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Schumacher: “Ross called and I had to answer”
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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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1

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

2

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

3

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…

4

Great question

5

I think I am going to get sick!

6

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

7

I hope Michael wins the championship he deserves.

8

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.

9

Common sense and results say that Kimi was not faster than Massa anymore.

therefore they kept Massa and unloaded Kimi.

10

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

11

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

12

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

13

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!

14

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?

15

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

16

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.

17
Alan (Toronto, Canada)

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!!

18

Thanks for that

19

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?

20

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.

21

Thanks and to you

22

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’

23

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.

24

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!

25

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.

26

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’….

27

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

28

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!!!!

29

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

30

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

31

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

32

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!

33

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!

34

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.

35

Absolutely. May happen 2011.

36

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…….

37

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

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