• Mercedes news

Schumacher not worring about reputation

ESPNF1 Staff
December 13, 2010 « Only one team will be called Lotus - Lopez | »
Michael Schumacher: "I feel I have the right to do what I enjoy. Whether I put in dispute my reputation... I just feel good about my decision" © Sutton Images

Michael Schumacher has no concerns about tarnishing his reputation as one of the greatest drivers of all time, despite the first season of his return to Formula One falling short of his own expectations.

The seven-time champion struggled in the first half of the season and was comprehensively outscored by his younger Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg over the course of the year. Schumacher plans to stay in F1 for another season and said he is not worried about what his critics might say.

"I enjoy it," he told CNN. "I feel I have the right to do what I enjoy. Whether I put in dispute my reputation... I just feel good about my decision and I have so much support from people."

He insisted that he is still motivated and was committed to turning Mercedes into a winning team.

"I certainly want to make it a successful return," Schumacher added. "I'm only happy if I'm back on the winning road with the team. This is what I'm working for, this is the joy of the passion for Formula One."

But the winner of 91 grands prix admitted his first season had not lived up to his own expectations.

"It's certainly not as successful as I thought initially and many other people have thought," he said. "But then having such a strong group and team behind, Mercedes pushing it so hard, I have no doubt about success in the future."

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn agreed but said Schumacher was showing signs of his all-conquering form towards the end of the season.

"It's been disappointing, in overall performance, we haven't had the car, Michael's taken a little time to get up to the performance he'll be able to deliver," Brawn said. "I've seen patches of that performance...the last few races of the season was the Michael Schumacher I expected to see."

Brawn added that he is expecting a turnaround in 2011: "Now it's all coming together and I think next year we're going to have a really exciting time."