• Australian Grand Prix

Media hits out at 'sad postscript ' Schumacher

ESPNF1 Staff
March 29, 2010 « Barrichello impresses Williams' Sam Michael | »
Vitaly Petrov goes through as Michael Schumacher takes to the grass at the start of the Australian Grand Prix © Sutton Images

Two races into his much-publicised comeback and Michael Schumacher is already feeling the heat after finishing tenth out of 14 finishers at the Australian Grand Prix. Critics have been quick to highlight how much he is being paid by Mercedes - a basic salary of around £21m plus a further £9m in private endorsements according to the Daily Mail.

On a disappointing return to Australia for Schumacher, he at one time suffered the ignominy of briefly being overtaken by Lucas di Grassi's Virgin and was slower than team-mate Nico Rosberg all weekend.

The Sun newspaper called it "an anonymous afternoon" for the great German. "That's not what Mercedes have paid him ... to come out of retirement for. At this rate, Schumacher may not see out the first season of his three-year deal."

The Times also questioned if he has a place in the modern world of F1. "[He] cut a disconsolate figure as he swept out of Albert Park last night, having discovered that his reputation counts for nothing among the new generation. He became almost a sad postscript …. once the greatest exponent of overtaking simply had to accept a lowly tenth place."

In Italy, a country still smarting from Schumacher's decision to return not with Ferrari but with a fierce rival, La Stampa did not pull punches. "The (W01) car is not the best, but one of its drivers - the one with seven titles and earning £30 million - seems to have lost the instructions. The proof? He was overtaken by the Virgin.

"Are we confident that Michael Schumacher is really under that red helmet? Perhaps Montezemolo was right when he said it is his twin."

Schumacher, however, said he was happy with his performance, after pitting early on to replace a damaged front wing. "That incident decided my race, obviously," he said. "I was still having fun as our pace today was promising and for part of the race, we were going quicker than the top group."