Formula 1

Stewart: Schumacher risking reputation

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The excitement of Michael Schumacher making a return to F1 after three years in retirement proved to be one of the biggest F1 news stories of the 2009 season.

After initially being expected to step in to take over from Felipe Massa his ambitions to return to track were halted when a neck injury prevented him from taking to the grid. Despite the set back Schumacher’s F1 fires were reignited and Mercedes announced he would be driving for the team alongside fellow German Nico Rosberg for the 2010 season.

Now Sir Jackie Stewart has said that he thinks Schumacher has made the wrong choice and that he should have remained on the pit wall instead of the driving seat.

“I’d rather that Michael hadn’t come back because of the enormous achievements he had and the reputation he created,” he said at the launch of his new Grand Prix album.

“There’s no doubt that if he doesn’t become a serial winner now he is no longer the Michael Schumacher the world knew.

“Juan Manuel Fangio probably did one race too many, but Michael is doing one season too many.

“Michael didn’t win the Championship in his last year and has then come back, so he risks altering the perception of what he’s achieved.”

Stewart suggested that Schumacher retired a little to hasty after failing to win the championship in his last season.

“The problem was that Michael retired too early, leaving before he got the bug that motor racing provides out of his system,” he said.

“Had he thought more about it and taken longer to make the decision he wouldn’t have retired.

“Since he hadn’t got it out of his system he went riding superbikes in Germany and fell off more than once. It doesn’t make sense at all.

“Mercedes-Benz looked like the perfect opportunity, but had Jim Clark retired he would not have come back.

Three time World Champion Stewart revealed that he turned down offers to come out of retirement, including a very lucrative deal.

“When I retired I never once had the desire to return, despite a whole bunch of offers including one for 6million.

“I got over it, something that Michael hasn’t managed to do.”

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