What next for Schumi?

This entry is part 28 of 38 in the series Inside Line

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.

Enter Fer­rari.

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.

Michael took one for the team in 2006, is it Felipe’s turn this time?

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…

Series Nav­i­ga­tion« What Bel­gium means for title fightSchu­macher and Sauber »

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