Much of Mercedes’ success has coincided with that of mercurial driver Lewis Hamilton. In terms of race wins, he is by far the most successful member to have donned the Silver Arrows overalls.
It is, therefore, surprising that when asked about their favourite driver, the engineering staff at the team did not take the name of the 36-year-old.
The Brackley Brothers – Andrew Shovlin, James Vowles, Ron Meadows, and Simon Cole – were present on F1’s podcast called Beyond the Grid. They have had a long haul at the team, having been present since it was BAR, then Honda, then Brawn GP, and finally, Mercedes.
For them, German legend Michael Schumacher is the best driver they have worked with.
“Michael Schumacher, but mainly because I was in the awe of him before he arrived and when he left the team, I was even more in the awe of him just because of how he behaved and treated all the team members,” said Ron Meadows.
“Is Lewis listening? Does he listen to your podcast?” Simon Cole asked with a little chuckle.
“I would say Michael Schumacher, not just because it’s sort of the common theme, but because he was genuinely impressive when we worked with him.”
Chief strategist Vowles had a similar opinion. He spoke about how Schumacher completely changed his initial perception of him.
“I would go with Michael because I had a perception that was entirely wrong of him before he joined,” he said.
“I thought he was arrogant, I thought he was cold because that’s the impression you got. It took me just minutes before I realized that’s not true.
“And his greatness really shone in that period where we were with him and we learned a lot from him.”
It is tough to leave out Jenson Button as far as engineer Shovlin is concerned. They duo formed an impressive partnership that saw Button win the world championship in 2009. For Shovlin, it was tough to look beyond Button.
“I can’t leave Jenson out, can I? I saw, as an engineer, I was learning on-the-job very much with him and just a lot of happy memories and funny moments.”
Perhaps it is only because these drivers are no longer at the team and it does make you more nostalgic as a result.
Another factor behind their choices is the sheer awe of working with Schumacher or in the case of Shovlin, just a really healthy friendship. Will Hamilton get similar plaudits when he finally decides to retire from the sport? Let us know what you think!