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Schumacher confirms shock comeback
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Schumacher confirms shock comeback
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jul 2009   |  9:53 pm GMT  |  156 comments

Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher has confirmed he will make a sensational return to Formula 1 as a replacement for Felipe Massa in an amazing turn of events.

The German has previously rejected suggestions regarding a return to the sport; however, a sense of loyalty to the team in its time of need has inspired his return.

“The most important thing first: thanks God, all news concerning Felipe are positive. I wish him all the best again,” said Schumacher.

“I was meeting this afternoon with Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe.

“Though it is true that the chapter of Formula 1 has been closed for me for a long time, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I am I also very much look forward to facing this challenge.”

A Ferrari statement said Schumacher would undertake a specific training programme to ensure he is up to full fitness. Should he pass, he’ll take over from the European Grand Prix on August 23.

Schumacher’s last race in Brazil in 2006 was a masterpiece, even though the result doesn’t look that way. He was miles faster than anyone else that day and it was the perfect way to sign off. Three years have passed and he’s clearly not been fulfilled by life after Formula 1.

Ferrari have a moment of great need and he clearly feels close to them. It is not ideal for him to return at such short notice and he will be driving on a track he doesn’t know.

But the car was good enough for a podium in Budapest last weekend and the sport will be electrified by his return.

At a time when drivers are getting younger, we have a 40-year-old competing in a Grand Prix. There will be a driver born in the 1960s sharing the grid with one born in 1990s.

Formula 1’s capacity to surprise never ends. I’ll have to write a new chapter to the biography and I wouldn’t bet against him winning.

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1

I always knew he’d make a comeback some day!!! F1 Racing is in his blood. Michael is a legend and he will do all he can to help Ferrari’s dismal start to 2009 finish on a high!

And, I sincerely hope FIA will not get side-tracked and keep investigating Massa’s incident.

Even IF (F1 spelt backwards, as Murray used to say), he wins all the races, he still won’t quite match Rossi’s record of 100 Grand Prix wins! But, he won’t care, will he!

Go Schumi!

2

There’s this brilliant Joke going round on the internet about Ferrari’s new “Upgrade” 😀

Here it is…

Valencia ..

Friday press Conference.. with Brawn, Mclaren, and Ferrari.

Q: So what upgrades have you brought for this weekend?

Ross: New Aero Package

Martin W: New rear wing and front suspension.

Stefano: Michael Schumacher

HAHHAHAHAH

3

When did Michael last race without traction control?

Valencia: Fuel him light, give him pole, and see if anyone can get past:)

…can’t wait.

4

If Red Bull was forced to feed Alguesuari straight into the deep end of the pool without testing, Michael should get the same treatment. Ferrari circulating the teams looking for a gentlemans agreement to allow him to test shows me how little moral character remains with the red cars. Shame on them…..

Mount Vernon, Washington. USA.

5

“By far the best car on the grid for every year he won the championship…”

I seem to remember in 1995 that the Williams Renault was widely regarded as being superior to Schumacher’s championship winning Benetton…

6

7 races for Ferrari and then reunite with Ross Brawn at Brawn GP for a couple of years?? ;-))

I can’t believe how much I’m looking forward to Michael racing again and whilst being highly respective of his achievements never took to him as a person. The talk of the more relaxed guy away from the circuits etc. etc. was just a myth, maybe he’ll get to show a bit more of this side of his character this time around?

7

The Gift Of Time…

Remember folks, he did come back from that broken leg, and on crushing form. I hope he wins every remaining race this season. Unfortunately, Indy doesn’t have that Fall slot anymore, or I would be there NOW to get tickets and see him repeat his success there.

Then again, now that he’s back in the water… Let’s see. Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro… Marlboro Team Penske, the most storied teams in their respective domains, with (backdoor) corporate kinship…. A one-off shot at the Indy 500 next May? Please.

8

Schumacher is currently F1’s greatest cheat. He is also probably F1’s most over rated driver. As a man with a Ferrari FIA veto behind him (that was just revealed during the FOTA row for those of you not taking notice) , secret traction control while with Ferrari for several years, a team mate who was not allowed to challenge him, the most reliable car on the grid (check the stats – his car simply never broke down), by far the best car on the grid for every year he won the championship, access to all the latest Ferrari bits, oh… and Ross Brawns help, how could he fail?????

The man had every single area covered, and just to make sure he had a contract with it all legally nailed down. This was not sport, it was entertainment for the mindless, partially sighted hero worshipping would be F1 experts who prefer to cheer on the winner (even if the rest of the field are driving milk floats in comparison). It is so painfully predictable that so many people find this exciting it is actually positively depressing.

Many said “Schumacher could win in a Minardi” Well, suddenly along came Alonso in a decent Renault during 2005 and 2006, and Schumacher could not win in his custom made Ferrari. Why? because suddenly he didn’t have the best car on the grid. Face it you can’t win in F1 without the best car.

Anyway, all of this is obvious. All you need is about 35 years experience watching F1 and reasonable intelligence. Oh, did I forget to say he was a massive cheat.

Monaco 2006. Priceless.

9

The veto was agreed in the 2005 contact that Ferrari signed. when the rest refused to sign and tried to form a breakaway series. the other manufacturers never signed in the end. So I dont see how the veto could have helped schumacher win a world championship. And dont forget all the changes the FIA made to actually stop Ferrari from winning. The various qualifying formats through out the years and the banning of tyre changes and the new points system. all designed to bring the other teams closer on the track and in the championship. Also like sam said there are many instances where Micheal was great in a car which wasnt the best on the grid. So get your facts right. Schumacher might have commited some questionable moves but they were either legal like ausrtia 2002, (team orders were allowed then) or he has paid the price like being disqualified for the 1997 season.

10

Excuse me? Did you see Barcelona 96 where MS lapped 4 seconds faster then anyone? And that Ferrari was no where near the best car.

If my memory serves correctly, traction control was banned after 95. Here are a few more reminders for you.

-Belgium 1992 – rain, won comfortably with nearly 40 seconds

-Belgium 1995 – rain, started 16th, won with a comfortable 20 second lead.

-Monaco 1997 – rain, started 2nd, made the best lap first lap in history (led with 6,6 seconds). Then lapped 4 seconds faster than anyone else, won with a minute, having gone as slowly as possible on his last lap so he wouldn’t have to do another lap (2 hours limit).

-Belgium 1997 – heavy rain at the start, when safety car left, he overtook both Alesi and Villeneuve on the same lap, quickly pulled away (6 laps, +40 sec), soon lead with over a minute, but slowed down to “only” win with a half minute lead.

-Belgium 1998 – lead with over half a minute when Coulthard took him out.

And Ferrari were not the best car in 90s. Now get your facts right before you make ill comments

11

Agree 100%. I remember Schumacher as a man, who destroyed F1 for me with Ferrari as a team. Kimi being my favourite driver, I just can’t cheer for him at the moment, when he drives for Ferrari. I can never forgive what Schumacher did in Austria, US and Monaco GP. With these moves he just killed F1 for me and all this FIArrari relationship, when there was rules for ferrari and rules for the others, was not in my liking.

12

Fortunately I live within 1/2 hour of Valencia so I shall pop down to see the ensuing carnage. It’s not a great track, but hey, just shut your eyes & listen 🙂

On the cynical side, do I detect the ‘Hand of Bernie’ in there someplace ? A perfect PR coup for him. Valencia was not well attended last year, probably due to the ticket pricing & admissions policy (seating only, no general admission though there is this year) etc, and they needed a good boost.

Schumi ? Good, definitely. That good ? He’s a driver, not a god. Yes he mellowed, but I will never forget some of his more cynical driving acts. And where is Ross Brawn now – how much of the speed & tactics were down to him ?

I think he’ll struggle for two reasons. Qualifying – you can get away without the stamina in your fitness, but he will have little experience of the car to get that extra 10t of a second. Race – he just can’t get the stamina built up in 4 weeks to match that of the current drivers. A few hours in the gym ? Probably 8 hours a day for starters I would imagine. But Ferrari want team points, and over a few races, he may give the best chance of delivering.

Whatever the outcome, I can’t wait til the flag drops and the BS stops 🙂

13

Mathematically if Schumacher wins every remaining race can he win the championship?

14

yes, but don’t bet your house on that scenario, it’s not going to happen.

15

Only if Jenson scored no more points. If Schu won them all he would have 7 wins to Jenson’s 6 so would win on count back.

This assumes, of course, that Webber or Vettel don’t overtake Jenson in this scenario!

16

If Schumacher wins every single race and Button does not score (or Webber, Vettel or Barrichello in that respect) in any of the races then yes. Schumacher would be champion. He is 70 point behind with 70 points available but he would have seven wins to Button’s 6 making him champion. I would love to see Schuey get a nice string of victories with Hamilton close behind and maybe Kimi up there too taking points off Red Bull allowing Jenson to win the WDC.

17

Thats very good news for formula 1 with all the issues and everything thats been going on for last few months.

It will be very interesting to see how it works out,with no testing allowed and Michael has hardly done any laps in the race car.its a big challenge for him with new regulations ,car which might not be suitable to him..and mostly the old dream team with whom he has worked with no longer there…he is pretty brave to pick up this challenge…

hoping he is fit enough and blows everyone away!!!

18

I just don’t get it…and I am a huge fan of Shu…. Nothing to gain and everything to lose IMO. Can only kill his super hero status unless he starts killing each race by winning…. and that’s not likely to happen with the red car & team as they exist right now…. not to mention it has to take even Shu some time to get to grips with the fitness and new cars… with little testing that is problematic (unless they have a way of side-stepping the “testing” by running an old car around their track to get him up to strength & form a bit)…

Can you image Monza now though… Wow….

19

What IS interesting is that saving some sort of disaster at Brawn and Red Bull neither Shuey or Hamilton can win the championship, so it will just be individual races.

Only time will tell whether Shuey will get up to his old tricks while he hides behind the skirt of the FIA who have always turned a blind eye to his antics.

Can’t wait to see them race!

Really feel bad for Massa, he was a good sportsman and I hope he is back for 2010 with Alonso.

20

Before everyone gets too carried away reading the Autosport website it would appear that Massa is making a very good recovery and actually wants to race in Valencia.

James,

can you shed any light on this one? You would think that the Schumacher scenario has gone too far down the road for it to be reversed now. Being that Belgium is only a week later if Schumacher races in Valencia he will probably race here as well.

Could Massa return at Monza?

21

I would be surprised if massa returns quickly. When drivers have a large impact in a crash, they usually arent allowed to drive the next day. Whereas massa obviously would be in much more danger if he crashed again. I think it will take months personally

22

With a bad concussion you are not allowed to put yourself at any risk of another serious blow to the head. Another minor concussion following shortly after a really bad one would result in death or brain damage. The doctors will not allow Massa to race in Valencia. Safe bet is probably for the rest of the season.

Kubica was mildy concussed after his accident and was prevented from racing in two weeks. Massa was badly concussed.

23

I was never a Schumacher fan – until he quit F1 and proceded to “slowdown” in his retirement by taking up motorcycle racing, the arena of the truly heroic in motorsports. To me that established his absolute depth as a competitor, an enthusiast and a very brave individual. I am delighted to see his reappearance in the cockpit of an F1 car and wish him every success – with this small nagging concern. In life one can only dance on a highwire for so long. I can’t help thinking of Mark Donahue and will have my fingers crossed throughout his return that he doesn’t get hurt.

24

2009 has been such a season of diversion, I believe Michael filling in for Felipe creates some renewed interest in the racing. If for some reason, Felipe cannot resume his carear . . . hmmm, Michael & Fernando 2010???

25

I hope he beats em all! Well apart from jenson obviously and maybe lewis. Not a fan of his but a fan of his skill and achievement

26

TREMENDOUS NEWS,

I’m not a ferrari or schumacher fan (although I respect his genius!). I’m living in Australia and considering getting on a plane to Valencia to see him against Hamilton, Weber, Button and Vettel… Hopefully Renault will be racing and Alonso will also be on the grid too!

RACE ON!!!

27

I’ll bet Kimi is spewing. 🙂

28

hahhaha, Anyone else got the image that when Kimi heard the news that Schumacher was coming back, he Spat out his VODKA, Dropped his Choc Ice, and HIT THE GYM HARD?

29

I’m not sure James reads this low down the list of comments but…. where does Schumacher stand with regards the engines rule in F1? If my memory serves me correctly it was done on a basis of 8 engines per driver per season? Does this mean Schumi can have a new engine at every race (which would potentially be worth a tenth at Spa and Monza!) ?? That may lessen a small aspect of the rather large disadvantage he has coming back to F1.

30

Looks like I should have spent more time looking on the FIA website first:

b) If a driver is replaced at any time during the Championship season his replacement will be deemed to be the original driver for the purposes of assessing engine usage.

Oh well…

31

Fascinating that Schumacher is back.

It will be interesting to see how Raikkonen reacts.

Would I be right in saying that Raikkonen will be the strongest/best teammate Schumacher has ever had?

My understanding was that Schumacher retired because he did not want to take on Raikkonen. This talk about Schumacher not wanting to take Massa’s seat in 2007 is a smokescreen. Outstanding world champions just do not think like that!

In hindsight I don’t think Schumacher would have had any problems seeing off Raikkonen. However, throughout his career Schumacher never had a truly outstanding teammate.

It’s too hard to predict who will come out on top. In Valencia, like Hungary, Ferrari should be closer to the front but Spa and Monza will surely see Red Bull returning to their recent dominant position. The main interest of Schumacher’s return will be seeing how he measures up to Raikkonen. Massa generally has had the slight upperhand over Raikkonen in the last eighteen months or so but I believe that most consider Raikkonen to be more naturally gifted.

32

“Would I be right in saying that Raikkonen will be the strongest/best teammate Schumacher has ever had?”

Nelson Piquet wasn’t bad.

33

Nelson Piquet was a difficult driver to assess. Prior to arriving at Williams he was considered the best driver in the world. In 1986, though, Nigel Mansell ended that theory. Despite winning the world championship in 1987 Piquet’s reputation never really recovered (there were two wins for Benetton at the end of 1990 that helped a little bit). By the time Schumacher came on the scene at the end of 1991 Piquet was well past his best. The fact that he retired at the end of the season says it all.

Raikkonen will be Schumacher’s toughest ever teammate provided he is motivated for the occasion.

34

Wasn’t Schumacher consistently like 3/10ths faster than Massa when they were teammates? Massa has not been shown up by Raikkonen.

35

Here’s hoping this is a rocket up Kimi’s *rse and he rises to the challenge. Loved his (very) quick appearance in the Massa video 🙂

36

This is just what Valencia needed to get the tickets sold!

37

Hi James,

here’s an idea for you – why not discuss the business aspect of Schumacher return?

In all fairness, the news that Michael is returning to the grid is maybe the best thing that happened in 2009.

My Facebook page is filled with people from around the world that are going to fly, from US to Italy, from India to Belgium – all in effort to see The Great One driving once more on legendary tracks.

The interest for F1 is now going to explode, with CNN, Telegraph, even New York Times featuring the return of Michael Schumacher as their lead stories on this passed Wednesday.

You probably have or can gain access to ticket pre-sales data for Valencia, Spa, Italy… theoretically, Felipe could return by Singapore [even though I would skip whole of 2009 and prepare for championship challenge in 2010], but the next three GPs should see a huge spark in sales. It would be interesting to see would that rejuvenated interest be is a spark or a wildfire.

Regards from your colleague [but from the tech/business side of journalism],

Theo

38

Oh come on guys can’t you see that this is being done to give Ferrari some extra testing miles with someone who is a very good developer of cars. It’s got nothing to do with wins but you might see the car having regular “problems” and having to go in and out of the pits a lot.

Or am I just too much of a cynic?

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