According to former Ferrari team principal Ross Brawn, Michael Schumacher would have managed to win the eighth world title with Mercedes if he hadn’t decided to retire definitively at the end of 2012.
Michael Schumacher’s second stint in Formula 1, unfortunately, did not yield anywhere near the incredible results of the golden era at Ferrari. The Kaiser decided to hang up his helmet at the end of 2006 to make way for the young Felipe Massa, only to return to full-time racing in 2010, coinciding with Mercedes’ return to Formula 1. Ross Brawn, who had made the fortunes of Ferrari alongside Michael in the early 2000s, was chosen for the role of team principal.
Would Michael Schumacher have won the eighth title at Mercedes?
“It seems increasingly clear to me that Michael may have hung up his helmet too soon,” Ross Brawn said in an interview with AUTO BILD.
“He sowed the seeds for Mercedes’ success between 2010 and 2012. Fernando Alonso, who was about the same age as Michael at the time, shows today that you can achieve world-class performances even at the age of 40. If Michael had still been active in 2014, he could have won the title.”
Although he did not secure a victory in the three years spent at Brackley between 2010 and 2012, Michael Schumacher proved to be one of the key figures in the incredible dominance that Mercedes would establish in the hybrid era from 2014 onwards.
Lewis Hamilton took over the mantle from the former German driver, making the risky decision to leave a winning team like McLaren, which had supported him since childhood and helped him become a world champion. Lewis Hamilton accepted the challenge from Mercedes, which until those years had never shown that it could compete for the title.
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Without the terrible accident in Meribel, Brawn also believes that Schumi would have become a team owner today: “I can well imagine that Michael would have a team today. There have already been discussions at Mercedes about the possibility that he could be a shareholder at some point. The first phase already existed: in 2013, he was a brand ambassador.”
A possible career as a Mercedes executive was, however, interrupted, as we all know, on December 29, 2013, irreversibly changing Michael Schumacher’s life, about which little is still known today.
Ross Brawn himself left the team at the end of 2013, with Toto Wolff taking over the vacant position left by the Briton, ushering in the glorious era of the Silver Arrows.