, losing to Fernando Alonso in the penultimate race of the campaign. It was a surprise that he had decided to announce his retirement, because at 37, he still had it in him to challenge and be extremely competitive.

Schumacher’s passion for driving is clearly evident for all to see. Since leaving the sport, he has taken part in many charity go-kart races, and has been racing on two wheels, being competitive at motorbike races.

He has even gone as far as being a taxi driver. He was late for a flight in Germany one day in 2007, so in true Schumacher fashion he took over the wheel from the driver and took charge of the cab, leaving a stunned cab driver in the passenger’s seat watching in awe of his driving.

Many believed that it was too early for Schumacher to call it quits. So his return this season was no surprise, as everyone could see that he was itching to get back behind the wheel of a Formula One car.

His new team, Mercedes-Benz, are the reigning constructors’ champions, and under the former name of Brawn GP delivered a world championship winning car for Jenson Button in 2009. This year, however, has not been the same. Schumacher has struggled to reach the heights that everyone has come to expect of him.  So far this season he has finished in sixth, 10th twice, and retired – if only from a race. His comeback has not gone according to plan. There are two factors as to why it may not have gone swimmingly for Schumacher. Firstly, it could be the car, and secondly it could be a sign of him not being able to adapt to the modern style of racing with the younger drivers.

His car has not been competitive, although you could look at his teammate’s performances in the opposite car, with Nico Rosberg out-performing him in all of the races.

The car seems not to be able to adapt to Schumacher’s style of driving. In the past, his cars have worked in sync with the aggressive driving and fast race pace that he has. In order for Schumacher to return to his best, the car needs to be at his specifications.

Schumacher’s struggles could also be a sign of his age, and the ability of the younger drivers currently in Formula One.

When Schumacher left in 2007, it was really only Alonso who could mount the challenge to him. Schumacher believed he would return and pick up from where he left off. However, in the absence of Schumacher, Formula One has seen the emergence of young, fresh and hungry drivers. The likes of Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica, and Sebastian Vettel back the cause, while the experienced drivers like Alonso, Felipe Massa, Button, and Mark Webber have become better and stronger.

This is why we haven’t seen the real Schumacher rise to the top. His drives since his return have been mediocre, and he has looked a shadow of his best. We have seen glimpses of his old race craft and wise knowledge of racing, but we haven’t seen him up at the front of a grand prix challenging for the race victory.

If his team can give him a competitive car, and if he can race with the modern-day drivers, then surely we will see the seven-time world champion return to form.

We were all excited when he said he was going to return. We are slightly disappointed by what we have witnessed so far. Hopefully, things can only get better.



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