Bernie Ecclestone has admitted disappointment with Michael Schumacher’s return to formula one.
After his disappointing performance season last year, there were high hopes an improved Mercedes car and the new Pirelli tyres would lead to a more successful campaign in 2011.
Asked about the seven time world champion’s return so far, Ecclestone told the Swiss newspaper Blick: “I am surprised and disappointed.
“I would like to see him in a Red Bull because you don’t know how good the Mercedes is. Compared to his teammate Rosberg, it (Schumacher’s performance) doesn’t look good.
“But Michael is a fighter and he can still win. I’ll be the first to cheer when he beats Vettel,” the Briton laughed.
Schumacher, 42, admitted after a fraught event in Turkey two weeks ago that he is currently missing “the big joy” of F1.
Some commentators are advising the German to return to retirement, moving 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell to admit: “If things haven’t improved by the end of the year, maybe what some people are saying he should take heed.”
The German tabloid Express has this week even quoted a doctor as speculating Schumacher might need glasses, but Mercedes’ Norbert Haug denies he is over the hill.
“I would not underestimate him or his ability. So far this year his true capabilities have been clear not in results, but in lap times — yes,” the German told Salzburger Nachrichten.
And team boss Ross Brawn is quoted as saying by Reuters: “I think he’s pretty resilient and I’m optimistic this weekend he’ll be back where we want him.”
© RIF | GMM