Withering slights: time to change the Schumacher record
You know how I feel about Michael Schumacher’s comeback; if you don’t, click here (and if you want to know how some other people feel about how I feel about Michael Schumacher’s comeback, feel free to hold your nose and mosey on down to the AUTOSPORT forums).
Having said that, the sight of Michael Schumacher on a hot lap cannot fail to stir the soul of any F1 fan with a pulse. I for one am looking forward to borrowing a tabard and standing as close as I can get during the final phase of qualifying.
But some of the reportage of today’s Mercedes Grand Prix launch provided a brutal reminder of what I’m not looking forward to this year: the bulldog that is the British media sinking its teeth into Michael’s leg and refusing to yield until he admits to his past crimes.
When the Fleet Street posse are on a mission it is often a marvellous thing to behold, like watching a pod of dolphins herd their prospective lunch into a conveniently tight ball. At Monaco in 2006 they dealt Schumacher a succession of wounding strikes as he tried to brazen his way through a post-qualifying inquest into his disgraceful professional foul. At Monza last year they set about bullying Fernando Alonso into divulging what he knew about ‘crash-gate’ (just as they were getting somewhere, though, some berk from Gazzetta dello Sport let him off the hook).
On a slow news weekend, though, when they’re desperately trying to grind out the story du jour, it’s enough to drive you to drink. They declared open season on Schumacher today and drew a tart riposte.
How much mileage is left in this clunker of a story? Michael Schumacher is a known quantity. We’ve got 19 grand prix weekends to get through in 2010 and some of them are bound to be a bit slow on the news front. If the default tactic in such circumstances is going to be Schumacher-goading, then unless he’s actually caught with his hand in the till I don’t want to know. There’s only so much ennui a man can take.