I used to be a fully paid-up member of the Michael Schumacher fan club. I was prepared to overlook his well documented bouts of unsporting behaviour because I deeply admired his raw speed, his tactics, his ability to carve out wins from nothing and the fact that he clearly loved being a member of the team.
Which is why it’s so distressing witnessing his performances this season. More often than not he’s been comprehensively outclassed by Nico Rosberg – a quick driver, granted – but who would have predicted that at the start of the year?
Worse than that, he’s exhibiting too much ‘bad Schuey’, first moving over on Robert Kubica at the Canadian GP and then yesterday’s appalling move on Rubens Barrichello.
What’s going on? Is it because he can’t test and so can’t develop the car as the season progresses? Or maybe he just can’t cut it at the highest level any more, having been out of the game for too long?
Great champions can come back, and Nika Lauda was a fine example. But unless Michael can vastly improve this season, it’s probably best that he bows out for good. We’ll still remember him as great champion, after all.