Posted 26 November 2012 - 18:53
It was only after reading a post on here that I realised how 2010 wasn't quite the disaster I'd thought it to be for Schumacher. But it was still poor when you think of him as *The* Schumacher. If you think of him as a 40something rookie though, it was pretty impressive. And given the car he stepped into was to his last F1 machinery what his previous machinery was to a GP2 car..
But 2011 was a good year. He finished within a second place of his team mate - 6 points in real terms (this new scoring system, and the previous which set the trend for points for showing up, are abhorrent to me) even though he had a couple of high profile incidents, and I believe an extra car issue. And again, if you look at the incidents St Lewis wasn't error free last year, nor was Schumacher tending to have carbon fibre emancipation moments when wheel to wheel with the experienced, skilled drivers. I'd give 2011 to Schumacher on performance, though the points say not on results.
But this year. Ye gods, how to shatter the determination of possibly the most determined driver ever to hold a superlicense. How many points were lost in those opening few races, more often than not due to the car being woefully unreliable. There's the obvious 18, but there's got to be another double figures count for Australia (where he also lost a truckload of points a previous season through no fault of his own), another handful in Monaco.. These are just the ones I can remember without pausing for thought. As he sees his team mate start amassing a healthy advantage, he's stuck at teh side of the road, or battling back from being Grosjean'd. Then as his luck turns, he manages to avoid the GP2 sim racer bunch, and the car makes it mostly over the line, the team starts to focus on anything but the need to develop the car to maintain, if not better, their performances. Finishing 6 places ahead of your team mate means much less when you're crossing the line eleventh, than when you're sticking it on the podium.
2012 was such a lost opportunity for Mercedes, and a denied one for Schumacher. Would have have stayed another year if things had gone better? Quite possibly, if he saw for one moment a sign this team could be anything other than a rebadged BAR. But to see him going from confident, to optimistic, to hopeful, to hanging up his gloves over the space of a few months, and end the three year experiment with poor marks in the record books.. It's tragic. Because his driving for at least half the time was worthy of far far more than the results show, and the other half wasn't at all bad when you realise he's up against people half his age (and in faster machinery).
I pray he has the fire for racing still smouldering somewhere under the Mercedes extinguishant, and puts in a few years in something like Indycar (better yet, as Ruben's team mate ;) ), or gets a Le Mans ride now and then. Because as a fan I want to see him doing what he does best, but I also think he should bow out of motorsport a winner.