Why Michael Schumacher's future could be at Sauber by Les Speed via F1QA - Oct. 2nd, 2012.
Let's face it, on the face of it, the Schu's return to Formula 1 has been less than grand.
Image by Whiz Kris via Flickr
Yet, behind the scenes it has been a great success to have the great champion back in the fold, not only for the sport itself yet as well at Mercedes. Schumacher has helped the Ross Brawn led ex-Brawn team become a top-tier player, once again, after the withdrawal of Honda. Despite their lucky yet somewhat deserved (although sneakily introduced by FOTA tech chief Brawn) double-diffuser aided 2009 World Championship, Brawn GP was really nowhere running on fumes until Mercedes and Michael arrived.
Jenson Button knew that and jumped ship and Mercedes sought revenge by finally signing Lewis Hamilton. It's curious though Jenson is one cagey racer and back in the day everyone thought Lewis would destroy him at McLaren but it has been quite the opposite culminating with Lewis taking flight.
As with Schumacher, memories are in extremely short supply at the F1 level. Michael has had his up's and down's, including plenty of crashes, in F1. That has always been his hard charging style. All this season it seemed that the promise of last year was not being fulfilled and development at Merc had stalled. In the past when that happened, Schumacher has lost interest and jumped or been pushed.
Mercedes and Michael had an opportunity earlier this year to continue their relationship, yet it seems clear that something is not quite right. Either with the way Mercedes spends the Euros or with Michael or both. Michael wants more updates and Mercedes wants more speed. The result: Lewis Hamilton.
Leaving Michael with a view, that is both at once familiar and challenging. A return to Ferrari or a new beginning at Sauber. It seems unlikely that after getting himself back in the swing of things he wants to retire. What the Schu wants and needs is an atmosphere of comraderie and upward progression.
Therefore, a return to Ferrari could still be in the cards down the road but for now Sauber is the team on the way up. Sergio Perez is a wonderful new-comer but he is no Michael Schumacher. This year's cars to next year's cars will be virtually identical, as the rules are maxed out ahead of the 2014 turbo-era.
Michael knows that if Perez can bag podiums in the Sauber, so can he. Sauber is based in Switzerland, so is Michael and with Ferrari supplying the engines, there is a way to pay for it all, behind the scenes.
Additionally, the sponsors that Michael could help attract make it almost seem like this deal has been in play a lot longer then it seems and it played out this way so that Mercedes could find a replacement and Sauber could hold-on to its Telmex booty, while making room for the 7-time world champion.
Not everything is at it seems in Formula 1.
Remember to always enjoy the show and you heard it here first.