Schumacher needs a change of Chinese fortune | india | Hindustan Times
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Schumacher needs a change of Chinese fortune

india Updated: Sep 30, 2006 22:09 IST
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To the many mysteries of the Orient, add Michael Schumacher's dismal record in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Any locals who have watched the Ferrari great's two appearances at the Shanghai circuit, without witnessing any of his other races, can only be baffled.

The most successful driver in the history of Formula One, with almost as many wins as Alain Prost and the late Ayrton Senna combined, has -- to put it mildly -- failed to live up to his star billing.

Never mind seven world titles and 90 race wins or the fact that Ferrari's flaming red is a symbol of good fortune and prosperity in China.

The German has yet to score a point in Shanghai, or finish higher than 12th, and last year's performance must rank as one of the worst of his extraordinary career.

First he careered into the Minardi of Dutch rookie Christijan Albers while heading to the starting grid even before the formation lap. Then he spun out while in a procession behind the safety car.

The year before, in a race won by Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello, he was 12th after starting from the pit lane.

To add to the sense of failure, before the biggest crowd of the year, he was lapped by the Brazilian in his first non-scoring finish since 1999.

Schumacher can normally be counted on to adapt brilliantly to new circuits and there is not a single venue on the grand prix calendar, with the exception of China, where he has not appeared at least once on the podium.

In mitigation, it might be argued that two races hardly make a trend and Schumacher has yet to compete in China with anything at stake.

In 2004, he arrived with the title won and the opposition annihilated. Last year, he and Ferrari were already well out of contention in a championship dominated by eventual winners Renault and McLaren.