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What Schumacher’s return means for Ferrari
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What Schumacher’s return means for Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Dec 2009   |  10:19 am GMT  |  66 comments

Schumacher has put out a carefully worded message over Christmas to the Ferrari fans, the tifosi, clearly concerned that they should not regard him as a traitor for leaving Ferrari to race for Mercedes, alongside the engineer who led Ferrari to greatness in the early 2000s.

The pressure is now significantly increased on Ferrari, partly because F1 now has a new powerhouse team, backed by a manufacturer, but also because if Ferrari cannot match them on the track, critics will inevitably say that it was Brawn and Schumacher who made the Scuderia great and that the team has been in decline since they -and Jean Todt – left and the Italians took the team over again. This season was a disappointing one for the team and the technical department led by Aldo Costa needs to deliver a special car. The arrival of Fernando Alonso is a vital part of the plan to get Ferrari on top again, now the engineers need to deliver.

The re-forged alliance of Schumacher and Brawn is thus a major threat to the new regime at Ferrari both in sporting and in image terms. And let’s not forget that off the back of this programme Mercedes is launching a road car into the Ferrari market place. The stakes are high, but this is Formula 1 and it is what makes it so interesting.

“For 14 years I was a part of Ferrari and for 14 years Ferrari was a part of me,” said Schumacher’s statement. “A sizeable chunk of Ferrari will always stay in my heart. I will always think of the warmth, the strength and the dedication I received for so many years from Italian Ferrari fans.

“I have felt welcomed by you, and I have tried to give you joy and passion when I fought on the tracks and rejoiced with you after victories.

“I have found many friends and learned a lot in the years I spent at Ferrari. I carefully observed the way to face things and have often underlined this attitude in Germany: no moaning but rather trying to see the beauty and the goodness in what’s unavoidable, and rejoicing.

“Now a new chapter begins for me. I will race on the track against Ferrari with the utmost respect. I’m convinced these will be hard battles. Indeed, I’m certain Ferrari will be able to show its historical strength because I know what these guys are able to do.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me. I’d be happy if, besides the two Ferrari drivers, you’d carry on giving me a bit of your unlimited liking.”

Since retirement Schumacher has acted as a consultant to Ferrari and had agreed a new three year deal with the team over the summer, when it seemed that he might stand in for the injured Felipe Massa.

Although the comeback didn’t happen that time, Schumacher was very motivated to race again. Perhaps for that reason, the Ferrari contract was never signed and when Ross Brawn got in touch with Schumacher he was ready to listen. Ferrari tried to work something out with a third car at certain events, but it wasn’t really on the cards. Schumacher is not a long term answer for Mercedes, all sides know that, but for a year or two or three it will provide a fantastic foundation for this new team.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, he has further tests on his neck scheduled for January, but should the doctors come back and say that there is still a risk to his neck, in the event that Schumacher suffered another accident, he will be told to race at his own risk. He has enough wealth not to need to worry about needing to make insurance claims, AMS concludes.

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66 Comments
  1. Andy says:

    James, thanks for continuing the articles over the Christmas holidays. Great Reading.

    How much grief do you get from the family for continually blogging over the festive period? As much as the rest of us?

    Any plans for a michael comeback story book?

  2. Tarek says:

    “if Ferrari cannot match them on the track, critics will inevitably say that it was Brawn and Schumacher who made the Scuderia great and that the team has been in decline since they -and Jean Todt – left and the Italians took the team over again.” Well this should be common knowledge anyway. Ferrari would be nowhere without Michael and the guys he brought in during the 1997 season. Regardless of whether Ferrari achieve any success in the future, the resurrection of this previously underachieving team cannot be regarded as anything other than the work of Schumacher and the brilliant people who followed him there.

    1. Don’t forget the work that the likes of Rory Byrne and Jean Todt did too

  3. Andrew Watson says:

    James you already know my views on Schumi and I believe it was Ross Brawn and the second drivers which was a massive reason Ms was so succesful. I am pleased he has gone back with Ross and would like to see him beat Jenson – too show Jenson he should never have left Ross.
    He will not beat Lewis – nor the younger drivers like Kubica I am also interested to see how fast Kobyashi is this year.

    1. Freespeech says:

      ‘Kobyashi’

      Why :?:

      1. Andrew Watson says:

        He was intwo races in a crap car he held back button. Put Fisichela in a Ferari and he could do bugger all mark my words Kobayashi has taleny

      2. Cliff says:

        Did Kobayashi hold Button back because of his talent or was it due to F1 cars being unable to run close together? A bit of both I suspect. Kobayashi also gets credit for the way he drives, but twelve months earlier LH was being told criticised for moving in breaking zones…how things change in a short period. Not to mention his move that wiped out Nakajima. There is no doubt that Kobayashi is good for the sport, but lets wait and see.

        As for Button beating the Young Guns, he did that without much trouble this year!

      3. Andrew Watson says:

        Was it Button or was it the car ? In the last race Button was much vaunted for moving from 14th to 5th but no mention given to Lewis moving from 17th to 3rd ! Who had the best race ? LH I would say.
        Agree about Kobyashi his driving was questionable BUT hardened GP racers tried and failed to drive the 09 spec cars Kobyashi had never driven a car in anger before and aquitted himself superbly.
        PS lewis 0.2 sec quicker in TG star in a reasonably priced car to :-)

    2. Maria Felix says:

      Lots of partisan Hamilton support. When he gets trashed by not only Schumacher, Massa, Alonso and even probably button in his own team. This futile useless jingoism will be flushed down the drains.

      1. Andrew Watson says:

        Not jingoism otherwise I would be supporting Button. Alonso could not beat Hamilton at Mclaren he will not beat him at Ferrari. Schumacher / Brawn / mercedes will be interesting. Button on the same team built around Hamilton – JB does not have a prayer. Lewis is a class above he proved it at the end of this season and he will prove it in the new season. His biggest threat is probably Vettel or Kubica

  4. Buck says:

    Is Schumacher’s return to F1 at Mercedes the smoking gun that finally explains Ferrari’s recent propag….err, press releases? Could it be that they have been trying to soften the blow that they and their supporters/financiers were bound to be hit with after Michael’s announcement?

    As you said in your last entry James, there will be more focus on the drivers next year, although that soap opera over at Ferrari is sure to provide some off-track intrigue as well.

    Now if they could only get some hot babes involved in there somehow like on so many Italian TV shows, and it will be perfect popcorn theater. I can see it now: Rumors will fly that Domenicali is about to be replaced by Monica Bellucci. Delicious! haha

    1. Lilia says:

      I think Monica will make a decent job. She’s better than Domenicali. And we will finally stop listening to that “for sure” in every sentence.

  5. Lockster says:

    Hi James,

    Cheers again for offering up some interesting topics for discussion during this traditionally boring period of the F1 year.

    I am interested in your thoughts on:

    a) How competitive Mercedes will be next year considering the fact that the team seemed to push a lot of their development into the 2010 car when they had built such a large early lead in the championship.

    b) Do you think that the new design of the cars (with the full race distance of fuel on board) will mean that Schumacher will have less of a disadvantage since all drivers will need to adapt to the way the new cars drive and the way the weight of the car changes over a race.

    I have also been thinking that perhaps Schumacher’s immense experience might actually give him a big ADVANTAGE over the rest of the field in this area. The way he managed to win that race (not sure which race it was) when his Benetton was stuck in 5th gear by adjusting his driving style makes me wonder whether he will get to grips with the subtle changes of the car better than others. What do you think?

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks. In answer to a, Ross says that they will ‘not disgrace’ themselves next year and that there is a hunger to stay number 1. As we have seen in recent years it’s a mug’s game predicting at this stage who will build a good car. Brawn didn’t push that hard to the end and left some capacity for the 2010 car. As for b, I think that is a good point on Schumacher

    2. Tarek says:

      He didn’t win that race when he was stuck in 5th gear; he managed to hold on to second, which was still quite brilliant!

      1. Lockster says:

        Right you are, thanks for catching that.

    3. aziwal says:

      That was Spanish GP in Barcelona in ’94 and He actually finished 2nd.

    4. jose says:

      barceloma 94, i rhink it was.

  6. Ted the Mechanic says:

    It will be interesting to see how the tifosi react to this new dilemma. Clearly they will remember what Schumi did for Ferrari. And we know that they are hard on their own if they are not performing. But they like their stars and both Alonso and Massa should command respect. But like you say James, the Ferrari engineers need to deliver a car that the drivers can compete with.

    “I have felt welcomed by you, and I have tried to give you joy and passion when I fought on the tracks and rejoiced with you after victories.”

    This is what I liked about Schumi, the way he celebrated on the podium. His victory leap was his unique trademark and no one else looks quite as natural as Schumi doing this. You just knew that he enjoyed winning.

    Lewis Hamilton gave a little jump when he won but it was not very convincing and he appeared to be mimicing the master – a few more wins, a bit more practice and hopefully he can make the victory celebration his own.

    Although this press release was carefully crafted I think Schumi is genuinely concerned about the effect his defection to Mercedes would have on Ferrari staff and the Tifosi.

    1. Mark Stephens says:

      I think Schuey has awakened a giant. When you race for Ferrari you race for Italy, not just a company and the fans are so loyal there’s nothing else like it. I think Ferrari will be very competitive this year and I also think Schuey going to Merc is just what the Scuderia needed to get motivated to win again.

    2. Freespeech says:

      [quote]It will be interesting to see how the tifosi react to this new dilemma.[/quote]

      How can they do anything other than show him contempt :?: He said he’s NEVER race for any other team :!:

      1. AK says:

        Yes, but he is still the most successful Ferrari driver ever. He wanted to go on at Ferrari for another year or two, and wanted to come back with them, but they preferred Raikonnen and Alonso over him, so why should he not consider alternatives?

      2. Tarek says:

        Very good point. The team turned its back on Schumi before he turned his back on them. After 5 straight championships, shame on them, particularly di Montezemolo. In the coming years, I hope to enjoy Ferrari’s gradual fall from the top, starting with an ass-whooping administered by Michael and Ross in the enxt couple of years.

  7. Andrew Hill says:

    James,

    PGA Golf has a Seniors Tour.

    Is there something similar for ex-F1 drivers?

    To be honest, I’d like to see some of the team owners go head to head in a short sprint race each weekend. Perhaps using their company’s current production sports cars.

    You have touched on McLaren’s new sports car, Mercedes SLC and for sure Ferrari have something special in the works. Surely it would help strengthen links to road car technology if a short session was handed over to the teams in order to demonstrate their products. Or does AMG have a monopoly on this?

    1. There was something similar, called GP Masters. Powerful single-seater racing for ex-F1 drivers over 45, which had the likes of Emerson Fittipaldi and Nigel Mansell excited. Unfortunately the company went bust just over a year after it did its first race, but the racing was really good.

      1. uppili says:

        To follow up on Alianora’s insights on GP masters, there was some talk about reviving the series under the name “f1 masters” with the minimum age for eligible drivers to be reduced from 45 to 40. In fact there is a site called f1msters that has been registered. But with no serious money behind it, i can not seeing it taking off again…

        Jean Alesi once said that he would be interested in the F1 masters series, if it raced as a support category along with F1 during grand prix weekends so that fans can see the past, present and future (GP2) grand prix drivers all in the same weekend.

        I personally think it was a great suggestion but i don’t think Bernie will allow that to happen as long as such a series is either directly promoted by him or at least his allies like Bruno Michael. In fact i don’t think the series would ever be permitted to use the term “f1″ by in their title, let alone race alongside….

        The term F1 is not a trademarked term by Bernie or the FIA but you can expect a lot of bullying if anyone else in the motor racing domain tries to use it.

    2. Robert McKay says:

      There was Grand Prix Masters but it went bankrupt after 3 (I think) events in total.

      It was a neat idea although didn’t quite get the level of driver names it really needed to kick off, Mansell apart.

    3. Mark Stephens says:

      No matter what Mercedes does it will never have the mystic and loyal following that Ferrari does. Mercedes in the U.S. is a yuppy wanna be car, and Maserati and Ferrari are the cars everyone really wants.

      1. George says:

        What’s the retail on one of those?

        More than you can afford pal.

        I think Ferrari’s image is just as bad as Mercedes.

  8. Crys says:

    James,

    This might be slightly off-topic, but can you please help me get this timeline straight in my head? As I understand it, Ross approached Michael at Abu Dhabi to consider racing. Was that before or after Jenson/McLaren started
    negotiating? I’m seeing about as many criticisms of Jenson for abandoning Brawn as I am of Brawn for abandoning Jenson, and it’s getting difficult to figure out the actual sequence of events. In some ways, the earlier the discussions began between Michael and Ross, then the more it reflects poorly on Michael’s opinion of Ferrari, and Ross’s opinion of Jenson – though that second one is tempered by needing to factor in when the Jenson/McLaren relationship started to get serious.

    1. James Allen says:

      Ross and Jenson had been talking for some time by Abu Dhabi, but Brawn wasn’t moving up the offer after the championship was clinched, as I understand it. He sounded out MS to know if he had a strong Plan B as an alternative to Button and he did. Hence Button feeling ‘unwanted’. The target then for Merc is to get Vettel in 2012 when his Red Bull contract expires

      1. It all sound pretty dramatic to me too. But I think Jenson admitted the fact that he was offered double the amount from Brawn compare to what he is getting from Mclaren. Didn’t Jenson also say that he wanted a “buzz” and prove himself as a worthy champion by beating Lewin in the same car? I also recall that Ross & Nick Fry both openly expressed their disappointment over JB’s depurture. At the same time they wished him best of luck for the next season. I reckon Schumi’s recruitment is more of a Merc’s plan than Ross’s. Look at the publicity they are getting regardless of how MS goes next year. At the end of 2006 MS was good enough to keep racing anyway. Ross Brawn, Jean Toldt & Michael Schumacher they had to find somthing new after doing the same thing year after year even though I believe Schumi should never have quit in the first place. Ross & MS are the most successful pair in the history of the sport. Who knows what lies ahead. I think everyone’s just relishing the opportunity to get the chance to watch the most competetive F1 in recent memories. Next year’s grid is as good Senna, Prost, Mansell’s era if not better. And from 2012 if Vettel does end up going to Merc & Merc becomes a powerhouse like Mclaren & Ferrari the golden era of F1 will still go on for long time. You can never write off Red Bull either. They have a good combination of big money and talent. Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton & Sebastian Vettel, that’s what the future of F1 is going to be.

      2. Crys says:

        Thanks James. It makes sense on a business level, but (like a lot of good business decisions) looks a bit thoughtless from a human perspective. Do you think that Vettel to Merc is a forgone conclusion for next year, or can Red Bull make it worth his while to stay? Given the year the had in 2009, RB are not exactly also-rans anymore…

    2. George says:

      I dont think you can put Jenson’s leaving on Ross. The fact is he’s obviously budgeted a certain amount for drivers (remember schumi is hardly being paid big bucks relatively), and Jenson (or his manager) got their nickers in a twist.

      1. Crys says:

        I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. According to all reports, Jenson is not being paid as much at McLaren as was on the table from Brawn. The clincher (again, according to the reports) was a 3 year deal rather than 1 year. That’s one of the main reasons why there is criticism of Brawn’s treatment of JB – only offerring a 1-year deal to the world champion, who had, in recent year been very loyal to the team, was a bit of an insult.

  9. Roberto says:

    The moment Montezemolo began asking for third cars, it was obvious MS wanted back to racing. Mercedes & Brawn came and that was it. Contracts and shake of hands have a beginning and an ending so therefore MS fulfill his contract, as JA said a new contract wasn’t signed because they agreed to leave it open in case he finded a drive. This year he will have to make the most from the 3 days of testing and them, jump to australia. He will be fine, in karting he has beaten a lot of the guys he will be running this year

  10. Qiang says:

    Michael’s message to the Ferrari fan is very nice. However, I have a bad feeling that this is also a signal that Mercedes team is pretty confident that they are going to be ahead of the red cars next year.

    Hopefully, Ferrari/Alonso has something in their bags to respond. James, under the current rule for limited testing on track, how much performance a decent simulator can make up?

  11. Can I just start by saying that Michale was better than any of the drivers he partnered with. There is no question about his ability to drive consistently, outperforming the car, developing the car, motivating a team and of course naturally being fast. The accident we always talk about (1994 Australian Grand Prix) is nothing compares to what happens on track every year. We all seemed to forget Schumi missed a huge chunk of that season due to suspention. We also seem to forget he beat Senna in the first 2 races of that season. Still he was able to even fight for the championship. I agree that there was always question marks over some of his moves on the track. Even with the penalty Schumi was able to drive unbelievably in Monaco 2006 and bring the car home in 5th place starting from 22nd when it’s virtually impossible to overtake in that track. He certainly is a worthy champion regardless of what his critics say. Now speaking of Ferrari and what the next step for them is difficult to say. There is no doubt since Schumacher left Fernando Alonso is the most complete driver left in the Paddock (Lewis has a long way to go & he might). Now Ferrari must give Fernando a good enough car to show his true potential. As far as the business side of this trade is concerned Ferrari will probably sell less than what they would’ve if Schumi was with them. So there is no doubt that Merc will cash in big time as a result of this trade. There is a little bit of concern how competetive Schumi is going to be after such a long break. Most people including his old team mates and great ex champions seem to think he will do a fine job. I believe Schumi will deliver. The combination of Ross Brawn & Michael Schumacher is the most inovative, dynamic & successful combination by stats. One thing Ferrari has more than any other team is BIG BUDGET. They also still have a really good group of people working for them. Fernando will definitely be the leader of that team. The question is how well he leads the team and his growth as a team player. Massa is one of the most improving driver on the grid. He is not gonna sit back & let Fernando rule the team. He will show what he is made of too. Regardless of what this trade means to Ferrari & Mercedes we are up for a ripper next year. Red Bull & Mclaren are going to be very strong as well. This is the first time in many years we have more than two teams that can fight for the championship. Is Schumi going to win the world championship? We don’t know. But no matter you hate him or love him you all will agree that Formula 1 and the fans of this sport can’t ask for anything better than Schumi’s return in its’ one of the darkest times

    1. jose says:

      i think everybody knows he is a deserving champion. You don’t win 7 titles otherwise.
      If hos carrear had been during the eighties, he might have less than seven, just because of a harder competition, but multiple titles nevertheless.

  12. Chris says:

    Good article as always James

    I think we have seen the last 3 years a transformation in the Ferrari team. The transformation was not a positive one.

    Even the 2007 championship has been a fluke in my opinion. They got the WCC due to the exclusion of Mclaren and the WDC was very weird. To be honest I think Mclaren lost it on purpose as I can not think of a better explanation on how they manages to lose so much points in the last races (immediately after the penalty from FIA)despite having a better car than Ferrari.

    On 2008, again Ferrari made a series of errors in strategy and again the car never seemed like the equal of Mclaren. Despite Massa performing very well, his cause was certainly helped by the inconsistent ruling of the stewards.

    As for 2009… what a mess in every possible way.

    I think that despite taking on board for 2010 a very good driver duo, it is just not enough at this level of competition. They need to have a very solid car able to challenge for a win from the first race. They need to do a good job during the racing weekend to have the right set up. And they need to have the right strategy for the race, while avoiding pit stop blunders

    Although I am a fan of Ferrari I am very pessimistic as the leadership of Domenicalli is nowhere as close to that of Jean Todt, despite spending a lot of time with him. I am currently living in Italy and in terms of organisation, they just don’t have it. Obviously there are exceptions, but Stefano despite seeming like a very decent person has not demonstrated a lot during his tenure.

    Anyway, it is nice to see Michael back and I wish we get a 2010 full of racing drama (as opposed to the court drama of 2009)

    Happy New Year, James

    1. Neil says:

      have been thinking about this for a while

      what exactly happened to hamiltons car in Brazil 2007, it did seem strange for a car to slow, then get back to full capacity, did Mclaren lose it on purpose

      even if hamilton had won that title, people would have said he didnt deserve it due to the spying scandal

      1. Chris says:

        My feeling is that there was an agreement with FIA to lose it on purpose so that they do not get a more severe penalty (like disqualification for 2 years as was rumored at that time, which would destroy the team)

        I do not believe in conspiracies but the probability of losing so many points in the last races given the strength of the car, the team and the drivers, makes me come to this conclusion.

    2. Maria Felix says:

      Totally Wrong.

      Ferrari beat Mclaren by 1 point for the constructors regardless of the exclusion, if you considered the points as if the penalty was not levied on Mclaren. Ferrari still beat Mclaren by 1 point in the constructors.

      1. Chris says:

        Maria, but the points you mention are linked to the points of the WDC. And this is the point I made that Mclaren lost too many points after the decision related to spygate

  13. Spyros says:

    MS’s return will certainly be a source of entertainment for all those who always search for evidence FIA pro-Ferrari bias: who will Mr. Todt like more, his former employers, or his former driver’s (and chief engineer’s) team?

    Me, I’m just trying to imagine what MS’s helmet will look like…

    1. jose says:

      todt is with mercedes now. ferrari is not the home they used to work at.

  14. Freespeech says:

    I wonder how long it will be before VW (and who know maybe BMW will be forced to look again) join F1 should Mercedes be successful :?:

    I can’t see either of these great companies doing nothing if Mercedes start benefiting commercially at their expense as a result of their F1 adventure.

    Thoughts :?

    1. George says:

      I dont think BMW will be back any time soon, they seem to be thinking very hard about Le Mans and touring cars.

      VW (by which I assume you mean Audi) are in the same position as BMW, They’ve got a pretty solid Le Mans series team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they upgraded the R8 from GT3 to GT2, as well as their DTM teams.

    2. Ben says:

      I’m betting VW won’t join as VW. They may enter as Audi, but that will only happen when diesel engines are allowed.

    3. AK says:

      I don’t think they’ll join (or rejoin) F1 anytime soon in the future because they can’t afford it and were simply not good enough to be competitive. But they will surely suffer financially in Germany because of the Schumacher-Rosberg-Team Germany advertising even if Mercedes does not win the title, as Mercedes have hired a German legend. They might try in other competitions such as Le Mans, but it’s nowhere as prestigious as F1.

  15. Pierre says:

    What is the current situation of Rory Byrne? He was a key guy in the Ferrari dream team, as important as Brawn. Is he still doing some consulting work for Ferrari, shouldn’t his contract stop end of 2009? Renewed? Has he completely retired in Indonesia (or something like it)… or would we see him next year, wearing a silver arrow shirt?!

    1. Maria Felix says:

      Now completely retired even from the consulting role with Ferrari. Since no extensions beyond 2009. It wont be surprising to see him end up at Mercedes GP sometime in the future.

  16. Lilia says:

    Well as for who made Ferrari win again we all know it.
    But no matter how many victories Ross, Todt and Schumi brought to Ferrari they also brought something else. And that is feelings of dislike from fans who don’t choose there team on the basis of what team was winning when they got in to the sport.
    I started watching F1 at 1994 when i was sitting with my father in frond of the TV. I had no idea about car companies, and F1 teams. The only name i recognized was the Ferrari one and those red cars. So as a natural effect since they where the only ones i knew i was cheering for them to go well despite braking down and having all sorts of problems. By the end of the year i learned a few other good teams like Williams and Bennetton and later Mclaren(they weren’t doing that good those times so the TV wasn’t showing much of them)but i already had started to love those red cars.
    And then i felt disgusted watching Schumacher hitting Hill in the last race. In 1996 i learn that Schumacher was going to Ferrari but i was still willing to forgive his actions if he was gonna drive for the red cars.But then Ferrari seemed more arrogant and hateful every day, because i wasn’t a fanatic follower i could see that the FIA helping and all that wasn’t exactly bullshit and Schumi continued to do every unfair thing he could think and then play innocent.
    So before 2000 even enters i changed to completely the other side and became not just a silent supporter but a Mclaren fan. And every time i see those red cars and Montezemelo instead of thinking of a passionate race team like i was when i first saw them, i now have images of an evil empire that i can’t support anymore.
    Yeah they also did that to Ferrari.

  17. Ian Coney says:

    Does Michael’s return to F1 as a Mercedes driver mean that he will have to give up his Ferrari road car(s)?

    I completely agree with Andrew Watson. Schumi will have no problem dispatching Jenson. Assuming relatively equal cars, the battles with Lewis should be the stuff movies are made of.

    1. Maria Felix says:

      And like I responded to him, nothing but partisan nonsense.

      Without Mclaren pushing ahead spending so much on recovery in 2009 there was no chance of those poles or victories.

      Drivers like Alonso Button, Rubens Vettel, Kimi all showed that even when their cars are not the outright fastest they can deliver wins. Unlike a certain Mclaren driver who was despondent and also brought the team into further disrepute by lying to the race stewards. If one can spent the time in deceiving the stewards why not try to actually putting on a better performance? Ah but for that one must need genuine skill. Which Hamilton or his so called fans will never care to face head on.

      I bet when he cant compete against the combined might of Schumacher and Mercedes GP let alone Ferrari or worse gets upstaged by Jenson Button. He will be throwing the toys out of his pram 2007 style.

    2. Tim L says:

      …and you think FA will not give him a run

    3. Neil says:

      I agree, hopefully Mercedes and Mclaren are at the front next year

      Schumi vs lewis

      Winner will take the title

  18. Mon Pen says:

    Good on MS! Shows that F1 really is just all about money! Anyone remember Wayne Rooney at Man City with his “once a Blue Always a Blue” T-shirt, then two months later signing for Man United for squillions to spend on crass houses?

    Nice to see the so called Tifosi tie themselves in knots over this one. Their website is true hpilarity.

  19. RON says:

    F1 was on the verge of death under Max Mosely… all the passion of racing had been distinguished – anything remotely related to passion and excitement was stamped out… even victory donuts for the fans! Hamilton’s pass at Spa ’08 was beautifully done, only to be made illegal out of the blue (utter stupidity, because of Wax’s plant – Allen Donlley)…

    Let’s hope the damage has now been contained, and Michael and Hamilton can get on with the business of driving on the limit, like no others can…

    The only thing that can spoil one of the potentially most exciting season in the history of F1, is, as usual, the FIA…

    First and foremost, I’m a fan of racing, and having seen non of it for the past few years, I look forward to watching a whole race weekend in 2010… Hamilton and Schumacher are natural born racers with unmatched passion for winning… can’t wait…

  20. Silverstoned says:

    James, Schumacher must know every little Ferrari secret about their past and future plans. Likewise Deputy Haug has all of McLaren’s plans and secrets. And yet these guys are allowed to defect and join forces to compete against those very teams.

    Do you think both Ferrari and McLaren can have a legal case if they decide to take a more hostile view of these amazing defections?

  21. Ahmed Al Mutawa says:

    Thank you James for the article.

    Schumacher comeback has Three folds:

    First, it is good for the sport,(f1 missed MS). The number of viewers will increase significantly & the proof is the # of tickets sold after he announced his come back to take the seat of the injured Massa.

    Seconed, It definetly good for Mercedes GP. Because in Michael they have an allrounder driver both on track and off it. Someone who can work closley with the engineers ( technical knowledge )beside that he well be working with the mastermind Ross Brown.

    Third, As for Ferrari, they will be the beggest losers. They should have signed Michael alongside Alonso. Because comes March, Massa won’t be 100% fit & with all respect Massa aint Schumacher.

    No offense , with the current drivers, there are only two who can get a result out of a mediocre car. ( M Schumacher / F Alonso ) & in a good car, they can bag in points.

    I believe Mercedes will provide him with a very good car. So make no mistake, he will be gunning for the eight title.

    Ferrari knew that Michael has a burning desire to return behinde the wheel, this is why they were trying to field a third car so they can hand Michael a drive.

    Ferrari got their calculation wrong by letting Michael slip away to Mercedes & well regret the decision comes November 2010.

    I’ve read many articles doubting Michael ability and fitness to compete at the front end due to his age. Michael is no ordinary athlete, he kept himself fit all the time & i believe that 80% fit Schumacher better than the majority on the grid.

    If anyone wants to know how determine MS about his comeback, just watch his press conference when he abadoned his first comeback.His face expressions,his voice tone & body language said it all.

    He will be back with a bang. It will be exciting season & I am looking forward to it.

    Mind you guys, I wish he would have return with Ferrari.

  22. Nuno says:

    When James says :

    “The pressure is now significantly increased on Ferrari, partly because F1 now has a new powerhouse team, backed by a manufacturer”

    I have to say :

    Winning in F1 is difficult, with or without Mercedes. For Ferrari it´s very good to compete against Mercades, MacLaren. and some other great teams. Instead, S.F. would be in great pressure to leave F1 if they just had to compete with very small teams like Force India. Another point: they (Ferrari) are there for more than half a century and they never seemed under great pressure from the media or from critics.

    and

    “critics will inevitably say that it was Brawn and Schumacher who made the Scuderia great and that the team has been in decline since they -and Jean Todt – left and the Italians took the team over again.”

    - Well, it would be stupid to ignore, or to forget, the fabulous job Jean Todt achieved as Ferrari’s team principal. Yes, he brought to the team some very good people (MS and RB were just 2 of them), and was a great great team leader. It´s normal that the exit of that staff was the beginning of a different period.

    But…Luca is still there and the team is not without a great leader. One day Luca will leave, and I suspect that his succession will be a much more difficult task. But that won´t be the end of S.F. .

    It may take some time but they will survive without Jean Todt, Luca and so on. One day we will die, and S.F. will keep going as it always did.

  23. The Limit says:

    I totally agree with James’ view on Ferrari’s predicament now that Michael Schumacher has gone to Mercedes. If Ferrari get beat in 2010, and especially if it is by Mercedes and Schumacher, then there will be many who will question the decision to let Michael go back in 2006.
    The pressure is also on Alonso. He did beat Michael twice whilst at Renault, in back to back seasons, but this time he is in effect driving Michael’s old car. As Kimi Raikkonen found out to his cost, it may well be the most coveted seat in motorsports, but it can also resemble a poison chalice in equal measure.
    Who will Ferrari have to fall back on if the Alonso/Massa pairing fails is probably one of the most eagerly awaited answers of next season, but also the most troubling for the Scuderia!
    If the car is good, then a driver of the calibre of Alonso will be more than comfortable, but if the Mercedes is as quick or quicker, then I can see problems there both internal and external.
    I really feel, in a gut feeling kind of way, that this is Michael’s opportunity to get back at those who thought he had passed his best. Those who, in private atleast, thought that Michael had lost a little of his past magic. The very same people who cut Raikkonen loose at the end of 2009 and into retirement.
    I am hoping, and many others I think are too, that Michael makes good use of this opportunity.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes but don’t forget that Ferrari have won two constructors and one drivers’ championship since Ross and Michael left. So it’s a case of nothing ot panic about but they need to make sure that what happened this season is a blip rather than the start of a trend.

      1. Silverstoned says:

        have to say, with respect, James, Ferrari would have done very well this year if there had been an even playing field at the start.

      2. Ahmed Al Mutawa says:

        Yes but Jean Todt was at the helm then. Now, even if they have a good car, they lack winning strategy( their pit stop strategy in the last 2 seasons was awful )add to that the precision & accuracy of the staff in the pit lane ( Tyre changing & Feuling ). It shows the effect of the absence of Ross Brown, Jean Todt & company. Not so goog news for Alonso. I agree with the Limit, it is Michael opportunity & rest assured he won’t let it slip away. You’ll never know, comes November, then, only then Ferrari might negotiate Shumacher return to their helm again.

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