Speculation about Michael Schumacher’s mood continues to rise, but the seven time world champion insists he is “extremely motivated” ahead of the fifth race of his 2010 comeback.
After three years of retirement, the 41-year-old German has been consistently outpaced by his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg so far in 2010, but will have a car with a longer wheelbase in Spain that should better suit his driving style.
“When he has that (revised car) I think we will have to reassess the whole story,” commented former triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart.
“If he then doesn’t deliver, then I think he has a problem,” added the Scot.
70-year-old Stewart thinks part of Schumacher’s problem will be reassessing his desire to honour the full three years of his new contract.
“You know, I don’t think he should have retired when he did in 2006 because I don’t think it was out of his system,” he said. “This might take it out of his system.”
Schumacher’s old title rival of the 90s, Damon Hill, is not ruling out that “the old Schumacher magic” could soon return.
“Is it still there?” he told the Daily Mail, whose headline accuses Mercedes of “wasting money” on Schumacher.
“I’m sure that’s a question Michael will be asking himself — and it’s one that is starting to become valid after four races,” added Hill.
In an official Mercedes press release, Schumacher played down the likely effect of the car upgrades for Barcelona but sounded bullish about his own outlook.
Team boss Ross Brawn also said the German is “determined to succeed” despite the setbacks so far.
Added Schumacher: “Our step forward in Barcelona will be bigger than you can make at each race during the flyaways but it would not be realistic to expect us to suddenly be competing right at the front,” he said.
“However the good news is that after three years away, I am feeling extremely motivated. So I am clearly ready to take this challenge,” added the record winner of 91 grands prix.