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Can Rosberg stop Schumacher from taking more than just his number?

January 20, 2010

Will Schumacher bend Brawn's ear all season?

Today it emerged that Brawn had granted Schumacher the odd number (#3) after it had been listed as being Rosberg’s. Schumacher claimed it was for luck-in this business that isn’t such a ludicrous idea-but I’m sure Schumacher wasn’t going to cry if he got the lower number and Nico was relegated to number 4. On a side note the number 4 car has been one of the most unlucky in recent years and has failed to win a title.

The media is probably overreacting a little bit and I don’t blame Schumacher at all for testing the waters as it is what almost all F1 drivers would do given the chance. It was Brawn’s decision, Schumacher didn’t just steal it. But Ross is going to be walking a fine line if he wants to keep things equal; he has to give Schumacher support as he settles back into racing life without isolating Nico.

What’s interesting about this line up is that it won’t just be the drivers who are watched but Ross Brawn and how he handles the situation. Ferrari is being examined every single day for the treatment of their drivers and that is mostly due to the Schumacher, Brawn, Todt years.

Brawn said in 2009 that it was better to win the right way, perhaps alluding to his Schumacher days and he gave Barrichello and Button the chance to really fight it out. Mercedes have invested a lot and after Brawn delivered the titles after the collapse of Honda in F1 then they will be expecting success this year especially with the seven-time world champion behind the wheel.  It’s up to Brawn how he manages the pair.

There is also the possibility that Brawn may not have to do anything at all. If Rosberg can’t match up to Schumacher then there won’t be a problem.

Part of me doubts whether we will really see Schumacher next season but that is simply because it all seems so surreal that he is actually returning to the sport. His neck has been cleared so I’m not expecting any trouble there. The possibility that he just won’t be on the pace is always present largely unrealistic. Schumacher always gave one hundred percent and he wouldn’t be back if he thought he would fail and he has kept himself in good shape.  The statistically greatest racer ever is unlikely to just lose pace after an absence from the sport –look at the likes of Prost. Fangio was also winning titles in his forties.

Nico shows real pace and should at the very least become a race winner. His genes do show; he takes advantage of the situation like his father. At Singapore in 2008 he was mega quick after the safety car chaos, even his drive through didn’t hurt him and he worked hard when the right circumstances came about in Australia that year to get the podium too.  A year later at Singapore he did shoot himself in the foot when leaving the pits however.

He was a bit of a slow burner like his father too. Nico may have got into F1 pretty quickly but it was only in 2008 that he managed a podium and showed some true potential.

It will be good to see Rosberg in a race winning car. He’s highly rated by many but I’m yet to be won over. He blew Nakajima away the two years they were together but that was only against Nakajima so it’s tough to tell how he would have compared against a truly competitive teammate in the Williams this year or if he really pushed the car to the limit.

He’s got a huge situation to overcome; he’s gone from having a teammate who was always at the back to Michael Schumacher. He has to hold his own and not let the pressure destroy his head. Rubens emotionally suffered after partnering Michael for so long and it would be a shame if the same happened to young Rosberg.

The plus point is that Schumacher is ageing and there is no escaping that. He isn’t likely to be around for many seasons so all Rosberg has to do is keep his head down and grab any opportunity he can to get the points and victories.

He’s in danger of being in the shadows of his teammates in the future. Many things can happen in F1 but when Michael finally goes from F1 then Mercedes must have designs on Vettel or even Hamilton. Rosberg has to keep maturing and get the extra tenths if he wants to become a future champion and now he has to do it alongside Schumacher which will be immensely frustrating.

Schumacher has experience with no refuelling in F1 but even if he didn’t I would still expect him to beat Rosberg. Something will have to have seriously gone wrong for Schumacher to lose his brilliant form. Rosberg just has to stay as close as he can to him and take this on the chin. It won’t be the end of him but it’ll be a very painful time if he can’t dig deep enough to match Schumacher and finds himself playing number two for the team in the title hunt.

I won’t rule Nico out completely but I doubt there will be much joy for him or his fans next year. It’s a shame as I bet he fancied his chances against Button but Schumacher’s comeback will have gone down like a lead balloon. He has experience but there is still much he can learn from Schumacher too so it isn’t all bad and there really isn’t anyone better to learn from.  All the best to Rosberg, he could still beat Michael but I don’t envy his position at all, stopping Michael Schumacher winning is a tough prospect.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2010 10:02 pm

    Schumacher really didn’t need to do this. Coming back he could have just shown he is the best and doesn’t need the whole team to make sure he is favoured over his team mate. Petty things like this is why people don’t like him.

    • wasiF1 permalink
      January 21, 2010 9:01 am

      I agree with you Tom.but now the pressure adds to Schumacher because he have to proof it.

  2. January 21, 2010 11:33 am

    Great article. There’s part of me that some how can’t see Schumacher actually racing next year too, but it’s probably after the let down last time and the fact that I can’t believe it’s happening!

    I think Brawn will try to let his team mates be equal, but surely subconsciously he will be favouring Michael, I doubt he’ll be able to help it, they’ve got a much stronger relationship with each other. However, like you say, I hope Rosberg can just keep his head together and collect as many points as possible and hopefully a couple of wins.

    Will be interesting to see how this story pans out over the year.

  3. james permalink
    January 21, 2010 4:57 pm

    I think Schumi will immediately get NO1 status at Mercedes,Rosberg needs to step up in 2010.possibly a victory or two for Mercedes but I don’t see them challenging for the championship

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