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Schumacher: “Ross called and I had to answer”
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Dec 2009   |  8:13 pm GMT  |  175 comments

Michael Schumacher has today confirmed his return to F1 and explained that the motivation was a human one; his old friend and colleague Ross Brawn needed him and he wanted to drive again after three years out of Formula 1.

His motivation in the summer was that Felipe Massa had been injured and Ferrari needed him. He said that it was hard to split with Ferrari after a relationship lasting since 1996, but Ross Brawn’s call was a powerful one. Getting close to that comeback made him realise how much he wanted to race in F1 again,

“The motivation I think is pretty straightforward – the call I got from Ross [Brawn] at the end of November concerning the chance in my hand to go racing,” he said. “Having this phone call from him, and the circumstances of Mercedes-Benz being involved as the owner, I felt great.”

Brawn approached Schumacher at the Abu Dhabi GP at the start of November but got in touch again when it became clear that Jenson Button might well defect to McLaren,

“In Abu Dhabi, when Ross asked me if I could imagine returning to F1, ” said Schumacher, “I felt that I wasn’t ready for it. But only two weeks later, when he called me once again, I realised that my old passion was returning. Suddenly I was on fire again. For me, the imagination to be back in a F1 car and to compete for the world championships is exciting and extremely inspiring.”

Schumacher said that he felt tired at the end of 2006, but has recharched his energy levels and believes he can go for the title next year. He has no doubts about his ability or motivation to take on the likes of Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel,

“I am absolutely confident on this one…when I got into a kart for the first time after my [motorcycle] crash I was straight away on the pace. I have to prove it in real terms, but going wheel-to-wheel with these guys will be thrilling and exciting. It is something I look for – and the great thing is to get support from the outside. They have no doubt about my ability, ” he said ominously.

As for the doubts many old hands in F1 have about his decision to put his hard earned reputation at risk with a comeback he said,
“I hope they will judge me on what we have done before – and I am going into this exercise with the same opinion. [Mercedes GP} is a team that has won both championships this year – and we have Mercedes as a strong partner. Our aim can only be to fight for the championship. There will be strong competition, as we have seen, but I am thrilled to be back into this one.”

Schumacher’s new Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg said that he was delighted to have the seven times champion alongside him, despite some harsh words from his father Keke about Schumacher in the past,
“It is fantastic that Michael is returning to Formula 1 and will be my team-mate at Mercedes GP,” said Rosberg. “It’s a great challenge for me to be up against one of the best drivers of all time.

“I’m sure that we will form a very strong partnership as he will have lost none of his speed. It is also great news for our sport and the fans.”

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175 Comments
  1. Cliff says:

    I’m now wandering if Keke Rosberg will applaud MS when he is atanding on the top step of podium. This appointmnet will now put Nico under pressure to perform. MS has a one year contract with the option of a second year, I wouldn’t bet against Vettel being tempted away from RBR in 2011.

  2. Dauné says:

    I thought it probably had a lot to do with Ross Brawn and his relationship with M.S.
    I don’t see it can do either of them any harm – it looks like a ‘win/win’ situation. Particularly for us – the fans of Formula One, and I am a 67 year old lady who has followed it since my Father took me to the very first F1 race in the UK in 1950! Used to listen on the radio – no TV then.
    Have a good Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

    1. Howard Hughes says:

      Happy xmas and 2010 to you too!

  3. Stu says:

    I think, overall, it’s a great thing for the sport in terms of the positive publicity it’ll bring in a year which has been full of controversy.

    But, I do wonder two things.

    A) Who is no1 driver at Mercedes? Rosberg who is going to be around for the long haul, or Schumacher the infinitely more experienced.

    B) Will it damage Schumacher’s legacy? I’m thinking Mansell coming back to F1 with McClaren in 1995 and being so far off the pace it was a joke.

    1. James Allen says:

      It was but he did come back and win Adelaide 94 and people don’t think of McLaren 95 they think of his great days in the late 1980s and in 1992.

      1. Ted the Mechanic says:

        You’re right James. What I remember about Mansell are his fearless heroic drives either leading or chasing Senna, Prost or Piquet. The 1995 McLaren didn’t fit Mansell and it was also a bit of a pig. It was just a blip on the landscape of his sterling F1 career.

        Just like Jerez ’97 and Rascasse-Gate were merely blips on Schumi’s fabulous CV.

        However I’m confident (just like Schumi is) that he will not disappoint in 2010 and will create many more magic moments to enhance the legend.

    2. jose says:

      mansell was unluky to be driving in an era, where there was the hardest competition in the history of the sport. Otherwise he would have one or two more titles.
      Now schumi has the most talented competitors, he has ever being agasinst. And they are twenty years younger. If he can beat them, people would have to start thinking seriously that he was better than senna. If there is someone who still have any doubts.

      1. Michael C says:

        its certainly true that Alonso Hamilton and Vettel will be a good barometer for Michael – look forward to it tremendously – happy christmas everybody and here’s to great F1 in 2010

  4. Tom Adams says:

    All we need is Villenueve back at Renault and ill be a happy camper, what you think the chances of that happening are James?

    1. Rob says:

      Same chance as the return of Ralf Schumacher.

    2. Tonksy says:

      I seriously can’t see that happening, but would be interesting if he did – 5 former champs on the grid at once!

    3. Spyros says:

      And don’t forget Hakkinnen in a McLaren…

      Wait, where would Mansell be?

    4. jose says:

      he wasn’t on the pace when he left.
      His return would be more like alan jones, no the lauda kind. Let’s remember him for his overtaking on schumacher at jerez. First class.

  5. Thomas says:

    Let’s hope for Nico’s sake that he is wrong. According to Ed Gorman, Schumacher was more than 0.5s faster than Felipe on average over the course of 2006. And while I rate Roseberg highly, I don’t think he is at Massa’s level.

    Keke said it all: “No Comment”.

    And regarding Michael back in action. Chrismas came early this year!!:D

    1. Hephaestus says:

      Back in 2006, Felipe Massa wasn’t as good as he is now. He grew more confident over the battle he had with Lewis Hamilton coupled with the fact that for the 1st time in his career, he had been promoted as team leader.
      Rosberg will be under less pressure which is ideal for him as he won’t be the one under the spotlight.

      1. jose says:

        he is under a lot of pressure. He better starts in front of schumacher, otherwise not even being german will help him.

    2. Spark says:

      Looking 2006 as a whole and compare Massa with Schumacher is somewhat misleading. In the first half of the season Felipe showed his ability at times, but most of the times he was overdriving the car.

      Then in the second half of the season, Rob Smedley found a way to coach Felipe in a way that still works superbly. Suddenly Felipe reeled in the podiums and victories and was probably Schumachers closest teammate in terms of speed he has ever had.

  6. Bruce says:

    You little ripper – what a year it’ll be…

  7. Attila Takos says:

    What do you think, James, will Nico get the equal equipment to beat Michael? :)

      1. Brace says:

        Of course Not, or Of course Yes? :)

      2. rdw says:

        Why? Schumacher has never allowed it before so why would this year be any different?

        Schumacher has much to lose by even just being competitive let alone dominant. If he get’s his ass handed to him by Ferrari and McLaren let alone not able to destroy Nico he loses. Schumacher has NEVER allowed chance to dictate his public persona (mythology?) so why would he now, at the end, jump in and just hope that he can beat Nico. He will be supported in every way to dominate Nico so that Mercedes can reap long term PR value from his ascociation.

        Do we all really belive that Schumacher will just go back to being a “consultant” for Ferrari after he’s had his fling? No way. He’ll be eyeing a long term future at Mercedes (as will Mercedes) and the first step in that is Mercedes ensuring that they are not the team that Schumacher sucked in, when he never has before.

        …’cause then, it must be the car right?

      3. Sam says:

        Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about.

        First of all, let me point out that there is a difference between team orders and having a better equipment.

        NONE of his teammates have complained about having inferior equipment.
        They complained about the fact that the team favored Schumi. WHY? Because he has higher chance of winning championships which is part of Formula One.
        But don’t forget one thing tho. There is a reason why teams favor one driver over another. Lewis was favored. MS was favored. It’s a simple logic. No driver can politically “slow down” his teammate.

      4. rdw says:

        That’s an interesting post, Sam. You start by saying that I have no ide what I’m talking about and then claim that, and I quote,

        “There is a reason why teams favor one driver over another. Lewis was favored. MS was favored.”

        Looks like we agree completely, Schumacher was favoured by his previous teams.

        More so, by the very man who he will be working for now. Yet somehow, now it will be different?

        Yeah, right.

        Just as an aside, and only because you brought it up, there have been numerous suggestions by Irvine and Barrichello as to problems in availabilty of data and time at Ferrari. I am afraid that we disagree if you do not include those aspects of racing as being part of the “equipment”.

      5. jose says:

        at least at the start. After that, he would have to be on the same pace at least to schumacher, otherwise brown would focus on michael, like he did at ferrari.

  8. N. Weingart says:

    Now Rosberg will be challenged to meet the high standards of Barrichello, lucky boy.

  9. Zobra Wambleska says:

    It will be fascinating to see Michael back on track. Will this make Nico a number two in the usual Schumacher style? I doubt that Michael has lost any of his driving skills, but can only hope that his less desirable “sportsmanship” qualities have gone.

  10. Maria Felix says:

    Funny Nico Rosberg can tow the party line well but his father can’t. All he said was ‘no comment’.

    One can understand that reaction as Nico will be a clear number 2. There is no point in spinning it trying to say this time it will be different or how Mercedes is different from Ferrari bla bla bla.

    Schumacher is returning because of the only prime factor, he is atmost trust in Ross Brawn.

    1. Neil Williams says:

      Keke is not paid by Mercedes and doesn’t have to play the party line. he’s seen what was a top move for his son, the logical step-up from a solid upper midfield team to a winning one, somewhat scuppered. Nico’s stock will be very high if he can match and occasionally beat the ‘more mature’ Schumacher. Again it’s one of those things we need to wait until 2010 to find out. Can’t wait!

      1. Maria Felix says:

        That is exactly the point. Nico wont be in a position to do it. Rubens matched and beat Schumacher on many occasions. And more importantly was even asked to hold station or move over for Michael for the championship. Rubens’s stock didn’t improve or fall it was static, so will Nico’s.

        Ross Brawn will have it that way. They will place all their eggs in the Schumacher basket now. Schumacher wont be returning unless he can be sure the project can work, and it can only work for him when the team is centred around him.

        Not great for the sporting point of view or driver equality but it worked for Ross and Schumacher very well in the past. Tried and proven strategy.

    2. K.K. says:

      I don’t know where Keke said “no comment”. In Finnish media there’s an interview with him, about Schumacher joining the Mercedes and what it means to Nico Rosberg.

      Basically Keke said that he believes that Brawn will not make Nico as 2nd driver and that Nico just has to push hard. And that Schumacher comeback will be harder now with testing ban but he believes he has the skills left.

      1. Ted the Mechanic says:

        Hey, that is nice to hear. I hope they continue to treat this as a golden opportunity that will pay dividends for them if they handle it correctly.

        We don’t need another Nelson and ho soap opera and I think the Rosbergs are smart enough to realise the damage that would do them.

  11. betty hiam says:

    it’s a privilege,win or not, to watch someone of this calibre. He’s not just a driver, he’s a racer. Go thrash ‘em all, Michael!

  12. Graeme says:

    I can’t help wonder that Ferrari called Alonso in a year earlier that they are kicking themselves that they never used Michael. Or is the failure for MS to race after Massa’s accident and not wanting another PR disaster. Or is Ross Brawn a the reason and without Ross, he knows Ferrari is a weaker team?

  13. Pat says:

    Ross Brawn has proven he doesn’t need Schumacher to win a title – doesn’t look like Schumacher has the nuts or (if you believe the conspiracy theories that he used his neck as an excuse not to jump into the dog of a Ferrari last year) the neck to prove he doesn’t need Ross Brawn to win one

  14. Conor mclarnon says:

    Schumi coming back for me is good and bad. He and Ferrari got me into f1 and now he is coming back it great to c him going up against the hamiltons vettels and kubicas of this world but sad to see him winning for someone other than the prancing horse. As a huge Ferrari fan I hope we c alonso and schumi renew their epic battles from 06 only this time with Ferrari coming out on top. Can wait till middle of march next year. What a prospect

  15. Nikko2 says:

    Brilliant! Next year will be amazing. Schumacher, Hamilton, Alonso and Button wheel to wheel.

    There are 11 WD Championships in those 3 teams.

    Schumacher given a car anywhere near the pace could do it next year. He is not likely to lose many points to his team mate as Hamilton and Alonso are likely to.

    Roll on 2010

    1. Nick D says:

      That’s a good point. And Schumacher is about as consistant as a driver can get..

    2. Luke Robbins says:

      really good point.

      In theory, such an amazing season to come.

      Merc, Red bull, mclaren and ferrari.

      the thing is, when is there ever a 4 team championship battle? Usually its 2, maybe 3 max.

      I cant see MS/NR , SV/MW , LH/JB , FA/FM all having good enough machines to win the title.

      We will probably see 2 teams going for it with a max of 3 drivers going for it as 1 of them always gets bad luck or is just rubbish for a bit.

      I dearly hope im wrong and we have a 4 team, 8 driver title fight!!!!

  16. Howard Hughes says:

    Translation Machine Results just in:

    “It is fantastic that Michael is returning to Formula 1 and will be my team-mate at Mercedes GP,” said Rosberg. “It’s a great challenge for me to be up against one of the best drivers of all time.

    “I’m sure that we will form a very strong partnership as he will have lost none of his speed. It is also great news for our sport and the fans.”

    Translation:

    “Who the hell allowed Michael to return to Formula 1 to be my team-mate at Mercedes GP??!!!” screamed Rosberg. “It’s hard enough for me to shine without being up against one of the best *&^$%&***ing drivers of all time!!!!

    “If he’s lost none of his speed I’m beyond screwed – it won’t be a partnership, it’ll be a massacre! This is terrible news for my financial adviser, merchanding licensee, manager, dad and my 300 fans!!!”

    1. jose says:

      amen to that

    2. Antoine says:

      funny………..

  17. q says:

    The end of Rosberg’s career.

    1. jose says:

      not yet. remember he is german, and that helps a lot. Being from peru, he would have been out a while ago.

  18. john says:

    I have to say first thing to do is restore full credit to Eddie Jordan for his exact prediction.
    He´ll be back on the BBC next season then.

    1. Aaron James says:

      Eddie Jordan is an absolute legend and the gang of him, jake and DC has had me in fits of laughter this season.

      You couldnt have found 3 more mismatched people in terms of appearance- but they are awesome together!

      Shame no commentating for JA but then there is this!

    2. Ross Dixon says:

      Whats that saying about blind squirrels!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Nostradamus says:

      How can it be a prediction when all he did was read a published newspaper article and then regurgitate it in front of the television cameras?

      Using this new fangled method of “prediction”, I can now confidently tell you there’ll be two world wars in the 20th Century, ’911′, the floods at Bosworth and Flavio Briatore will be banned from F1 in 2009.

  19. Jeremy says:

    This is exciting news for F1 and for the fans, much less for Rosberg. This was his chance to shine and have a shot at the title. To be a #1 driver. The car, the team, the engine, the entire package was on a silver pointed plater and now all of this chance is swiftly taken from under his nose. I’m sure Michael isn’t going to give him the go ahead to take the lead. The pressure on Rosberg will be intense to say the least. I bet daddy isn’t too happy about this either.

    Smooth move Ross!

    1. Thomas says:

      Was thinking just the same thing. Rosberg, an unproven talent so far, had finally made it.

      Then he got the news that Schumi would be his partner…

      1. jose says:

        now he has the chance to pove himself against one of the best.
        He is in a lose-lose situation. If he beats schumacher, people would says, the kaiser is 41. If he is bitten, he won’t have anywhere to hide.
        James would be interesting to hear patrick head take on the schumacher-rosberg situation.

  20. Craig says:

    Great news and just what F1 needed if u ask me.
    Can’t wait to see Lewis, Alonso, Vettel racing against Schumachar. Should be a great season. I do think it’s a big risk on Schumachars part though as it may not be business as usual but we’ll see.

  21. Simon says:

    schumacher will be just as fast as before but it will not be the same watching him race for mercedes and i will always see him as a ferrari driver.

    james do you know if ferrari were considering putting alonso off for a year to let schmuacher race.

    1. rossetto says:

      For all the love for Schumacher, I would take a “cold” decision and never put Alonso aside for anybody else.
      in 2006 Alonso showed to be more than a match for Schumacher. As today Alonso may simply be a better bet.

      1. Schumiisback says:

        True to some extent, but Lewis hamilton was also much more than a match for Alonso in his debut season.

      2. Jomy John says:

        Alonso never beat Michael in a fair fight. There was a massive difference between the Michelins and Bridgestone tyres. Its only in the latter stages of the championship that Bridgestone matched Michelins. To top that: The Michelins had the best Wet tyre option. Despite that, Michael won the race at China – which was as fair a fight as you could get that season. Alonso didnt beat Schumi… The Michelins beat Bridgestone!

      3. jose says:

        Don’t forget the fia tried to help ferrari in 2006, and banned the inertial shock absorver in the middle of the season, and took renault a few races to get their act together. And what happened at monza, was a big shame. Alonso being punished with no reason.
        You may don’t like alonso, but the fact is that he beat ferrari-schumacher fair and square.

      4. Bond007 says:

        @Jomy John,

        you may be hating alonso, but it doesn’t mean Alonso dint beat schumi. One cannot ignore that schumi overtook alonso in china in WDC. so, one must agree that both have equally benefited from advantages of their respective cars. So, by end of the season alonso won WDC fair n square.

        Actually, we can forget all these. For whatever reason end of the day who ever accumulates more points is the WINNER. For what ever reasons being blah blah blah …. It doesn’t matter. if everything is perfect n fast even u and me can win be WDC’s :P …. thats why they are World champs … hope u get this…

  22. rpaco says:

    Well we may yet get to see Schumi and Lewis banging wheels, with Kobi climbing over their backs.
    Still think it’s a mistake for Schumi but time will tell.

    1. Luke Robbins says:

      kobi will be getting lapped in his sauber mate….

  23. Dale says:

    Rosberg must be hating every second of this Schumacher show, bet he’s thinking I wish I’d stayed at Williams :!:

    Watch out in 2010 for dodgy decisions going against Schumacher’s competitors, if I’m proved right F1 as a who doesn’t stand for it.

    If, and it’s a big if Schumacher is good enough to mix it with Hamilton, Alonso and possibly Vettel make he do so with EQUAL treatment by the rule benders (makers) :)

  24. michael grievson says:

    I never likedschumacher but since he left I’ve come to admire his skill. This will be a great oportunity for rosberg to learn from the greatest racer of all time

  25. Frenchie says:

    “Could the owner of the Mercedes parked in La Racasse please comeback to move it?

    Mr Alonso is on a flying Q3 lap.

    Thank you”

    Welcome back Shumi! I look forward to reading racing related controversies instead of Mernie Ecclesley ones next year.

    James – does Michael’s return mean you will update your book The Edge Of Greatness? I guess it’s good news for your blog and F1 overall.

    1. James Allen says:

      It is good news, you are right. I’m sure it will mean an update to the book

      1. Sam says:

        James I think it is the best Schumi book I have ever read.
        Congratulations for that. There was a bit of an artistic touch to it which makes it like a movie that displays journey of a man.

        I predict that the title of your next book is 8th world championship “The unfinished business”.

  26. WALLY says:

    HA-HA Rosbergs comments must have been prepared for him by his lawyers.
    The reality is that Nico has got to learn ,very quickly, to bend over , touch his toes and kiss goodbye to his a$$.

  27. Obi-Wan Oakley says:

    I was looking forward to the 2010 season already but the confirmation today that Schuey is returning has topped it off. Can’t wait to see how he measures up against “the young guns” even though i now have didvided loyalties (BIG JB fan also). Great work on the blog James, have been a “lurker” for the past 7-8 months & this is the 1st time i have commented & just want to say keep up the good work & would love to have you back in the commentary box in 2010.

  28. andyinlz says:

    Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be a prank call!

    But now the dilemma: Who to root for in 2010? Ferrari or Schumacher?

    Still, a nice problem to have!

  29. Steve says:

    I expect that Maclaren will have RAF roundels on their wing end plates, in the new England V Germany contest next year!!

  30. Garrett Bruce says:

    Only time will tell and let’s hope he has become a true sportsman in the last three years so this new opportunity can only serve to enhance the history.

  31. Q says:

    I’m really interested what you think about this though James. You were always a bit of a Schumi fanboy when commentating, if we are being honest, so surely you are bouncing on the sofa and doing cartwheels now?

    Or do you worry he is going to tarnish his reputation with this?

    Manu thanks.

  32. Rob says:

    Hmm,I wonder what will happen to Rosberg if Schumacher dominates him, I see a return to Williams looming possibly.

  33. swayze says:

    Interesting that he was approached before Button signed for McLaren.Makes you wonder if Button was aware of the approach.

    1. Michael Wilcox says:

      Ross Brawn has been on record as saying that he began to approach Schumacher “when things started to become difficult with Jenson” or words to that effect.

  34. Jerome says:

    Hi James,

    now that we know the drivers for the main teams next year it is clear it will be hard to pick a clear favourite for the tittle.

    Based on what we know in terms of last year car performance and that relTively little changes in design, do you think the favourites ar red bull and mclaren or do you think mercedes and ferarri are truly in the hunt?

    Dare I say
    my top 5 is
    vettel (consistency and progress pay off)
    Hamilton (Jenson is just not in same level)
    alonso (has proven with half a decent car to convert into points)
    shumi (it will take too long to get properly going)
    button (the car will be good enough but they won’t let him win)

    anyone else dare a top 5?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think the top four teams last year will be the same next year but probably in a different order. Three of them have been beefed up driver wise since this season, so I think it will be a great battle. Too early to call a top five until the new cars start testing

      1. Jake Pattison says:

        Yeah, too early for any guessing I reckon James. All we can do now is sit back in anticipation of a great year’s racing ahead of us. Schumi will have more than a few people worried, and this can only be a good thing.

      2. Kakashi says:

        would be great if you could shed some light on the upcoming testing as I struggled to understand much with regards to the relative car performances in tests last season( may b due to my not so much knowledge about F1 )
        looking forward to a great JA blog in 2010

      3. James Allen says:

        I will, don’t worry

      4. Dale says:

        If Mclaren give Hamilton at least an equal performing car to the others my money’s on him 8)

      5. Luke Robbins says:

        is MS/NR better than JB/RB (ie ‘beefing up’ i presume you mean ‘making better’).

        I really dont think it is. Most experienced driver in f1 RB and JB was in sensational form. Rosberg unproven and although MS is a legend (no doubt) there must be at least a little niggle about this comeback?

  35. mael says:

    Well if I was Nick Fry I would be thinking about where I might be in a few years time.

    I predict Schumacher will replace Fry in 2012 after Merc seal a deal to get Vettel.

    Poor Nico, his one real chance to be a central figure in F1 and the greatest pairing in modern F1 history are reunited in his own garage.

    Merry Christmas to everyone, I have my copy of James book to keep me occupied over the holidays and I look forward to reading all of your posts next year.

    1. Dale says:

      So many people seem to have it in for Fry, don’t understand it :?:
      The guy was a great asset to Richards at Prodrive and during his time in F1 his team have won the championship :?:

  36. Jerome says:

    Also let’s not forget who runs the FIA now! Not so sure mr todt will want to see merc doing a ferarri with brawn and shumi without him. In that sense it might be Italy vs England vs Germany (oh but what about the French). Hmm, guess it’s turning into A1GP but at a decent level! Wonder if mr. E will really be pleased about that…

    1. Dale says:

      Yep, the world will be watching :!:
      I hope we avoid any more dodgy FIA decisions in favour of Schumacher 9)

  37. Jake Pattison says:

    I bet Alonso is choking on his paella right about now. :D

    1. jose says:

      he beat him in 2006, . I don’t think he is loosing any sleep.
      You need to beat the best to be considered a great.
      We’ll see who comes on top.

  38. Lee Grant says:

    This is wonderful.

    Schumacher vs Alonso vs Hamilton.

    I’ve not been these giddy about F1 for a long long time.

    1. Dale says:

      Add Vettel to the mix and it gets better (poor Button and Massa) 1)

      1. Lee Grant says:

        True – I’d forgotten about Vettel…this just gets better!

  39. Michael says:

    Schumi’s deal with Mercedes > Danica Patrick’s partial deal with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s NASCAR Nationwide Series effort.

    Yes, I am from the U.S., thank you.

    1. Dale says:

      4) Who cares about NASCAR :?:

      1. jose says:

        rednecks

      2. guy says:

        indeed. nascar blows.

  40. Jerome says:

    But have you forgotten who was the only driver that beat shumi and effecively drove him to retire? In fact alonso is the only guy sleeping sound, think Hamilton and vettel will be under much more presure now

  41. i used to dislike MS because of his arrogance, he didn’t seem to have any personality and seemed very up himself”. Towards the end though he dropped his persona and the real MS started to show emotions and when he retired i felt genuinly gutted. I think murray sumed it up perfectly in his autobiography explaining the constants demands on him and the pressure. Three years later i get to see the master back in the sport and i still think he can dominate…. fantastic

  42. Richard Craig says:

    James, love your site and really enjoyed the book – thanks for taking the time to sign it!

    As a rabid F1 fan, I am delighted to see how one of the most talented F1 drivers of all time fares against the next generation (even though I cannot stand MSC as a person due to his lack of sportsmanship). I am gutted for Rosberg, though – he must be going around with a face like his dog ate his winning lottery ticket! Hopefully, over time, Schumacher can do for Rosberg what he did for Massa in terms of mentoring. As for next year, I can’t help but think Rosberg will be adopting the “Barichello position”…

    1. Dale says:

      Bet Rosberg wouldn’t have signed if he’d know who his teammate would end up being 5)

  43. Colm says:

    Well, It’s not April 1st, so this must actually be happening.

    He must be either out to enjoy himself, or very confident in Mercedes to deliver next year.

    I wonder if they have anything up their sleeve?

    1. Dale says:

      Yeah, watch out for the reliability of the McLaren engines :!:
      The money men won’t be happy unless Schumacher wins another championship by whatever means :!: 6)

  44. Eric says:

    I think Hamilton will be over the moon to be able to race against Schumi. It must be a dream come true. There’s going to be some maniacal driving this year if the manufacturers can get competitive cars on the track.

    1. Dale says:

      Poor Button, nobody gives him a mention, proves what we all know to be true namely Hamilton IS the man to beat 8)

  45. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Here we go. School is IN.

  46. Paul says:

    I think in terms of team line-ups, this has to be potentially one of the most exciting season this decade. Schumacher and rosberg is a brilliant line- up, and it’s going to be really amazing to watch Team Deutschland fighting with the Mercedes powered Brits in the Mclarens. Alonso in a Ferrari is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and we’ve also got some great rookies in – kobyoshi and hulkenberg in particular, and I’m hoping that Rubens will help bring Williams a bit further up the grid. Shame kimi won’t be joining the party but still should be a great season! Who’s your tip for WDC 2010 James? I’m thinking Lewis or Alonso.

    1. Dale says:

      Agree except for the Williams part, sadly they’re a spent force and will in the end go the same way as Tyrell :)

  47. Rusty0256 says:

    I bet Rubens is pleased he didn’t stay on at ‘Brawn’ or it would have been a case of de ja vu all over again.

  48. Ben says:

    People keep saying this is a disaster for Nico. I’m not so sure. Schumi knows he’s on limited time, and I’m sure the team dynamic will be different to when he used to ‘own’ Ferrari.

    I’m seeing this as a positive for Nico. He has masses of potential, and its probably fair to say he hasn’t always shown it. Here is an opportunity for him to learn from the best. I fully expect Schumi to act as a mentor for Nico, and Nico will be able to develop so much as a driver from that. Look at how Massa has come along from having Schumi alongside him. Nico will be the same. He will be able to compare, watch, and learn from one of the all-time masters. This is exactly what he needs, and in a few years I’m sure we’ll see Nico having developed into a really fantastic driver.

    1. Ted I says:

      Well said. If Nico is 1/2 the man and talent some people think he is, he will rise to and welcome the challenge and the development potential. He’ll be around long after Schumi is out of the car, so in the long run, Nico will be fine if he keeps his wits about him.

  49. F1 Kitteh says:

    Do you think Nico has the EQ to play ball and absorb as much as he can like Massa? or play hardball like Rubens/Kimi/Irvine.. etc … Or maybe he is he back on the phone with Frank again

    1. Brace says:

      It’s IQ :)

  50. Andrew Woodruff says:

    Yeah – slightly annoying that! Why isn’t James Allen signed up to the beeb… James?

  51. Sam says:

    8am in the office, I felt like jump out of my seat and running around like a 10 years old kid.

    Michael Schumacher is one of those guys that come along once in a life time and it would be a privilege watch him racing again.

  52. Jameson says:

    Fans of Schumacher:

    The good news is that Schumacher is racing again, and the bad news is that you will look silly in red while swooning.

    Fans of everyone else:

    The bad news is that Schumacer is racing again, and the good news is that there are still two places left on the podium.

  53. RON says:

    After the last few years of fake WDCs – it’s refreshing to know, we can finally see true talent go wheel to wheel…

    Hamilton vs Schumacher is the dream ticket…

    The rest are just hype, and will prove it beyond doubt in 2010…

    MS back is the best thing that has happened to F1…

    Things are improving by the second, after the demise of Max Mosely… good riddance to the old fool.

    1. Bruce Wayne says:

      “The rest are just hype, and will prove it beyond doubt in 2010…”

      Regardless of what you “think”, Alonso is one of the best drivers in F1, by any measure.

      This will be proven in a manner you cannot ignore, in
      the coming season.

      1. RON says:

        Alonso wil fair no better then Kimi – I suspect Massa may get the better of him too…

        Massa may be .5 sec a lap slower then Michael, but he should be fast enough for Alonso…

        In fact, I predict Ferrari may get no wins this season with a combination of average drivers and a badly developed car (mainly thanks to Kimi)…

  54. CJ says:

    So, “He has no doubts about his ability or motivation to take on the likes of Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel,” – interesting! I’ve been called cynical before on this blog (and many other things elsewhere !!) but wasn’t it JB who won the drivers championship?
    And incidentally wasn’t it Brawn GP who won the constructors championship ? They may be Mercedes now, and good luck to them, but Brawn won in 2009. It seems that the PR launch of the MS return is trying to rewrite recent history. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of Hamilton vs Button at Mclaren IS exciting, as is the idea of Schumacher in the mix (albeit not in a Ferrari), and Alonso will be under a lot of pressure to prove his worth with the prancing horse.
    It’s just that everyone seems to discount JB for 2010, despite being the current World Champion. My money’s on Hamilton too, for what it’s worth, MS is about to embarass himself and Alonso will never master the Ferrari. You read it here first!!

    1. Dale says:

      Alonso for certain will need to be ahead of Massa from the start or the knives will be out :!:
      Rosberg though is the one most under pressure as he’s in the same car, bet he’s not sleeping to well at the moment :lol:

  55. David Hamilton says:

    I hope Michael apologises to Nick Heidfeld for stealing the one chance that Nick’s ever had of getting a drive in a really competitive car. After all, it’s not like Michael actually NEEDS to do this, is it?

    Albert King had a blues song that pretty much sums up Nick’s breaks in Formula One: “If I didn’t have no bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all…”.

    (And to for those who’s instinct is to retort that Nick wouldn’t have been a winner in the Mercedes, the obvious reply is: Well, we’ll never find out now, thanks to MS, will we?)

    1. Lewis Jones says:

      Good point, I have always thought that Nick is one of the unsung heroes of the grid and I think he would have shown Rosberg a clean pair of heals. Guess he’ll just have to hope Peter Sauber can do a better job with the 2010 car than BMW’s might did in 2009.

  56. Andrew Jackling says:

    James, can you confirm whether the Schumacher deal is three years or one? Many websites seem to be reporting differently on that.

    1. James Allen says:

      Sounds like it is three years, but not sure how many of them are options

  57. Atoine says:

    “…He has no doubts about his ability or motivation to take on the likes of Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel”

    James you don’t rate button very high do you? But you did put him no1 driver of the year.

    1. James Allen says:

      Well he has already take on Button, hasn’t he? In 2004 he had some positive things to say about Jenson, who often followed him home. Alonso has matured since they last raced and he’s never raced Hamilton and Vettel. I think those last two are the battles everyone is looking to see, am I wrong?

      1. Jake Pattison says:

        No James, you’re not wrong. But I, for one, am also looking forward to him battling Button (again) and Webber (who I think will be stronger this year).

        It almost feels at this early stage that its the entire field against Schumi, and yet the season is far from starting.

      2. Sam says:

        I don’t understand why all the fans expect one journalist to mention their favorite driver.

        In general, Button is not a concern for majority. English men, journalists supported him and happy that he won. But deep down inside, they know he is no match to the other top 4 or 5 drivers.

      3. adam says:

        In 2004 Button scored more points than Schumacher in the second half of the season.
        If he can do that again he is certainly in with a chance of defending his title. The problem is his team-mate will be taking points of him whereas schumacher is up against a man who has never won a F1 race.

      4. Jeremy says:

        2004 was Jenson’s best year before his title and it seems everyone has forgotten how well he raced behind the dominant F2004 Ferrari.
        He finished 3rd in the WDC with 85 points, well ahead of the 4th position Alonso with 59 points.

        Jenson in a good car will give a tremendous fight to both Lewis, Vettel, Schumi et al.

        Look out for Jenson in 2010. He has even more to prove this year to retain his title and up against Lewis in the same machinery.

      5. Dragon Age says:

        Not everybody so you are wrong.

  58. DK says:

    I am no great fan of MS, but I think is good news for the sport. 2010 is shaping up like a crossover of F1, A1GP and the battle of champs and should offer loads of excitement next year. How I wish Kimi is there too.

    James, thank you for a great blog this year. I have been following your verdicts on ITV-F1 site in the past and now this site has offered even more insightful analysis and great comments from the reader. I have learnt a lot about F1 and its history while enjoying the reading. This is simply the best and most professional.

    Merry christmas to you and all the readers here.

    1. James Allen says:

      THanks for that and Merry Christmas to you

  59. KNF says:

    I’m wondering which race engineer will be paired with Schumacher, since Rosberg signed first, is Andrew Shovlin going to partner him? Can’t imagine Jock Clear being willing to work with Schumacher after that incident at Jerez in 1997…

    1. Attila Takos says:

      I’ve heard some rumours that Chris Dyer, Schumi’s former race engineer, could join to Mercedes. But I know so he is higher up at Ferrari now, so I’m not sure if he would join to Mercedes. And yeah, Clear is paired up with Rosberg, so Andrew Shovlin, and the former Button’s team will get Schumacher. :)

  60. monktonnik says:

    Well, speaking as a Schumacher fan, I for one don’t know how I feel about this.

    Obviously I am delighted that he will be racing again, and apparently in a competitive car with fierce competition from 3 teams (possibly) and 7 other drivers. I have know doubt that MSC will be back on the pace and probably in with a shot at winning races if not more.

    On the downside I think that it is a real shame that he has severed his working relationship with Ferrari. They are arguably 2 of the most powerful brands in motor sport and moving away to a different car company takes some of the shine off the brand image (although not the man himself). I think if it was Brawn GP still I would feel different.

    Obviously one has to feel sorry for Rosberg. It would have been a stern test to go up against JB. When he is on form he is untouchable and I think Nico would have struggled. But Schumacher is a completely different class. Whatever you think about team orders etc etc he has absolutely destroyed every team mate he has had because his initial speed is unbeatable. I think that Nico is going to have his head done in very quickly.

    Lastly, I believe that support for a driver or team should be a long term thing. I supported Schumacher because he went to Ferrari, and when Button emerged I vowed to support him once Schumacher retired. I now have a real dilemma; I suppose it will have to be a Button t-shirt and a Schumacher cap!

  61. Crid [CridComment @ gmail] says:

    Graeme’s comment of December 23rd, 2009 @ 8:51 pm is full of unsubstantiated innuendo, baseless suspicion, and bitter snark…

    … And I’m REALLY glad he posted it!

  62. Cakes says:

    Schumacher: “Ross called and I had to answer”

    No you didnt.
    You have to take in nourishment, expel waste, and inhale enough oxygen to keep your cells from dying. Everything else is optional.

    1. caurse says:

      Oooh yes he has. It’s a matter of life and death.

  63. I’m a great fan of Michael Schumacher, Kimi and Lewis. I’ll be missing Kimi next year. For me next year, it’s mouth watering to watch 2 of my fav. competing and that too with the same Mercedes engines. I would be jumping with joy when either of them wins the championship and yes they will definetly.

    In 2006 Michael Schumacher was pushed into retirement and in 2009 Kimi was pushed into WRC by Ferrari. I’m a McLaren/Mercedes fan. I’m not against Ferrari fans but you all Ferrari fans think once about the wrong judgment of your team. In your Ferrari I would like Massa to be ahead of Alonso. When is March 2010 going to come? Waiting…….

    1. Dale says:

      Kimi was never the same once he left McLaren, I for one won’t miss him ;(

  64. Foobar says:

    It’s a shame Räikkönen isn’t on grid anymore…

    Think of the line up with Schumacher, Räikkönen, Massa, Alonso, Hamilton and Button with challengers like Vettel, Rosberg…

    That would’ve been Formula 1 squared!

    1. Silverstoned says:

      Absolutely. May happen 2011.

    2. John F says:

      I honestly do not think that Kimi will come back to F1. His latest comments clearly showed that he lost interest and passion for F1.

      And with the current driver line-up, I for once won’t really miss him.

  65. Zvonimir says:

    Well, apart of truly incredible amount of egoism and expectation of what he believes is playing-safe-comeback in the true spirit of Prost’s comeback in 1993., I would bet the real and final call came from fellow past and present drivers via Autosport article proclaiming Senna the all time No.1! He certainly had to do something to redress this at all cost!

  66. Dale says:

    Let’s hope that as part of the deal with Mercedes Schumacher becomes available to all the media rather than just the German station he had a deal with last time round.

    As the racing is all too often just boring it’s the fill in shows that make it worth watching and a big part of this is the drivers intput so I hope he’s a free with his time as the likes of Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Button to name a few (Webber’s always worth listening to as is Massa) :0

    1. Freespeech says:

      100% agree with what you say here, who knows it may even happen :)

  67. Ronnie Stone says:

    Anyone up for a Christmas Conspiracy Theory?
    What if, Shumi was really good at the Ferrari test, but then, being clever, stopped to think about returning to win simply as a favour, so hammed up the neck thing to buy time to consider? Accepting that, maybe Ross sounded him out at that point as he may already have had talks with the Daimler people about buying into Brawn & they needed a ‘star driver’ to come on board, shumi being the traget? If Jens knew this and suspected his services wern’t required in 2010, it may have contributed to his off mid season and Rubens has already stated his Williams deal was done 2 months before the end of the season. He’d never want to be with Shumi again and has stated this often, almost in tears.
    Watcha think guys, James probably knows the real in’s and out’s!!!!

    1. Ah! another synical soul, I posted before I read this.

  68. Lewis Jones says:

    I’m interested to see how Jean Todt, as the new boss of the FIA, will deal with any on-track bust-ups between Schumacher and Alonso?

    One the favoured son who Todt hired to bring the glory days back to Maranello in the 1990s and the other the new flag carrier for the team that has so often favoured in the past by stewards working for ‘Ferrari International Assistance’….

    1. jose says:

      good point. He will try to help i imagine schumacher and massa, and try to hurt alonso, like he did in the past.

  69. Frankie Allen says:

    I was beginning to think the shine was going from F1, with the manufacturers teams lining up to quit the sport. Now I can’t wait for the testing to get closer and have a look at how things will pan out.

    I cannot congratulate Mercedes enough for what looks like a monster coup. When you look at what they paid for Brawn and what they will now get in return, it almost looks good business in the real world. Mercedes had the vision of Brawn and Schumacher for a very long time and have eventually brought it home. It’s only once you now realise the full implications and the excitement this is going to bring, that the vision of Mercedes has to be applauded. Shumacher may not live up to expectations, but I really do not believe that will take much shine away from this.

  70. Richard says:

    Why isn’t our reigning World Champion included in your list of who you’d like to see racing against MS? People seem to be in too much of a hurry to write Jenson off!

  71. Am I being a synical old soul? or was the Brawn/Mercedes/McClaren/Schumacher deal done and dusted months ago ? after Brawns recent comment that the Schumacher/Button negotiations ‘overlapped’ Merc wanted a German line up at ‘Brawn’ so a deal was put in place for Jenson to slot in at McLaren, if Brawn were keen to keep Jenson they would have offered him more than one year and not let negotiations go on so long, I bet they were over the moon that Jenson ‘jumped’

    1. Eric says:

      I still can’t figure out why McLaren were willing to sign Button over Kimi or someone very young and promising. Jenson seems like a nice chap with good front of the middle of the pack driving skills and he’ll probably do better than Heiki was able to perform at McLaren but do they really think he’s a winner? Given the competition do they really think he’ll be on the podium very often? Presumably the McLaren management are more clued in than me… but I remain skeptical.

  72. Rick J says:

    It is interesting the way that Schumacher and Raikonen seem to have been linked together. Some speculated that Michael maybe stepped down at Ferrari because he did not want to have Kimi as a team mate on equal footing – now Michael returns to F1 just as Kimi takes sabbatical! I wonder if Raikonen is the one driver Schummacher really fears? I hope Kimi returns to F1 in the Red Bull next year.

    Have to say in the past I was never a Schumacher fan but am delighted to see him back now and wish him every success. It was his activities on 2 wheels that made me a fan. Frankly as a rider he wasn’t very good but anyone with the balls to race motorcycles is a hero in my book. It is one thing to be protected by millions of dollars worth of crash tested carbon fibre survival cell, quite another by 1.2 millimetres of kangaroo skin and where every small mistake or incident has potentially disasterous consequences. Damon Hill earned my respect for exactly the same reasons.

    Can’t help wondering about the management at Ferrari. They pay millions to get Raikonen then pay millions to get rid if him. They move their 7 times world champion aside to make room for Raikonen – when he clearly still had what it took to be number 1 – then they let him slip through their fingers! Alonso is no question a great driver, but frankly he tried to pull off some embarrassing and controversial moves while teamed up with Lewis Hamilton and his arrival at Ferrari is something of a slap in the face for Massa who but for Ferrari’s mistakes would undoubtedly now be a world champion.

    Should be a great 2010 season!

    All the best for Christmas James, to you and your family.

  73. Alan (Toronto, Canada) says:

    It is fantastic to have so many world champions – reigning as well as former – racing in a single season next year, not happened since the Prost-Senna-Piquet days!! Really can’t wait for the first race in March 2010! Keep up the great work James – I in Toronto really miss your commentary!!

    Wish every F1 fans a wonderful Christmas and New Year!!

      1. Micheál says:

        English speaking fans across the globe miss James’ TV commentary! Is there any way you could be convinced to set up a live online commentary podcast next year?

  74. Freespeech says:

    Schumacher didn’t do so well in his last two years and that was with the whole Ferrari set-up behind him anfd him alone as well as a second driver who had to give way to him.
    How come so many on here think he’ll be the bees knees this time round :?:
    Now we have a charger in Vettel, a revised Button, an experienced Massa and of course Lewis Hamilton the one we all want to see go head to head into the same corner as Schumacher.
    The one thing Schumacher was always better at then the others was his mind games, this time it may not be so easy with Alonso, Hamilton etc constantly going on about his age – Schumacher has always made mistakes when under pressure and he’ll likely do so again in trying to prove that for him time stands still – I have new for him, it doesn’t :!:
    A huge question for me and this will tell us a lot about him, will Rosberg give way as ALL Schumacher’s past team mates have :?! :?
    If he does it tells me he knows he isn’t now nor will he ever be in the top draw of F1.

  75. Silverstoned says:

    Frohe Festtage! James.
    Just between ourselves, I got this niggler: you see there’s at least 3 drivers not on sabbatical wrc next year who can and most probably will be out to cook my goose. Ross keeps talking about this loophole he’s thought up, but still I worry. What happens if I go 4 races, say, and no podiums? What’s plan B then, James?

    Aufs,
    Michael

  76. yos says:

    People seem to be confident that Schummy is going to be competent right away. maybe yes maybe not, but i am more concerned about two things the first one is his eyes…you know as we get older start to lose eye power, maybe an eye-glass will do him good but how comfrtable will he be racing with them we will see, will a couple of weeks of tests bring back his fast thinking brain? they say that F1 drivers need a fast thinking brain to cope up with the speed?

  77. Andrew Halliday says:

    It’s so great to see the return of Schumacher. Only problem is I’ll now be skint all year, going to try and attend as many races as possible in what will surely be a historical year!

  78. Phil says:

    Just a quick thank you james for a cracking read this year. Have a great Christmas and a terrific 2010. Phil.

  79. Neil says:

    Can’t wait to see Hamilton and Schumi go head to head on the track, it’ll be fantastic

    Hamilton is a match for anyone

    Hope this no refuelling during the grand prix doesnt make it boring as this last three years of F1 has been brilliant

  80. Owen says:

    Amazing to think this amazing story started 10 yrs ago thanks to Pollock, Villeneuve, BAR and Reynard!

  81. Juan Lopez says:

    I have a hard time getting Ferrari’s protectiveness towards Massa. My understanding is Schumacher implied that he retired because otherwise Massa would have been out, meaning Ferrari knowingly let Schumacher retire (even though he apparently would have wanted to stay) and kept Massa. Now Montezemolo comes out and says that the team needed a driver that could develop a car (hence the Alonso addition), meaning Massa clearly could not do so. So if Ferrari is going for a combination of fast development driver and just fast driver, wouldn’t the Kimi-Alonso combination make more sense? I think it’s commonly accepted that Kimi is a faster driver than Massa, he gave the team its last world championship and arguably pairing him with Alonso would have been less of an explosive cocktail than Alonso-Massa, besides they are still paying Kimi his salary.

    Could it be that Alonso asked to be paired with Massa? Given his past history at McLaren, could it be he felt safer having Massa as his team mate?

    Happy holidays to all.

    1. rossetto says:

      Common sense and results say that Kimi was not faster than Massa anymore.
      therefore they kept Massa and unloaded Kimi.

  82. I hope Michael wins the championship he deserves.

  83. Ash says:

    The amount of world champions on the grid has gone up 275% in 1 day :D from 4 -> 11 :D:D:D

  84. Bob Montana says:

    I think I am going to get sick!

  85. Spyros says:

    On a partially-related subject:

    Any ideas what Schumacher’s 2010 helmet will look like?

    I’m assuming that red color will be somewhat limited…

  86. Atoine says:

    Looking at things from that perspective, you’re right.

  87. Vic says:

    Is it just me or are a lot of people overlooking how much of an impact the fuel regulations for 2010 will have. I’m no expert but commonsense says to me that all drivers will need to go through a learning curve for the first 2 or 3 races, which might play into Schumachers favour, we all know that Schumacher and Brawn are good at thinking on the spot. Its like even at Mclaren how will the different driving styles of Hamilton and Button play into no refueling over the race distance? All in all i think its going to be a very interesting season, and in my personal opinion i think Schumacher and even Button will do better than people might expect against the favourites.

    Vic

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