Was it a mistake by Michael Schumacher when he decided on a comeback to Formula One racing three years ago? DW sports editor Stefan Nestler thinks not.
All "Schumi" critics are having a hey-day now. They’re all piping up saying they knew all along that Schumacher was doomed to fail, when he made his comeback. But many of those pundits were falling all over themselves applauding that very decision three years ago.
Back then in 2009/2010 the Formula One business was in desperate need of some positive momentum: Renault was embroiled in a scandal surrounding a staged racing accident, BMW and Toyota had decided to go their own way and it was crisis time for the big teams Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes. The interest in Formula One seemed to be waning.
Back in the spotlight
Schumacher decided to return and with him came the spotlight. Suddenly Formula One racing was interesting again and people were eager to watch to see how he would fare. But things just didn’t go well for Schumacher on the racetrack. He never seemed to have a top notch car – which was not his fault. And then fellow-German Sebastian Vettel emerged as the new star in F1 racing, stealing Schumacher’s limelight. He had to come round to the fact that the clock cannot be set back in motorracing.
He who used to outshine everyone else had to learn to come to terms with defeat. He started to make mistakes, he lost his nerve a couple of times. That made him seem much more human than in all those years of his prime. And he proved that he was a team player. He always seemed relaxed, there was not public criticism of the engineers, the mechanics, his team. He showed that he is a real good sport. And I think it was good to see how he bravely accepted that his record was no longer impeccable. His critics say his image was tarnished. I see it differently: In the end it has become clear that Schumacher is simply a human being, who could drive faster than anyone else – for a while.