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Ferrari ‘not expecting miracles’ from Schumacher
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Ferrari ‘not expecting miracles’ from Schumacher
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Aug 2009   |  9:00 pm GMT  |  22 comments

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has spoken about the deal he has cut with Michael Schumacher to make a dramatic and unexpected comeback at the European Grand Prix. Schumacher will replace Felipe Massa, who was discharged to travel home to Brazil today by his Budapest hospital.

Speaking in Germany’s Die Welt newspaper today, Montezemolo said that the team does ‘not expect miracles’ from the German, who has not raced an F1 car since the end of 2006.

One area that some of the other drivers are concerned about for Schumacher’s sake is the start of the race. The current Ferrari is just about a top ten qualifying car, certainly not the front runner that Schumacher was used to. He was never at his most comfortable starting in the pack. Add in the fact that he is out of practice at the most frantic moment of the Grand Prix and not mentally match-fit and that he will be using the 80hp boost of KERS for the first time, it will be a significant challenge, even for one of the best drivers to have raced an F1 car.

“Personally, I was a bit sceptical about managing to convince him, ” said Montezemolo. “First of all, because every time I talked to him he always reassured me that he was happy with his current situation— finally having time for his family. He never gave me the impression that he was bored or desperately looking for a new challenge. All of us in Ferrari wanted to see him again in an F1 race.”

Montezemolo also explains why Schumacher felt he needed to come back, “He has seen that his team, a team with which he has spent ten successful years, had an emergency and urgently needed help. You don’t give up on your old friends when they are in trouble. And someone like Schumacher certainly wouldn’t do that. He has always been loyal to us and he’ll now tackle this task as if he were trying to win the championship one more time.”

“We are not expecting miracles from him, and neither do the fans. Of course, I won’t deny that I hope this is also a positive morale boost for the entire team. The engineers can’t wait to work with him. They were all hoping that Schumacher would come back. It’s a win-win situation.”

There are many rumours about what Schumacher is being paid for his cameo appearance for Ferrari. What is clear is that his retainer as a consultant was not going to be renewed in 2010, but part of the deal is that it will be renewed at approximately €7 million fro the year. As to his race by race deal a figure of €1 million per race is being suggested in Germany.

He will not be testing the F60 car, as previously mentioned here, after Williams and the two Red Bull teams said no.

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22 Comments
  1. Misu says:

    From the safety point of view the concerns of the rivals should be a key factor in letting Schumacher to test. They can’t stop Ferrari in putting Schumacher into the car, so it would be wise to let him to prepare himself. I know, a single day of test is not something thats enough to practise the midfield starts but at least it would give him an impression about the KERS effect. By the way I don’t think Schumacher will face difficulties whether he can test or not. He has access to all the F60 datum and he has been educated enough to understand the basics of the car without actually driving it.

  2. Hammad says:

    I agree with this assessment, but it is still Schumacher, arguably the greatest ever driver (barring Senna though…). Don’t be surprised if he outperforms Raikkonen.

  3. brian1982 says:

    I’m glad Schumacher doesn’t get to (officially) test the F60 as I thought not giving drivers like Alguersuari proper testing was stupid by the FIA.

    Can’t wait for Kimi vs Schui though!

  4. LynnD says:

    As we say in Ireland: Yeah, right!

    (We can make a negative out of a double positive here!)

  5. Jake Pattison says:

    Righto, I reckon he will come 5th at Valencia. Any other takers?

  6. Paul says:

    Toro Rosso have said no to Schumacher’s test because they weren’t allowed to test Alguersuari

    I wonder which team(s) said no to the Alguersuari test, especiially given the uproar about his lack of F1 experience?

  7. Joe says:

    Why are Ferrari letting Schumi drive the car instead of developing the drivers the already have lined up ? They have Luca Badoer and Marc Gené signed up as test drivers, and I’m sure they have their eyes on plenty of others.

    Maybe this is just a way of saying that they’ve already have an understanding with Alonso to replace Räikkönen, so they don’t have to devlop other drivers.

    1. artorwar says:

      The test drivers are old and to be honest, not that good. There was talk of a young Italian but to be honest with his lack of experience and their desire to get P3 in the constructors this is by far the most sensible move.

  8. Kenny says:

    Worried for Schumacher’s sake? If I was on the grid I’d be looking out for one of his patented, infamous diagonal runs off the line. I’d also be on the look out for the old ping pong maneuver (the one that Damon and Jacques came to know so well). During qualifying I would certainly be looking out for a parked Ferrari.
    I though that we were finished with this guy.

  9. Andrew Watson says:

    James – I told you MS was not going to be the MS we remember now Ferrari are preparing us for that scenario !
    I thought he was racing for “free”
    Still can’t wait

  10. Howard Hughes says:

    So all the other teams agreed to let him test bar Red Bull x 2 and Williams? I find this rather churlish. There’s more going on with this than mere advantage / disadvantage. To those protagonists who love the sport it should be apparent that having a competitive Schumacher for a few races will benefit everyone participating. Brawn can presumably see this, I’m sure Briatore recognises only too well the benefit to the ‘show’ and to all sponsors, so why would Red Bull refuse?

    And as for Williams… I really can’t figure that out. Show me an interview with Sir Frank where he doesn’t wax on and on about how the drivers are all heroes, that he’s in love with the sport etc… He’s stated numerous times how he adores all that Schumacher stands for, and bitterly regrets that he never drove for Williams. He’s possibly the most passionately romantic advocate of the glory of F1, so why be hypocritical now and deny the all-time driving hero a chance not to embarrass himself?

    God, try and see the bigger picture gentlemen. The sport desperately needs a polish; this could be it.

    1. artorwar says:

      It’s already got a Polish but he’s driving for BMW.

  11. kers80bhp says:

    Exciting times for formula one brings me back to the times of mansell in 1994 when he made his four guest appearances & capping it off with a brilliant win in australia, I hope schumacher wins some races and blows the williams and the red bulls away at the end of the day its not he same schumacher who dominated the sport for years give the guy a chance to test it is clear red bull and williams must be running scared schumacher is already disadvantaged by been out the car for nearly 3 years he`s 40 years old and is coming back to something what is totally different to what he last drove, but it is clear to most he still carries the aura of greatness.

  12. Peter says:

    I just wonder if Ferrari still want to stop developning this years car. Would be great to see Kimi and Schumi in a competitive Ferrari just as Hamilton in Mclaren. My feeling is however that the Ferraris are still not competitive enough, so no wonder will happen.

  13. Carl says:

    I expect Michael Schumacher to finish around 6th position. I cannot see him beating Kimi. The 2nd place Kimi achieved at Hungary was a great drive, started 7th finished 2nd, the way he was wrestling the car around the track reminded me of Michael of old. Kimi to finish 3rd, Schumacher 6th.
    I expect Massa to be back by Japan in 2 months time.

  14. ant0ine says:

    Although i think he is great ,its right he was not given the permission to take the test… there are no real excuses, just cheap ones… no reason whatsoever. Especially the concern about the startup its , sorry to say this, rediculous. The fact is that he loves winning just the way he hates losing. I really expect him to do well. The fear of the loss and uncertainity he must be feeling, will contribute to that a great deal.

  15. knoxploration says:

    As a Ferrari fan for the last 15 years or more, I have to say it is absolutely right that Schumacher has not been allowed to test this year’s equipment.

    Sorry lads, but rules are rules – and you can’t expect to be allowed to ignore them when you feel like it. Doubly so when those very same rules were already required to be followed for Alguersuari – a driver who, having no F1 experience at all, was arguably far more justified in wanting to test.

    To let Schumacher test after Alguersuari was denied the same opportunity would be downright unfair. This morning though, I saw this response from Ferrari:

    http://www.ferrari.com/English/News/Pages/090804_F1_Indiscretion.aspx

    I have to say, I find it *incredibly* unsportsmanlike of Ferrari to be publicly attacking Williams for insisting that the rules be followed to the letter. Also, I’m curious why Ferrari are attacking only Williams, when two other teams also agreed that Ferrari shouldn’t be allowed a special test session?

    And finally, it is beyond unsportsmanlike and just plain arrogant that Ferrari are using their blog to mock and belittle Williams’ achievements in recent years.

    Frankly, this is exactly the kind of thing that will make me choose another team to support, if it continues.

    1. Josh says:

      Yes it is unsportsmanlike etc etc but there’s nothing like a good bit of mud slinging to spice up sport! Especially since if anyone did a ‘Senna’ and punched another driver they would probably be banned for several races or ‘done’ for GBH…

  16. dan says:

    We don’t know how many races Michael will take part to but his results will be irrelevant. The key reason Ferrari was so keen to have him driver is to sort out this years car and make sure next years car is way better. Michael is an expett at sorting cars and telling the design team where they should work to make improvement. More he could drive and the bette it would be for Ferrari. The real reason they asked for him to test before the first race is to give him as much mileage as possible to get a feel for the car’s weaknesses and forte and influence the direction the design team will take for next year.

    Michael’s return irrespective of where he finishes is already a success story and THE story of the year for F1. After all the crap F1 inflicted to itself since last winter his return is a big boost and brings back something positive to the sport. Like Lance Armstrong in Le Tour de France Michael’s return is
    a win-win situation for him no matter the result.

  17. rpaco says:

    Shumi podium! (Maybe)

    He will adapt to the new car after a few laps. He will probably go off repeatedly in practice finding the edge. But then he will wring more out if the car than has ever been had before.
    He can make a difference of half a second, to a car and that’s all it needs.

    Ok maybe now with the cars all so close he will make less of a difference, but still it will be noticeable. Of course the car will have improved over the holiday as well.

    I have to say I am not a Schumacher fan and despise his win at any cost including cheating, philosophy and will be the first to condemn any such act. But he is something else in a car and can get more out of any car than almost anyone else. A great pity we won’t see him next year with no refuelling. No pit stops at all used to be the order, when tyre and fuel preservation was an art, back in the Prost/Senna/Stewart days

  18. Barry says:

    I’m a huge Schumi fan and Ferrari in general, but I agree with Williams they should not be allowed to test. Not after Alguersuari wasnt given any test time. As for Williams and Red Bull not being sporting, at the end of they day why should they assist him in getting up to speed when he will be looking to take points off them and hence prize money? It wouldnt make sense for them to do that. Frank might be in it for the racing but the racing still costs money and his team being a privateer team heavily rely on prize money from results.

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