Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher has confirmed he will make a sensational return to Formula 1 as a replacement for Felipe Massa in an amazing turn of events.
The German has previously rejected suggestions regarding a return to the sport; however, a sense of loyalty to the team in its time of need has inspired his return.
“The most important thing first: thanks God, all news concerning Felipe are positive. I wish him all the best again,” said Schumacher.
“I was meeting this afternoon with Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe.
“Though it is true that the chapter of Formula 1 has been closed for me for a long time, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I am I also very much look forward to facing this challenge.”
A Ferrari statement said Schumacher would undertake a specific training programme to ensure he is up to full fitness. Should he pass, he’ll take over from the European Grand Prix on August 23.
Schumacher’s last race in Brazil in 2006 was a masterpiece, even though the result doesn’t look that way. He was miles faster than anyone else that day and it was the perfect way to sign off. Three years have passed and he’s clearly not been fulfilled by life after Formula 1.
Ferrari have a moment of great need and he clearly feels close to them. It is not ideal for him to return at such short notice and he will be driving on a track he doesn’t know.
But the car was good enough for a podium in Budapest last weekend and the sport will be electrified by his return.
At a time when drivers are getting younger, we have a 40-year-old competing in a Grand Prix. There will be a driver born in the 1960s sharing the grid with one born in 1990s.
Formula 1’s capacity to surprise never ends. I’ll have to write a new chapter to the biography and I wouldn’t bet against him winning.