ANALYSIS - Has Mercedes-Benz made a mistake in the rush for having its own F1 Team?

It has been half a century since the Three-Pointed Star brand last participated in Formula 1 with its very own team. 2010 was the year of change:Mercedes-Benz split ties with McLaren after 15 years of successful marriage and bought the biggest stake in the championship-winning Brawn GP.

The former 2009 team of Ross Brawn became officially known as MERCEDES GP PETRONAS FORMULA ONE TEAM. The drivers' lineup has been a complete mystery for more than a month, though journalists speculated that Nico Rosberg was among the candidates. Soon, it was announced that the son of Keke Rosberg would be part of newly-born MERCEDES GP PETRONAS. This moment further increased the tension and rose the question:who will be Rosberg's team mate?There were many possible targets to choose from:Nick Heidfeld, Kimi Raikkonen and even Michael Schumacher.

Although no one believed Schumacher would return to F1 after he retired back in 2006, rumors turned into reality when Michael was introduced by Ross Brawn as part of the team, in front of the media gathered at the Brackley facility on the 23rd of December 2009. And then, the euphoria began. Fans all over the world were overwhelmed by the magic of this breaking news. Schumi was returning to his great love...

Nevertheless, such a move from MERCEDES GP PETRONAS, which obviously turned all the attention to them, involved a high dose of marketing courage and innovative thinking. Just the fact that Schumacher was back in action wouldn't have made all the job of winning races and the championship. It was a matter of Michael's ability and determination of achieving victories again. The expectations were very high...

Sadly though, in all the 4 grands prix that were concluded up to the moment, Schumi was outpaced and outclassed by Nico Rosberg. The otherwise 7-times World Champion showed a rusty image. Everyone was expecting a difficult comeback after 3 years of pause, but they were optimistic that Schumacher would improve constantly and get back in its normal racing shape, which made him so famous. But, it was not the case...

Even though MERCEDES GP PETRONAS and Michael himself suggest important steps in development have been made, no one is blind. From one race to the next one, Schumacher gave a worse & worse performance on track.

The "highest" low was achieved at the last Grand Prix, the Chinese one, where everything went very bad for Michael. The rainman was just a bitter sweet memory, as the German struggled for pace and endured overtakings from Hamilton, Petrov and Massa. In the end, he barely managed to finish the race on the shameful 10th position. After the race, Michael stated that this was a race to forget, whereas Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug tried to search for the culprit responsible for this disaster.

Later on, the team announced that after a thorough check of Schumacher's single-seater, it was concluded that several components of it have been defectuously built. As a result, the engineers will supply Michael with a completely new chassis for the next race, which is to be held at Barcelona, in Spain.

It would indeed be very good to see a progress in Michael's circuit performance beginning with the following grand prix. Because, if there is be none of it or it is insignificant, then MERCEDES GP PETRONAS have to rigurously review their situation. Nico can't be the only fighter in the team, and if Michael can't demonstrate he deserves to race again and MERCEDES GP PETRONAS still can't find the way to victory even after June 2010, then somewhere, before this season started, a big mistake has been made. And if that's to happen, although no one could be suspected of such a hidden desire, then I think that, in the absence of precious results and titles, Mercedes-Benz could easily pack things and leave Formula 1, if not after the end of the 2010 season, then more likely after the 2011 F1 show. And the dream would be over, and Michael's image as former champion a bit damaged after an unsuccessful return...

Still hope this is not the case.

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