More than 70 per cent of those surveyed by the major German news agency SID do not believe Michael Schumacher will win an eighth world title in 2011.
The most successful driver in F1 history had a difficult return to the sport in 2010 after three years of retirement, finishing ninth in the championship and 70 points behind his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.
Comparing the return to his own comeback in the 80s, triple world champion Niki Lauda told Spain's El Pais newspaper: "In my second phase in F1, the testing was not limited so I had plenty of mileage to prepare.
"Michael has had trouble adjusting. Furthermore, he has been against a lot of young guys eager to prove they can beat him, including Rosberg who is really fast.
"2010 was a year of practice for him (Schumacher)," added Lauda. "At first I thought he would not take more than four races to be back, and winning races has never been easy, but now it is harder than ever before.
"Anyway, if anyone can do what he has to do, it's him," said the Austrian great.