There have been several reactions to the news that Michael Schumacher will race again in 2010; Bernie Ecclestone is relieved and the signs are that every team will benefit financially from Schumacher’s return. But perhaps the most interesting reaction came on Christmas Eve from Corinna Schumacher, long suffering wife of the seven times world champion.
It is well known that she was relieved to see Michael get out of F1 in one piece back in 2006 and so for her his decision to come back promotes, predictably, mixed feelings,
“My husband’s choice turns our family upside down, but he needs a challenge, ” she said in a statement. “I understand his decision and to be honest, I think it’s fantastic. When he said that Ross Brawn had called I realised straight away; he had his passion back. Michael’s love for racing is huge. Without this limitless passion, none of this would have been possible. And it is this passion which makes Michael the man he has become. I knew it when he was a driver and I had complete faith in him. He knows perfectly well what he is doing and he knows I will always support him. He just needs a challenge, that’s the way he’s built.”
Perhaps the most relieved person is Bernie Ecclestone, who said that 2010 was now set to be a “jaw dropping season” and few would disagree with him. The feedback to this site has been largely thrilled and excited by the prospect of such an array of big names racing against each other.
But what makes Ecclestone smile is that this comeback is very good for business at a vital time. There are some major TV contracts due for renewal and it was known to be a concern in F1 circles that it would be hard to match the values seen in the early 2000s, given the financial difficulties most broadcasters are facing. Schumacher’s return, especially in Germany, the most lucrative TV market for F1, is a real boost and that is something all the teams should benefit from, as they share 50% of the commercial revenues under current arrangements, not to mention the interest of new sponsors attracted into the sport to benefit from this new-look show.
The emphasis is off the manufacturers and the politics and back onto the drivers.