/2010 - Michael Schumacher

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2010

ABOUT THIS SEASON

2010 The Great Comeback

It’s the run-up to Christmas 2009, and Formula One is buzzing with rumours to the effect that Michael Schumacher may be considering a comeback.

Commentators on the sport – some expert and some not so expert – are divided, some taking the story seriously while others dismiss it with a chuckle. Hasn’t Schumacher been quoted over and over again saying how much he is enjoying retirement and how little he is missing Formula One? And yet … Mercedes have just confirmed their acquisition of reigning world champion constructor Brawn, and world champion driver Jenson Button announces that he is leaving the team. So this frees up a cockpit – maybe for Schumacher after all? Michael himself, Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug, the central figures in the story, are keeping their cards close to their chests.

A special Christmas gift

On 23rd December, just before everyone packs up for Christmas, the story turns out to be true. The new Mercedes GP Petronas team announces that Michael Schumacher has signed a contract for three years and, after three years’ absence from Formula One racing, is returning for the 2010 season. This time in silver rather than red. Sensational news! The record-breaking world champion is back and, at the ripe old age of 40 plus, intends to lock horns with the young bucks. In the paddock, everyone is amazed, especially when Michael announces that he is aiming to take an eighth world title.

The story has an unprecedented impact. It makes the front page in all the papers and is the lead story on news channels around the world. Michael himself is full of anticipation: “The idea of having another crack at the world championship is exciting and extremely inspiring. Especially since I have the feeling that I am coming full circle after so many years in Formula One. After all, I had my first racing contract with Mercedes in Group C and at Le Mans, and it was Mercedes who helped me make the step up to Formula One.” So after all the many years with Ferrari, Michael now returns to his German roots – even though there will always be a special place in his heart for his former Italian employer.

Relishing the challenge

The season itself turns out to be difficult. The Mercedes W01 has been born from too many compromises to be a really strong contender. It is a transitional car from a transitional year and consequently turns out to be a blunt instrument on too many occasions for Michael and his young team-mate Nico Rosberg. In addition, the speed of change in Formula One, with new updates being introduced on virtually a weekly basis, does not exactly help Michael’s cause: three years’ lay-off is like an eternity in this fast-moving business. The cars and tyres have changed greatly, and because of the massive restrictions on testing, Michael is unable to try out all the new automatic features. It’s as if a tennis player were to return to top-flight competition after three years and find that the game itself has changed: the size of the court, the height of the net, the pressure of the balls and the tensioning of the rackets – and to cap it all, he’s not allowed to practise.

Nevertheless, Michael enjoys the challenge. He relishes the idea of being part of team building something worthwhile, and because it has become obvious during the winter tests that his own competitiveness as well as that of the car are not likely to be optimum in the first year, he accepts the setbacks as part of the (re)learning curve. During the 2009 season, he doesn’t make a single appearance on the podium, but he is gradually working towards it. By the end of the year, he will know for sure that adjustment to the new Formula One has taken longer than he expected, but at the same time, the process has been a success and that he can still mix it with the world’s elite.

So the schedule remains unchanged – three years to reclaim the title. “Of course I would have preferred it if the first year had gone better,” says Michael. “But we are going in the right direction, and I think that we can eventually win the world championship. That’s what we are aiming for. All the indications are that, in our second year together, we’ll be strong enough to secure podium finishes and even outright wins. I’m not sure that we are yet strong enough to take the world championship. That will be our target in Year Three.”

STATS

2010 Saison Figures

9

DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP

0

GRAND PRIX WINS

0

PODIUM POSITIONS

72

POINTS TOTAL

0

FASTEST LAPS

0

POLE POSITION

THE CAR

Mercedes MGP W01

MGP W01

ALL GRAND PRIX

The races of 2010

BAHRAIN

14.03.2010

BAHRAIN

Bahrain

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 7

Rennen 6

MELBOURNE

28.03.2010

MELBOURNE

Australia

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 7

Rennen 10

SEPANG

04.04.2010

SEPANG

Malaysia

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 8

Rennen DNF

SHANGHAI

18.04.2010

SHANGHAI

China

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 9

Rennen 10

BARCELONA

09.05.2010

BARCELONA

Spain

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 6

Rennen 4

MONTE CARLO

16.05.2010

MONTE CARLO

Monaco

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 7

Rennen 12

ISTANBUL

30.05.2010

ISTANBUL

Türkei

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 5

Rennen 4

MONTREAL

13.06.2010

MONTREAL

Canada

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 13

Rennen 11

VALENCIA

27.06.2010

VALENCIA

EUROPEAN GP

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 15

Rennen 15

SILVERSTONE

11.07.2010

SILVERSTONE

Great Britain

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 10

Rennen 9

HOCKENHEIM

25.07.2010

HOCKENHEIM

Germany

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 11

Rennen 9

BUDAPEST

01.08.2010

BUDAPEST

Hungary

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 14

Rennen 11

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

29.08.2010

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

Belgium

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 21

Rennen 7

MONZA

12.09.2010

MONZA

Italy

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 12

Rennen 9

SINGAPUR

26.09.2010

SINGAPUR

Singapore

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 9

Rennen 13

SUZUKA

10.10.2010

SUZUKA

Japan

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 10

Rennen 6

YEONGAM

24.10.2010

YEONGAM

Korea

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 9

Rennen 4

SAO PAULO

07.11.2010

SAO PAULO

Brazil

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 8

Rennen 7

ABU DHABI

14.11.2010

ABU DHABI

Abu Dhabi

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 8

Rennen DNF

X