Next to Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher rode under the colors of Mercedes for three seasons, before retiring definitively at the end of 2012. A passage within the firm to the star which did not allow him to win his 92nd victory in Grand Prix, and a still deep regret for those who worked with him at the time. Because the seven-time World Champion could have claimed it at the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix, where he had signed pole position but could not take advantage of it since he had to serve on the grid a penalty of five places, which he had received. during the previous Grand Prix in Spain.
“I was over the moon, and I think it was one of the best tricks he’s probably done in his life.”, confides James Vowles, already head of strategy at the time, at the microphone of the podcast Beyond the Grid. “But I was heartbroken, really heartbroken for him, for the guy we all wanted to see win a race because he frankly deserved it. He put in so much effort for the team, devoted so much of his time. life to the team, that it was a reward for him and it was his opportunity in the year. I was heartbroken that it was at a Grand Prix where he was penalized. had compassion for him, and I still have it today. He didn’t get all the results he deserved given the investment he was providing for the team. “
The reason we’re winning today is that a lot is due to him because he made us better.
Ron Meadows, Mercedes sporting director
With Mercedes, Michael Schumacher will have known only once the joys of the podium, in Valence, still in 2012. And James Vowles is far from being the only one to mull over the lack of victory with the German driver at that time. . “Considering how he helped us progress, it’s certainly one of my biggest regrets not having seen Michael win a race with us”, confirms sporting director Ron Meadows. “He was a driver of a level that we had never worked with at this stage. I really think we all wanted him to win. It didn’t happen. Two years later, we just kept going. more to win, and part of the credit goes to him because the reason we’re winning today is that so much is due to him, because he made us better. “
James Vowles also underlines the attitude adopted by Michael Schumacher at the time, when he already had behind him his greatest successes in Formula 1, won with Benetton and then Ferrari. “He knew where he had weaknesses, and he accepted it and tried to improve them constantly.”, confides the Briton. “He had shortcomings in the way he drove the car compared to Nico, he was well aware of that and he was doing everything he could to remedy them. But the areas which, in truth, were related to his age, where he couldn’t be helped in anything, were well there. I think he also knew the time had come [d’arrêter].”
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