Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Past returns to haunt Schumacher

Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher (left) of the Nazionali Piloti team challenges Ralf Weber of VIP Allstars during a football Charity match at the Am Boellenfalltor arena on July 16, 2008 in Darmstadt, Germany
Michael Schumacher of Germany and Team Holzhauer Racing rides his bike during the International German Championship IDM training session at Sachsenring racetrack on June 12, 2009 in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Germany
Michael Schumacher of Germany and Holzhauer Racing Team rides his bike during the International German Championship IDM training session at Sachsenring racetrack on June 12, 2009 in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Germany
Manager Willy Weber (left) and Formula One legend Michael Schumacher pose for a photo ahead to the WBA Middleweight World Championship fight between Felix Sturm of Germany and Khoren Gevor of Armenia at Nuerburgring on July 11, 2009 in Nuerburg, Germany
The Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One team have confirmed that 7-times Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher will make his racing return in 2010 with the Silver Arrows team. Above: Schumacher poses on December 23, 2009 in Brackley, England
Formula One legend Michael Schumacher makes push ups during the charity football match between Nazionale Piloti and biggALLSTARS at Brita Arena on July 8, 2009 in Wiesbaden, Germany

Michael Schumacher was forced to defend his reputation as he faced up to the least attractive aspect of his Formula One comeback.

Schumacher has never enjoyed his media duties, and in pondering whether to return he must have questioned whether he again wanted to face the intrusion.

That is despite the fact he knew he was ready to return, mentally and physically, after more than three years away.

So it perhaps came as no surprise that on the day of his official presentation as a Mercedes GP driver, his past should be drawn into question.

After all, despite his unprecedented success there remain stains on his character, such as his infamous collisions with Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve as he fought for the world championship in 1994 and 1997 respectively.

There was his victory in the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix when then team-mate Rubens Barrichello was ordered to pull over to allow the now 41-year-old by.

And, of course, there was the deliberate parking of his Ferrari at La Rascasse in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix as he attempted to thwart then title rival Fernando Alonso.

When asked whether his return was an opening to show he could win in the right way, Schumacher's response positively bristled with indignation.

The German sarcastically replied: “Ninety-one victories, seven titles, you win only in a bad way. Absolutely. Yeah, you're right, I need to prove (myself) now.

“Compared to the past when there was one team able to compete (McLaren with Ferrari), the way it is now there are two or three teams,” suggested Schumacher.

“Last year was probably an exception, and it might be again, but in all honesty it doesn't really matter.

“You are there to win, and against whoever it is you have to look out for.

“It doesn't really matter whether they are young or experienced.

“When you're in the car you don't look at how old your opponent is or who it is, you just look at how you can be better than whoever it is.”

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