Mike Stevens | Aug 26, 2010

It is Mercedes' fault that Michael Schumacher has so far failed to step onto the podium during his 2010 return to Formula One.

That is the opinion of Bernie Ecclestone, who said he is nonetheless happy that the seven-time World Champion decided to end his three-year retirement this season.

"If Michael would be sitting in a Red Bull, I would put my money on him," the F1 Chief Executive told Sport Bild. "Then he would certainly win."

Schumacher would seem to agree: "Let's put it this way - with a Red Bull things would definitely be very different," he said.

Even though it has not been a success in terms of results, Ecclestone describes the 41-year-old's return to F1 as "super, perfect".

"We have had huge media coverage because of Michael... I admire him for making this step."

After his duel with Rubens Barrichello against the Hungaroring pit-wall before the August break, Schumacher heads into his favourite race at Spa this weekend with a ten-place grid penalty.

But the German insists he is already focused on next year.

"I still have my goal of winning another world title," Schumacher said. "I accept that it's going to take time and that it's a hard challenge."

And Ecclestone defends Schumacher against the criticism that, with a record 91 wins in his first career, he is now not good enough to beat his young teammate Nico Rosberg.

"When people tell me that Rosberg is faster than Michael, I say to them that it's Nico with something still to prove, not Michael," he said.

(GMM)

 

Webber Form 'Surprised' Vettel: Lauda

Mark Webber's form in 2010 "surprised" Sebastian Vettel, who thought he was the number one driver at Red Bull.

That is the summation of outspoken former triple World Champion Niki Lauda, ahead of the final seven races of the 2010 season.

"Mark has shown a great performance and that has surprised Sebastian," the Austrian great is quoted by Motorsport Aktuell.

"His (Vettel's) disadvantage was to see himself as the number one," added Lauda.

Vettel, 23, is widely regarded as the young star of the pace-setting Red Bull team, but it is Australian Webber with two more race wins and the lead of the Drivers' World Championship.

"Vettel assumed that he has the full support of the team. But Webber has more points and team orders no longer exist," Lauda said.

Lauda, 61, knows the problem well, when he assumed he was McLaren's number one but then found his teammate Alain Prost with superior pace.

Of Vettel he said: "He must look reality in the eye and free himself from the idea that he is the number one."

Lauda also thinks Red Bull's team management is to blame.

"Their failure was to count on Sebastian from the beginning, because he was the team's young and super-talented man. This has disturbed the teamwork.

"Sebastian's problem now is how fast Mark can go with this car. He (Webber) was not the favourite from the start, but he has done an incredible performance," added Lauda.

(GMM)

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