Schumacher Mercedes not ready to fight for championship

Schumacher: ‘Mercedes not ready to fight for title’

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Michael Schumacher does not expect Mercedes will be in contention for the championship this year.

Heading into the second year of his F1 comeback he said: “2011 is going to be a year that we certainly have the means of improving ourselves.

“Last year, to a degree, was a disappointing season. We expected a lot more. Nevertheless we are not yet in a position to fight for the championship.

“Hopefully we may be able to fight for podiums, and may win, I think these are realistic targets at the moment. Nevertheless, on the other side, we will try as much as we can, that’s the natural behaviour of us race drivers and teams.”

Schumacher also said he hopes F1 races do not become all about tyre preservation in 2011.

He described the new Pirelli tyres as “very different to what we are used to.”

“To have more pit stops, yes, does open the possibility for changing of position and to make it a little bit more exciting.

“We just need to be careful that we still stay in the frame of racing cars to its edge and not preserving tyres going too slow in order to make the minimum distance that is required.

“So it’s something that needs some more development, but I’m pretty sure can be done.”

See more from Schumacher in the video above.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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63 comments on “Schumacher: ‘Mercedes not ready to fight for title’”

  1. So Mercedes are going to surprise people (according to Brawn) but not win the title (according to MSC)…that helps in preparing my predictions for the year!

    1. Now maybe Rosberg can add a little and make it even more easy on us!

      They do seem to talk a lot more than last year at the start of the year, showing they do have an idication of where they stand and are fine with it.

      1. They look and sound far more confident than last year but also remains realistic. It will be really interesting to see what happens with the team this year!
        Should be interesting to see how the Rosberg vs Schumacher fight is gonna play out as well!

  2. Schume is wiley old fox. He will not show all his cards at the start of the game. Infact if Schumi is saying that Merc is not fighting for championship then nothing but Merc is fighting for championship and Schumi will be having a damn good car beneath him. I just hope that this year proves out to be mercedes year.

  3. I love how nico rosberg still gets snubbed, despite outdoing schmui last year.

    1. I was just thinking the same thing. Brawn harps on about Schumi bringing a bag of surprises for everyone, and I remember Brawn saying that Schumacher was going to win the title before 2010 season started.

      I think its high time he starts talking more positively about the driver who actually delivers results. Rosberg didn’t just beat Schumacher last year, he nearly doubled his points total, and yet he doesn’t get enough praise and attention from his own team.

      1. Schumi is just a better “brand name” than Rosberg. He is a household name, even to people that nave no idea about F1, so he is bound to get more headlines.
        As soon as Nico starts occupying the top step of the podium often enough, he will get the attention he deserves. Until then, he is bound to stay at Schumacher’s shadow.

        1. Britney needs to win a championship to prove he is an extraordinary driver. From this moment I prefer to watch paint dry than reading any article about him.. :)

      2. thats the whole clue guys! Rosberg is the surprise…

      3. Maybe that is the surprise Brawn means, Rosberg beating him two years running ;-)

      4. Maybe it’s the fact that Schumacher has won 91 races and 7 WDC ? vs Rosberg 0 races and 0 WDC ? Not sure though.

        1. Good point. Although, I could say that Rosberg thoroughly thrashed a guy who has won 91 races and 7 WDCs, and still doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

          1. And didn’t race for three years…

          2. “I could say that Rosberg thoroughly thrashed a guy who has won 91 races and 7 WDCs,”… thrashed… dont think so.
            v saw how difficult it is for a driver to just adjust to a different car in 2009, when Fisi came to ferrari from force india…he was still racing..but was .5 or .7 sec off kimis times. Now here is a guy in his 40s and 3 years out of F1 and comes back & what was .2 or .3 sec off nico..
            that shows the talent and greatness he still has….
            I am 100% sure that this season with the rule changes and new tyre, Schumi will b untouchable by nico…

          3. I’d not really say “untouchable” as Nico is a very good driver. But I would think that Schumacher will do much better this year.

          4. As I said I prefer to watch paint dry that reading articles about Britney. Let him prove that he deserves any attention by winning even single WDC. Maybe he can’t until he retires..

    2. I’m not sure I’d call it ‘snubbed’ as it was Schumi’s interview. Wiley old fox and a smart young fox … both driving an arrow … hmm … both cunning by their nature. The flock better keep alert.

  4. Seems Schumi shares our beliefs about wanting to see real racing not gimmicks and a pitstop marathon.

    1. a pitstop marathon.

      So when Montreal produces a race with high tyre wear, it’s exciting … but when the tyre supplier creates tryes that are specifically designed to replicate the conditions seen in Montreal, they’re artificially trying to amnipulate the racing?

      Therefore, I can only conclude that Formula 1 fans are only happen when they’re whinging about something.

      1. By pointing out that they’ve specifically made the tyres to imitate the conditions at Montreal, you’ve answered your own question.

      2. Haha, good point.

        I’m confused. The refueling ban was to eliminate passing during pit stops, they wanted overtaking to happen on the track… Now we will have multiple pits stops in a race.. why not introduce fuel strategy again to offer an even bigger speed difference between cars?

        If there was a way to shorten the amount of time to complete a pit stop (entry and exit) I think drivers would be more inclined to drive faster and wear their tires quicker, since a pit may only lose 10 seconds on track, instead of 20-30 seconds.

        >>why not have some tracks with the pit in that cuts a corner like in Turkey, and a pit exit that cuts a corner (almost like spa) imagine hungaroring exiting after turn one instead of on the main straight

        1. The stated reason for the refuelling ban was that it was to cut costs. Nothing to do with improving the races, though some expected that to be a side-effect.

          1. I thought it was to improve safety as well, after a couple of fires in the pit lane in recent years.

      3. The difference is they raced and hoped in Montreal, it was an unknown. It remains to be seen but if tyres are predictably bad, and the teams gather enough data, races could become an exercise of driving to computer predicted lap times based on the parameters than are known to maximise the shortest race time.

        Personally I’d rather see a drive on or close to the edge every lap than lap 5 – 6 seconds off their ultimate pace just because they are saving tyres. Yes saving tyres has always been part of racing but it wouldn’t be good if it was to become the only key element.

        MSC has the same concerns as a few of us. I hope Pirelli are correct and the situation isn’t as bad as some fear when the temperature is higher and the racing gets under way. Lets wait and see.

      4. Nothing new though, is it?

        Often many of the fans are naive to many of the reasons behind why Formula 1 is the way it is…

  5. Schumacher has always been very realistic about his chances. And this sounds very reasonable as well.
    The new tyre and vehicle rules may however make this season quite a surprise. If the DRS and KERS work as expected, I see much more possibilities for good drivers to actually make a difference during the course of a race.

  6. loser…

    close the garage and go @ home to see the race Michael…

    i’m shumacher fan and i’m a little disappointed to hear somethink like this before even the season is started.

    it sounds like “if i will not win anything this year you can’t blame me because i’ve said it before the season’s start”


    an “i will try my best” was a better thing to say for your fun MSC.

    oh yeah…next year will be the last year. What if you will not “ready to win”?

    A (disappointed) schumacher’s fun…

    1. Him being realistic sounds a lot better to my ears than your whining though …

    2. I’d just love to see you put that opinion to Schumacher’s face, I bet you’d go all dribbly & “oh MS you are so great, I’m your biggest fan” etc.

      Regarding his comments, would you rather hear (like last year) that they are ready to fight for the championship & then be disappointed or hear a realistic apprasial of where he believes Mercedes to be at this point?

      Personally I appreciate the honesty, & if what he is saying is true then Mercedes will have a much improved season in 2011.

  7. Good luck Michael! Well, Mercedes maybe is not a proper car for you talent, but I still believe that you’re going to surprise this season.

  8. I wonder when this video was filmed…? before the last test perhaps?

  9. Totally agree with Schumacher on this one. More pit-stops sounds exciting, but it’s not as straight forward as that.

    I still want racing, not tyre preservation. I can appreciate the skill required to look after a set, but I appreciate racing more ;)

  10. I think that given the apparent strength of Red Bull and Ferrari again this year, it is kind of a no-brainer to say that Merc won’t be fighting for the WDC…and that’s fine by me…MS turned his back on Ferrari where he compiled all his numbers, so I will continue to enjoy seeing Ferrari best Merc…how’s it feel now that the Schu is on the other foot MS? Probably a little like all the other drivers felt when everything was skewed MS’s way at Ferrari and within the FIA during the MS/Ferrari era.

    1. He didn’t “turn his back” on them when he initially retired. He worked with them until 2009, and planned to return for them in the place of Massa. That didn’t go ahead because the neck injury sustained in a bike accident, so he went to Merc. What’s the big deal about that?

      And the other drivers were understandably unhappy when MS spanked them, year after year after year.

      1. *went to Merc for 2010 where a seat was available.

        1. That’s my point…he was supposedly a Ferrari lifer…even tried to sub for FM but couldn’t, and the next thing you know he’s with Merc…I’m sure most tifosi don’t consider that loyalty, and some will enjoy seeing him watch the Ferraris fight for the WDC while he fights NR, a bonafide competing teammate…

          1. Well, he is still an all time great in the eyes of the tifosi for all he was able to give them. The tifosi certainly won’t cheer just because he may struggle.

  11. Martin Brundle made a good point in his article on Jenson and Lewis, in that if the tyres are falling apart from wear rather than over-heating then it will minimise Button’s tyre-saving advantage. If that’s true then it suggests to me the drivers will be able to do little to save their tyres beyond going far too slow (Lewis hinted at this in testing). In which case, the racing will become more about going fast than nursing the tyres than last year, which can only be a good thing.

    1. But it sounds like the windows of opportunity will be quite short for them to go fast on a set of tires before they fall off. Methinks ‘fast’ is going to be relative. It’ll be about who’s cars are faster on worn tires. And given MS’s struggles last year not being able to get the front end of the car planted, I don’t see how driving for most of the day on worn tires can help his cause (not just his), hence his comment about not being ready to fight for the title.

      1. Presumably the car has been designed to provide more oversteer than last year’s.

        1. Yeah it should be interesting as last year NR said that any changes they make to the car that might help MS will help him as well. I wonder what the balance will be like with these new tires wearing readily and with more oversteer designed into the car.

      2. If what Brundle says is correct it sounds more like a “use them or lose them” situation. I really don’t think we’re going to see differences of more than one lap on the softs and two or three on the hards, unless fuel loads are a factor.

        1. I just listened to a podcast from F1Blog lat night that was a long phone interview with Steve Matchett, who said the same thing about Button’s tire saving skills being a moot point this year. He also said that speaking with engineers in the pit lane who were trying to decipher all the times at Barcelona, the consensus seemed to be that neither Vettel nor Schumacher set their fastest times of the test on supersoft tires, and that if that were true, to expect both of them (and presumably their team mates as well) to be blindingly fast. It stands to reason in the case of Red Bull, but I thought it was very interesting in the case of Mercedes. They could be right up there nipping at the heels of Red Bull and Ferrari.

          1. Yeah the Mercs look to have improved relative to the top teams, but I hesitate to put too much emphasis on one test session that showed promise. Merc only just in recent weeks seem to have found something, maybe, but again with only one test they have to confirm their pace yet with more running…blindingly fast might mean for a lap or two and then terribly slow after the tires go away…and how about in traffic…are they blindingly fast then? How about at different tracks that require different setups and that will treat the cars/tires differently…Ferrari and Red Bull on the other hand were quick right out of the box, as most expected, so have proved over several tests that they have it…

            But the point is taken…Merc could be nipping at the heels of Red Bull and Ferrari, but that is really moot as it won’t garner much in the way of wins and WDC’s…

  12. Perhaps one should mention, that Schumi’s comment about not being ready to fight for the title was recorded before the last pre season test. At the end of the video he says: “[…] now we have the final car together for the last test.”
    I wonder what he would say now…

    1. True, they seem to be pleased with the last minute additions/changes to the car, but they only had one test session with said changes and others have made changes too so I guess we will just have to wait until they have run a race to see where everyone stands amongst each other.

    2. Agreed… I find it really annoying when stories get promoted even though the opinions expressed have been rendered pretty much irrelevant by subsequent events. There have been a few stories on the BBC and other sites about how bad Mercedes have looked in early testing even though they all knew they were bringing an upgrade to the last test. Even after that worked well, the stories in the papers all referred to the ‘worrying’ or ‘poor’ performance of the car in the earlier tests as if they didn’t know the reasons for it…

      1. This is why I don’t like the testing season: get rid of it!

        1. Lol…yes…no testing whatsoever…slap the new cars together, bring them to the first race, and let’s see what happens…can you imagine…lol…

          1. Yep, it would be awesome. Look at how rubbish Barcelona is, all the ins and outs known. Now imagine we turn up to Bah…Melbourne and they have only 3 hours to figure out their cars for the first time. The first few races would be very interesting.

            In return, have testing days on Mondays after races that aren’t the first of back-to-back races.

          2. Yup…on tires that are a brand new make to everyone, and with all cars on the track on ‘testing-Mondays’…sounds reasonable to me…

          3. They did a tyre test last autumn.

            They seem to manage with all the cars being on the track on Friday and Saturday

          4. Wow! I never knew HRT were really just testing out the future rule set!


  13. and in which part of his statement did he sad, that the Mercedes is not ready hor the title. This is a two or three days old statement, so is stupid, that journalists summarize this all over again…

  14. Any idea where I can find the picture set in background of the interview ? I would love to use it as a wallpaper :-(

  15. Hey Keith, I really like when you post things in this format. My office blocks any streaming media but I can still get the gist of the interview from reading this post since you took the time to do a written summary. Much appreciated.

  16. I used to dislike Schumacher somewhat, like many of us. But lately, in the last two years to be specific, I’ve seen a whole new side to his personality and I really like the guy.

  17. I am not getting despite starting the work on their new car way ahead of the others they are now struggling to get it right.I thought with Schumacher’s & Brawn’s experience they will be able to make things right in that team.Third place on the constructure is the best they can hope for.

  18. WasiF1, remember this was filmed before the last test… he is understandably being cautious as they were yet to se the potential of the car being realised on track. I think third place will be the least they would be expecting and I hope they can challenge for the top two places in the constructors. The key I think will be maintaining the development of the car over the year and some good satategy calls – which I’m sure Ross and Michael are pretty good at!

    Roll on Sunday!

  19. ‘strategy’ calls even!

  20. really hope this year Schumi will able to grab podiums..

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