AUGUST 10, 2011
Schumacher considering his future?
There are mounting signs that seven times world champion Michael Schumacher could cut short his three-year contract with Mercedes and return to retirement at the end of the season.
If that is the case, Force India driver Paul di Resta, a former DTM champion for Mercedes and prot ©g © of the three-pointed star, who is managed by Lewis Hamilton's father Anthony, would be a strong candidate to replace him.
After a difficult return in 2010, which ended without a podium, it was mooted, among other things, that Schumacher's driving style may not have been suited to F1's Bridgestone control rubber and that the new Pirelli tyres could provide him with a 'fresh start.'
Throughout 2011, however, Schumacher has again been outpaced by Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg and still remains without a podium finish - a fourth place in Montreal being his best result of this campaign. Schumacher has also been involved in a number of incidents, has non-scored five times in 11 races thus far and currently lies 10th in the drivers' championship, separated from his team mate by Renault drivers Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov.
Unless something has been lost in translation, quotes in the Italian Corriere della Sera newspaper indicate that Schumacher, for the first time, is admitting to having serious doubts about seeing out his contract, for which he is heavily remunerated.
Speaking about a return in which he did not expect to win immediately but saw himself as being able to take Mercedes forward into a winning position, Schumacher is quoted saying: "If anything, I am the problem. It is a fact that I am a bit more relaxed than before, and I do not know if my mindset is right for this team. At some point, we will evaluate whether I continue or stop."
Di Resta in his rookie season, meanwhile, has been stern opposition for Force India team mate Adrian Sutil and achieved his best result, seventh place, in the recent Hungarian GP - a timely reminder just before F1 went on its summer break...