Monday, September 11, 2006

End of an Era

Yesterday, after a victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza that was the 90th of his Formula 1 career, 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season. I've got mixed feelings about Schu's career. On the one hand, he was one of the first "young guns" to get into F1 who I knew about before he broke through. I remember his impressive debut for Jordan at Spa. And, as a long-time Ferrari fan, I've enjoyed the role he's played in the resurgence of the Scuderia. On the other hand, I'll admit that Schu's past includes some shady on-track incidents and realize that the on-track product will probably improve and be more interesting once he's gone.

The BBC does a good job of covering Schu's career, the ups and downs, here. 96 world champ Damon Hill calls Schu "brave" for walking away at the top of his game (presumably to avoid Hill's fate of running with a backmarker in the end). They've also collected a sampling of opinion on his retirement, including this assessment from former team mate Martin Brundle:

'here Schumacher cannot draw the right line is on track. He cannot see when he crosses the line between tough but fair, and ruthless but foul.

That is exacerbated by his total belief that he cannot be wrong. He has a default mode in the car: if you're going to pass him, he will drive you off the road. He even did it to me as a team-mate.

Maybe there's a spot in Dubya's administration for a man with such, uh, "principles." :p

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