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Posts Tagged ‘schumacher’

Webber back on top

August 3rd, 2010 No comments

Mark Webber lifted himself to the top of the Drivers’ Championship with a remarkable drive in the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Although the circuit is well liked by the drivers, the narrow, twisty Hungaroring has a reputation for producing somewhat processional races but Sunday’s race was anything but boring. Thanks to a safety car period and a drive-through penalty for Sebastian Vettel, Webber was able to leapfrog both his team mate and Fernando Alonso and seal a much needed  fourth victory.

Sebastian was clearly upset at missing out on what he thought would be a certain victory and for the second race in a row there were two team mates on the podium; one looking less than happy.

But while Webber now leads the Championship, Lewis Hamilton is only 4 points behind and Sebastian Vettel only 10 points. It is still very much a five-way battle between the Red Bulls, McLarens and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. Webber knows he can’t afford to relax:

It’s nice to have more points than anybody else, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves as there are some big events coming up.

In the closing stages of the race a furious battle for 10th was taking place between old team mates Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. Rubens had complained over the radio that Schumacher was closing the door on his passing attempts very late in the corners and on lap 68 Schumacher very nearly forced Barrichello into the wall. Barrichello managed to scrape through with centimetres to spare but it was clearly an extremely dangerous move by Schumacher.

Barrichello called for Schumacher to be shown a black flag and ex-F1 driver Derek Warwick (who was on the stewards panel) told BBC’s Radio 5 Live just how close Schumacher came to being disqualified:

Throwing a black flag would have shown a better example to our young drivers but by the time we got the video evidence we ran out of time and we had to do it retrospectively.

In the end the stewards handed Schumacher a 10 place grid penalty for Spa. With Schumacher’s current performance this virtually guarantees he won’t score any points in Belgium so it seems a fair penalty. After initially claiming innocence Schumacher eventually conceded his driving was dangerous:

Immediately after the race yesterday I was still in the heat of it all, but after I looked again at the situation with Rubens I have to say that the stewards were correct with their judgement.

What it does show is that Schumacher may have lost some of his old speed but he has lost none of his old ruthlessness.

Categories: 2010 Season Tags: , ,

Mercedes drop their Monaco appeal

May 18th, 2010 No comments

In a statement released today, Mercedes have announced that “in the best interests of the sport” they will not be appealing the decision of the stewards at the Monaco Grand Prix to hand Michael Schumacher a 20 second penalty.

On Sunday, the stewards declared that Schumcher’s opportunistic pass of Fernando Alonso after the safety car had pulled into the pits on the final lap was in breach of article 40.13 of the sporting regulations.

Section 40 deals with the rules for safety cars and here is what that particular rule says:

If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.

The confusion over the interpretation of that single sentence seems to come from the opening words: “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed”.

Here is what Mercedes felt happened:

MERCEDES GP PETRONAS were fully aware of article 40.13 which states that no overtaking is permitted if the race finishes under safety car conditions. However we believed that the combination of the race control messages ‘Safety Car in this lap’ and ‘Track Clear’ and the green flags and lights shown by the marshals after safety car line one indicated that the race was not finishing under the safety car and all drivers were free to race.

I can see how both sides could have come to different conclusions about this (although the ‘safety car in’ message and the green flags are pretty persuasive) but I’m a little disappointed Schumacher was penalised. I thought it was a gutsy move and a flash of the old Schumacher cunning that some have started to think has vanished.

I would also have hoped that Damon Hill’s influence might have swayed the decision in Michael’s favour. I don’t seriously think Hill would maliciously penalise Michael as some have stupidly suggested and I would have hoped the racer in Damon would have appreciated the move.

In fact Hill has voiced concern that the role of the driver on the stewards panel should not be to interpret the rules but merely to offer a driver’s opinion of any racing incident.

Mercedes seem to have accepted that Formula One can do without results being changed by a court after the race but they have scheduled it for discussion at the next Sporting Working Group and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the rule clarified to support the stewards decision.

My own view is this: unless a move is blatantly unsafe or against the rules then drivers should be given the benefit of the doubt and any overtaking should be encouraged.

Categories: Opinion Tags: , ,

For Sale: Schumacher’s Benetton F1 Car (no time wasters)

November 12th, 2009 No comments

Michael Schumacher, Australia, 1994We have covered some rare and exotic racing cars for sale on f1buzz before but if you missed out on picking up Jenson Button’s old Honda here is another chance to buy some Formula One history.

Michael Schumacher’s old Benetton B194 that he drove to his first World Championship in 1994 is on eBay and the current bid is a bit over €2.5 million (+ €10,000 postage.)

The B194 was designed by Rory Byrne specifically to suit Michael Schumacher’s driving style although he would later comment that it was quite tricky to drive being prone to sudden unexpected oversteer.

1994 was one of the most controversial and tragic seasons in Formula One’s history. Like Jenson Button in 2009, Schumacher won six of the first seven races. The other teams were a bit suspicious of this and following an FIA investigation it was discovered that Benetton had illegal launch control software on the car but as it could not be proved it was ever used the team faced no punishment.

The eBay listing includes “a laptop with software for configuration of the race car” but it doesn’t mention anything about launch control…

Schumacher would later be disqualified from the British Grand Prix for ignoring a black flag and also stripped of his win in Belgium for excessive wear on the skid block but it is the final race of the season in Adelaide that this car is most remembered for. Schumacher’s infamous ramming of Damon Hill at the Flinders Street corner forced both drivers out of the race and sealed the Championship for Schumacher.

Image: Williams


Categories: Cars Tags: , ,

Schumacher’s back!

July 29th, 2009 No comments

Felipe Massa and Michael SchumacherForget BMW leaving Formula One.  That’s old news.  The big shock is the announcement today that seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher will return to drive for Ferrari in place of the injured Felipe Massa.

This comes just 24 hours after Schumacher’s manager, Willi Weber, discounted rumours of a comeback by saying he was 200% sure someone other than Michael would be driving in Valencia.

Today Ferrari issued the following statement on their website:

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro intends to put Michael Schumacher in Felipe Massa’s car untill the brazilian driver will be able to race again. Michael Schumacher said he is ready and, over the next few days, will undertake a specifc training programme at the end of which confermation will be given of his participation in the Championship with effect from the European Grand Prix on the 23rd of August.

Schumacher is a close friend of Felipe Massa and was a mentor to the young Brazilian when he was his team mate at Ferrari in 2006.  No doubt this influenced his decision to return to F1.  On his website Schumacher wrote:

The most important thing first: thanks God, all news concerning Felipe are positive. I wish him all the best again.

I was meeting this afternoon with Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe.Though it is true that the chapter Formula 1 has been closed for me since long and completely, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I am I also very much look forward to facing this challenge.

He won’t be the only one looking forward to it.

While Ferrari don’t have the crushing dominance they did in 2004 when Schumacher won 12 of the first 13 races, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa have put the Red Cars on the podium three times so far this year.  How incredible would it be if Schumacher returned to give the Scuderia their first victory of the season?

Michael won’t be able to test the F60 — with KERS and an adjustable front wing — before the European Grand Prix but I’m sure it won’t take Schumacher long to get used to the extra buttons on the steering wheel.

It’s going to be a fascinating European Grand Prix with Schumacher going head to head with Hamilton, Vettel and his old team mate Rubens Barrichello.

And when Michael gets to Monza in September the Tifosi are going to go mental.

Image: Reuters

Categories: Drivers Tags: , ,

Schumacher considering a return to F1

July 28th, 2009 No comments

Michael Schumacher, 2006It has been more than two years since Michael Schumacher last raced an F1 car but comments from his spokeswoman Sabine Kehm suggest we might see him back on the track in Valencia.

On Sunday, Felipe Massa was hit in the head by a spring that had fallen off Rubens Barrichello’s car at the Hungarian Grand Prix.  The 160mph impact fractured Massa’s skull and injured his left eye.  The Brazilian seems to be making a steady recovery but doctors say it is still to early to know if he will compete again this year or even at all.

So that leaves Ferrari with a decision to make some time in the next four weeks; who will drive Felipe’s car while he is recuperating? They could decide to run only one car but that seems unlikely as it would almost halve the number of constructors points available to them at each race.

While a number of possible replacement drivers have been suggested let’s not forget that Ferrari actually have two reserve drivers, Marc Gene and Luca Badoer, who they employ presumably for this very possibility.  But, despite being Scuderia test drivers, their recent F1 experience is limited. Badoer’s last race was for Minardi in the 1999 Japanese Grand Prix where he finished last and Marc Gene hasn’t raced in Formula One since the 2004 British Grand Prix where he filled in for the other Schumacher brother at Williams.

There are mixed messages about Schumacher’s possible return.  His spokeswoman told the BBC:

The whole thing will be considered by Ferrari. If they approach Michael, then he will consider it. Usually, I would say he’s not interested because he’s fine with his life and he doesn’t miss anything but now the situation is so different.

While his manager, Willi Weber, seems pretty sure that Michael won’t want the job:

Whoever sits in the car at the next race in Valencia, it will not be Michael Schumacher. I am not 100 per cent sure; I am 200 per cent sure. The pressure on him would be huge. He would be expected to win, but he has not driven this car.

When Michael was racing he would get as close to perfection as possible. In this case, it would not be perfection; it would be a gamble – and that’s not Michael’s style.

I think it is pretty unlikely Schumacher will make a comeback.  While I would love to see him race against drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian ‘Baby Schumi’ Vettel, I don’t think it would suit his perfectionist style.  The expectations on him would be huge and Ferrari isn’t the same team it was when he was winning Championships.

Who would you like to see take Massa’s seat?  Bourdais?  Senna?  Rossi? Alonso?

Image: Ferrari

Categories: Drivers Tags: , ,
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