News Digest by Lawrence Barretto
Just two weeks after announcing a shock comeback to Formula One, Michael Schumacher pulled off another surprise yesterday by calling the whole thing off.
The German held a press conference this morning where he expressed his disappointment at not being able to race for Ferrari at next weekend’s European Grand Prix in Valencia. Ultimately, he simply couldn’t risk his health.
Some in the media questioned the reasons behind Schumacher’s comeback with The Guardian suggesting medical reasons weren’t the only factors in him deciding to pull out of his comeback. “Only Michael Schumacher knows if the biggest hurt during a comeback would have been to his neck or his pride.”
Four-time world champion Alain Prost sympathised but echoed those thoughts. “If there was any physical risk, Schumacher was right,” the Prost told French newspaper Le Parisien. “It remains to be seen if Schumacher stopped solely because of the health problem, or because when he resumed driving he realised that the task was enormous.
“He has not started in F1 for three years and only had three weeks to prepare. The body changes very quickly when you stop racing, a driver does not react the same way and the vision is not as sharp. When I returned in 1993 after eight months it was very difficult to find the best level, Schumacher may need more time.”
However the German’s brother Ralf told German newspaper Bild that he supported the move. “It is of course a great shame, but if Michael and the doctors make the decision it is the right decision.
“If something had happened the risk would have been much greater. Fractures in the vertebrate are not something to be dismissed lightly.”
Meanwhile, Schumacher’s former team boss Eddie Jordan rued the German’s decision to race motorcycles after his Formula 1 career. “What was he thinking with the bikes?” asked the Irishman in an interview with BBC’s TalkSport programme.
“He had rocks in his head. Lance Armstrong wouldn’t compete in the Tour de France if he wasn’t 100 per cent fit, and Schumacher is exactly the same – but I am surprised it has taken this long [for him to decide].”
The Sun believes that the biggest loser in all this is the fans and the sport. “Schuey’s surprise return was seen as a major boost to F1 in a scandal-ridden season dominated by breakaway threats, legal challenges and accusations of cheating.”
“Fans were also relishing the prospect of seeing such an all-time great go head-to-head with young guns such as Lewis Hamilton.”
But perhaps The Times is right when they suggest it’s the German who stands to lose the most. “In some ways the biggest loser here is Michael Schumacher. This will hurt and the fact that he will never quite know what it would have been like to come back and test himself against the best again will irk him more than anything.”