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
The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

Formula 1
Aug 17, 2022
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022