Schu involved in Kimi tire blunder? UPDATE #2 (GMM) Michael Schumacher's spokeswoman has confirmed that the former seven time world champion will not be at the forthcoming Chinese and Bahrain grands prix.
Following criticism of the 40-year-old German's apparent role in Ferrari's disastrous start to the 2009 season, it was speculated that the Italian team had decided to shelve his advisory role.
But Sabine Kehm, Schumacher's long time press spokeswoman, said the winner of 91 grands prix was never scheduled to travel to the forthcoming back-to-back races.
"Michael is not going to China because he is vacationing for a few days with his family. Internally (within Ferrari) it is known and has nothing to do with the first two races," she said.
Kehm also confirmed that Schumacher will similarly not be trackside at Bahrain in just over a week, insisting: "That was also never planned."04/06/09 Michael Schumacher's agent went on the attack here Monday in the face of criticism over the seven-time champion's role in Ferrari's dismal start to the new season.
Since retiring from Formula One Schumacher has acted as special advisor to his former team which has failed to take a single point from the first two races of the new campaign.
The 40-year-old German driving legend was taken to task by none other than former champion Niki Lauda for Ferrari's failings in Sunday's Malaysia Grand Prix when a major miscalculation left Felipe Massa qualifying in 16th place.
"He (Schumacher) should have realized what was happening, this setback is embarrassing," Lauda said in his capacity as F1 consultant for a German television channel.
"It astonishes me that with such an advisor such a shambles could occur," chipped in another former driver, Marc Surer.
In the rain-hit grand prix itself Ferrari's race strategy was called into question as Massa trailed in ninth with his teammate Kimi Raikkonen in 14th.
But Schumacher's agent Willi Weber turned on the detractors, telling SID news agency: "These criticisms are idiotic, but as everyone knows him (Schumacher) it's easy to make him a target.
"It's not acceptable to only concentrate on him. These are team decisions."
Weber conceded that Schumacher may not renew his contract with the Italian team when it runs out at the end of this season.
"It's possible, but discussions will only take place after the first half of the season, we'll have to wait.
"And if the contract isn't renewed I'm certain that the Malaysia Grand Prix will have nothing to do with the decision."04/06/09 (GMM) According to the German press, Michael Schumacher may have played a role in the disastrous decision on Sunday to send Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen onto the dry Sepang track with wet tires.
After the Malaysian grand prix, where as in Melbourne neither Ferrari driver scored points, team boss Stefano Domenicali said mistakes throughout the weekend mean the team needs to now "change our mentality".
But when - on the basis of a weather forecast - Finn Raikkonen was sent after a pitstop onto the basically dry circuit with rain tires, even casual observers recognized the move as a reckless gamble.
"It reminded me of betting on a number in the casino," Brawn third driver Alex Wurz told ORF.
According to the German press, Domenicali refused to comment when it was suggested that team advisor Schumacher was among those who took the decision.
And the former seven time world champion is quoted as saying by Bild newspaper: "I would not like to answer that. It is an internal matter."
Ferrari driver Felipe Massa said: "It had nothing to do with Michael."