Schumacher returns: Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher will replace Ferrari driver Felipe Massa who crashed during the Grand Prix in Hungary last week. (File photo) Read report
Rob Wilson is a man who should have every reason to join in the criticism of Michael Schumacher’s less than stellar comeback to F1 in 2010 (he first retired in 2006).
Wilson is the world’s most renowned racing driver coach and his clients include 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen and Schumacher’s Mercedes teammate for all three years, Nico Rosberg.
The 27-year-old has outscored the former 7-time world champion 314 points to 191 over the course of their partnership. Yet Wilson believes that Schumacher is currently driving better than 2005 GP2 champion Rosberg who is being retained by Mercedes to partner Lewis Hamilton.
“He’s (Schumacher) almost back to his best and has outperformed Nico this year who himself has raised his game,” Wilson told HT. “Schumacher has had a lot of bad luck but a couple of mistakes at the wrong time has moved the momentum away from him.
“His results would definitely have been a lot better if the Mercedes was a consistent car, but he has driven well enough to win and proved that with his pole position at Monaco.”
Wilson is, however, critical of aspects of Schumacher's comeback aside from his driving. “It was a pity that he came back in the first place," said Wilson. "He had it really good at Ferrari and could have driven for another year and given Raikkonen a much harder time than people thought he would have at the time.”
“In a decade or so, no one will remember this as there have been a lot of unsuccessful comebacks in F1,” Wilson continued. “A good example is Alan Jones, the 1980 champion who left for a year and then had a terrible comeback.”
Wilson is also of the belief that Schumacher was not allowed to retire from F1 in either 2006 or this year on his own terms.
“He was definitely forced out by younger drivers on both occasions,” said Wilson. “I don't think he will be happy to be retiring, there are still six races left and I hope he goes out with a victory.”
Regarding Schumacher's replacement, Wilson believes that the 2008 world champion will not be able to lead a team like the retiring German.
“Lewis is the kind of driver who will just get in the car and drive it fast,” said Wilson. “He won't go down into the bowels of the team and lead it.”
Hamilton reveals torment of switching teams
Suzuka: Lewis Hamilton Thursday revealed how he was mentally torn by his decision to switch Formula One teams before finally making up his mind while lying on a beach in Thailand.
The 27-year-old former world champion said his mind swung back and forth “like a pendulum” until he eventually settled on leaving McLaren, the team he had driven for since a teenager, for Mercedes. He described phoning McLaren, which he joined aged 13 under Ron Dennis, now the company chairman, as “the hardest call I have ever had to make”.
Hamilton recalled: "I tried to get hold of Ron, but I did not manage to speak to him. But when I spoke to Martin (Whitmarsh, team principal) I said that the plan was not to burn bridges. AFP
Schumacher ‘driver of the century’ - Mercedes boss
suzuka: Mercedes boss Ross Brawn, the man who guided Michael Schumacher to all seven of his drivers' world titles, dubbed the German “the driver of the century” after the 43-year-old confirmed his final retirement. It is a massive compliment to the former Benetton and Ferrari man who announced earlier that he would be leaving Formula One for good at the end of this season.