Brawn denies Schumacher speculation
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn believes Michael Schumacher has no intention of throwing in the towel just yet.
|Can Schumacher silence his critics?|
Following the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul 10 days ago, the 42-year-old admitted for the first time since returning to Formula One at the start of last year that he was no longer enjoying the sport.
"The big joy has gone right now," was Schumacher's pointed remark in the wake of a miserable race in which he finished 12th and was often bullied out of positions.
After a few days to take stock, the seven-times world champion then revealed last week his motivation had been "pushed and re-boosted" after witnessing "clear signs of improvements as a team".
Brawn feels suggestions of Schumacher considering retirement again were "taking things too far".
Ahead of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, Brawn added: "I'm sure the last race wasn't very joyful. I think that's what he was referring to.
"When you have a race like he did, for any driver, it's going to knock you back a bit.
"But he is pretty resilient, and I'm optimistic this weekend he'll be back where we want him.
"I've spoken to him since Turkey. We've had technical discussions, and he's hassling us about what we're doing with the car, what's coming along, what improvements we've got, so nothing's changed.
"I think he just needs certain circumstances to click into place, and we're optimistic."
Three-times world champion Sir Jackie Stewart has even gone so far as to suggest Schumacher will be back on the podium before the end of the year, a feat he has yet to achieve since mounting his comeback.
"I think he's right," added Brawn, with regard to Stewart's remark.
"It's about looking at things that go wrong, which are quite small, although I know they are always significant.
"In Turkey, up until final qualifying he looked incredibly strong, and then we had some problems, so it's just that last little bit we have to finish off.
"If he was slow from the beginning then you'd be worried, but I'm not worried because he is still very quick.
"One of the problems is that he builds a lot of pressure on himself to do well, and sometimes that pressure shows."
Nigel Mansell, the 1992 world champion, feels if Schumacher fails to rekindle past glories and falls below the standards expected, then he should reconsider his future.
"A lot of people are having a go at Michael, and I really expected him to do a lot better this year," said Mansell.
"There are moments when you think he's doing better, he's quick, but then all of a sudden it goes wrong.
"By the time the end of the year comes around, if things have not improved, then perhaps he should take heed." The Independent