Michael Schumacher: “I’m not happy about the situation”

Over the course of his long career Michael Schumacher has rarely strayed into controversy with off-track comments, always preferring to keep his thoughts to himself.

However after the Bahrain GP his frustrations came to the surface after what he called a “reasonably inactive race, just following cars.”

Schumacher started 22nd after his gearbox grid penalty, and despite having lots of new tyres for Sunday could progress only as high as 10th.

Afterwards he made it clear that he didn’t enjoy having to drive within the limits of the tyres in order to prolong their active life.

“I think we made the maximum out of it,” he said. “The main thing that I feel a little bit unpleased [about] is I think everybody had to drive well below drivers’ and particular car limit to maintain the tyres, and I just question whether tyres should play such a big importance or whether they should allow us a little bit longer so that you can drive more at racing car speed and not cruising around like we had the safety car.”

Asked if he would talk to Pirelli, he said: “I’m not happy about the situation. Let’s see what happens in the future. If it was a one-off car issue we could say it’s upon us to deal with it, but basically everybody, maybe with one or two exceptions… If it’s 80% of the field have this problem then maybe the tyre supplier should think about that.”


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21 responses to “Michael Schumacher: “I’m not happy about the situation”

  1. Robyn

    To be honest I think he’s got a point. It is certainly causing entertaining races but is it actually racing? It’s not in my view. I want to see the best drivers in the world giving it their all, and right now they aren’t because they need to make their tyres last. If I wanted to watch endurance racing I would.

    • +1.
      I’m not asking for procession race, but I simply wonder why the unpredictability in the usage pattern – why this small optimal operating window?
      Are the teams going to spend the entire season and possibly their future seasons adapting the cars to the tires mostly?
      Is it really true that other drivers feel the same, namely not being able to drive on the limit?

    • Phil J

      So we should award points for qualifying, with unlimited tyres, and leave it at that?
      Because for your concept of racing there would be no grid penalties so the field would just spread out on Sunday.
      I love the excitement injected by the tyres.

    • For me F1 has always being about more than who has the fastest car. Take into account things like people fuel saving in Turbo era, the fuel strategy when refills were allowed (remember Schumachers 4 stopper at Hungaroring?) and now tyre conservation strategy, it’s what makes the sport so interesting.

      Look at other forms of motorsport too, WTCC; tyre limited, Nascar; tyre limited, Moto GP; Tyre & Fuel limited..

      The net outcome of the above rules is that the best teams do win, the most intelligent drivers excel and adaptation to circumstances becomes an additional factor in deciding who the best driver is(which isn’t always fastest, just like Mr Prost). For me that’s good, as qualifying sets out who has the fastest car/driver combination. That’s the way I want to keep it, see who’s quick on Saturday, see who’s got the skill/brains and team work to make it work on a Sunday.

  2. John fryer

    Strongly believe in his view point, the days of charging through the field fom last place on the grid ave gone because if the tyres. Flat out, break neck racing ie Mansell-Piquet brands hatch for one example has been taken away from the fans because of the tyres and that’s not right, I would rather have longer lasting tyres and cars drivers on the limit than tyres being on the limit when pushed to hard.

    • Stone the Crows

      Kimi made a good run from 11th to 2nd and very nearly 1st place yesterday. In every era there were limitations to what a driver could do this one is no different.

  3. Graeme

    I was thinking the same thing during the race yesterday. Everybody spends more time managing tyres than racing. It is more frustrating than entertaining as you know the car and driver are better than.

  4. pollerunner

    It should not be the tyres limiting the racing. Then we might as well have one engine/car limited to x HP. But hey does that sound like formula Renault? We have the sharpes drivers and brains who should come up with 12 different car consepts and they should not end 300k RACING within the same lap let alone 20-40 seconds. Tyres that can take the lates braking earlies acceleration highes cornering would be F1 tyres. Have less rubber thread on the soft type and more on the durable tyre. There seams to be to little difference on the 2 types today. So everybody run same strategy.

    • Stone the Crows

      The state of the art in aero and engines today means that the key limiting factor is the tyres, and for good reasons it must be the tyres. When the FiA mandated grooved tyres a few years ago it was to reduce the contact patch, and that was for saftey reasons; meaning that the concern was that greater the grip the greater the crash when the tyres finally do loose adhesion. The transition back to slicks came when the degredation and wear of the tyres could be manged to a greater degree than in the past. Its still early in the season, and I suspect that this one will be no different than past seasons in that by the time they’re heading for Interlagos the drivers and teams will have come to terms with how to manage their tyres and most of the complaing will have stopped.

  5. Stone the Crows

    When was the last time we didn’t have a season where a driver didn’t complain about the tyres? I think Michael’s comments have more to do with where he sits in the points than anything else. He’s had a frustrationg start, and after Rosberg’s win in Shanghai all the excuses for poor performance are gone-except one. Hembrey’s response was correct, (and far more charitable than I would have been) Pirelli are providing the tyres Formula One asked for, and by the way Michael didn’t have a problem with in winter testing. The variety of results in this first four races is due to different weather and track conditions and the simple fact that the teams are still figuring out how to optimize them. Bharain in particular was a challenge because they hadn’t run the Pirellis’ or DRS there and the track was quite hot.

  6. pollerunner

    Well to say that you liked it during testing so now you have to like it for ever is not the same as racing. The testing was remember not showing the full hand but sandbacking etc. And if you read what he say he does give the tyres the benefit of the doubt. qoute:
    Let’s see what happens in the future. If it was a one-off car issue we could say it’s upon us to deal with it, but basically everybody, maybe with one or two exceptions… If it’s 80% of the field have this problem then maybe the tyre supplier should think about that.”
    So do not stone the man….

    • Stone the Crows

      No, I wouldn’t stone the man, I’m actually a fan of Schumcher, and I will aways give some leeway to a driver who has a question thrown at him right after a race. However the problems Schumacher had on Saturday and Sunday (and the first four races in general) had far more to do with his car and the team than with the tyres per se.

  7. Loti

    Well done Michael, at last someone saying what some of us were thinking! Listening to some commentators, we are watching close racing, when in fact we are watching a train of cars who can’t race for fear of the tyres going off [as Kimi found in China]. What a shame! Formula One os getting more gimmick ridden trying to make a better ‘show’.
    Is this what Paul Hembery meant when he asked the drivers to ‘not knock Pirelli’ when they took over the poison chalice of tyre supplier to F1. No doubt they are doing what they were asked but its not the length of time the tyres last that is the question, it seems that even the best minds in the business can’t figure out the operating window, and if they can’t work it out then it becomes a lottery as we have seen in the last four races with different drivers and teams winning each race, but not sadly, on merit , but by lucking in to the moment. Why waste so much time ,energy, passion, skill and guts on a lottery?
    I do hope that Pirelli will, at least, think about the problem, as this is not doing their brand any good and if they get to the end of the season with the title of “the tyres which finally made Michael walk away from Formula One because they wouldn’t let him race” it will, perhaps do more damage to them and F1 then all the recent politics.

    • I don’t really see why you want to make life easier for drivers? If you give them those bloody bridgestones back we’ll see no real thought in driving. No tactics etc. Force India and Sauber seem to do a decent job with the tyres, so the issue is either with car or driver. Blaming the tyres is a cope out, you have to manage tyres in pretty much any form of high level motorsport.

  8. Engines, gearbox must last multiple races. Why not have a tyre that can be used over multiple races but with a constant low, medium or high (low grip lasts longer than high grip – say 1000km for a low grip and 300 km for a high grip), so that you can drive to the limit during the whole GP, and then use those tyres in the next GP’s FP1,FP2, FP3, Quali and race. No more pitstops that falsify the race and without fuel stops the race happens where it should happen – on the track and not in the pits.

    • Stone the Crows

      Formula one did that in 2005, requiring tyres that would last the entire race. Schumacher didn’t have a car that could optimize his tyres that year either.

  9. Stone the Crows

    During the pinnacle of Michael’s career the common winge among Formula One fans is that the races were processions with Michael usually leading them. Passing was as frequent as a lunar eclipse and only the big teams could afford to be competetive. FOM, FiA and FOTA listened to our complaints and have tried to improve the show. Now the fans are complaining how contrived and artifical everything is and speak of the Schumacher era into the ‘good old days.’ I will suspect that in the year 2019 we’ll be quibbling over the latest controversy in F-1 and talking about the skill it took to manage the Pirellis, operate the DRS and KERs and win a race. Each era of motorsports had its technical limitations and it had those who thrived within those limitations and won. When Michael was winning championships he had ground breaking engine mapping technology, cutting edge traction control and virtually bespoke Bridgestone tyres; was that unfair, was that contrived? Many thought so and cheered when all those advantages were done away with, now Michael must live with the consequences of his and Ferraris’ years of dominance. If we as fans want wide open technical regulations that allow all manner of innovation then we’d better keep mum about the price of attending a race, and about the budgets of the teams. If we want a level playing field for the smaller teams then we should not complain when we see the big teams hands tied behind their backs. I think Michael’s grumbling will go away as soon as he has a podium, and once again his success will be down to preparation meeting opportunity and too bad for the rest who weren’t as smart and talented as his team.

  10. Loti

    What you are suggesting is a spec series, nice and cheap for everyone, with a push to pass button on the main straight. Of course the television presenters will get all over excited, that’s there job, but it’s not motor racing. It’s the Emperor’s new clothes, fake, fixed entertainment for the casual viewer, and that’s who will be watching as real racing fans will have given up and gone to watch proper motor sport.
    And it’s not just Michael, it’s all the drivers [who dare] saying they want to race.
    Let us hope that all the teams “luck” in to a win this season, if only to prove how stupid it has become.

    • Stone the Crows

      Respectfully I think you misunderstood my rhetoric, which I’ll admit isn’t hard to do at times, I was not advocating a spec series there are plenty of those around already, I was attempting to point out that there are down sides to any direction that the FiA, FOM and the teams decide to go. And make no mistake, where they are right now with the tyres is where they as a whole have agreed to go, but now that some of the teams are struggling to stay in the points there are second thoughts. Usually its a good thing when the teams question whether a regulation or practice is correct, but in this case blaming Pirelli for what they were asked to provide is bad form and unfair.

  11. Martin Collyer

    MS seems to have forgotten the days when he enjoyed a tyre advantage, Bridgestone tyres developed by Ferrari for Ferrari but paid for by Bridgestone.

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