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Michael Schumacher pushed Mercedes to go 'full throttle' for F1 success

Written by  Jan 10, 2019

Mercedes likely wouldn't have grown into the Formula 1 force they are today without Michael Schumacher's pressure to invest, says manager Sabine Kehm.

The German legend was drafted in to help the manufacturer upon their return as a works team in 2010 and his work over the three seasons that followed is largely credited for laying the groundwork for the domination that has followed since 2014.

Talking on F1's Beyond the Grid podcast Kehm revealed just how big an impact Schumacher had, suggesting the initial level of commitment Mercedes were showing was worrying at first.

"Very quickly it became very clear that it would not turn out the way that he had hoped for because, in the first year, the resources were not really there and it was clear that they would not be given as well," she explained.

"So that was obviously a little bit disappointing but then at some point, it was [decided] 'we have to cope with it and have to go on' and I think Michael fought a lot to convince the right people to really give more money into it and really make it a big team again.

"He really made it very clear that if you want to do it you have to do it really full throttle."

In those initial years, Mercedes often found themselves on the fringes of the action, unable to regularly challenge Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren but still producing solid points most weekends.

"They were kind of operating a little bit like a middle team and not really as a top team," Kehm continued.

"I think the way that Michael kind of addressed this to some people helped them to really see that it makes no sense to do it like this."

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2012, however, started to see things improve with single lap pace particularly strong, allowing Schumacher to memorably claim pole in Monaco but fall back due to a penalty.

"Already in his last year, you could see that the things were coming and coming and it was quite obvious also to him that if he had stayed another year, that would already be a much better year for him as well," his manager concluded.

Indeed, Lewis Hamilton would step up to replace Schumacher in 2013 and it was then Mercedes began hitting the higher notes with both he and Nico Rosberg winning that year.

Then, when the engine regulations changed the following year, the rest, as they say, is history.

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