Analysis: Schumacher Back in Title Hunt

As if by stealth, while the world of Formula One argues over who was to blame for Sunday's US Grand Prix fiasco, Michael Schumacher has re-entered the Championship reckoning

Analysis: Schumacher Back in Title Hunt

The title battle was the last thing on the minds of disgusted fans who threw cans and bottles on to the Indianapolis circuit during the six-car 'race' won by the seven-times champion.

The fans just wanted their money back after the seven Michelin teams pulled out before the start because of tyre safety concerns.

Yet the 10 points handed to the German on a plate by his rivals lifted him to third place in the standings and 25 points adrift of Renault's Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, the winner of three of the four races for McLaren prior to Indianapolis, is just three points clear of Schumacher.

Ferrari, without a win for nine races in a row until Indianapolis after dominating last season, are suddenly level on points in the Constructors' Championship with McLaren and just 13 points behind Renault.

With France the next race up, a Grand Prix that Schumacher has won a record seven times in the past, the 36-year-old's title prospects no longer look quite as forlorn as they did a few races ago.

With Ferrari doing testing more than any other team, unburdened by any of the voluntary agreements entered into by the other nine, the champions can only be expected to improve from now on.

Qualifying Advantage

"Obviously I would have wished to fight this race under normal circumstances," said Schumacher after a podium celebration without any of the usual exuberation and with the champagne unsprayed.

"I think we had a very good car this weekend, which was strongish in qualifying but very strong in race condition. So I think we had a very fair chance anyway to fight for the victory today."

The ramifications of Sunday's race will carry over to Magny-Cours, on and off the track, with Schumacher and Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello now perfectly placed to take advantage of late qualifying slots.

Williams and Toyota paid the price for not competing at Indianapolis by dropping to fourth and fifth places respectively in the standings.

Further down the pecking order, struggling Jordan are now just one point behind Sauber.

Honda-powered BAR, runners-up to Ferrari overall last season, still have no points after almost half the season and are lagging last of all with even struggling Minardi now boasting seven points.

Minardi team head Paul Stoddart took no pride in that however: "Today did not happen as far as I'm concerned," he said after Dutchman Christijan Albers finished fifth and Austrian Patrick Friesacher sixth.

"I don't care about the points, I'm not in the slightest bit interested, this was a sad day for Formula One."

shares
comments
Full Statement by the FIA after US GP
Previous article

Full Statement by the FIA after US GP

Next article

Michelin Teams Summoned by FIA

Michelin Teams Summoned by FIA
Load comments
The lessons F1 can take from the Masi "souk" deal criticisms Plus

The lessons F1 can take from the Masi "souk" deal criticisms

As Formula 1 heads to its Abu Dhabi season finale, the FIA and race director Michael Masi are under increased scrutiny, with radio messages broadcast during last weekend's race prompting discussion and controversy. But what can they learn from the Saudi Arabia debacle?

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer Plus

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer

OPINION: Saudi Arabia's new F1 circuit delivered a memorable first event, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. In the wake of the chaotic race, drivers voiced their concerns about the track but small changes could make significant improvements ahead of a return in four months

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Plus

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. OLEG KARPOV asks if any of these goals are achievable…

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2021
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Plus

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2021
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021