We are being told that Michael might not be fit to play 90 min football match during World Cup, but he is matching in fitness any F1 driver on the grid, thus that's non-issue. In terms of reaction - that hasn't slowed him down either; he was tested, and we can seen him on the track once lights go off.
The way it would limit any other 42 year old - only in most drivers cases they would be seconds off the pace they were capable of in their peak rather than the tenths that Michael is. Look what happened to drivers like Damon Hill as he got older, he was seconds off his team mate.
How many other sports are there (where extreme fitness and reactions are required) where a 42 year old could compete at the highest level. I think what he is doing at his age is remarkable, but lets not kid ourselves, he was already losing some speed when he retired.
I'm a huge fan and he's at top of my list of all-time drivers but to suggest he is as quick as he was does his primary career a dis-service. I would give a lot to see just one more podium before he bows out though - unfortunately a victory is too much to hope for.
As to the fact that F1 drivers used to be older, yes they did, but the levels between then and now are imcomparable. Fitness didn't matter, there were not the g-forces to cope with, nor the elctronics to master and ability to do 5 things at once and F1 was very much for the elite few. Finding the best from a talent pool of 100 drivers, doesnt give you the same standards as searching from a talent pool of tens of thousands of aspiring young drivers.
Besides, it used to be untinkable to run a 4 minute mile - things move on. It's like suggesting a 100m sprinter from the 50's could compete against Bolt
Age is non-issue as long as he gets rest between races.
His problems are elsewhere (and I do not pretend to know them); some offered as potential culprits are vehicle balance or absence of it, lack of vehicle speed, functionality - where is DCR when you need it, car stability in turns (he slides), brake/accelerator coordination (his old style v. what is allowed now),... I wish I could talk to him for an hour.
Edited by Sakae, 09 August 2011 - 14:01.