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Schumacher comeback “More than a rumour” says Ecclestone
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Schumacher comeback “More than a rumour” says Ecclestone
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Dec 2009   |  11:43 pm GMT  |  72 comments

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.

Bernie
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.

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72 Comments
  1. ElChiva says:

    Read the headline

    Schumacher comeback “More than a rumour” says Ecclestone

    then read this paragraph

    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.

    lets go to sleep, i wonder if he took his meds last night

  2. TinyJim says:

    Well, I think he is certainly looking at returning. Just look at how many laps he has been turning in KZ karts recently. I know he loves his karting but he is out constantly. Only a man with a purpose would do so. Was Las Vegas just a jolly? I was there, and trust me it was no a jolly.

    Also this neck injury thing is rubbish, sorry but not one spends 3-5 days at Lonato pounding round 100 laps a day with a bad neck.

    Your talking 3G of forces constantly with no rest for 100s of laps. The F60 was too higher risk, thats probably why he called it off.

    Schumacher is not behaving like a retired F1 driver right now. He’s racing karts, the fastest karts, against the best drivers in the world for a very good reason, and not just for ‘fun’.

  3. Silverstoned says:

    Still milking this one after all this time. As a businessman Bernie is in the Schumacher class!

    Dick Dastardly in Deputy Haug’s outfit? We will see…

  4. Eric says:

    Hi James

    I figured I’d take the oppurtunity to get your thoughts on an issue. Although it’s not related to the post, I thought you’d probably notice the first comment.

    You’ve always talked up Jarno Trulli and his “one-lap pace.” I’ve always been a big Trulli fan, though I admit he seems to need the car to be just to his liking. On pure pace, in a perfect car, where do you think he would stand among his peers?

    1. James Allen says:

      Right at the top of the tree, I think he has proved that when the car is right and over a lap, he is as fast as anyone, probably.

      1. Tom - Australia says:

        James, Eric’s message raises and interesting point – it would be great to have an “Ask James” section on your blog where people can post random questions. I realise you are a busy guy, but maybe you could answer say 5 questions per week?

        That would be awesome!

      2. James Allen says:

        People post random questions all the time! I’ve done 1,700 replies this season, apparently. Nearly four times as many as the biggest comment poster (Rpaco)

      3. Tom - Australia says:

        Hmm yup, people do post random questions a lot. And it’s great that you answer them!

        Just thought it’d be nice to have a dedicated section – often things get lost in the numerous user comments!

        Anyway while we are off topic I’d love to know your opinion of my KERS solution. As we all know – KERS v KERS was a bit of a non event in 2009. The systems basically counteracted one another. My solution involves increasing the capacity by say 3 times, and then resetting KERS only after every 3 laps. This would add a lot more guess work as to when the trailing car is actually going to use KERS. Additionally, a trailing car may use it’s full quota of KERS on the first lap of a three lap sequence, make the pass and then the other car still has 2 laps to get back in front before the “reset”.

        I think this would greatly add to overtaking.

  5. RON says:

    Bernie does nothing but seek negative publicity… it keeps F1 in the news… I was disgusted at Michael Schumacher for joining in the hype band wagon before and I’m disgusted again… there is NO neck injury – that was just a cover up of the whole attempt to milk fans of money, with more bums on seats at Valencia… same now – F1 has very little substance these days…

    1. lynnduffy says:

      “there is NO neck injury” …

      Well, we all bow to your certain and inside knowledge RON.

      Can you post a picture of the machine that milks money from bums on seats in Valencia? My mind can’t quite picture it somehow.

      Do you think that Felipe was faking the crash at Hungary too? I’d appreciate your informed opinion.

      Also, any chance for some tickets to the hype band wagon? Sounds like a great gig!

      :)

      1. TinyJim says:

        Go and drive a KZ2 kart round Lonato for 4-5 days putting in around 100 laps. Your neck is under constant load (3G) and you don’t get any braeks apart from some short straights. Even though the neck forces aren’t as high as F1, IMO, they are high enough to put enough strain on the neck to highlight any ‘injury’ that may or may not have occurred. It sounds to me as if the F60 was to risky to drive.

      2. RON says:

        No, let’s bow to your knowledge of absolute certainty, and a world where no fincancial corruption exists…

        Take a picture of your own bum, if it helps…

        Massa did not say I’m racing in the next race weekend – he was out, as expected of such an injury… he did not milk behinds…

        I’m sure someone will sell you a ticket on eBay…

      3. Lockster74 says:

        Awesome post Lynn, hilarious! :)

    2. Martin P says:

      What a ridiculous thing to say.

      1. Vin Yette says:

        Another gem by RON…I’m going to start collecting these.

        My other personal favorite:

        RON: “Kimi’s WDC was the result of external factors and had very little to do with him… the FIA was always going to give ferrari the WDC and WCC in 2007 – it was, after all, Ferrari’s 60th anniversary in F1…”

      2. RON says:

        Why, because Bernie and Michael are immune from greed?

    3. Med says:

      I’ve heard it was more to do with the fact he’d managed to wangle a spin in the car and was worried he’d end up in the same position Badoer and Fisi found themselves in,

      Glad you cleared it up for me

  6. Kakashi says:

    wow it would be great for the sport if that happens.. i have only viewed MS driving on youtube so it will give us newbies a chance to see him drive… and seems like all the good drivers are going to be in good teams next season.. and hope to see lot of overtaking and lot of rivalry
    any news about kobayashi? i would love to see him in F1 again..
    hopefully Kimi also returns to F1 in 2011 ( possibly in RedBull?) would be amazing…
    can’t wait for the next season…
    great blogs James and great discussions on this site…

  7. Rich C says:

    Bernie’s just playing us. And he’s damn good at it!

    1. Dale says:

      Playing with us yes, good at it no, seen it all before…..

      1. RON says:

        Bernie is the master of disaster… F1 is in a very poor state thanks to his mismanagement…

        Time for new blood, that moves F1 to the kind of sport, where we can believe what we see on screen, as opposed to ending up with fake WDCs like Button and Kimi…

  8. Tarek says:

    I wonder if Mercedes are taking a long time to decide on a second driver because of the uncertainty surrounding Renault, which might give them the chance of signing Robert Kubica, should the French manufacturer quit the sport or sell the team. This would imply that Schumi is only Mercedes’ second choice, and that the team would only sign him if Kubica were not available.(Notice the irony?) But I have to say I’d love it if Michael were to come back, particularly if the Mercedes is a competitive car next year, which I think will be the case.

  9. Smellyden says:

    Talking about USF1, any new news about them or thier driver line up?

    1. Med says:

      http://www.youtube.com/user/BrianKerramba

      Quite alot of info on USF1 on his channel

  10. Dale says:

    Well if nothing else it gets F1 in the newspapers and provides interest to forums such as this.
    I hope he does come back as I would like to see his butt kicked by both Alonso and Hamilton and possibly Vettel and Button and even Massa *though I’d expect him to let him by if he saw him in his mirror ….
    I for one do hold sway that he was the greatest driver and super sportsman having watched his career in full with unblinkered eyes.

    1. Dale says:

      Should read ‘do not hold sway’ – Opps
      Had F1 been both governed fairly and had F1 been a sport the record books where MS is concerned would show several fewer wins and at least 3 less championships and maybe more.

      It upsets me that when simply looking at the records people come to the wrong conclusion that Schumi was the greatest ever F1 driver when most have never even heard the name Clark..

      1. John F says:

        Could it be that maybe you are just a tiny, tiny bit jealous that more people talk about Schumi than they talk about Clarke?

  11. Much as I would love to see the old master wheel to wheel again with the young guns of today I would hate for him to come back and not be the same as he was.

    Nice of Bernie to keepthis one going though as it retains interest in F1 during the closed season.

    1. KenN0898 says:

      Well I would hate for him to return,..as far a I am concerned F1 has had enough manufactured world driver champions

  12. CT says:

    James

    I’d have thought Dave Richards was a shoe in for the Renault gig (some down-the-road glamour with Aston Martin is surely a bonus?) but it seems not.

    Is there some bad blood between Bernie and Richards? Other than the BAR fuel-tank and the WRC adventure, I cannot think of any public spat between them.

    What can you say ?

    1. Dale says:

      Bernie, bad blood? No surely not, whatever next?
      If we’re not careful people will start saying that the governance of F1 has not always been fair……..love it!!

  13. monktonnik says:

    I agree that the longer this goes on the more it seems to be a possibility. Bernie is right, Schumacher would be the obvious choice even if only for the publicity of stealing him away from Ferrari.

    I think that Bernie is just stirring as usual though and creating some media interest for F1. Nothing wrong with that but he does seem to be quoted in at least one of the papers every week with some sort of comment that seems to come from the edge of the bat.

    Just imagine the racing though. Schumacher vs. Alonso vs. Hamilton vs. JB vs. Vettel and Webber. I daren’t hope it could be true.

  14. alex m says:

    James, did you also see the rumour that MS was very interested in coming back to replace Massa, but after driving the Ferrari, said no because the car was not too good ?

    No smoke without a fire, MS seems to have some of the fire still burning and may be less obsessed with maintaining his own excellent race statistics than some fans suggest.

    1. James Allen says:

      He drove a 2007 car, so would not have reached that conclusion.

      1. Uppili says:

        James,

        I think Alex is actually referring to the rumor that Michael actually did a short and secret test in the F60 and decided not to do the rest of the season saying it would damage his reputation….

        Can you confirm/deny this rumor?

      2. James Allen says:

        No. I’ve not heard that and no-one is saying it seriously, as far as I know

      3. Dom says:

        Out of interest James, do the FIA have a satalite pointing at Fiorano 24/7 :-)

    2. monktonnik says:

      Just re-reading “Edge of Greatness” and in particular the comments about MSC’s ability to drive around a difficult car. I would say that if Kimi was able to race and win, then Schumi wouldn’t have that concern. It was a difficult car, but was getting better by Hungary.

    3. TinyJim says:

      Schumacher has demonstrated his lack of care for his statistics. He goes races karts, gets beat by people on the so-called ‘first step of the ladder’ (which is rrroooobish), yet still returns for more. The man is a machine!

      If he has any shred of speed lift in his body he will be a huge hit at Mercedes GP.

  15. Ted the Mechanic says:

    The Michael Schumacher comeback story was the most exciting story of the 2009 season for me and I was very disappointed that the tumble that Schumi took from his motorcycle had put the kibosh on a sensational return to a Ferrari F1 cockpit.

    But when the story cropped up again after Jenson Button vacated his Silver Arrow seat I didn’t actually give the idea much credence. Writing it off as no more than a publicity stunt to swing attention back from McLaren as James suggested at the time. However it is interesting that the potent possibility persists with Bernie now stoking the fire.

    I wasn’t happy that he retired when he did and deprived us of what would have been a fabulous showdown with Lewis and Fernando in the McLarens.

    Despite the fact that 2010 promises much in the way of intrigue and excitement with the new teams, rules and most of the best drivers facing off in the best teams – a Schumi comeback would trump all that for me.

    I hope his neck has well and truly healed and that he decides to scratch his itch…

  16. Tom Adams says:

    Any thoughts on the two Lotus drivers james?
    Trulli and Villeneuve perhaps?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not sure on Villeneuve, they would like Trulli but I imagine he’s looking at established teams first

  17. Olivier says:

    Schumacher has nothing to loose. He will keep his composure, even in a not so good car. I bet he is going to have a great year with Ross Brawn and his team. And he will do a far much better job than (the overhyped) Kubica. I really do enjoy watching someone who is truly enjoying himself. And Michael is. He has NOTHING to prove.

    Pride and market value should not outweigh the genuine passion he still has for the sport. This will be his final chance to race. This is it. For Michael Schumacher.

    I do find it cruel however that Bernie is keeping hope alive :(

    okay, I am not going to get carried away about this … not going to get carried away about this …

  18. Phil H.A says:

    While I would like to see Schumi race again, I do think Germany is becoming over represented in F1

    Vettel
    Rosberg
    Hulkenberg
    Sutil
    Glock
    Heidfeld
    with Schumi making it 7

    Brazil is next with 3 drivers, and UK with 2.

    I’d prefer F1 not to be so dominated by one country.

    1. John F says:

      You should complain to the team bosses who hired all those Germans!

      There are a lot of other driver names in the open when it comes to open-wheel racing. There must be a good reson why so many of the German drivers made it into F1 and stay on.

    2. darren says:

      I can see you point, there are lots of German drivers at the moment. However F1 is about the best drivers in the world, not about their nationality, thats A1GP.

      Im a big Lewis fan but not because he’s British, but because he is great to watch and in my eyes the best on the current grid. Any new stars are great to see. Keep your eye on Hulkenburg and also the new Australian lad Ricciardo, he was well quick in testing. Looking forward to 2010, it is gonna be the best season for many many years. Enjoy!

  19. Boston F1 Fan says:

    - I would take anything Bernie Ecclestone says with a grain of salt. Remember how he pushed that “medals” rumor just to distract fans and the media from the other dramas taking place? Also, remember how at the start of this season he was sure that Mclaren were sandbagging during testing? Not a very reliable source.

  20. Peter says:

    I think it would make sense for Mercedes to get someone for a year only as many driver contracts will expire at the and of next year. So, MS for a year would not been a great risk but a huge PR success that would help to kick-off the new team. Also what that man would risk in terms of his reputation being 41 years old and going back into F1 for a year? Even if he doesn`t win thats fine.

  21. Alexx says:

    James, here is another one for the fire!

    What about Schumi to Ferrari and Massa to Mercedes GP!

    1. James Allen says:

      More chance of being struck by lightning!

  22. Luke Dalton says:

    I would love to see MS back (and Villeneuve if the rumours are true) it would mean 5 champions on the grid!
    but watching the Stephen Hendry vs Steve Davis snooker match yesterday, it would be awful to see a legend past his best competing and making regular amateur mistakes
    On the flip side though, he’s got nothing to prove and if it was done just for fun then why not?

  23. Nuno says:

    Michael was the best I and did love to see the tremendous job he did, together with Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and some other special people at Ferrari.

    By the end of 2005 I started to have mixed feelings about him. I really loved to watch him driving but at the same time I started thinking that he should leave. After all F1 is a quite dangerous job, and he had already done much more done than enough, he had (has) a family and a long life in front of him. I was happy when a knew he was leaving because I felt he was taking big risks for a very very long time. He was lucky, he achieved a lot with just one bad injury.

    In the end, I would prefer him to keep out of F1. Luck does not last forever.

  24. Werewolf says:

    Returning to F1 with Mercedes could be appealing for Schumacher for all sorts of reasons: his sports car ‘junior’ days, Ross Brawn, German patriotism, rescuing the team from the loss of Button (Rosberg and Heidfeld is not a super team) and, of course, the basic desire to compete again.

    At Ferrari, only Di Montezemolo is left at the top from his era and, with an Alonso era forecast, the ties maybe weakening.

    My feeling, though, is that the publicity is good for all parties and is being milked accordingly. I am curious to know, however, what Mercedes might be prepared to pay him!

  25. The Limit says:

    Until I see his backside in the car at the start of the parade lap in March, I have my doubts. It is not unlike Ecclestone to fan the flames of speculation, certainly concerning the most successful driver in F1 history. In the summer, alot was made of Michael’s return which reached a rather embarrassing conclusion.
    Personally, I think he should stay retired.

  26. " for sure " says:

    I hear Bernie was at a seance when Ayrton Senna put in an appearance. They’re only talking at this stage, but who knows?

  27. john says:

    James,your thoughts on the saga:do you believe there is a chance of MS going to race for Mercedes?

    1. James Allen says:

      I have to say I doubt it.

      1. Sam says:

        Hi James,

        I asked the same thing a few weeks ago and you have been consistent about it. I am just wandering why you think he doesn’t want to return.

        Does he want to drive again and compete in F1 for a season? “For Sure” not even a question.

        I think the only thing that is stopping him is “circumstanshions”.

        He probably knows what Ferrari are up to for the next season. He will access the car he will be driving and compare with Ferrari.

        If Mercedez GP produces a contender, I am sure he would.

        James, do you think Mercedez are far behind compare to Ferrari and Maclearan?

        I believe they put all their resources to win the last season championship.

      2. James Allen says:

        I think they may be fourth of the top four next year. They have a lot less people than they had when they built the Brawn 001. Merc engine is still a trumo card though. We’ll see what happens with engine parity later this week

  28. David Smith says:

    James.

    Hope your enjoying the winter break.

    2 Questions if you will.

    Why did Ferrari not offer Schumacher the chance to race in F1 in 2010 in replacement of Raikkonen after the whole world including Ferrari saw how disappointed he was having to abort the comeback. It would have been a good stop gap solution until Alonso came onboard in 2011 when he was originally signed from (Schumacher could have stayed longer if Massa moves on in 2011) I personally think if schumacher does return with mercedes its another own goal by ferrari.

    And the biggest move for 2010 that I would like to take place is you back in the commentary both for BBC – have they asked yet??

    Like to know regards

    1. James Allen says:

      Because Alonso was already committed. That’s been in the pipeline for some time.

  29. Rich C says:

    I’d love to see Schumi comeback but there *is such a thing as staying too long at the party!

    He should stay retired, his time has passed.

  30. The chances of Schuey coming back in a Mercedes are 0. Corinna won’t have it, Ferrari won’t have it and lastly, Schuey won’t have it. It’s nothing more than hype.

  31. Ginger says:

    #32 I’m afraid that you are right, it would be a nice xmas pressie though wouldn’t it?

    During his time MSC was just too good and overall bad for F1 but coming back now against 3 WDC and against Ferrari would have a certain theatre about it.

    We live in hope.

  32. Sebee says:

    Ralf, Ralf, Ralf!

    German. Won. Drove BMW Williams just fine.

    Plus, Schumi surely wants a championship for his Bro, no?

  33. Tim L says:

    …Funny thing he has already signed with his old bud ..Ross

  34. Suzy says:

    This is getting interesting! So far I thought it was just a good off-season rumour that we can chew on, but it seems to me now that it’s actually more than a rumour. First Speedweek.eu reports that Schumacher made a visit to Merc factory in Stuttgart on Tuesday. Have you heard anything about that, James?

    And now this interview with Nick Fry on Autosport. The fact he wouldn’t deny it. The fact that nobody, on either part, would deny it. It’s very telling and IMO it means they ARE negotiating! I mean, Schumacher is officially a Ferrari man now, so one would expect he would have already put an end to the rumours. Instead he just said “who knows?” in Brazil. Fry wouldn’t deny it either. He just says old WDCs coming back would be good for the sport. In F1 this usually means there IS something going on!

  35. Suzy says:

    Now, someone on Autosport’s forum claims, citing his “contact in Geneve”, that Schumi has singed a 1+1 year contract with Mercedes. I am wondering what your contacts are saying, James. :)

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