Michael Schumacher’s technical difficulties (although some would call them excuses) at Mercedes this year have been widely publicized, and the common consensus has been that he was unable to adjust to the inherent understeer of the W01, exacerbated by the narrow Bridgestone front tires which seemed to have a terminal lack of grip for the Mercedes chassis.
Schumacher has now revealed, however, that he was plagued by more than just tire problems. As Schumi recently told a German magazine, “The fastest driver is a reference for the other one. You see the data of how he drives, but it didn’t work quite so well in the other car. Looking back, there were things wrong with my car [not visible to the public]: my floor was burned because of the exhaust being too hot, or the F-duct working in places where it should not. There were many [issues], resulting from the fact that we are in a restructuring phase but we still wanted to go for the title. At Spa my F-duct didn’t work, but I didn’t say anything. At Suzuka it happened again: a problem with my car but not with Nico’s.”
Just so much more excuse-making? Perhaps. The irony is that it used to be Schumi’s team mates, at Ferrari and Benetton, who were beset by a host of mysterious technical issues, the lump sum of which simply might have been filed under “not quick enough.”
And to his credit, on those occasions when Schumacher’s equipment wasn’t competitive, he never did his whining publicly. One of his best traits during the main phase of his career was his diplomacy when it came to discussing the shortcomings of the cars her drove. In short, he never slagged his team in public. So it is today. “I said to Norbert [Haug] and Ross [Brawn] that it was time for an explanation of the reasons,” he revealed. “I prefer to speak inside the team, and I am convinced that in 2011 the problems will exist no more.”