OllieF1
Team Schumacher

Team Schumacher

So Michael is apparently thinking about running his own Formula One team post 2006 (my name ‘Team Schumacher‘ is merely a suggestion). Sounds like a pipedream? Well according to Eddie Jordan (the man who gave Schumacher his break back in 1991) it is perfectly possible. And here is why I think it is also possible for the multiple F1 World Champion to run his very own team:

Michael Schumacher has a bundle of cash. He must do. He gets paid an insane amount of money to drive for Ferrari, and whilst he lives very comfortably, he also strikes me a frugle type of person who doesn’t blow is money on silly material things. Apart from the castle he is building in Switzerland, that is.

– He has a vast wealth of experience in Formula One, having driven for teams since 1991. He has reformed the Ferrari team and helped make them the dominant force for many years. Whilst last year wasn’t so good for them, you can never count out Michael and Ferrari simply because of the talent within the squad.

– He works very well with people. Maybe not other drivers, but employees within the team – Schumacher is most definitely a people person. He has a very strong trust with Ross Brawn (Ferrari’s technical bod and tactician) and vice versa. It is often said that the two don’t need to speak during a race because they know what each other is thinking.

– Michael’s contract with Ferrari is up at the end of year. Whilst the president of Ferrari (Luca Montezemolo) has stated that Schumacher may drive for the team for as long as he wants, Michael has hinted – even if it was ever-so-slightly – that he may consider retiring after the season is up in October. He has said that he will know more after he can judge the pace and competiveness of this years car.

– Michael thrives on motor racing. It runs through his veins and when he eventually retires, I cannot see him disappearing into his Swiss castle, never to be seen again. Until recently, I always thought he would stay on at the Scuderia in a type of advisory role.

– Ross Brawn’s contract is also up at the end of the year. And Ferrari have recently seen a change in designers of the car. Last year was the first car to be designed under Alda Costa’s supervision, and whilst it alone cannot be blamed for the poor competitiveness, it must have been a factor. This doesn’t bode well for the future, but I will wait until this season to make a firm judgement on that – this years Ferrari 248 has been running quite well in testing so far.

– Costs are supposedly being cut in 2008 to allow more teams to enter the Formula One championship. Many people have voiced their intentions at starting up teams to enter the ultra competitive circus, and this will no doubt be a consideration for Schumacher if he is considering a new start-up.

– However, Renault are “considering their future in the sport on a year by year basis”. It is well-known that Renault may pull out of the championship when they start to lose the edge on the other teams, and Honda, McLaren and Ferrari should make comebacks in the next two years or so. Williams are also on the verge of pulling themselves out of the rut they’re in, and this could help to push Renault out. If Renault were to leave, Michael Schumacher may decide that the teams facilities at Enstone, along with their well-crafted cars shouldn’t go to waste and buy them from the French manufacturer.

On the downside:

– It could prove to be a complete failure and destroy Michaels credibility in the motorsport world. Alain Prost tried to make Ligier a success when he bought and renamed them into Prost F1. He lasted a few years before facing bankruptcy after very little success in the sport. Sir Jackie Stewart managed a bit better when he started Stewart Grand Prix. They even won a race, although it was a little bit of a fluke! He sold out to Ford though, and it went downhill from there.

– Does Michael Schumacher really want to continue working all the hours God sends? As a driver, I believe Michael is one of the most dedicated and hard working, and as a team principal, that will not stop. He has been racing while is young family has grown, and whilst I do not know if he has missed much, he definitely seems to be a family-man. If he becomes a team boss, he will end up spending equally as less time from his family as he does now. One contributing factor to Mika Hakkinen‘s retirement was his family, and he says he has never looked back now he gets to spend more time with his wife an children.

Ultimately, it looks quite possible. If it works, Schumacher will have certainly conquered all aspects of Formula One. How many multiple world champions have won both Drivers and Constructors titles?

This is something I shall be keeping an eye on, but I suspect much of it may depend on the fate of the Renault squad, as starting from scratch would take an immense amount of dedication, particularly as the new cost-cutting rules have not yet been fully implemented.

Watch this space, I guess…

Oliver White

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