While Bernie Ecclestone several days ago said that he was willing to bet that Michael Schumacher would win a record eighth title in 2010, he has now contradicted himself, placing his virtual bet on Schumi’s younger countryman, Sebastian Vettel.
Said Ecclestone, as reported in the German publication Bild, “Schumacher can of course win the title but the younger drivers will absolutely want to beat him. There are five or six drivers that can race for the championship title but I predict that Sebastian Vettel will be the next world champion in Formula One.”
Schumacher, for his part, has indicated that his goal is nothing less than the title. As reported in The Times, Schumacher said recently, “Our aim can only be to fight for the championship. There will be strong competition, as we have seen, but I am thrilled to be back into this one.”
Clearly Ross Brawn, now that he’s tasted double world titles again with his relaunched team, will be looking for a repeat achievement under the new Mercedes banner.
Former Formula 1 driver, driver manager and ITV commentator Martin Brundle has weighed in with his assessment of Schumi’s chances, as well. Writing in his column in The Times, Brundle said, “I wouldn’t bet against him winning races or even a championship but he’s going to have to pedal very hard. Alonso won the final two championships Schumacher contested and he’s even stronger now.”
While Brundle stopped short of predicting that Schumacher would win an eighth title, he made it clear that he thought the German ace would be in the running for it. Brundle was quick to point out that Schumacher has champion’s DNA in his make-up. He approaches the craft of racing with a particular passion and thoroughness that marks all great racers.
“I know, with fond amusement,” said Brundle, “that Schumacher is the sort who jumps into your car for a lift and adjusts the air conditioning and music volume to his liking. That’s exactly what he will do at Mercedes GP, just as he did at Benetton and Ferrari. And that’s why he can win again…His race-craft may be rusty initially but he will get the best from the team and I’m sure he will be successful if his problem neck really has been sorted and the car is aerodynamically good.”