Seven-time World Champion will never win another Formula One race again, says legendary Sir Jackie Stewart
In the world of Formula One, Sir Jackie Stewart is as legendary as they come. The former three-time World Champion (1969, 1971, 1973), nicknamed the Flying Scotsman in his hey day for his dare-devilry, is an authority on the sport even today, having kept himself thoroughly abreast of the developments in the pinnacle of motorsport. So, when he makes an observation, it better be noted, even if it is at the cost of upsetting thousands of Indian Formula One fans.
Stewart yesterday told
MiD DAY that seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher's days as champ are over. "I don't believe Michael Schumacher will win another Formula One race again," the 72-year-old said during yesterday's practice
session for the Indian GP at the Buddh International Circuit. Schumacher has had a poor comeback to Formula One since he returned to racing with Team Mercedes last year. Schumacher had quit F1 in 2006 following which he stayed on as advisor with Ferrari. He planned a comeback in 2009 as a replacement for the injured Felipe Massa but a neck injury prohibited him from doing so. He then signed on a three-year contract with Mercedes only to see himself finish a season (2010) without a win for the first time in over a decade. Worst still, he failed to even make it to the podium -- his best results have been three fourth-place finishes last year and yet another fourth place in this year (Canadian GP).
Sir Jackie Stewart in Greater Noida yesterday. Pic/Ashwin Ferro
Stewart however did admit that the 42-year-old could make it to the podium nevertheless. "I'm sure he can make it to the podium (by finishing second or third), but even that will not happen this year. He may do it next year," added Stewart, who based his views on some hard facts. "From the time Michael left F1 till date, there have been a host of new world-class drivers who have entered F1. Today there are as many as eight top drivers in F1.
"Never before, since my time in F1, have there been so many good drivers in a single season. So, Michael has great competition. Besides the team and car also make a difference, and Michael's car right now is not among the top," explained Stewart. However, even a world-beating car won't be good enough for Schumacher to win, reckoned Stewart. "I don't he will win even if he's given a Red Bull car because it's not just about the car here. Once you're off F1 there are certain mental and physical changes that come out. It is very difficult to comeback from there," he signed off.
Proof of Stewart's remarks being spot-on came towards the end of the day, as Schumacher finished the second practice in a hapless 21st position (1:31.804) a good 6.098 seconds off Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who was quickest on the day.