The next two grand prix should show the world whether Michael Schumacher is or can get back on form, Red Bull driver Mark Webber has told BBC Sport.
I’m sorry, but I think all I need to know is that Schumacher was just awarded the Legion d’Honneur, the highest honor presented to non-nationals, by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon. If that doesn’t mean his career is over, nothing does. Would the Schumacher of old have accepted such a thing?
But back to Webber. Here’s a bit of what he has to say:
“After Monaco we’ll know how his form really is,” Webber told BBC Sport.
“He knows he’s not going to just jump back in and start blowing people away. He knows he was going to have to get used to it. He’s not that naive.”
“He’ll feel a bit more at home at Barcelona and Monaco,” Webber said.
“They’re the sort of places, particularly Monaco, where you just plug Michael in and off he goes.
“If he’s not going to be doing that this year, you can say he might be having problems coming to grips with the car.
“These cars change every two or three weeks let alone every four years, so he’s coming back to such a totally different environment.
“The cars are totally different, the tyres, the aerodynamics, all of which he’s had to get used to.
“He’s going to have to work at it – and that’s what he’s doing right now.
“But as I always said, you have to take your hat off to him, it was a very brave call to come back and test himself again at the highest level. He’s an incredible competitor and he always has been.”
What springs immediately to mind is the lack of testing. You think Schumacher might be a bit more on pace if he was getting into the car instead of playing a glorified video game?
I — as a huge fan of Monaco — certainly appreciate the challenge of that street course. (We can argue elsewhere the quality of the racing.) So it will be interesting to see what Schumacher does there.
But, much like Ferrari protesting too much about its drivers getting along, I think at some point we’ll hit the point that people are protesting too much over Schumacher.