Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Enough is Enough!

Michael Schumacher is one of the greatest formula 1 drivers of all time and he is the best if you go only by statistics. AT 42 Schumacher still has it in him to go head-to head with drivers who were in their diapers when he started racing!

The constant criticism he gets from former drivers and the British media is uncalled for and it is just plain sour grapes. One his arch rivals Jacques Villeneuve who is often known for his brash and crazy comments actually made a good point about Schumacher’s’ comeback. F1 is not about the driver alone and though till the early 80’s it was 50/50 now it is more on the technical side and the car that it is become 80/20 in favor of the car. Yes a Karun Chandhok given a Red Bull may not win a race but a Rosberg with a Red Bull will be a title contender.

During this Belgian GP Schumacher would be celebrating his 20th anniversary of his F1 debut which happened at Spa. This was also the venue which saw his 1st race win and been host to a bunch of memorable Schumacher drives. Even during the Canadian GP we were shown that he has not lost much and was actually in line for a podium finish but eventually the faster McLaren of Button and Red Bull of Webber overtook him and he finished a much celebrated 4th place.

For the British media anyone not from the isles winning races means the car is good while if their own guy wins then it is all about the driver. Vettel, the reigning Champion and also according to many the heir to Schumacher’s throne is considered an inferior driver to Hamilton according to the British press. Vettel has shown that he is a more consistent driver and by far a better team player than Hamilton will ever be. F1 is not about one race but it is about performing the whole season. This is something which Schumacher throughout his F1 career has shown.

From the time he made his debut for Jordan, he has shown that he is a special talent and with an unfancied Benetton managed to win 2 driver’s championships. This was the time when Williams seems invincible and everyone wanted to drive for the team. Also the Frenchman and multiple-time World Champion Alain Prost ran away from Ferrari after a poor season but not Schumacher. Given his German connections he could have easily gone to McLaren but he stuck around with Ferrari and ensured that Ferrari which at that point was lagging behind the likes of Williams, Benetton and McLaren became the best team in F1 history!

His time with Ferrari was one the greatest moments in F1 which resulted in 5 consecutive world championships and barring 2 years of his time with Ferrari, he was challenging for the title every other time. He is one of the greatest drivers ever but he is not a superman who can take a dog of a car and win races in it. Seriously who has managed to do it? None has in reality. Senna did manage to drag a Toleman to a Monaco during very wet conditions while Vettel went one up by actually winning at Monza during a wet race driving for the Toro Rosso team which in its previous incarnation as Minardi was always a back-marker team.

You have to remember that the Brawn GP car in which Button won was actually one of the most expensive F1 cars ever which had close to 2 years in development time. While the likes of McLaren & Ferrari were fighting for titles and Red Bull just coming up the ladder, Brawn thanks to a very generous funding by Honda managed to build a car which during the 1st half of the season was close to invincible. You can always argue that Rubens Barrichello did not win a single race during that phase but again the driver does make a difference. Best example is if Chandhok is in a Red Bull. Do you thing he can win the title?

The very team in its previous avatars as BAR & Honda F1 has proved real dog of cars. Except for 2004 and to an extend 2006, the team has never produced cars capable of even challenging for podiums at regular intervals. Now how can you expect Schumacher to actually come take this dog of the car and challenge the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren? He can’t and the car is just not capable enough. Also Schumacher is not 28 anymore and he is 42 and he has been out of F1 for 3 years. Yes he is not the same Schumacher anymore but then Rosberg is a very good driver and given a good car he can challenge for wins and maybe even a title. He is similar to Jenson Button who is very consistent and can win a title if everything goes in his way.

It not like Trulli is beating Schumacher and the difference between Rosberg and Schumacher this season is actually not much. Schumacher given the right car will be challenging for wins but then even Vettel with this Mercedes would find it difficult to challenge for podiums leave alone a win. The car could be the best of the rest but it is lagging behind the top 3 teams. So unless Mercedes produces a car where one driver is winning while the other is yet to win you can question Schumacher. Something similar is happening in Red Bull but then since Webber is Australian who is a darling of the British media they still manage to spin the conspiracy theory that RBR gives Vettel a superior car compared to Webber!

Guys like Lauda and Jordan can keep quiet as they have had their time and it is sour grapes that Schumacher has done something which they have never managed to it. Also the British press despite their constant criticism of Schumacher he is actually not that as bad as they portray. Well the last 30 years has produced 4 British Champions and Schumacher alone has more titles put together than these 4 combined. Britain despite being home to F1 has not consistently produced good drivers. Germans since the arrival of Schumacher has had more drivers than the Brits. Among the 2 drivers on the grid, Button can win if there is rain and chaos or he has a car which is 2 second faster than any other car while Hamilton is getting worse as a driver since his F1 debut.

Schumacher is Schumacher and this comeback does not take away anything and if you look purely at statistics like a few commentators have done then Rosberg in his 6th season is yet to win a race while Schumacher in the 6th season has already won 2 World Championships! So statistics alone would count for nothing! Give the man a good car and he will show he is still the Man!