Sunday, 30 September 2012

What next for Schumacher?

Ross Brawn has cited Schumacher's indecision about what he wants for next year as the reason for taking the opportunity to sign Lewis Hamilton.  But why was he so indecisive?  Perhaps being torn between the overwhelming passion he still has for racing, and knowing the team would like to have a new, younger driver to replace him is a good enough reason.

A mock podium at Mercedes World in July.  Schumacher's first place waiting to be toppled by Hamilton.  Interesting...
Now Mercedes have used his knowledge, leadership, and experience to help build the team they are moving on. This situation does bear some resemblance to the Ferrari situation which led to his initial retirement.  New rules banning in - race pit stops, a measure surely introduced to halt the Ferrari dominance, resulted in Schumacher losing the World Championship to Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006.  Without this rule change, who knows how many more he could have won. For Ferrari and Michael, who had been so used to winning, two years must have seemed like a drought, resulting in the retirement seed being sown.  He doesn't admit it, but it is unlikely that decision was entirely his own.  A decision that was untimely because the following year Bridgestone became the sole tyre supplier handing the advantage back to Ferrari, gifting Kimi Raikkonen his World Championship. 

So what next for Michael?  Complete retirement from the sport doesn't seem like an option.  Being present at the test session at Magny Cours earlier this month suggests completely the opposite, demonstrating his total commitment to racing. 

If he is to get another drive, there could be a space at Sauber, especially as Kamui Kobayashi is also out of contract at the end of 2012.   With only Pastor Maldonado being confirmed for Williams and no drivers signed at Toro Rosso, there are endless possibilities, hence why it is called the silly season.  Any of these teams would benefit greatly from the wealth of knowledge and experience he would bring. 

It could be that he decides to stay in the sport, but not as a driver.  He maintains a good relationship with Stefano Domenicalli so there could be a possible role at Ferrari. 

Personally I hope he continues racing.  What would the stewards and pundits talk about if he left?!  I sincerely hope that Spa 2012 wasn't the last Grand Prix where I get to wave my flag and witness the racecraft of this legend.

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