Michael Schumacher will retire from Formula One after this season’s finale at Brazil.
That’s the consensus according to his many critics.
Real-Motorsport is here to say why he shouldn’t.
Lewis Hamilton’s controversial arrival at Mercedes spells the end of Schumacher’s racing days in the silver arrows, but it doesn’t mean the seven-time champion’s racing career has to come to an end. Again.
Not yet, anyway.
The German’s ‘second’ career since resuming in 2010 has been deemed as a failure, having yet to reach the top step of the podium, let alone compete for titles.
But you only have to look at his results stretching back to mid-2011, to realise Schumacher has made giant strides in the right direction.
Apart from the multiple occasions where his car has failed him or the seldom occasion when he has endured a brain-fade — as in Spain and Singapore, the 43-year old has more often than not outraced his highly fancied team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Schumacher has outqualified Rosberg eight-six this season, including his ‘pole’ at Monaco, whilst in the seven races he has finished, the German has beaten his compatriot six times…
Six out of seven ain’t bad. Just saying.
These are hard facts, nobody can contest its’ credibility, leading to an overwhelming conclusion that Schumacher still has it, and he knows it.
Reports said he would announce his retirement immediately prior to the unveiling of Hamilton at Mercedes. No such announcement took place.
On the basis of this, Schumacher harbours ambitions to be on the grid next season, it has to be a simple matter of whether he can find the right seat.
Sauber looms as the only realistic option, as in a car worthy of fielding the legend.
Given murmurings of increased contact between Peter Sauber and Schumacher’s manager, this outcome can’t be dismissed.
But hard as you try, the notion of Michael Schumacher in a Sauber just doesn’t have that sense of excitement.
Felipe Massa seemed safe as houses to remain at Maranello for an eighth campaign on the back of improved form since Britain.
But with the same Michael Schumacher on the market who delivered Ferrari their first drivers’ title in twenty-one years, the temptation to reunite with the saviour might be too hard to pass up.
It would be fitting in so many ways for Massa, who has shown that he still has a future in the sport, to return to Sauber, paving the way for Schumacher to return to Ferrari.
The Brazilian made his debut with the outfit in 2002 prior to joining Schumacher at Ferrari in 2006, only for the German to step aside the following season, allowing Massa to remain with the team upon the entry of Kimi Raikkonen.
For Massa to move aside six years later, returning the favour, allowing the anointed son a path back into the light, would be poetry in motion, it would be the sort of material dreams are made of…
The prospect of Schumacher in a Ferrari once more is tantalising, but it is still far too early to consider this a reality.
But as the Hamilton situation has shown, as Schumacher himself displayed with his stunning comeback in 2010, not to mention his aborted attempt to substitute for the injured Massa the previous season, it cannot be ruled out unless the man himself says otherwise.
We can deal with the idea of Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher in the same team if it comes to it…