Today I was browsing the BBC website and came across this article in which Schumacher states that the joy is missing from racing. This is a sad thing to hear as I would like to think that all F1 drivers (and indeed, all drivers in general) had some sort of joy from racing. Now, it could be that Schumi simply feels the joy is missing because he's not performing so well - however this doesn't necessarily mean that he is incapable of driving as the media seem to be implying.
Every time I watch a practice session, qualifying session and race at least one person comments on Schumacher's age. By the way that people were talking about him you'd have thought that he was over retirement age, claiming a bus pass and pension and had some sort of dementia. Schumi is 42 - not much older than Rubens Barrichello, yet nobody is questioning Barrichello's ability to race. Fair enough, Barrichello is in a Williams and Schumi is in a Mercedes, however why should Schumacher be considered too old to race and Barrichello not?
What I find astounding is that nobody has questioned whether the three year gap that Schumacher has taken could have impacted his performance. Consider all the training that F1 drivers do - their fitness regimes are intensive to say the least. Three years away from this must have taken its toll, and so we can't expect Schumacher to suddenly come good again. It takes time to get back up to previous standards, so even with one season in F1 back under Schumi's belt I don't think we're going to see him back to his winning ways immediately this year.
Looking at Schumacher's results this season I don't think we can be too critical either. Turkey was a poor race for Michael, however all drivers have their off days and people aren't so quick to judge when it's Vettel, Webber, Hamilton or Button falling down the standings. Look at China - Webber qualified 18th but nobody argued that he was incapable of driving! In China, Schumacher finished two places down on Rosberg - not exactly terrible considering the cars in between Rosberg and Schumacher were Alonso and Massa. In Malaysia, Schumacher beat his team mate by two places. In Australia, both Mercedes finished way down the standings - if it were a case of Schumacher being too old, why would Rosberg be finishing so close to Schumi in most races?
I do honestly think that Schumacher will get back to a good form later on in the year - one bad race doesn't mean that he is too old or not as good. It does annoy me that the media constantly drone on about Schumacher's age too... It's not as if he's not winning because he needs a nap or has forgotten what he's meant to be doing because of his age! We need to look beyond these four races this season and see what happens by the end of the year when Mercedes have their car up to par. If Schumi's still not enjoying the racing, then perhaps he'd consider his life in F1. However, this isn't something that the media can anticipate and only the man himself can take that decision. I commend Schumacher's return to F1 - as my Dad says, it's given us all hope of racing competitively...