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F1 Gold | Why Michael Schumacher should've stayed retired

2020-06-11 11:30

Charlen Raymond

michael schumacher,f1,formula 1,ferrari,

Michael Schumacher celebrates his French F1 Grand Prix victory at the Magny-Cours Circuit on July 4, 2004. Image: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

• Schumacher returned to F1 between 2010 and 2012.

• His second F1 'career' was far less successful than the first.

• Schumacher still regarded as one of the sport's greats.


When the subject of "greatest Formula 1 driver of all time" comes up, a few names are always mentioned. Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, Stirling Moss, and Michael Schumacher.

Each driver has several noteworthy entries on their CV that warrant the "greatest" tag, but Schumacher might have an edge in these conversations given his achievements and the accolades he has garnered.

Seven F1 world championships and 91 race victories are just some of the notches on this legendary driver's steering wheel when he called time on his F1 career at the end of 2006.

Schumacher left the sport in a much better place than he had found it - Ferrari was at the top of its game and fans all over the world were drawn to Schumi, Ferrari, and Formula 1.

But after three years in retirement, Schumacher made a comeback in 2010 to drive for the returning Mercedes team run by Ross Brawn - the mastermind behind all seven of Schumacher's titles.


How would you rate Michael Schumacher's F1 career, including his 2010 return? Email us.

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Ross Brawn (right) and Michael Schumacher during their time at Mercedes-AMG. (Getty Images)

Not a dream return

The announcement of Schumacher's return elicited two differing sentiments.

On the one hand, there was a sense of joy and jubilation as the Red Barron (a nickname given to Schumacher following five straight championships at Ferrari) would make a return to F1.

Yes! He will surely add to his seven titles; he will become the first driver to reach 100 victories in F1; now Schumacher will finally put the debate to rest that he is the greatest driver of all time - was one reaction.

READ: The time Michael Schumacher won the 2004 French GP with 4 pit stops!

On the other hand, would Schumacher be rusty after three seasons away from the sport? Had he lost his race craft and skill? The motorsport jury was out.

Sure, he might be there mentally, but his body might not be able to take the strain that comes with driving an F1 car. And worse, what if he tarnishes his reputation?

Sadly, these questions proved valid, as, after three years of driving for Mercedes, Schumacher only achieved one podium finish - at the 2012 European GP in Valencia, Spain.

His second run in F1 was marred by numerous errors, a squabble for positions in the midfield, and a sense of sadness seeing this great F1 driver failing to meet the expectations associated with his return.

nico rosberg,michael schumacher,mercedes,f1

Michael Schumacher (left) and his Mercedes team mate (2010 - 2012), Nico Rosberg. (TeamTalk)

Is Schumacher one of the greatest?

Despite his less than successful second stint in F1, Schumacher will forever be one of the best the sport has ever seen.

He was a dominating force in the 1990s and was just so much better between 2000 and 2004.

Even when he failed to win the championship in 2005 and 2006, the years Fernando Alonso triumphed,  he was still a reckoned contender.

Schumi was still a rival that was feared and respected.

READ: The pressure Mick Schumacher has to deal with when he joins F1… eventually

Should Schumacher have declined Brawn's offer in 2009 to race for Mercedes from 2010 to 2012? In hindsight, yes.

But while the reality is that it was a massive flop, it just as well could have been a stroke of genius.

Ideally, Schumacher should have stayed home and enjoyed his retirement.

Did his return blemish a stellar reputation built throughout his first F1 career?

In the eyes of millions of fans around the world, the answer is a resounding no.

Is he still regarded as one of the greatest of all time?

Without a doubt, yes.

Michael Schumacher ferrari

Michael Schumacher. (Scuderia Ferrari / Twitter)

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