While Michael Schumacher is currently being roasted by the notoriously fickle Formula 1 media, Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug has come to the defense of his German pilot. In fact, Haug has gone so far as to say that Schumacher could have won the second race of the season, in Melbourne.
As reported in Autosport, Haug said, “He ran fourth ahead of the winner, went to the back and still came home in 10th place. You say he is struggling, but the reality is that he could have won [in Melbourne].”
Haug also placed the blame partly with the W01, the first iteration of the team’s car under the new Mercedes brand. The car is an evolution from last year’s title winning Brawn, but thus far the car has failed to match the pace of the Ferraris, McLarens and Red Bulls.
“We need to be fair when Michael comes back [to Formula 1] because the car is not where it should be,” said Haug. Of course, this really doesn’t address the issue of Schumacher’s having been outpaced by his young team mate, Nico Rosberg, at every race so far this season.
While some have suggested that the gap in performance might be due to the fact that the W01 has handling characteristics that are naturally better suited to Rosberg (who is more comfortable with understeer than Schumacher is), Haug disputes this notion. He feels that Rosberg should be given full credit for his performance.
“It is not fair to say Nico is fastest only due to the car,” Haug said. “Maybe Nico is the fastest guy in the world.”