Skip to main content

Pirelli chief backs tire critic Schumacher for Valencia success

June 21, 2012 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Mercedes' veteran driver Michael Schumacher has collected 68 pole positions in his Formula One career.
Mercedes' veteran driver Michael Schumacher has collected 68 pole positions in his Formula One career.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Michael Schumacher tipped for success at Sunday's European Grand Prix
  • The Mercedes driver has not won a race since coming out of retirement in 2010
  • The seven-time world champion has retired from five of seven races in 2012
  • Schumacher's teammate Nico Rosberg collected his first ever win in China

(CNN) -- Michael Schumacher has been one of Pirelli's biggest critics this season, but Formula One's tire supplier has backed the seven-time world champion to end his long wait for a victory at Sunday's European Grand Prix.

The 43-year-old, who has not finished on the podium since coming out of retirement in 2010, told CNN that dealing with the rapidly degrading rubber this year was like "driving on raw eggs."

He has been outshone by Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, but Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery believes the German can perform well in Valencia, where he has failed to make the top-10 in two previous attempts.

Schumacher did, however, top the qualifying times at another street circuit last month in Monaco, but started the race sixth due to a penalty and ended up retiring early -- as he did last time out in Canada.

Ferrari president: F1 too expensive
Schumacher proud of German drivers
The magic of the Monaco Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher in the modern Silver Arrow while Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg takes the wheel of the 1955 model. Michael Schumacher in the modern Silver Arrow while Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg takes the wheel of the 1955 model.
In the hot seat
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
The Silver Arrow rises again The Silver Arrow rises again

"I think you have to look at someone like, maybe Michael, getting the pole position," Hembery told F1's official website.

"He probably would have won Monaco if he hadn't been penalized, so why not here? Michael for Valencia, that's where the money should go."

Sauber chief: "F1 better than ever"

Schumacher, who won 91 grands prix between 1992 and 2006, was penalized in Monte Carlo due to a collision with Bruno Senna at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The former Ferrari driver has endured a miserable start to the 2012 season, collecting just two world championship points and retiring from five of the first seven races. Rosberg, meanwhile, is fifth on 67 points and clinched the first race win of his career in China.

But Schumacher, who has won the European Grand Prix a record six times at its former homes in Jerez and Nurburgring, is confident Mercedes can overcome the reliability issues which have dogged him.

"Our motto in the last few days has been to roll our sleeves up and focus on the job in hand," he said. "Everybody in the team has taken that approach to heart, so we can travel to Valencia in an optimistic mood."

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn, who worked with Schumacher at Ferrari, conceded he has not provided him with an adequate car.

"The performance of our car and our tire management were generally good in Canada, however our competitiveness was compromised by reliability problems and mistakes," said Brawn.

"This is a disappointment that is deeply felt by everyone in our team, and we have been working hard to ensure we understand the reasons and deal with them.

"Achieving zero-defect reliability is our highest priority. The opportunities available if we can give both drivers a reliable car and a clean weekend are clear."

After this weekend's race in Valencia, the world championship will head to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on July 8.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
Glitz... check, glamor... check. Teams going bust... er, check. F1 generates billion-dollar revenues, so why can't some of its teams stay afloat?
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
With the sport currently facing up to a financial crisis, motorsport journalist Ed Foster explores the history of F1 sponsorship.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
He's paid millions to drive one of the world's fastest cars, and he's one of F1's most colorful characters, but Kimi Raikkonen loves normality.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
It took a little longer than expected but MotoGP's young star Marc Marquez wraps up his second world title in Japan.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
Rising star Daniil Kvyat made history as the home hero at F1's first Russian Grand Prix, ahead of next season's move to Red Bull.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
ADVERTISEMENT