Michael Schumacher will endure a very hard season on his return to Formula 1, according to Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber.
Schumacher, 41, returns to racing at this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix after having retired from the sport at the end of the 2006 season. The seven-time champion has shown competitive form during winter testing with his Mercedes GP team, but Australian Webber does not believe Schumacher will be able to enjoy the same kind of success as before his retirement.
"I think it will be a bloody hard season for him," Webber told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper ahead of this weekend's season opener in Bahrain. "I think he'll go all right, but I have never, ever seen a phenomenal comeback. When has the second career ever been better than the first?"
Webber, 33, also believes the new generation of drivers have an easier task in making an immediate impression now, as he reckons current Formula 1 cars are easier to get accustomed to than those of earlier eras.
"The cars are easier to drive," Webber added. "You don't look at these guys and think, 'They are real men.' They are talented, no question, but there is less in common. There is power steering now; a lot of things that make the cars easier to drive. That's why these youngsters can get away with it. I came through the categories with gear sticks and what have you. And that was beneficial for me. But there is no point whining about it. They come along and do a good job for the most part. Some don't.
"But every now and again – whether it's a Lewis [Hamilton] or a Seb [Vettel] – they can, with phenomenal grooming, come in and do a good job."