Friday, September 28, 2012

That's All: Schumacher Done?

So now the music has started to stop on the driver's seats for 2013.  Lewis Hamilton will move to Mercedes, Sergio Perez moves to McLaren, and Micheal Schumacher is basically left out in the cold.

When you think about it, of the top six seats, at least four of them were already locked up: Alonso, Button, Vetel and Webber were all locked up.  Hamilton looked like a forgone conclusion, and his move briefly freed his McLaren seat until Perez got tapped.  Only Massa's seat remains in doubt of the top six; and even if Massa isn't retained, it seems extremely unlike Schumacher will get the nod there.

I wonder if Schumacher either decided he was out earlier, granting Mercedes the ability to pursue a replacement.  I somehow think that had Schumacher put his mind to it, he could have re-signed at Mercedes with very little effort.  The fact that he didn't leads one to suspect that either he or the team had approached the other some time ago about 2013 to say it wasn't on; probably him, since if he'd wanted to go elsewhere I'm sure those kinds of inquiries would be impossible to keep quiet.

So I think this means the end of the road -- again -- for Schumacher.  He has been pushing hard in the car, but somehow I don't see him happy toiling away in an even lesser car.  His return hasn't been exactly plated in glory, and his best result of the last three years -- 3rd in Valencia -- came courtesy of extremely abnormal attrition ahead of him on the road.  Yes the Mercedes wasn't up to the task.  But I don't think anyone expected that this would be the limits of his second go-around in Formula 1.  I don't think it has been the embarrassment I feared when he announced his return.  But it isn't the triumphant cap on this career that was envisioned at the time.