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Dhananjay Khadilkar
Sunday , February 26, 2012 at 08 : 22

Why Schumacher should race in a Red Bull or a McLaren


This week's pre-season testing in Barcelona is over and not surprisingly, every day has witnessed a new driver setting fastest lap times, the latest being Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber. These times really don't mean much as far as the standings of the teams are concerned as different teams run different programmes to test various combinations and conditions. For the layman, testing sessions are a pretty dull affair. Perhaps, as if to add some pre-season spice, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone created a stir earlier this week. The irrépressible Bernie said that he would like to see Michael Schumacher drive alongside Sebastian Vettel in a Red Bull car. What Bernie was suggesting is that the Mercedes car hasn't been good enough and that if given a strong car, he would be capable of winning more championships.

Schumacher has struggled ever since he returned to Formula One. The 43-year-hasn't even achieved a single podium finish for the past two years, an inglorious statistic for a driver who holds almost every record of the sport.

While no one can match the unparalleled achievements of Schumacher, there are some who have been doubting his ability to recreate that same old magic in his comeback. Agreed, his car hasn't been the best on the grid. Yet, over each of the last two seasons he has been consistently outperformed by his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. Not only that, Schumacher has also been prone to committing driver errors, something that was unimaginable in his earlier stint. Be it the collision with Vitaly Petrov at Turkish GP, getting a reprimand for clipping Sergio Perez's car at Singapore or spinning in front of his home crowd at the German Grand Prix, the idea of Schumacher being dominant and flawless seems to be a thing of past. Of course, he has shown some glimpses of the brilliance that we associate him with. However, those have been few and far between. (2011 though was a big improvement from 2010)

Schumacher has had to face criticism for having made a comeback to the sport whose tope performers are equally talented, hungry and determined. More importantly, the likes of Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Button have age on their side. What's more, from this season onward, one more former champion, Kimi Raikkonen, has joined the party. Will Schumacher win a title if given a chance to drive in a Red Bull or a McLaren ? He can definitely win races, but considering his performance over the past two years and the quality of opposition, it is difficult to see Schumacher taking his tally of world championship to beyond seven. Come to think of it, it would be great to see Schumacher in a stronger car, if only to end the debate on whether his return was a wise décision or not.

While the Schumacher debate won't be abating soon, the F1 saga of another vétéran Jarno Trulli seems to have come to an end. Jarno Trulli, who was confirmed at Caterham (formerly Team Lotus) has now been replaced by the Russian driver Vitaly Petrov. The writing had been on the wall for Trulli for some time, especially after his performance last year where he struggled to master the Team Lotus car and lagged way behind his teammate Heikki Kovalainen. It was therefore surprising when the team signed a one-year deal with Trulli. However, Petrov was announced this week as his replacement just a few weeks before the season begins. For those who are obsessed with records, Trulli's exit means that Formula One without an Italian driver for the first time in the last forty years.


More about Dhananjay Khadilkar

Formula 1 writer