Bernie Ecclestone has heated up the debate about Michael Schumacher making a comeback at the wheel of one of Ross Brawn’s Mercedes F1 cars next season with some enigmatic comments in the Times tonight.
The 79 year old said it would be “magic”, if Schumacher returned and suggested that this was beginning to gather some momentum.
“I would personally doubt that he’s going to make a comeback but, having said that, it’s maybe getting a bit stronger than a rumour,” he said. Of the possible contenders for the seat, which may well include Robert Kubica when Renault disposes of its team, he said that choosing Schumacher would be a “no brainer”
“Well you’d have to pick Michael wouldn’t you,” he said. “There’s no discussion about that. It’s the obvious thing. Whether or not this is going to happen, I don’t know. If I was Michael I wouldn’t do it, but I’m sure he knows he could get the job done.”
The fact that this is still going on, with no denials from either Mercedes or Schumacher, indicates that they are looking at it from every angle. Personally I have always doubted that he would take the risk, but the longer it goes on the more one wonders. He was very excited about driving again over the summer, when Ferrari asked him to sub for Massa. That said, he has stated that he would not want to do a whole season of racing. It is tantalising for many fans, who would love to know either way. But I’m not sure he knows himself yet. Ferrari feels that it has him for the next three years, but they have also said they would not stand in his way should he decide to race again.
On the subject of the Renault takeover, Ecclestone is of the view that it may well happen this side of Christmas, but that there was ‘no hurry’. One of the groups interested in the deal is headed by Gerard Lopez, whom Ecclestone has known for a few years. Lopez is a massively successful investor in technology companies, particularly in the internet business and is believed to have taken a good look at buying BMW Sauber over the summer, deciding against it eventually. He looks like the kind of person who bring fresh skills and vision which would move F1 forward, like You Tube founder and US F1 backer Chad Hurley.