F1 Shuffle (Part 3)

So far we’ve talked about the two biggest seat swaps happening in the sport. Perez up and Hamilton down. So where does that leave the rest of the grid? Let’s start with the re-retirement of this guy.

Unretired seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is leaving Mercedes… And F1… Again.

When Schumi first left Ferrari at the end of 2006, many viewed it as the end of an era. It’s never easy to let go of a champion, especially not when they helped return Ferrari to top form like Schumacher did. And when he came back in 2010, there certainly was a high level of excitement and expectations. Schumacher himself seemed confident, stating that he expected to be judged by his success.
Unfortunately, his success upon returning was lacking. Almost immediately, he was being out-raced by his teammate, Nico Rosberg. And, while Rosberg is a solid driver, he’s not really known for being fast.

On top of disappointing in terms of performance, Schumacher also seemed to have taken a liking to crashing into other drivers. This earns the ire of fans, drivers and costs the team money in repairs.
It’s been rather bad this year, too, as he’s rear-ended two drivers this year, and crashed himself out multiple times.

The first one happened at Spain and was Schumacher rear-ending Bruno Senna, the latter was mere weeks ago at Singapore and involved him crashing into Jean-Eric Vergne.
These are just the tip of the iceberg, and this has been a problem Schumacher has been encountering over the last few years.
I’m not going to imply that Schumacher isn’t a good driver, but it seems likely that the years are catching up to him. The fact of the matter is, Formula 1 is the highest level of motor sport. It requires peak physical condition, high levels of endurance and focus, and reflexes that border on inhuman. At 43, it’s easy to say that Schumacher is out of his prime and he’s never going to be able to fairly compete with the younger drivers on the grid today.
This isn’t IndyCar, NASCAR, Rally or sports car racing. The difficulty of the sport is beyond daunting and the skill required to cope is unreal, there’s no room for error. It’s nothing against Schumacher, it’s just the tides of time may be taking their toll.

Schumacher wasn’t fired or forced from the team though. If you want the words on what’s happening from his mouth directly, click here.

The question for Schumacher is what he’ll do now. He could take on an advisory role like he did with Ferrari after his first retirement, and honestly his experience and knowledge could make him an extremely valuable asset to any team looking for a bit of growth. Perhaps he could even start his own Formula 1 team, as other Formula 1 drivers have. Jackie Stewart, Alaine Prost and Aguri Suzuki to name some of the more recent examples.

I’m glad to see that the old boy’s going to leave before he ruins his reputation though. Seven world championships, 91 victories, 155 podiums (including victories), 68 pole positions and 77 fastest laps, including several records. Regardless of how he’s running at the moment, his achievements won’t be changing.

-Brian

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