Bernie Ecclestone: President & CEO of Formula 1 Management and Formula 1 Administration:
"We lost a big hero in Michael Schumacher but in Lewis we have another. But for him I'm not sure where the sport would be heading."
"It is painfully obvious to me that the right guy to be World Champion is Lewis," he added.
"In fact my main fear would be if he didn't win it. Kimi Raikkonen barely talks to anyone and as such has done little for the sport, and as for Fernando Alonso, in his two years as World Champion he has done nothing."
Allow me to expand...Bernie's right! If the blatant favoritism from the "governing" body, the habitual cheating and unsportsmanlike behavior on-track, and the hypocrisy-so-thick-you could-choke-on-it in press-conferences and everywhere off and on the track are indeed the qualities of a hero, then Schumacher can't be replaced. Except maybe by Hamilton
Compared to that, Fernando and the rest of the F1 drivers have done nothing for the sport. If by nothing you mean interest an entire nation, who previously barely knew F1 existed, in the sport single-handedly, and thereby inspire many other nations and their drivers into pursuing F1 glory when they could hardly think of dreaming about such a thing. And God knows Britain is such an F1 backwater, they need a "hero" like Hamilton or Schumacher to be interested in F1. And I'm sure that's the only reason the rest of the world would watch F1 too.
It is funny to see that unless you actually like Schumacher, then you hate him. And let me tell most people do hate him. He is a great driver, yeah. But he will never come close to be like Senna or Alonso or many other drivers that behaved like athletes.