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Schumacher will be fighting rivals and the sands of time

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Andrew Benson | 12:08 UK time, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Lewis Hamilton, it is safe to assume, will be having a very happy Christmas this year.

When he started his Formula 1 career in 2007, the man who became F1's youngest world champion said his one regret was that he never got to race against Michael Schumacher. Now, following the German legend's decision to come out of retirement and race for Mercedes in 2010, Hamilton can fulfil his ambition.

For those of us watching from the sidelines, Schumacher's return is an equally mouth-watering prospect.

At 41, Schumacher will not only renew his battles with Fernando Alonso - the man who beat him in a straight fight for the world title in his final season in F1 in 2006 - but start new ones with Hamilton, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and the new world champion Jenson Button, whose cars rarely afforded him the chance to take on Schumacher before.

Schumacher's ability to mix it at the front seems to me a given.

Even if he is not quite as quick as he was, as his former team-mate Eddie Irvine suspects, Schumacher will be more than good enough to win races assuming Mercedes provide him with a competitive car - a Michael Schumacher at 90% of his best is still better than the vast majority of the F1 grid.

"I still feel absolutely on the edge," Schumacher said on Wednesday. "This year, when I got back in a go-kart, I was straight away on the pace. I have to prove it, of course, but all the people (I will be working with) have no doubt about my ability."

Ross Brawn, the man who will be masterminding Schumacher's return just as he did all seven of his world titles, is also in no doubt that his new driver will be able to compete at the highest level.

"I asked Michael exactly that," the Mercedes team boss said. "He is the best judge of what he can do. He told me he can do it and I have absolute trust in him, so I'm very confident. He'll do the job."

Whatever happens in 2010, this latest venture is unlikely to harm Schumacher's reputation. Nothing can erase the memory of seven world titles and 91 victories, of a driver to compare with the very greatest names in F1 history.

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Schumacher will no more diminish his legacy than did Lance Armstrong when he came back to the Tour de France four years after the last of his seven titles, and, at the age of 38, finished third in arguably the world's toughest endurance event.

If anything, Armstrong's achievement enhanced his standing, and such is the work ethic that Schumacher applied to his career - one of several characteristics he shares with the American cyclist - that the same will surely to apply to him.

But that is not the same as saying that, at 41, he can be the force he was at, say, the beginning of this decade.

Racing drivers tend to slow down as they get older. The reason for that is not that they lose their ability, but because their desire and commitment diminishes.

The willingness to put everything on the line in pursuit of that last scintilla of speed reduces as a man's mind opens to other aspects of life and an awareness of his own mortality grows.

For all Schumacher's talk of his motivation returning after a three-year break from the rigours of F1, of his being thrilled to race finally for Mercedes, not even he will be able to prevent this natural law having some effect.

There are a handful of moments, any one of which could be seen as illustrative of a time when the mantle of greatest driver in the world began to pass from one generation to the next.

Alonso beating Schumacher in a tactical battle in Bahrain at the start of 2006, and the desperation with which Schumacher deliberately crashed his car at Monaco to prevent the Spaniard snatching pole position in the dying moments of qualifying are two that stick in the mind.

But the one that perhaps stands out most of all was during the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix, when Alonso passed Schumacher around the outside at Suzuka's 130R, one of the most demanding corners in F1.

As he swept around the outside of the Ferrari, Alonso's speed at the apex of the corner was 208mph. Knowing that any contact between the two cars would have resulted in an accident that at least one of them may well not have escaped unhurt, the bravery required to pull that off against a man who had built his reputation on bullying and intimidation was immense - the more so given that, two years before, Schumacher had edged Alonso on to the grass at Silverstone at more than 180mph.

But it was not so much the move itself that was telling - once Alonso was alongside and going faster, Schumacher had no choice but to give way - as the mindset that allowed him to think about trying it.

Asked about it a few weeks later, Alonso told the veteran F1 journalist Nigel Roebuck: "At times like that, I always remember that Michael has two kids."

So few words, so much said. In the minds of Schumacher and his rivals, those assessments of what is worth risking and what is not will have grown larger, not smaller, in the three years since his retirement.

Be that as it may, we are talking about moments in extremis here, incidents that happen along only occasionally.

It was in these moments that Schumacher's notorious willingness to dabble in the darker aspects of sporting morality in his quest for success reared its ugly head. It is this side of him that means some of Schumacher's rivals will be a little ambivalent about his reappearance on the grand prix scene. Their tolerance of the dubious ethics that went hand-in-hand with the German's towering ability had been stretched to breaking point by 2006. And most of them were glad to see the back of him.

One suspects, too, that many of them may not be that keen on having him back for another reason - because he is so good.

As good as ever, or not quite as good as that, probably still amounts to a man capable of winning the championship. And that leads one to believe that his chances of success depend on his car.

There are question marks to varying degrees over all the potential title contenders next year.

Can Ferrari, where Alonso now occupies Schumacher's former seat, recapture the form that abandoned them in 2009? Can McLaren make a car that performs on fast circuits as well as it does on slow? Will Red Bull, using a Renault engine, be compromised by the uncertainty surrounding the French manufacturer's involvement in F1 following the decision to sell 75% of the team to a private equity company?

There are uncertainties over Mercedes, too, particularly after the team's slide from competitiveness in the second half of 2009 in its former guise as Brawn. But with them there are arguably less than over any of the other teams.

Given that his new team won the drivers' and constructors' championships in 2009 with a car that was compromised by former owner Honda's withdrawal from F1 last winter, the new Mercedes car will almost certainly be pretty handy.

On that basis, it could even be argued that Schumacher - who will surely have the upper hand over team-mate Nico Rosberg - will start the season as title favourite, at least until the pace of the teams' new cars becomes apparent.

The fact that it is possible to say that about a man who turns 41 on 3 January proves just what a remarkable sportsman Michael Schumacher is, and underlines what makes this such a compelling twist in the unfailingly dramatic narrative of Formula 1.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    As mid-life crises go, this is a biggie. Still it will be interesting to see how well he competes next year.

  • Comment number 2.

    well to say that Alonso beat Schumacher on the track is correct but only half the truth. The 2005,2006 Renault was such a dominating car equipped with mass damper and the best tyres. I would argue that most drivers would have done this, schumacher on the other hand had a stump weapon.

  • Comment number 3.

    Exciting times, the greatest F1 driver in my opinion back in the sport. I reckon he'll be competitive despite his age as he was so far ahead of everyone else in his ability. I'm interested though in why everyone remembers his, shall we say, sporting indiscretions, but not Senna's?

  • Comment number 4.

    A sad day for "sport". Or do you think he might have changed?

  • Comment number 5.

    I feel personally that this year will be the most open in years with 4 teams and 8 drivers at least with a shot with the title, with the new points system too DNF's will be even more important i am gonna go out on a limb and say Red Bull will turn up the quickest by a minor margin to Mercedes, followed by Mclaren and Ferrari behind. I expect Renault to also surprise a few people in certain conditions. As for best of the teams i expect it to be between Kobayashi in the Sauber, Trulli in the Lotus and Glock in the Manor, as for USF1 and Campos i just have a bad feeling about them, with Stefan Gp still working there has to be something that is keeping that level of development going and i personally feel that they feel one of those teams won't make the grid. The lack of confirmed drivers also adds to this. Gonna be an amazing season though, good luck to all :)

  • Comment number 6.

    * best of the new teams (line 5 in previous comment)

  • Comment number 7.

    Personally felt that Schumi should have been like Jackie Stewart or Mika Hakinen, retire at the right time whilst at the top of your game and let the youngsters take over. There would be nothing worse than seeing Rosberg beat him (not saying he will) in the same team

  • Comment number 8.

    As I have said before I do not think this a wise move for Michael. He is 40 and much older than the thrusting young bloods. More importantly he will be out to prove he is still good and his past record suggests that when he resorts to agressive tactics there ia a coming together (Damon?) with other drivers. He has not got the best record for on track discipline and coupled to his need to prove himself there could well be trouble. In addition for most of the races he won he had a clearly superior car and although driven superbly well the true performance against similar machines was not in view. My forecast? He will finish below 4th for the season and there will be at least a couple of "incidents" warranting examination. Sad, I know but that is Michael. I wish him well but I am not convinced that this is good for F1. I would like to be proved wrong.

  • Comment number 9.

    What a grid line up for 2010!

    When was the last time we saw a current and three former F1 world champions racing against each other and having two together in one team, can't wait

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    I can't wait to see Schumi back in the driving seat, even after I was so glad to see the back of him. The chance for the likes of Lewis and Vettel to test themselves against one of the greatest drivers of all time as they try to create their own legends is fantastic.

    This is shaping up to be a fantastic season and we haven't even found out who is driving all the cars let alone what those cars will look like or how they will perform. There are 4 teams I see in the hunt for the constructors championship: Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari (listed in order they finished last season).

    Mercedes currently hold the title and given that this will be Ross' 1st 'proper' car it seems like a fantastic opportunity for their drivers Rosberg and Schumi to be winning races, but then they didn't develop the car much last season instead putting development into the 2010 car... will they have the same advantages or will they have lost their way off the track? Schumi we know has the skill, determination and dark arts needed to win both races and titles, but he is 41 and has been out of F1 for years.... Rosberg has looked good at Williams and is highly rated, but he has flattered to deceive at Williams as well... I think he can win races, but does he have what it takes to challenge for a DWC? Will there be team orders? Will Schumi benefit at the cost of Rosberg as he has in the past?

    Red Bull had the best car for probably half the season last year, but they weren't able to capitalise on it. How will 2010 fair for them? Will Newey be able to keep his magic going and provide another race winning / championship challenging car? What will be the Renault engine be like, will it still be plauged with unreliability that hurt Vettel's challenge? How will Vettel mature after his amazing season in 2009, will he prove that he is a great driver or will he become another of those drivers who can win races from the front but stick them behind and they sit there rather than challenging to overtake. Will Webber be fitter and more dominant going into the season without metal holding his leg together? We know he can win races now, but can he string enough together to challenge for the title?

    McLaren got off to a truly awful start in 2009, with an abysmal car. However they developed it at a phenomenal rate producing a car that was able to challenge for wins or podiums at any circuit, given the development of the car its hard to see them starting 2010 with anything but a car that is fighting at the front of the grid. Lewis had a fantastic season as a driver, learning from his mistakes and having to see what it was like at the back of the grid surely 2010 is going to feature him in the hunt for the DWC, and his team mate... Jenson. How will he fair after his fairytale 2009? Does he have the talent to compete with Lewis? Will McLaren be able (willing if you believe some of the conspiracy nuts) to give him a car that suits his style and that can challenge Lewis? Personally I have never doubted Buttons talent since 1st seeing him in the Williams with Ralf, at times he seems to have lost his mojo (at Renault) but he thrashed Villeneuve at BAR so badly the former world champion quite before the season was even over, so I think its foolish to write off his chances against Lewis before a wheel has even been turned.

    Ferrai had a 2009 I am sure they will want to forget, yes their car was better than their arch rival McLaren's at the start of the season but really that was irrelevant given how far it was off the pace of the front teams. They struggled not just with the car but the motivation of their star driver who seemed more interested in ice cream than racing, a swift kick up his rear did improve his motivation a bit but it was the fluke accident of his team mate that really kicked Kimi into gear and got them results (after they had given up on the car and pushed most development into the 2010 car), but it wasn't enough to save Kimi his seat as Ferrari pulled in Alonso to replace him. Now for 2010 we face the mouth watering prospect of Alonso in a Ferrari, a driver/team combination that has been tempting us fans like no other over the last couple of years, but we also have a returning Massa... Will there be clashes? Will there be tantrums and toys thrown from the pram by 2 hot blooded drivers, one with a track record of dummy spitting and one who has previously suffered 'the 2nd seat syndrome' of partnering a dominant driver?

    What will 2010 hold? Will all 4 of these teams have cars capable of fighting for pole and wins from the start of the season? Will any other team rise to the top and upset the apple cart? How will the new teams and drivers fair? Will we find a rookie Lewis challenging from the get go, or will we have another Brawn like fairytale?

    As it stands I think there are 4 teams in the hunt and probably 6 or 7 drivers capable of going for the DWC.... but to quote Highlander.... There can be only one....

  • Comment number 13.

    "A sad day for "sport". Or do you think he might have changed?"

    Kit don't be so naive. There is no professional "sport" as you put it. When money is at stake, it's win at all costs in almost every sport on the planet. The last few years after Schumacher was retired were the dirtiest ever in F1 history.

  • Comment number 14.

    One word required: EXCITED!!

  • Comment number 15.

    Hehehehe

    The affection of the wider public is an irresistible drug. As a man grows older, and enjoys respectability, popularity and acclaim, he will inevitably court this by exhibiting a mellowed and responsible personality. Schumacher will find it hard to be the win at all costs bad guy. Surely the resulting internal conflict will blunt his edge?

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree with #3, why is everyone so happy about Senna's indiscretions when Schumacher is heavily criticised for his?

    Some of the stuff you hear about Senna is chilling. He threatened countless drivers when they won, punched Irvine in the face after the race when Irvine unlapped himself and he attempted to punch Schumacher. Senna was no angel and was actually worst than Schumacher, Autosport got it right when they said 'thug or genius? The debate continues.' Anglophone, Senna was far more effective in his intimidation tactics than Schumacher. However he did have a kind and gracious side, he was just hell-bent on winning.

    Alain Prost was also utterly ruthless when he was racing, getting all of the best equipment and there are even cases of his engineers sabotaging team mates equipment if reports are true. These two greats were far from sportsmen-like in their nature if we take this into account.

    Schumacher loves the competition, the very thrill of it. Isn't that what sport is all about? I think criticism of Schumacher has been highly unfair in light of the sport's tainted history.

    The last few years like lorus59 have said have been very dirty so there's a case for any of the top drivers erring from time-to-time (Alonso at Mclaren, Hamilton in Australia etc.). Noone is perfect and certainly no team has not broken one or more rules. I think a sense of perspective is key here...

  • Comment number 17.

    I for one am disapointed with the reaction, how can anyone complain when the most successful racer comes back, why do people critisise the years (00-05) yes ferrari and Michael were dominant, but why grumble about it, we were lucky enough to see the best driver, in the best team, in the best car (especially in 02) feel quite sad that everyone feels that Michael coming back is nothing short of the positive that came from Massa's terrible accident in Hungary. It sounds like it is true 'the best of the best will always be ridiculed :(

  • Comment number 18.

    Can you imagine what it will do to Hamilton's ego if he gets beaten by a 41 year old Schumacher?

  • Comment number 19.

    Is it just me or does he have a ridiculous boy band look about him? He's nearly 41 and he looks like he just got off auditions for the X Factor. He should be ashamed of himself. Mind, he is German. Probably got a copy of David Hasselhoff's latest long player on the turntable at home.

  • Comment number 20.

    I am pretty sure Schumacher is confident that he can win races and fight for the championship. He wouldn't do a Jones (F1's world champ in 1980 who performed poorly at his come back).

    It is hard to predict who will win the title next year but I am sure we'll have a very close race with at least four drivers involved. Can't wait.

  • Comment number 21.

    Herr Schumacher would be a lot easier to like if he didn't appear to be so smug. What he presumes might be interpreted as a smile seems to represent the self-satisfied sneer of the cat who has stolen most of the cream. I wish him no harm in his return to Formula One - but neither do I wish him the level of success which he has so ruthlessly sought in the past.

  • Comment number 22.

    Exciting stuff. Like some others here I agree with the notion most drivers have had indiscretions in the past and I don't see why Schumacher's are remembered more than most. I grew up watching this guy and look forward to him coming back!

  • Comment number 23.

    Luca di Montezemolo spoke last week about there being two Michael Schumachers. I hope this one proves to be a sportsman, unlike the one he left behind at Ferrari.

    I also was never a great fan of his and was glad to see the back of him at the end of 2006. But since then, I have learnt to respect him for the legend that he is and actually quite like him now. Personally, I have been looking forward to these rumours becoming fact and cannot wait to see him in action against all the younger rising stars.

    2010 is promising to be even more exciting that 2009 - I think we're entering a renaissance period in F1.

  • Comment number 24.

    Andrew, this isn't the first time you've waxed lyrical about Alonso's move on Schumacher at 130R as the moment when "the mantle of greatest driver in the world began to pass from one generation to the next."

    It sounds nice, but it's nonsense. That day the Renault on Michelin tyres was whole seconds quicker than the Ferrari on Bridgestones. Schumacher gave way because he knew the relative pace of the cars and wasn't stupid. He was thinking about his tyres, not his kids.

    Alonso has talent, but the suggestion that he is a better driver than Schumacher is risible. Alonso couldn't even beat Hamilton in equal machinery in Hamilton's rookie year.

    Schumacher was - and probably is - a cut above the other drivers in F1. But will that translate into points? That depends entirely on whether Mercedes can make a competitive car. Given how Brawn struggled in the second half of 2009, it looks doubtful. Red Bull and McLaren are the teams to beat.

  • Comment number 25.

    @21 - To me he does have a faint air of the cat thats got the cream, but there is no sneer or the like about it... In fact he looks more to me like the kid who has just been given the key to the sweet shop... Why on earth shouldn't he be excited? He has just been signed up to do something that he loves, his old passions are in full flow and he can't wait to get going....

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm not sure his ego will be able to tolerate defeat after defeat, and I expect the car to take the brunt of the blame. As a PR stunt, it's rivalled the two-englishmen-in-a-team ploy, perhaps even bettered it. I don't expect Smugmacher to win a race, a pole, or any popularity contests. To me this sounds like a bloke who's fallen for his own reputation, and thinks he bigger than the sport.
    Well, at least it'll give me a larf!

  • Comment number 27.

    @24 - Brawn have said they stopped developing the car pretty much at Turkey. They had a chassis that had been developed with the Honda engine and gearbox in mind, fitting the Mercedes gubbins required a bodge job to be done (which included chopping 6inches off the car) and Brawn needed to decide on developing a new chassis for this season which would be a major undertaking or to go with what they had (and a significant advantage) and put that effort into developing a chassis for next season.

    Its possible that Mercedes will have lost the plot and bring out a poor car, but I doubt that will happen, I would imagine they will be at the sharp end.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hmmm. I'm not so sure this is so good.

    Hamilton, Michael, Massa and Alonso at the front of the grid, going into the first corner side by side on a regular basis.... There is not a cat in hells chance of them all coming out the other side with four wheels on the car, and my favourite is now Button, who will win the championship because he isn't fast enough to regularly get taken out on the first lap in the ensuing carnage and like this year will consistently score enough points to win it.

  • Comment number 29.

    i think people are getting worried about schumacher being as boringly dominant as he was in 2004. i doubt he will. with all these big stories i just hope the 2010 season isn't being over hyped. the media has a habit of over hyping things and the season could turn out to be dominated by one or two teams like it has been for most of the decade. However, if the teams are as close as they were at the end of the 2009 season it should be one of the best ever. I'm very exited.

    p.s. funny comment telnolies, we've got to hope there's an anomaly in qualifying.

  • Comment number 30.

    Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica, Massa, Button, Vettel, Schumacher. Surely the strongest F1 driver line-up of the century. Only Raikkonen being there could have improved it for me. I detested Schumacher in his first career, mainly because he benefitted so frequently from disgraceful moves, Ferrari's favouritism and the FIA getting involved. This is a fresh start however. He's clearly there to enjoy it, and I hope he races at the front without shoving them off the track. Hockenheim should be packed to capacity once more!

    Does anyone think this will drive Jacques Villeneuve to secure a deal for next season? Rumours of his return were thrown around earlier in the year. I'd like Hakkinen back too! But that's not going to happen...

  • Comment number 31.

    Virgin out, HOndas cheque used up, a limited budget hampering mid season developments, and then Mercedes buy in, Haugs relationship with Schumi,none of these happened overnight. Makes more sense why JB left for the best long term option and out of uncertainty.

    Schumi is older but without the in season testing he can recover between races. He was excellent going round in circles very fast, but fighting the rolling road blocks, sorry new teams, and then JB LH FA MW the real racers, he was never the best in wheel to wheel.

    Now if it were parallel parking in Monaco, no contest.

  • Comment number 32.

    I can't wait to see Schumacher back in F1, and I reckon he'll be as competitive as ever. However I'm quite surprised to see so many negative reactions to his comeback. It seems to be a typical British response to dislike any talented sportsman who shows the confidence (and sometimes arrogance) necessary to be truly successful in any sport, while lauding the glorious failure of so-called 'sportsmanlike' losers.
    While obviously a lot depends on the cars, I think it's going to come down to a three-way battle between Hamilton, Schumacher and Alonso for the title... should be awesome!

  • Comment number 33.

    First of all it is nice to have Michael Back. Even if we does not win the WDC it will be a great achievement given the age difference.

    Time and again we see a reference to Alonso's overtaking of Michael at Japan. I have seen that race several times. Alonso was behind Michael for about six or seven laps. I am sure if Michael was behind Alonso in a renault Michael would have overtaken much faster. The Renault of 2005 was far to superior to the Ferrari. I am pretty certain that if Michael was driving the Renault, it would have been a repeat of 2002 where Michael was in the podium in all the 17 races.

    Michael has been critised excessively and also penalised excessively ( atleast in Monaco 2006 ). It was never proved that he deliberately blocked Alonso but was demoted 19 places in the Grid. In 2007 Alonso openly blocked Hamilton to prevent Hamilton from Qualifying 1st but Alonso got only a five place grid penalty.

    Alonso is a great driver But there is no one among the current lot who is as good as Michael.

  • Comment number 34.

    This has reference to the comment
    "Schumi is older but without the in season testing he can recover between races. He was excellent going round in circles very fast, but fighting the rolling road blocks, sorry new teams, and then JB LH FA MW the real racers, he was never the best in wheel to wheel."

    As regards Schumi not being best in wheel to wheel, one needs to see his contest with Montoya in Australia 2002, Brazil 2002, Monza 2003, San Marino 2004 ( if he pushed Montoya Out it is important that Montoya was also unfair in pushing Michael out in Austria 2001 and Nurburgring 2003 ).

    As regards Not being fair, David Coulthard has admitted publicly that he deliberately blocked Michael in Belgium 1998 when Michael was about to Lap him. But for this Michael would have won Belgium where Hakkinen had crashed and would have entered the last race with 96 points to 90 Points of hakkinen and in all probability won the 1998 championship.

    I am pretty certain he will be able to handle the younger lot. Motorcycle racing is more dangerous and he did have the courage to race in it and i am sure if Michael backs off it would be more a case of losing the battle to win the war.

  • Comment number 35.

    Andrew - I think he will have lost his edge but not because he has suddenly become aware of his mortality or his children. If he is sitting in the cockpit thinking about his family then he won't win anyway. The bottom line is he's now in his 40's and physically he will have lost a step against the guys in their 30s and 20s. People don't realise the incredible shape most F1 drivers are in, or the severe physical toll that a race takes on their bodies. Shumacher will find it harder to deal with this now, especially after three years off, not to mention his neck injury may flare up again with al the G-force going through it from the weight of his head and helmet. That goes for testing too, not just racing. Add to that any slight dip in his reflexes through increased age, even a tiny fraction, and he's a long way behind where he used to be. Still better than the others? Maybe, but it won't be the cake walk a lot of people think it will be. Should be an interesting season though!

  • Comment number 36.

    I have always felt ashamed at the lack of respect shown towards Michael Schumacher in this country and put simply can't help feel that it may in no small part be due to the fact that he is German. After all this is a country where we still seem to insist in grouping together some of the most innovative musicians of the past 30 years under the banner "Kraut" Rock. F1 is a competitive sport and I don't feel if you look at any of the British drivers of the recent past that they can exactly claim any kind of moral high ground. Schumacher's record is unequalled and proof of that, surely, is that people are talking about him as a serious contender for world champion despite the 3 year hiatus. I am much more interested in football personally, than F1, but Schumacher is one of the few sportsmen I have ever felt real admiration for, when you start to realise what is required to race a car at this level he is/was a phenomenon and I wish him all the best for the 2010 season - whatever happens. If I can be certain of anything it is that he will distinguish himself in a way some of his armchair critics can only, at best, dream about!

  • Comment number 37.

    Schumi will make no difference. With the same dirty air, narrow tracks, and no refueling strategies, it will be just as processional. Big points differences mean there is more to lose, and there is more chance of losing them, so dont expect a Brazil on any given Sunday.

    The performance differentiatiors will be the cars, and drivers will affect the outcome more out of poor judgements, than good. Just pray for rain and the odd nutter running out ( and escaping without harm) at silverstone, to mix it up a little.

  • Comment number 38.

    I just can't wait for March 14th.... I can't remember a season that looked so open and exciting.

    Yes Schumi was a dirty racer but he is hardly the only dirty racer in the sport (or ever has been), personally I think Alonso is as bad (if not worse, depending on if you believe he was happy to drive a light car at Singapore last year when Flavio 'had a hunch' their might be a safety car or if you think that a driver like him would not sign up to such a gamble of a strategy without knowing about the ace in the sleeve), yes Schumi has had some very lucky encounters with the stewards more than he has had unlucky ones.

    Regardless he is still one of the greatest all time drivers and I very much doubt that age has faded him to much, yes the stresses and strains of modern F1 cars are intense but so was handling the old beasts back in the 50s and Fangio won 5 championships in his 40s, racing against some of the all time greats if you listen to Murry Walker (before my time by 20 odd years so I will take his word for it).

  • Comment number 39.

    I am delighted to see Michael returning to F1, I was bitterly disappointed when he did not drive as Massa’s stand in. It is without doubt shaping up to be an interesting season to come. Others have mentioned the ‘win at all costs’ side of Michael, but at the end of the day, we see the sportsmanship envelope being pushed by footballers and other sportsmen every day, not to mention in business and politics.
    It is great news for a team that was on its way out this time last year, who could have even thought it? It secures the future a little more for those at Brackley and puts the potent combination of Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher back in the mix again. After all the controversy in the sport over the last few years, (Briatore for starters) it would be good to see a serious year of sport without all the whinging and back biting.
    I doubt very much that Michael would have returned if he thought he was not going to up to the job of taking the Mercedes-Benz team to the very top of the sport. A legendary name is now back in the sport at a time when others are bailing out. As a lover of F1, this is exactly what we need to keep it alive.
    After a thrilling season, seeing a guy many had written off as an also-ran, win the drivers championship and a team that rose from the ashes of Honda winning the constructors, followed by a mass exodus of big names from the sport, how were we going to top that one! Call me cynical but Schumee is the answer!
    We have to look forward to probably the biggest single change of constructors in one season for a long time (if ever?) new blood and old favourites, somebody will doubtless emerge hero and someone villain, question is who?

  • Comment number 40.

    Awwwwwww!Bless!
    Guess what little Lewis asked Santa for his Christmas present? And it's come true!
    I always say be careful what you wish for, mind...Mr.Alonso is gonna kick both your butts come the new year...

  • Comment number 41.

    I see the trolls are coming out in full force for this one.

    Honestly, I don't see what the problem is. A man who retired only three years ago, is still relatively young at 41, and is the biggest name the sport has ever known and probably will ever know, chooses to come out of retirement and work with the man who engineered him to seven world titles. This is simply fantastic news.

    Also, I find it incredibly ironic that many people are blasting Schumacher for being a 'cheat' (i.e. making unsavoury decisions during races, not all of which paid off and none of which he denied), while concurrently celebrating the fact that Alonso beat him two years in a row - the same Alonso that was part of one of the biggest race fixes in history in Singapore last year and still pretends he had no involvement in it. Utterly absurd.

  • Comment number 42.

    If Schumacher is being welcomed back as a 'sportsman' that is surely a first!

  • Comment number 43.

    Can't wait to see the young guns of Hamilton, Button, Vettel and Alonso serve arrogant Schumacher's backside up on a plate to him all of next season. It's going to be hilarious. Schumi only ever dominated because he had no real competition for so many years. His reign was the most boring period in F1s history. He is going to regret this come back as he will irrevocably damage his reputation and legacy. I'll be laughing all the way.

  • Comment number 44.

    1. where does this leave heidfelt? i think his only option is to stay at sauber. although, him and kobyashi does mean a good driver line up for sauber. adding to almost every other teams good driver line ups.

    renault have a free seat too. i always thought he was a better driver than kubica.



    2. the only team who haven't signed a driver yet is US f1 and that adds to the question mark over there heads.



    3. just two non rookie drivers left, heidfelt and fissichella (i know the later is a ferrari reserve) so we'll be sure to see more debutants (hopefully british ones) or ex-drivers returning like schumacher did.

  • Comment number 45.

    This is great news - the return of the most successful driver in F1 history. There are many who say he was the greatest F1 driver ever - and most of them will probably say he wasn't the quickest either, but when we say 'greatest F1 driver' we mean more than just raw speed, i.e. teamwork abilities, car development, temperment, commitment, wet-weather ability, race-distance pace ect. For example, some say Hakkinen was faster than Schumi over one lap but Schumi was much better over the whole race. Senna was probably also faster on a single lap compared to Schumi (just look at his pole position percentages compared to Schumi). So it doesn't concern me that he has potentially lost some of his speed - the other attributes which form the complete driver have the ability to compensate.

    I have to agree with schumacher 2010 champ regarding the constant barrage of abuse directed at schumacher and his 'racing incidents'. It is true he has been guilty of many fouls and was rightly disqualified in 1997, but the fact that senna seems to escape criticism baffles me.

  • Comment number 46.

    I think we're in for an absolute treat next year! The drive and competitiveness of Schumacher will ultimately be as strong as ever, and he's no doubt lured back by the challenge of competing against a current pool of very strong F1 drivers.

    Lets just hope there isn't one manufacturer who runs away with it.

  • Comment number 47.

    Interesting viewpoints. But in a world dominated by finance and the absolute need to deliver, Michael wouldn't have won this drive unless he very much still has "got it to go". Never mind all the whinging, this man has aleady won 7 world titles against the very best in the business year on year. Adrenalin in the heat of the moment when young men are pumped up living live on the very edge of driving ability driving the very best of motor engineering expertise, produces winers and also rans. Michael is a 7 times winner and you cannot not admire his tenacity, drive and temperament that he is willing to step up the plate so we can enjoy the 2010 season. I personaly hope the Braun/Shumacher combination leads from the front and shows the rest of these young bloods the way. Michael can still put bums on seats and stimlate world wide interest. It's got to be good for F1 and motor racing.
    Wishing Ross, Michael and all the Mercedes team all the very best lads. Go for it guys and show us what you can do!

  • Comment number 48.

    This may sound too much like a conspiracy theory, but I think part of his return has to do with Bernie Ecclestone trying to find some way of rejuvenating F1 after 2009's problems (the Singapore saga with Renault, teams leaving, confusion over which venues would stay or go, contested elections, breakaway threats, etc.)

    Bringing Schumacher back will help push away such "unseemly" stories further into the background as journalists focus on his return, rivalry with Alonso & Hamilton, etc.
    What do you think?

  • Comment number 49.

    Well it will be interesting if nothing else, brilliant driver that Schumacher is, he's still guilty of cheating on occasion. Let's see how many controversial moments there are involving him in 2010 !! I feel sorry for Rosberg who will ultimately have to follow in his teammates footsteps.

  • Comment number 50.

    This is even more reason to be excited about the 2010 season. I hope he wins a race in the first third of the season, that will make everyone sit up and take notice. It does depend on the equipment Mercedes produce.

    I totally agree with those that have pointed out other drivers 'unsportsmanlike' actions over the years. The most vivid in my memory is Senna taking out Prost for the title in Japan at the 1st corner, most astonishing is the fact Senna said it WOULD happen in the press conference the previous day. Nelson Piquet having a punch up on track in Germany isn't very sportsman like either. And we all know Alonso isn't all sweetness and light. All are multiple world champs in an era when then media presence has grow out of all recognition, so it's only fair to think people would view Senna and his actions the same way as they view schumachers if he was driving now.

    I feel very priviledged to have seen drivers like Senna, Prost, Piquet and Schumacher. Prost being the only one I did not like because he came across as a whiner and took his ball home when Senna beat him, still one of the best ever drivers though.

    For those who think Schumacher only won in the best car moulded around him should look back, read or view what actually happened and realise he did far more than what he was credited for. All those records and people still moan.

    I can't wait for it all to kick off.

    Any tickets left for Silverstone.....

  • Comment number 51.

    Great, now we can look forward to more cheating & ramming his nearest competitor off the race track.

  • Comment number 52.

    All this talk of him being a bit slower or at 90% i think this is rubbish. The guy only quit F1 3 years ago, what magically because he reaches 40 will he have lost some skill? No way - give him a couple of races to settle in and he will be back to 100% form.

    I am glad to see him back, it's good for F1 as a whole, but I will never support him. I can never forgive him for what he did to Damon Hill in Australia 1994!

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    OK so he's a little bit older than he was and possibly not quite as fit as he was but it's Michael Schumacher driving in F1 again. What's not to love about this.

    It was also interesting to note that the only person quoted (in the main article) who was negative about Schumacher's return was Damon Hill. Sour grapes Damon???

  • Comment number 55.

    Hmm, that was quite a heartfelt piece - not quite sure how it broke house rules. I'll try again..

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    I originally just wanted to comment to say glad Schumacher is back but after having read through the comments in this blog there are so many conspiracy theories I feel like I'm at a meeting of the flat earth society.

    Man did walk on the moon, it was Titanic that sunk, and I'm from Comber where the damn thing was designed, and Bigfoot is a myth. Stop the conspiracies because without them there are actually some quite salient thoughts here.

  • Comment number 58.

    Like many people in England I hated Schumacher for his moves in the 1994 Australian GP which denied Damon Hill the title, and then even more so for trying a similar thing against Villeneuve a few seasons later. This was then followed by other acts of seeming gamesmanship in forthcoming seasons, and combined with his apparently egotistical and arrogant personality made me despise him immensely. I guess you could say Senna had a similar personality but there was always something about Senna that just about made it excusable - bias on my part primarily as I was such a fan, and then his untimely death kind of made all of his blemishes and misdemeanors disappear.

    The same could never be said about Schumacher who seemed to be quite easy to dislike, and it didn't help that in the latter half of his championship wins his dominance over the rest of the field was so complete that Formula One just became one big long monotonous procession, where everyone knew that the German in the Red Car would win before the race had even begun. Despite being a big Formula One fan I lost interest for a good few seasons and, as I'm sure some others may have done, laid the finger of blame at Schumacher's door. I was so glad to see the back of him and eagerly looked forward to a new era and the coming of the Exciting New Young British Prospect.

    Roll forward three years and we've had three unbelievably exciting championship battles. Two seasons that went down to the wire - the second of which went down to the very last corner - followed by a phoenix from the flames fairytale, all lightly spiced up with allegations and controversies galore. Lovely stuff. And now this is going to be followed by TWO British Champions in the SAME TEAM, unheard of for decades. Who could want any more? Who needs Schumacher!

    Strange then that I'm more excited about Schumacher's return than I could have ever imagined. His three years away have seemed to mellow him (or at least, I've mellowed towards him), and now he just seems like a Good Honest Legend returning to what he loves best with a massive sense of boyish enthusiasm and a lack of the cynicism that had always previously followed him around. Perhaps also it's that some of us who disliked him for so long have had some time to digest his achievements and his impact on the sport, and have finally decided that yes, he was amazing, and yes, he is a legend. And maybe the decline in Ferrari and his role as an advisor to them over the last couple of years has helped his image to some extent, the Good Samaritan Schumacher coming in to try to spread his magic glitter in an effort to return his ailing team to its heyday despite their generally underperforming drivers. And then every now and then you hear a little about his charity work and good deeds and it helps to cement the turnaround from egomaniac to good guy who people (myself included) can't wait to see back in Formula One.

    But we all know he'll be back to his old self when he gets back into the cockpit. He's obviously in it to win it, and providing the F1 version of the Merc turns out to be faster than the ones they use for safety cars I think he'll be competitive. He will be battling against the current crop of drivers, and perhaps also against his slowing reaction times and a decline in his once sheer bloody mindedness, and will instead have to rely increasingly on his unmatched know-how and experience.

    And for me therein lies the beauty of it, Michael Schumacher, not the maddeningly dominant driver he once was but the experienced returning legend, and instead of (and with respect to) the likes of Montoya, Barrichello et al, he'll be up against a new breed of hungry and brilliant young drivers like Hamilton and Vettel eager to prove their own legend. The 2010 Formula One season will surely be the most eagerly anticipated season imaginable, and I can't wait!!


    P.S. Apologies for the length of this, I think I just needed to put it down in words to understand how on earth I've gone from loathing to loving Michael Schumacher - I get it now

  • Comment number 59.

    So exciting!!! Schumacher comeback is the greatest news in F1 since a long time. The 2010 Grid is one of the best in F1 history. I've read some negative comments from English F1 fans about controversy linked with Schumacher over his carrier especially that last race in Adelaide in 1994 against Hill. I would say to them remember the LieGate controversy this year involving Hamilton.
    I cannot wait for the 1st of February 2010 when testing of the new car starts. Let hope that Mecerdes GP gets him a good car. I'm sure Schumacher will be up to the task.

  • Comment number 60.

    Am I the only person who finds it rather sad that a 41 year old man can find nothing more worth-while and interesting to do with his time than drive a very fast car around a track 70 or 80 times? What a sad man.

  • Comment number 61.

    Damon Hill's miserable reaction (see 'Reaction' link) to this shows just how many sour grapes there still are from someone who was constantly eclipsed by a better driver. He clearly still has a chip on his shoulder.

  • Comment number 62.

    Jenson is going to take michael to the cleaners hell bet him that much his going to retire again at the end of 2010

  • Comment number 63.

    So Schumacher thinks he's going to win the 2010 title? Well he always was an arrogant git! He might be able to win a race or two but I don't think F1 needs him anymore, if it ever did. With all due respect to Brawn/Mercedes, they complain about Jenson's wage demands and then sign the greediest F1 driver of all time! Wierd.

  • Comment number 64.

    Obviously it is great for the sport to see michael back in an F1 car but realisticly I can't see him reaching anywhere above 3rd place in the drivers' championship.

    I think Hamilton and Alonso will outclass him with Lewis eventually winning the title, with Schumacher, Massa,Button, Rosberg and Vettel behind them in that order.

    I also feel a bit sorry for Nico Rosberg. He has shown how capable he is as a driver and I believe he is a future WC BUT Schumacher is in a different league.

  • Comment number 65.

    I think alot of people are just jealous as to how someone has been so successful. I don't think anyone is in a position to moan about Michael. He doesn't need to prove anything to anyone. The guy is capable of winning for fun.
    Yes he is fearless, yes he is determined and will do anything to win. But you have to be like that to be as successful as he has been. I agree with people regarding Lewis, Liegate!!!! Everyone seems to have conveiently forgotten that!
    As the interview clearly states - Michael is supremely fit and will not have made this decision if he thought he wouldn't be able to keep up with the rest.
    On four wheels for sure, he is the best racing drive in the world! Surely he shows his dedication for the sport by stating that 'his life is empty without F1'.
    A message for other people, stop moaning and grow up. The sport is better for his return. Michael is not a 'sad man' for coming back, the people moaning and being negative are the 'sad people' because they're in the frightened frame of mind that he will dominate the sport again as he so supremely did before!

  • Comment number 66.

    Schumacher is coming to an F1 grid which is very competitive with great drivers in great cars, to win the title he is going to have to be his best. To comeback and have to beat both Jenson and Lewis in the Mclaren and Massa and Alonso in the Farrari's is not going to be easy and although he may have been the best I can't see him winning the Championship this year. Although I would love to see him do it!

  • Comment number 67.

    63. At 09:53am on 24 Dec 2009, MGUK82 wrote:

    So Schumacher thinks he's going to win the 2010 title? Well he always was an arrogant git! He might be able to win a race or two but I don't think F1 needs him anymore, if it ever did. With all due respect to Brawn/Mercedes, they complain about Jenson's wage demands and then sign the greediest F1 driver of all time! Wierd.

    ------

    Huh? No Schumi has said that he wants to COMPETE for the 2010 WDC, not that he is 'going to win it'. The idea of the sport is that in theory any of the drivers on the grid can win the WDC, and they all have that desire. Schumi is a 7 times WDC, he is rated as one of the greatest drivers of all time, he has won more races, podiums and WDCs than any other driver alive or dead and he is returning to the sport in a team that in the last season clinched both championships, if he said he wasn't looking to clinch an 8th WDC then I (and many others) would be wondering what the hell he was doing in the car.

    What do you mean you don't think F1 needs him anymore? F1 doesn't actually have any needs, its a sport not a needy person. The thing is one of the teams within the sport has decided that it 'needs' Schumi so has gone out and hired him to drive one of their cars.

    As for greed Schumi is being paid a reported 6-7mil for next year and whilst that is a fabulous amount of money to most of us its not much more than Jenson was paid last season and is about 1/3rd of what Ferrari are going to pay Kimi next season to sit on his couch rather than in their car.

  • Comment number 68.

    "Schumacher - who will surely have the upper hand over team-mate Nico Rosberg"

    Andrew,

    Hmmmmmmmm, bit of a big 'surely' there, methinks.



    brendan

  • Comment number 69.

    I would truely like to see 100 victories and that would guarantee 100% reputation - never mind the Championship table. No matter what happened in the past (Oz & Monaco GP's), this is going to show the true mettal of the man and I will respect him for whatever his achievements in 2010.

  • Comment number 70.

    The man is a machine he just needed a break, michael to win 2010 season, bring it on. As for sportsmanship, have a good look around at the world we live in. Corruption is everywhere so what, sport is no exception get over it, I mean do you really think jenson left of his own accord, I think not.

  • Comment number 71.

    Nostalgia...
    It's nature's way of distorting perceptions without the need of mind-bending drugs.
    Steve Davis, McEnroe, Nick Cotton, Thatcher - oooh aren't they lovely now? (except Thatcher)
    We've had 3 years of amazing grand prix moments:
    Alonso's contretemps with Hamilton
    Hamilton's win in the last corner of the last lap of the last race
    Button winning it on a botched up Honda chassis with a Mercedes engine

    We don't need Schumacher, but nostalgia has a habit of forgiving past misdemeanors..believe me - after 3 or 4 races you'd all start wishing to see the back of him, although i'd wish it that he'd see the back of Alonso in all of next season...

  • Comment number 72.

  • Comment number 73.

    wow only the English can turn a story like this around and make it about Lewis Hamilton lol...

  • Comment number 74.

    It's upsetting to think that Schumacher is still regarded as the greatest. I thought that his history of crashing into, or attempting to crash into his rivals and his blatant cheating at Monaco had removed that tag forever when even his fellow drivers finally called him a cheat and a liar! Seems odd that the sport sees itself as being at such a low ebb that it actually thinks it needs him. Mind you people like to look at accidents that have happened on the roads as they drive past so there's no accounting for taste...

  • Comment number 75.

    F1 fans are like an atheist that wants to believe in any given god and Antichrist. The fact that he/she lauds or demonises any given driver or team is an affront to sport in general. And don't be fooled into believing that F1 is not a sport.

    Sport is competition, and the return of Michael Schumacher to F1 is a competitive statement of his intent. I have not seen anyone here comment on his decision to drive for Mercedes over Ferrari. Were it not for Mercedes belief in him many years ago, it could be argued that his very existence in F1 could be called into question. Yet here we are with Schumi returning after a 3 year hiatus, into a team he feels he owes something to, in a field of drivers and teams that are, as yet, untried and untested.

    His ability cannot be called into question. 7 WDC's do not come from mere participation. I could sing the praises of any number of former world champions, but that would detract from the tenet of this discussion. His mastery of the art of racing is second to none. I remember a Spanish GP he won stuck in 5th gear. Can any of his detractors claim to be able to drive said circuit, at any pace, given the same circumstances?

    Sportsmanship is but a tiny facet of the multi-faceted nature of F1. No-one is above criticism, but praise has to be earned. And, my gosh! Has Schumi earned praise?

    I was never a fan of his, but my respect for him has been unwavering since I saw him qualify for the British GP in an uncompetitive Jordan, only to stall off the grid. Notwithstanding this, he has proved, time and again, to be a consummate professional, the likes of which we should be happy to have witnessed even once in our lives. I welcome his return to an eyepoppingly competitive 2010 season, and heartily wish all drivers and teams the best of luck in producing what, on paper, should be the most interesting season that the sport has ever had to offer.

    As for the atheist F1 fan looking for a new god or demon? You formulate your own idols. Are you tolerant, though, of other peoples faiths?

    F1 FTW

  • Comment number 76.

    the person who wrote this blog, andrew, clearly wants to see schumacher beaten .

    andrew start writing your schumacher articles with less biassness.


    ferrari who?

  • Comment number 77.

    At 6:03pm on 23 Dec 2009, andrewme wrote:
    Virgin out, HOndas cheque used up, a limited budget hampering mid season developments, and then Mercedes buy in, Haugs relationship with Schumi,none of these happened overnight. Makes more sense why JB left for the best long term option and out of uncertainty.

    Yes, and one wonders what Rubens knew as well as I and I guess many others were surprised that he bailed out so quickly. Didn't want to play No2 to the master again I wonder?

  • Comment number 78.

    I'm english and can't bear listening to lewis hamilton or button, thank god he coming back to add some spice the mix.

  • Comment number 79.

    cordas said:

    >What do you mean you don't think F1 needs him anymore? F1 doesn't actually have any needs, its a sport not a needy person.

    Could have fooled me given some of the comments on here. People whine about the British F1 media worshipping Lewis Hamilton. Well before '07 they worshipped Schumacher and he isn't even British!

  • Comment number 80.

    Wonder if this will temp Martin Brundle to make a return?

  • Comment number 81.

    #40 Carlonso. 'Mr' Alonso sure did a job on Lewis in his rookie year didn't he? Put the young upstart in his place and made him look out of his depth', didn't he? Ah, no wait a minute. Oops. There's EVERY reason to suggest he'll do it again isn't there? Ah, no wait a minute. Again. Ooops. ;o)

  • Comment number 82.

    So F1 doesn't need Schumacher because we have had a few great seasons. On the premise we don't need Ferrari as they were useless last year(not forgetting all those years BEFORE Schumacher got there).

    Who cares. We can make lots of comparisions based on 'needs'.

    It is adding that bit more spice to what everyone is predicting will be the best season in decades. And whether you like him or not, I bet his position on the track is the one people will be looking at so they can sneer or cheer.

    Hakkinen coming back would be the only thing to generate anything close to the furore that this is bringing, the only difference being is perception of the man. Love him or hate him, putting Schumacher against the guys out there is going to generate even better racing. Not only are Hamilton, Button et al wanting to beat each other, they will want to make sure they are not the ones to be beaten race by race by Schmacher.

    Again, I pray Mercedes bring out a car as good as the others down the pit lane. Imagine a season like last happing again, how entertaining would it be to watch all the guys chasing down that championship lead with the scalp of Schumacher adding to joy of winning the championship.

  • Comment number 83.

    Question is, if the Mercedes car turns out to be a complete donkey like this year's McLaren, how long will Mr Schumacher stay in F1??

  • Comment number 84.

    "Question is, if the Mercedes car turns out to be a complete donkey like this year's McLaren, how long will Mr Schumacher stay in F1?"

    Bounce,

    Let me put another scenario to you.

    Supposing Schumacher actually wins the thing in 2010?

    That is going to make the rather loud speculation that MS is only keeping Vettel's seat at Mercedes warm a bit questionable, eh?

    I note that Brawn/Mercedes got rid of WDC Button and 3rd place man Barrichello right after a successful season, pretty ruthless I'd say.

    Me, I'd like to see MS in for two seasons and break the century mark.

    It would be a while before anyone beat that:)



    brendan


  • Comment number 85.

    "It's upsetting to think that Schumacher is still regarded as the greatest."

    Fumingo,

    Can you argue with the numbers?

    91 wins out of 254 starts, 154 podiums.

    I've been watching F1 since 1958, and no one was as consistently fast or as motivated as Schumacher. He is/was and probably always will be the best there ever was. Remember, they changed the points in an attempt to handicap him, it didn't.

    Some of his stuff was not admirable, but this is a sport full of very hard men.



    brendan

  • Comment number 86.

    84. At 9:09pm on 24 Dec 2009, brendanstallard wrote:

    I note that Brawn/Mercedes got rid of WDC Button and 3rd place man Barrichello right after a successful season, pretty ruthless I'd say

    ---

    Errr... No, they 'got rid of' Rubens before the end of the season, doing a deal with Williams to swap him for Rosberg. I would assume because they wanted a long term future for the team, getting a German driver on board was probably a requirement of the Mercedes deal.

    Brawn, Fry and Jenson all stated an interest in continuing the deal but I think McLaren threw a spanner in the works by tempting Jenson after Kimi turned them down (apparently they weren't prepapred to pay him more than Ferrari would for sitting on his couch, and looking at Rallying). Looking at the salaries that both Jenson and Schumi are reportedly signed up on money isn't the issue. I very much doubt that Jenson was 'pushed' out to make room for Schumi simple because the dates don't add up.

  • Comment number 87.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 88.

    @Everybody. It is a season with much to look forward to. Two british world champions in a single team fighting it out. Well, as crazy as it sounds, it really is a mouth watering prospect which I am sure is going to bring the best in each of them. And to see how Mclaren handle the situation. It could be a very tricky season for Hamilton. Then you have the Red Bulls surging forward, for most part of 2009 as well, with two relatively awesome drivers more than capable of challenging for the CROWN. The fact that vettel is sometimes called Baby schumi says a whole lot about him. The whole of F1 I am sure is looking forward to this young man living up to his expectations. Then you have the ferrari's. A double world champion finally getting a car under him that should sure has hell do justice to the talent that is Fernando Alonso. Mclaren didn't really know how to handle this hot headed, complaining driver. I am sure ferrari were watching then and it is a calculated to risk to have signed him. He pairing up with massa, an almost world champion, is a recipe for disaster. Massa adores ferrari and is like a family to him to say the least. With alonso in the mix it could turn out to be a genuis paring that fetches them the constructors crown or could be a disastrous pair that was never meant to be. That pretty much covers the top teams with potential world champions for next year. But truly it has to be said, Nothing I mentioned above could match the silverlining for the 2010 season as the return of the German,7 time World Champion, perhaps the greatest of them all, although the F1 fraternity rates Aryton Senna just a bit above this great man, Michael Schumacher. Love him or hate him. He is the force to reckon with. Ruthless, calculated, win at all costs strategist, focused, determined are some of the things this man can be described by. But this above all, The most talented, is what can truly put into perspective of how he would fair on his return to his favorite sport. I accept everything everybody has to say about this. But the fact that everybody is saying something or the other is proof enough of what this man really is. :)... I am schumacher fan. But I love the sport, he made so famous, more. Every driver on the race track would be gearing upto beat schumacher. It would be like a pack of hungry wolves having a go at him. It wont't be easy. It may not be quiet the fairy tale return most expect it to be. It may not even be that he wins a race to say the least. But the fact of the matter is, I would give anything to see this man behind the wheel once again. One more drive, one more win, one more schumacher magic moment. Anything..

    when he retired in 2006 many fans echoed a similar sentiment:

    "Something amiss,someone is missed,sadness engulfs,a sudden vacuum,the race is over,an era comes to an end,but time stands still,memories linger,some race, some corner we recall,some talk, some smile stays on the racer, the driver hangs his boot but the spirit,the man, his talent stands tall,To Schumi,who made a difference,who made me his fan,who gave me something to cheer,To you schumi - I bow to thee. Michael Forever!!!!!"

    And now:

    "Welcome back CHAMP"...

    :)... To the most anticipated season in a long long time... Cheers folks... :)

  • Comment number 89.

    But why is he back? Is it the money? or just plain 'the urge' to do so! Terrible that he's come in a damn Merc than the Ferrari - but Luca seriously needs to learn some people management skills! He's going way out to emulate Enzo!

    http://tinyurl.com/yjvnd7c

    Here's some good read on the reasons for his return. Waiting for the 5 lights to illuminate in 2010!! :D

  • Comment number 90.

    I think I go along with everyone else here.
    Schumacher will just make up the numbers.

    He will not be able to compete with the likes of Vettel and Hamilton who I feel will be the ones to beat.

    Alonso and Button will just make up the team and play the game but they'll amount to 'nought'

    Button won the championship last year because of the package around him. If Schumacher is relying on this factor he is in for a huge shock and he, of all people, should know better.
    It is safe to assume that all the teams have caught up and the playing field is once more level which was not the case last season.

    The one for me will be Vettel...It's his year to shine.

  • Comment number 91.

    Schumacher will not intimidate drivers like once he did, Hamilton will win the world championship next season.
    The way that Schumacher broke the rules will not be so readily tolerated either, especially as he won't be in a red car.

    I agree that a 90% Schumacher would be better than the majority of the drivers on the grid but it's the other three or four drivers that he has to worry about. I also don't think he will be 90% the driver he once was.

    Schumacher might win a race or maybe two, if everything falls in place for him but the title, no hope.

  • Comment number 92.

    I was stunned to have my post #10 removed because it broke house rules.

    I am reproducing it here slightly rewritten using the word alledged which should get it through the absolutely pathetic moderating. I'm not sure if this Benson himself who does some of the moderating. If you do Andrew, that was pathetic removing my post. Here goes:



    You can never put to one side the alledged cheating and alledged downright unsportsmanlike behaviour of schumacher. The list of alledged infractions is a very long one and for any true sports fan tempers any awe at his skill when he wasnt putting it to alledged cheating ways....Most people will remember him for allegedly punting Damon off and alledgedly trying to punt Villneuve off a couple of years later. Or the ride height plank or even the alledged launch control software hidden. But for me the purest example of his wish to win at any cost was when he allegedly turned up for the preseason weigh-in with his testing helmet so adding 5 kilo's or so to his car/man weight which would have been an advantage. Allegedly he was ordered to reweigh himself with his racing helmet. Will mercedes want to be associated with such alledged cheating if he starts "pushing the envelope" or will he this time behave with integrity which is a hallmark of the Mercedes brand? I hope he doesnt generate controversy, but a leopard allegedly doesnt change its spots too easily and I wont hold my breath waiting for schmacher to play it straight.

  • Comment number 93.

    This has reference to the comment of alseno who i assume is an Alonso Fan.

    Please note
    1) That all car companies are here for the buck. Mercedes has not suddenly become charitable to Michael. They have taken him because they believe he has the stuff to win. Too bad if this was a wrong assumption as wrong as the assumption of MaLaren was in 2007. They thought Alonso would sweep the title but a rookie teammate in a similar car proved to be better and lost the title due to inexperience.

    2) Schumacher's incident at Monaco 2006 could not be proved to be deliberate but he was demoted 20 places. Alonso blocked Hamilton DELIBERATELY and this resulted in only five place penalty. This and the skypgate incident really should have had him disqualified.

    It is ridiculous that drivers like Alonso / Hamilton are being portrayed as very honest. What about the 2009 Australia incident of Hamilton.

    No one mentions how David Coulthard ( who was one lap down ) deliberately crashed into Michael in Belgium 1998 and got away without a punishment and caused in a big way Michael's defeat in 1998. For the record David has admitted that he did it deliberately.

    Lastly there a lot of mention that Michael has no real competitor. I don't think any of the drivers ( Alonso, Hamilton, Robert Kubica, Vettel ) measure up to Mika Hakkien, Michael's toughest rival. Michael defeated him in 2000 despite the Ferrari being a little slower than the Mclaren. Further to repeat again Michael would won the 1998 championship had it not been for the deliberate crashing by David Coulthard.

    Also Michael has merely expressed an Intent to chase for the 2010 title. Nothing wrong with that since every other driver has the same intent that is to win.

  • Comment number 94.

    nearly coughed up the port and stilton here...
    REF 92
    There is no alleging - they are factual, and time and time again I have re-iterated a desire to be introduced to Schumacher on the second working working day of the week...

    REF 93
    why do you assume that anyone anti-Schumacher is an Alonso fan? Jump in line behind those fans of Senna,Alessi,Irvine,Barrichello,Hill,Villeneuve,Hakkinen,Coulthard, any other racer betwen 1992-2006 etc...

    and on the David Coulthard incident I nearly coughed up the port and stilton...most laughable and ludicrous thing I've ever read...and when did Coulthard ever admit to it?

  • Comment number 95.

    Is anyone out there like me really peeved that Button was only 0.2 seconds out on Hamilton's time when driving the reasonably priced car on Top Gear?
    And has Jeremy Clarkson approached Alonso for the challenge yet?

  • Comment number 96.

    Good to notice that the one thing no-one is questioning is that it next year will be a fascinating season. However, I doubt shumi will win. he is being over hyped and is drawing attention away from where massive potential pace already is.
    These are my predictions for the top 10 of the 2010 drivers world championship.

    1. hamilton
    2. alonso
    3. vettel
    4. webber
    5. button
    6. massa
    7 rosberg
    8. schumacher
    9. barrachello
    10. kubica

    I will say this though, the only two predictions i am fairly sure on is the top two. the team mate battles will be the most interesting for me (as far as the drivers are concerned) particularly the red bull one, obviously as either of their drivers coud end up top, and the mercedes one. let us not forget that rosberg performed superbly in the 2009 season scoring on a regular basis and that is why i have predicted him to beat schumacher. schumacher has been out of it for three years though i have no doubt he'll be good.
    if anyone has any comments on my predictions i welcome them. provided they don't insult me!
    these are my predictions for the constructors championship, but these are even less certain than the driver ones.

    1. mclaren
    2. ferrari
    3. mercedes
    4. red bull
    5. williams
    6. renault
    7. force india
    8. torro rosso
    9. sauber
    10. lotus
    11. virgin
    12. campos
    13. US f1

    i base my predictions on the performances mid to end of 2009 , over the last five years and taking into account the recent developments of track with each team. as for the new teams i predict based on drivers and who is involved with the teams. i have big worries about US f1 and unless they sign a non-rookie driver, or any driver soon i don't think they'll even turn up.
    again i welcome comments.

  • Comment number 97.

    Not sure who will win, it will depend on which team has the best car I think because there are a number of drivers who I think are good for the championship, Lewis is probably my favourite but I wouldn't rule out Alonso as he will want to show the Tifosi who they 'really' love. Massa may also be a contender depending on how well he has recovered from his accident, he will want to try and make Ferrari his team and put Alonso in his place. Jenson has a chance but i think he will really need to get the car right and assert his position as reigning WDC. Vettel, Webber and Rosberg are all contenders but have to really step up a gear if they want the crown. And lets not forget Schumi, anyone who is prepared to write him off now is just plain daft. Yes he does have to prove he can still do it, but he is a freaking 7x World Champion and has won more races than the rest of the grid put together (91 to 51 if my memory serves me right) to bet against him being in the running as a driver is just ludicrous until we see him running and can see if he still has it or not.

    So my runners are
    1. Lewis
    2. Alonso
    3. Schumi

    Lewis to win by half a dozen or so points with Alonso and Schumi scrapping it out and ending within a couple of points of each other.

    4-6 (in no particular order) Jenson, Massa, Vettel

  • Comment number 98.

    #93

    I cant stand Alonso actually.

    But I have to say you're telling porkies about Coulthard admitting he caused the crash with schumacher in 1998. He has never done so. Even the telemetry supported Coulthard: Thats the reason he wasnt banned.

    I'm staggered you are getting away with such a blatant lie seeing as how my original post (with no lies) was removed.

    The moderation in this blog has not been upto BBC standard.

  • Comment number 99.

    WRT #94 and #98, Coulthard did admit to causing that incident back in Spa 1998.

    Ref: http://bit.ly/55AjjV

  • Comment number 100.

    This is what Coulthard said about the crah in 1998:

    ""The stewards looked at the data and I hadn't braked, so it was just all brushed under the carpet. The reality is that I lifted to let him pass me, but I lifted in heavy spray on the racing line. You should never do that. I would never do that now."

    Now compare it to what #93 said:

    "No one mentions how David Coulthard ( who was one lap down ) deliberately crashed into Michael in Belgium 1998 and got away without a punishment and caused in a big way Michael's defeat in 1998. For the record David has admitted that he did it deliberately."

    So Coulthard admits he made a mistake. #93 says something completely different in his post.

    My complaint here is about the moderation. I had a post (#10) deleted. I have recreated it and used the word alledged in #92 (even tho' everything I mention in it are all true) to get past the bad moderation.

    #93 on the other hand does a character assassination of DC and doesnt get his post removed. Thats blatant bias and poor moderation.




 

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