Mercedes CEO Nick Fry has defended his illustrious pilot, Michael Schumacher, against an array of sharp attacks by various media pundits this week. Schumacher had a very scrappy race at Montreal last weekend, and the media aren’t about to let the German ace forget about it. Schumi came into contact with no less than Robert Kubica, Felipe Massa and Sebatian Buemi during the course of the race, and in general he seemed to be responsible for at least half of the on-track drama at this venue.
Critics haven’t spared Schumacher was fairly since his comeback, and they expecially sharpened their knives over his performance at Montreal. For example, Martin Brundle, formerly a team mate of Schumacher’s, and now a commentator for the BBC, said during his race commentary, “I think Schumacher has driven appallingly today. You have to treat the back of Schumacher’s car like the back of a donkey. This is Schumacher’s worst weekend since he came back.”
But Nick Fry naturally takes issue with this viewpoint. “I’m surprised people have reached those conclusions,” he said. “He was in a good position until the puncture, but when something like that happens, you get out of sequence. We also put him on the option tyre slightly earlier than we maybe should have done, otherwise he would have been able to defend better than he did. But certainly from inside the team we see things in a totally different perspective.
“We don’t really see any significant difference in performance between Nico and Michael – one is getting the breaks and the other isn’t at the moment. In sport, what goes around comes around. For those who have a run of luck, that frequently comes to an end, and the opposite happens. So we’re very comfortable with Michael’s performance, and I can’t see any reason why he won’t come good. He continues to improve, and he is going make a good job of it.”
Of course, Fry is bound to sing Schumacher’s praises, lest he and Ross Brawn look like idiots for having hired Schumi in the first place. How does Schumacher’s performance really stack up? Only time will tell if his comeback seems like a boon for the sport, or simply an ill-advised folly. But one thing can be said for certain: if Schumacher’s performance is disappointing now, it’s largely because he’d set expectations so high in the earlier part of his career.