Ross Brawn believes Michael Schumacher could have fought for an eighth world title had he not suffered a tragic skiing accident.
Having worked together at Ferrari, Brawn and Schumacher reunited at Mercedes in 2010 with the German joining the famous brand as it returned to the grid.
But Schumacher would depart in 2012 as Lewis Hamilton stepped in but Brawn believes the former Ferrari star may have hung up his helmet too early.
Ross Brawn backed Michael Schumacher for potential eighth title win
Brawn himself left Mercedes in 2013, a year after Schumacher, but believed had the German still been racing, he could have fought for a world title in 2014.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that he may have hung up his helmet too early,” he told AUTO BILD.
“He planted the seeds of success at Mercedes between 2010 and 2012. And Fernando Alonso, at a similar age to Michael back then, shows today that you can achieve world-class performance even when you’re over 40.
“If Michael had still been active in 2014, he could have won the title.”
As for what a post-racing future may have held for Schumacher, Brawn believes he could have had his own team.
“I can well imagine that Michael would have a team today,” the former Formula 1 managing director said. “There were already discussions at Mercedes about whether he could act as a shareholder at some point.
“The first stage already existed: He acted as a brand ambassador in 2013.”
But tragically, Schumacher was denied that opportunity following a skiing accident that same year, leaving him severely injured and kept out of the public eye ever since.
Outgoing AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost recalled how he felt when he first heard the news.
“I just thought: How important must Michael be if a fall on skis is worth reporting?” the Austrian said.
“I wasn’t worried because I often went skiing with Michael. He was a very good driver who didn’t take any risks. When I realised the impact of the accident, I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned and shocked.
“I miss him, not only as one of the best racing drivers of all time, but especially as a person. You could always talk to him openly. He never pretended, always said exactly what he thought. There was no politics or intrigue with him.”