MONZA, Italy, (Reuters) – Michael Schumacher still has what it takes to be a winner and silence the critics, says Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali.
The seven-times world champion, who won five of his titles with Ferrari before retiring in 2006, has struggled to be competitive in his comeback with Mercedes.
Now 42, the German has not stood on the Formula One podium since 2006 and has faced increased criticism from pundits who say he is over the hill.
“I would say that Michael, knowing him quite well, he has not changed his approach in the way that he is doing his job now,” Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali told Reuters in an interview ahead of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
Schumacher is a six-times winner at Monza, five times with Ferrari.
“Honestly, I can see him fighting for something important if he has a great car,” added the Ferrari boss.
“The difference from the past is that we were used to having only two drivers that were fighting. Now in this period we have four or five drivers that really, if you give them the same car, can challenge to be the winner.”
Red Bull’s world champion Sebastian Vettel has won seven of 12 races so far this season but both McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have won twice each while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was triumphant in Britain.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber, while yet to win this year, has taken pole positions and repeated podium places.
Schumacher’s best result to date this year has been fourth place in Canada.