Without any doubt, Ralf Schumacher’s season is not good at all so far. He scored a single point but his team mate scored 4 already in pretty much the same car. While Trulli does qualify or races near the point scoring places most of the time, Ralf fights it at the back with Spykers. … So where did it all go wrong for Ralf? Or was it ever good? For sure it was before he joined F1. He finished 2nd in German Formula 3 Championship in 1995 and went on to win the Macau GP Formula 3 street race the same year. At that race he beat Pedro de la Rosa and Jarno Trulli. In 1996 he moved to Formula Nippon and won it, making his way to F1. Pretty impressive resume that deservedly brought him F1 drive.
The best way to see his F1 performances is to compare his with those of his team mates.
Since joining Jordan in 1997 Ralf completed 10 seasons in F1. He raced 2 seasons for Jordan (Jordan-Peugeot and Jordan-Mugen-Honda), 6 seasons for Williams (Williams-Supertec in 1999 and BMW-Williams 2000-2004). Since 2005 he has been racing for Toyota and getting some huge paycheck for his services.
During his F1 career, Ralf had 6 different team mates. Giancarlo Fisichella and Damon Hill in Jordan, Alex Zanardi, Jenson Button, Juan Pablo Montoya in Williams and finally Jarno Trulli in Toyota.
Here are some statistics from 1997 till end of 2006 season.
Points scored against team mate:
27 : 40 – in Jordan
232 : 233 – in Williams
65 – 58 – in Toyota
324 : 331 – Total
13 : 20 Ralf vs Fisichella
14 : 20 Ralf vs Hill
35 : 0 Ralf vs Zanardi
24 : 12 Ralf vs Button
173 : 221 Ralf vs Montoya (race wins 6 :4)
65 : 58 Ralf vs Trulli
He outscored his team mate in 5 out of 10 seasons.
He recorded 6 race wins against 4 by his team mate (all in Williams against Montoya).
He never truly excelled, but he managed 6 wins – from current drivers only Barrichello, Raikkonen, Coulthard and Alonso won more races. His point scoring record is also very decent. Again there are only 4 drivers on grid who scored more. All this came from a driver who never had a genuine championship contending car, perhaps with the exception of the 2003 BMW-Williams.
So, is he a bad driver – surely not. So why does he so underperforms this year triggering all the rumours? Has he been in F1 for too long? Did those serious Indianapolis crashes affected him more than he admits? Is he way too confident that there are teams lining up to sign him? Or is he simply making so much money that he does not have any more motivation to actually race?
So should he be sacked?