One of the big moves that Mercedes made prior to the start of the 2013 season was bringing in Lewis Hamilton. He replaced Michael Schumacher, who, despite his best efforts, could not replicate his illustrious form from early 2000s.
Many believed it was a passing of the torch from one great driver to another aspiring one. What has followed from Hamilton and Mercedes are six and seven World championship titles, respectively.
However, former Mercedes vice-president Norbert Haug believes Mercedes did not force out Schumacher to make way for Hamilton in any way. He also thinks that had the German stayed, he could have won Drivers’ titles after the inception of the turbo-hybrid era.
Michael Schumacher was not incapable of winning titles between 2013-2015, says Haug
Speaking in an exclusive interview, Haug stated, “No, he wasn’t, and if you look you will see that Michael was close to his 44th birthday when he retired. Which does not mean that he was no longer capable of winning in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and could even have won world titles.” (translated via Google Translate)
Schumacher had come back from retirement in 2010 to take one last shot at an eighth Drivers’ title with Mercedes. However, that never materialized and today, Hamilton has equaled his long-standing record of seven Championships.
“As I said: Anyone who drives pole time in Monaco in 2012 can, in my opinion, also win in 2014 with a car of the kind. And especially with a superior one. Everything with us was geared towards the hybrid engine age. Which – because the competition had not finished – began in 2014 instead of 2013.”
Haug fully appreciates the work and commitment of the Mercedes F1 team
The 68-year-old added and said, “And, as is well known, Mercedes has won all Formula 1 World Championship titles since 2014, seven times in a row with drivers and designers. An unimaginable achievement that is unique in the history of the Formula 1 World Championship. Which speaks for the team, driver, team and team management.”
By the looks of it, Hamilton is well on his way to reaching the golden number of eight Drivers’ titles. When that happens, it will be a respectful gesture to Schumacher, who often used to say, “records are there to be broken.”