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Schumacher return looking increasingly likely

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Andrew Benson | 13:14 UK time, Friday, 11 December 2009

Michael Schumacher's possible return to action with Mercedes in 2010 has been the hot topic in Formula 1 circles since BBC Sport pundit Eddie Jordan first put meat on the bones of the vague rumours last month - and it is now looking increasingly likely to happen.

Bosses at the Mercedes team have all scrupulously avoided dampening down the speculation in the last couple of weeks, with the latest remarks coming from chief executive Nick Fry, who said a comeback by the seven-time champion would be "very interesting".

And this morning, the German tabloid Bild reported that Mercedes had offered Schumacher a salary of seven million euros (£6.3m).

On top of that, my information is increasingly that Schumacher's return as Nico Rosberg's team-mate is looking like a done deal.

Jordan says he thinks it will now definitely happen - and he believes it is only subject to a medical examination by leading F1 physician Dr Johannes Piel on the neck injury that stopped him returning as a replacement for Felipe Massa last summer.

Other sources are pointing in the same direction.

One figure who until recently had a senior role at Ferrari, who would have to release Schumacher from his consultancy contract, is saying it is definitely going to happen.

And I received cast-iron information from a reliable source this morning about the plans of those potentially affected by Schumacher's decision that, shall we say, points very strongly to him driving for Mercedes in 2010. (If that sounds vague, I'm sorry, but I was told in confidence and cannot reveal any more).

Armed with this mounting evidence, I phoned Schumacher's media spokeswoman Sabine Kehm to ask her what was going on with her client.

She is normally very forthcoming - it was Kehm who gave me the information with which BBC Sport broke the story back in July that Schumacher would consider a return as a stand-in for Massa.

At the time of Jordan's remarks she said a return was "highly unlikely", but that she "would never say never". But this time, although as friendly as ever, she was unusually reticent.

"I haven't got any more to say," she said. "I don't want to tell you anything, for whatever reason. I don't want to go into it any more."

Is that because you have nothing to say, I asked, or because you can't say anything?

"Because I can't."

I realise that none of this is definitive evidence that Schumacher will be back in F1 in 2010. But I have to admit that, after being initially sceptical about it, I'm now increasingly convinced that it could well come true.

Michael Schumacher celebrates on the podium at Felipe Massa's karting challenge last monthSchumacher continues to go karting when he can - is it in preparation for an F1 return?

If Schumacher does come back, it raises a whole load of interesting questions. The first of those is probably why, when he will be 41 in January and has absolutely nothing to prove, would he want to?

Until Schumacher himself speaks, there is no definitive answer to that. But it is pretty obvious that the competition bug still bites him hard - he drives karts as often as he can, and won Massa's karting challenge in Brazil last month.

It would also be a neat book-end to his F1 career - Mercedes, for whom he was driving in sportscars at the time, paid for him to make his F1 debut with Jordan in 1991, but he has never driven in a grand prix for them. He would also be continuing his relationship with Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn, who has masterminded all his seven titles, two at Benetton and five at Ferrari.

There is, though, also the issue of whether his neck has fully healed - but Kehm has already said that there is no reason to believe it won't have done by the end of the year.

Schumacher, Kehm and Brawn have all said that he is not interested in a new career. But that is not what this would be about, should it happen. At 41, any comeback by Schumacher is necessarily going to be short, but then this one only has to be.

Mercedes have already signed Rosberg for 2010 but, promising though the German is, he is not considered to be of the same calibre as Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, who will be leading the challenges of McLaren and Ferrari, nor of Jenson Button, Hamilton's new team-mate, or Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.

And although Nick Heidfeld, widely believed to be Mercedes's second choice as Rosberg's team-mate, is a consistent, reliable performer, he isn't either.

Vettel is Mercedes's main target - but they cannot have him for 2010 as he has a contract with Red Bull. That deal also lasts through 2011, but it is believed Mercedes will make strenuous efforts to prise the 22-year-old out of that deal during next year with a view to having him lead their team in 2011.

With that in mind, Mercedes need a stop-gap for 2010. And while Heidfeld would certainly be a decent one of those, he is not going to have the same impact, on and off the track, as Schumacher. After all, given the choice, who would you go for?

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I think he should return, to say its a mouth watering prospect for viewers is an understatement. Button and Hamilton for Mclaren
    Schumacher and Rosberg for Mercedes

    Britain vs Germany

    you can't ask for much more than that

  • Comment number 2.

    I never liked Schumacher when he was racing (I just couldn't forgive him for Adelaide 94) but there was no doubt he was always the benchmark. Let's hope that if the return happens, it's like Lauda rather than Mansell.

  • Comment number 3.

    The plot thickens...

    It would be interesting to see him back but I don't see the logic. The last former world champion to make his comeback in his 40s was Nigel Mansell and we all know what happened on that occasion (though I imagine Schumacher will fit in the car!). It makes sense from Mercedes' point of view - you couldn't get much more publicity than this.

    Formula 1 has rejuvenated itself since the dark and highly dull period of the beginning of this decade - we don't need a return to that.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think his return will put a dent in his career. He will most definetly not challenge for the title, and i don't think he'll be happy with 4th or 5th place finishes. Last year i was hoping he'd come back as it was Ferrari, but with Mercedes... Although, the prospect of working with Ross Brawn has to be the reason he is considering it, if blogs like this one are to be believed

  • Comment number 5.

    The link up with Ross Brawn will be the biggest pull for Schumacher. He has won everything he has wanted to do, but maybe the thought of racing one more time, against people like Lewis Hamilton and Seb Vettel would also tempt him.

    Personally, I'd love to see him back. There was always more excitement when he was on track!

  • Comment number 6.

    If Schuey does return it will be just about the best grid possible. I just hope the action merits the hype!

  • Comment number 7.

    I for one would love it if he did come back. I was disappointed to see him retire after the 2006 season, particularly with Lewis coming in so strong. Even if it's for one season only, it'd be worth having him, just for the Lewis vs Schuey battle.

    Sportsman he most definitely isn't (Adelaide 94 and Jerez 97 just two examples which point to this) but as a racing driver, quite arguably the best there has ever been. I also doubt he'd come back if he didn't think he could still do it.

    We await with anticipation, Mr Benson..

  • Comment number 8.

    A comeback could be likely. When he was coming to come back in July, he had a neck injury. But you never know with Schumacher do you.


    Just if you wanted to know:
    I've been watching Imola 94 Aftermath at www.f1archive.com it was such a big shame and makes you wonder what Senna could have achived. And how F1 has improved in safety.

    Also I got a video called "Grand Prix BBC Remembers from 1978-1996 on the same website which was interesting to watch because it looked back on Grand Prix. Thank goodness BBC have the rights to F1.

    Do you agree with the Autosport Top50 Great Drivers? I do cos Senna deserved to be No1
    If not, why don't we start our own Top50 Greatest F1 Drivers. So can people give their Top50 Greatest F1 Drivers?

    Andrew- Do you agree with the new points system?

  • Comment number 9.

    #1
    Britain vs Germany

    you can't ask for much more than that

    ------------------------------------------------------
    What if you're not from either country?

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm 99.99999999999 percent sure the deal is done subject to a final medical check. One year with a second year option.

    Only a medical problem will stop it happening.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am not worlds biggest F1 fan but just talk of Schumacher stepping into Massa's car last term was enough to get everyone gripped to end of their chairs. Hopefully it’s not just another publicity stunt to get a big money sponsor behind Mercedes.

    I would love to see Schumacher on the grid again and give some of these young drivers a driving lesson. The prospect is indeed mouth watering….

  • Comment number 12.

    Schumacher has had his ups and downs....He is the benchmark.91 wins,and 7 titles....Some dirty moves he has been giulty of,and I don't like these moments at all,but was Senna a saint.....Any great one,to come back....why not... If Michael's neck is good to go,and he steps into the Merc,he will be challenging for the title.....That is a for sure.If you don't believe that,you weren't paying attention to the last 18 years in F1....

  • Comment number 13.

    But Schumacher coming back could remake the boring days of 2001,2002,2004 which turned out to be a procession for Ferrari. And you probably would not need that would you? Or Schumacher could maybe start his own F1 team what you reckon cos Prost did that and we know what happened there turned out to be a failure.

  • Comment number 14.

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

  • Comment number 15.

    Like the other comment...he does nothing but create excitement.91 times atop the podium,91 times the leap we all know just like the first...He is full of passion for racing be he is racing....

  • Comment number 16.

    I think you are wrong about Rosberg. Most people I know think he is a driver with very big potential - unlike Button who has fulfilled his and will now most likely disappear into the chasing pack.

    Also, £6.3m for Schumacher? The former champ and man who will command every camera in the paddock and billions of screens around the world? Sounds a snip. What is Button on, something similar I recall. I know who I would rather have in my team.

  • Comment number 17.

    it's official, the FIA WILL INTRODUCE A NEW POINTS SYSTEM FOR 2010 which will be:
    1st-25
    2nd-20
    3rd-15
    4th-10
    5th=8
    6th-6
    7th-5
    8th-3
    9th-2
    10th-1

    2010 looks set to be a good season: New teams, New points system unless someone dominates the first half of the year and ends up winning it

  • Comment number 18.

    Hookers_armpit I'm glad there are others who appreciate that Rosberg is being underrated and has the ability to mix it with the best given a race winning car. Benson needs to take note

  • Comment number 19.

    I was a Schumacher and Ferrari fan but I do not want him to return to Mercedes. Schumacher loves the passion of the Scuderia and the Tifosi too much to betray them surely?

  • Comment number 20.

    For a British F1 audience, this is the most exciting era since Hill / Clark / Stewart in the late '60's. Two British champions going up against the most accomplished driver of all (and the greatest save for Senna), within a climate of rationalisation and increasingly open-sourced strategy ... outstanding.

  • Comment number 21.

    I don't think Schumacher should make a return. He definately was one of the best drivers ever and he will always be remembered that way, but surely driver vacancies should be offered to younger up-and-coming stars so that they can also get the oppurtunities that Schumacher received when he first started out. You have had your day Michael Schumacher! Give new talent a chance.

  • Comment number 22.

    Don't forget about Robert Kubica. I think he is the best choice, which Ross can do. I know that he is in Renault now, but their future isn't sure, so everything is possible.

  • Comment number 23.

    I just cannot understand Schumacher's motivation. It can't possibly be money, given how much he earned during his career. It can't possibly be to prove or achieve anything, because he undoubtedly has nothing more to do in either regard.

    As for the love and desire of competition... well, Schumacher showed right throughout his career that he cared only for winning. For being the very best.

    Does he truly believe that, now into his forties and having been away from F1 for four years, he can step straight back in and better the likes of Hamilton and Alonso?

    Can he even be sure that he will be faster than his sharp young team-mate in waiting Rosberg (who I for one feel is potentially a bit more of a class act than Andrew gives him credit for here)?

    He's either supremely arrogant or he's just supreme. But we knew the latter to be true anyway, so he has little to gain.

  • Comment number 24.

    I hope this happens, i am salivating at the prospect of next years grid line-up!!!

    I bet Hamilton hopes it happens too, a chance to finally race "the master"

  • Comment number 25.

    I don't believe Andrew was doubting the qaulity of Rosberg i think his point was Schumacher will take the seat alongside him until they can get their hands on Vettel hence forming a Rosberg/Vettel partnership!!

    Two of the most talented drivers on the grid!!

  • Comment number 26.

    I do hope this happens like most fans but James Allen thinks that it won't happen:

    http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2009/12/why-ferrari-wont-let-schumacher-go-to-mercedes/

    As far as Rosberg goes he was chasing Hamilton long before F1 and didn't get the best of him so whilst I agree he is a good driver he has a lot to prove at the top table.

    #8 Thanks for the link, I think that means that I won't be doing any work now for the rest of the day....

    Ginger

  • Comment number 27.

    Even his rivals must savour the prospect of the seven times champion's return. TV viewing figures wil go through the roof, there will be massive publicity and people will soon forget all the negative F1 publicity of the last couple of years. When that happens, sponsors will be much keener to become/remain involved.

  • Comment number 28.

    F1 has had three brilliant, unpredictable seasons since he retired. Why would any fan want to see a return to the processions of the early part of the decade?

    Ref: The new points system. It seems that the FIA cannot count. 5 points for 7th place is clearly wrong. It should be:
    25, 20, 15, 10, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1

    Reason? Well look at the amounts that the old system have been multiplied to get the new numbers:
    1st - 3rd : 2.5x old scores
    4th - 6th : 2x
    7th : 5x
    8th : 3x

    Stands out like a sore thumb, doesn't it? D'oh!

    Besides, the only fix the old points system needed was a change from 10 to 12 points for a win (the old gap was only reduced to try to stop Schumacher from winning the championship so early in the season. It didn't work...)

  • Comment number 29.

    LABSAB9 I accept your view on this blog to a point however, Benson clearly states that Mercedes will be looking for Vettel to lead the team in 2011.
    What i find annoying about this is that Benson is not part of the Mercedes GP setup and doesn't have a clue what they are thinking.
    How can he assume that Vettel would be the lead driver in a Rosberg/Vettel Mercedes GP team in 2011 when only one of them has had an opportunity to drive in a race winning car?
    I suggest Benson waits to see what Rosberg does next season in what I hope will be a competitive car and then make assumptions about team leaders thereafter

  • Comment number 30.

    Um... wait a sec. That would be 2.5x for 7th place, not 5x - double d'oh!

    Four points would make it 2x, which fits way better, but I agree that if you do the maths right, it's not so obvious!!!

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.

    Funny old sport when Ferrari offer Schumacher a poor car he's got an injured neck and is to old. Offer him a No1 car and he can drive ?

  • Comment number 33.

    Like most F1 fans, I really hope this happens. Much as I dislike Schumacher for the various dubious actions he's taken over the years, there's no denying he's one of the all-time greats, and a field containing him, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Button and Massa would be about as good a grid as there's been for decades.

  • Comment number 34.

    Damn and blast the BBC!! Honestly I'll be more polite about M. Schumacher this time...right here goes...

    Andrew,
    This blog makes perfect sense, and something that I've already highlighted beforehand before the Heidfeld Crusade waded in..
    Subject to a medical, and if the desire is still there, then I don't see why Michael Schumacher can't be driving that Mercedes next season with a one year contract with a year option...It works for Mercedes in the short term, it'll make more of a driver out of Rosberg and it all slots nicely to when Vettel is free from his Red Bull contract.
    Everyone's a winner, more so Formula 1.
    I've never liked Michael Schumacher, the DUBIOUS UNSPORTING GENTLEMAN THAT HE WAS, and we were so cruelly robbed of any worthy challengers to him with the event of Senna's death, but to have him back and mix it with the new kids is just too good a scenario to turn down. I would love to see Alonso whoop his behind a third time with the occasional spanking from Vettel and co ...rock n'roll 2010...

    Is that alright Mary Whitehouse Broadcasting?!

  • Comment number 35.

    i never watched a schumacer race and it would be great if he came back. nearly everyone wantsto see him go toe to toe with hamilton. but, if schumacer gets the drive where will heidfelt go? perhaps he will stay with sauber.

  • Comment number 36.

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

  • Comment number 37.

    I Do hope he comes back. I Want him to come back in the best form of his life. I Want him to be the best he has ever been. I Want him to have a great car. I Want him to have everything that can make him win. And then I want Button to beat him fair and square.

  • Comment number 38.

    Let's look at the following:

    * Brawn started on their 2010 car early (June or July this year)
    * They now have the financial muscle of Mercedes
    * Schumacher is the best 'Mr Motivator' in F1 (ignoring his driving for a bit)

    If he comes back to Mercedes for a season, let's just skip 2010 and move straight on to 2011... it'll be another parade.

  • Comment number 39.

    He has nothing to prove but just might be doing a favour for people he owes his success to - Mercedes for financing his first drive and Ross Brawn for providing the cars.

    Maybe its as simple as gratitude and appreciation that's motivating him

  • Comment number 40.

    It will probably happen but as a in the DTM sphere of racing where his brother Ralph was promoted to do well but was a major failure;DTM racing is a major force in germany and overtaking still exists

  • Comment number 41.

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

  • Comment number 42.

    One of the best ? No. He was the best and he will only damage his reputation by returning.

  • Comment number 43.

    Interesting... I repeat an opinion by Hornetastic (36) and my post gets removed while his remains. Inconsistent?

    To restate:

    Schumacher was always very calculating in his racing career (knowing the best routes around and out of run-offs, etc.). He used a similar approach in those situations where he made deliberate contact with other drivers:

    It was always done at slower speed corners in order to avoid putting other drivers at risk. He said as much in an interview once.

    So, I have to disagree with Hornetastic when he says that Schumacher put other drivers at risk.

  • Comment number 44.

    I note that either the FIA or course stewards found Schumacher to have broken the rules - to have cheated - on at least two occasions:

    * With respect to his collision with Villeneuve in 1997.
    * With respect to his behaviour in qualifying for 2006 Monaco GP.

    So those complaining about (and having posts deleted for) about the use of that word are flying in face of the facts.

  • Comment number 45.

    REF 44
    The trouble with the BBC is that it won't allow those with a certain disposition in allowing Schumacher to be seen next Tuesday....

  • Comment number 46.

    just think of the first race of next year going into corner one hamilton button alonso massa schumacher mouth watering dont you think

  • Comment number 47.

    I am sure Schumacher will only return given the chance to win again. Can Mercedes really offer that? But for the no refueling changes there is no other big changes and Brawn slipped behind Mclaren and Red Bull in terms of performance towards the end of last season.

    It is also inevitable that Ferrari will be competetive again as well, so even if they have Mercedes money now they are playing catch up.

  • Comment number 48.

    @Rick12397 (47):

    Brawn stopped development on the 2009 car at the time of the Turkish GP - early June. They switched the wind tunnel back to this year's development for one week in August.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/f1mole/2009/11/ted-kravitz-the-abu-dhabi-gran.html

    That's why Brawn/Mercedes fell behind - they were busy building the 2010 car while their rivals were still focussed on 2009.

    Still think Mercedes won't be a winning can in 2010?

  • Comment number 49.

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

  • Comment number 50.

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

  • Comment number 51.

    This is vaguely reminiscent of Lance Armstrongs comeback in cycling and would be a major coup for Mercedes. With Schumi in on the action who could possible brand F1 as boring? However it does put on the line all that Schumacher has achieved already, and if a comeback were to go wrong then it would be that that he would be remembered for rather than his illustrious 'first' career

  • Comment number 52.

    @jiffle (48)

    Still don't think Mercedes will have a Championship winning car next year, money is not enough, BMW proved that. Sure they may win a few races but is that enough to make Schumi happy? Not saying he won't come back, but saying it may be unnecessary to come back.

  • Comment number 53.

    What about fastest lap, and pole postion then.

  • Comment number 54.

    Could Schuuu work with Ross again , say as team boss?

  • Comment number 55.

    REF 50
    Why would you want to upset Hamilton fans - I thought that was my Job!;-)

  • Comment number 56.

    Lauda returned and stunned Prost by half a point (albeit winning two races fewer than Prost), and while I don't think Schumacher will be winning the title on even coming close, he definitely still has the quality to challenge the new order at the top and make things interesting. There's certainly no reason to believe it would tarnish his career in any way - he already has his doubters due to his indiscretions against Hill and Villenueve to name a few.

    Lance Armstrong came out of retirement and finished third in the Tour de France, so there's no reason to suspect that Schumacher can't win a few races and be in the top half of the leaderboard as long as the car's good. Ultimately however, I still think he'd be there as a mentor figure for young Nico.

  • Comment number 57.

    50. At 7:02pm on 11 Dec 2009, tifosigirl wrote:
    and still needing the help of Toyota to win him the championship in Sao Paulo over Massa!?

    It's been over a year now and the pathetic conspiracy theories concerning Glock never had any substance in the first place. Stop making a fool of yourself by bringing it up. If we're being petty, Hamilton was robbed of a bigger lead when the stewards in Spa demoted him to third and gave the win to Massa when Lewis had done nothing wrong. In fact, Massa 'helped' Raikonnen beat Hamilton in 2007 for the title. But of course you'll happily ignore all of these things in favour of your vindictive tripe.

    Go and spout your insipid anti-Hamilton bilge on another thread, this is supposed to be discussing a Schumacher return.

  • Comment number 58.

    If anyone wants to see a 'British v German' racing event.
    Just switch to A1GP - http://www.a1gp.com/
    I would rather see the 'best drivers driving for the best teams'
    Or the 'worst drivers driving for the worst teams'
    Bottom line is that F1 is boring we either need need blood where the drivers at least have some life in them or the old skool where you knew they were interesting...

  • Comment number 59.

    REF 57
    You Sir, lack the art of being a Gentleman...all tifosigirl (REF 50) was explaining is that compared to Schumacher, Hamitton's career has been pretty ordinary thus far, and has been helped along by a few friends...that's all...

  • Comment number 60.

    Schuy back will be good for F1. But will he be able to cope with not having a second driver there just to help him maximise his points. There is also the prospect of not cheating. All the top current drivers have got where they are on their own abilities.

  • Comment number 61.

    I wouldn't say necessarily that Schumi "always" needed a rear-gunner to help him out, but rather more, his second wasn't always able to beat him and so thus on those days he would be the rear-gunner for him.

    Plus again, competition for him was considerably less of a problem for him than now.

    I'm not saying of course he had it easy though! There is no doubt he is one of the greatest drivers.
    In relation to him making a possible return, however...it is kind of convincing that he will with this information, but again I just cannot see it happening unless it's in a Ferrari car and even then only if it was necessary like when Massa has his crash.

  • Comment number 62.

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

  • Comment number 63.

    I really hope this rumour comes to fruition, although I was never a Schumi fan I was surprised that I actually missed the bloke when he had hung up his overalls. To a point Schumi love him or hate him, made F1 of modern times (the good part of it !)
    Any chance of an invite to Mika!

  • Comment number 64.

    If schumacher makes a comeback it can only harm his reputation further. If I were in his position I would only consider a comeback if it were to prove it possible to win more than the odd race without Ross Brawn...

  • Comment number 65.

    It wouldn't surprise me to find out, in years to come, that this is why Mercedes have bought Brawn. It's probably been a done deal since he thought he'd be back for Massa - Norbert or Ross realised MS still wanted some of the action, and knew Brawn could deliver a car. (It might even turn out Mercedes wanted him in a McLaren and Woking said no.)

    It's probably a two year deal and they expect Schumacher to clean up. Maybe not as comprehensively as he has before, but enough to win himself and them the titles. Nice work, especially for a "new" team (in the sense that Brawn were "new").

    He obviously is a competitive as ever - else why take the risk? I was never a fan of him; the on-track questionable activity didn't bother me as much as him always winning. How is that interesting? F1 is predictable and processional enough without the same man cleaning up for seasons in a row.

    Anyway, good luck to him. Although he probably won't need it.

  • Comment number 66.


    "Rosberg is not considered to be of the same calibre as Jenson Button" HAAAHAHAHA I've just seen that - Is that the same Button who was slower than 38-year-old Barichello for the better part of the season?

    And "is not considered" by whom exactly? By BBC Sport, Autosport Magazine and Planet F1? Because from what I've read abroad the consensus is that had Button stayed at Brawn Rosberg would have wiped the floor with him.

    Sorry Andrew but once more you are embarrassing yourself and British motorsport journalism as a whole.


  • Comment number 67.

    Great Blog Andrew,

    I hope Schueey comes back it would make 2010 a really special year, with all the new teams, all the driver changes, probably one of the best F1 circuit calendars in a long while(including silverstone and canada) and the fuel ban this is one season not to miss!!

    And I hope Rosberg proves all the doubters wrong, he's still fairly young, is a great driver and seems like a cool guy. After 4 years driving for an average team now he will finally have his chance to show what he can do and by the sounds of things a team mate to push him to the limit as well.

  • Comment number 68.

    Nico is a reasonable choice for Mercedes but remember that only 2 years ago in a Williams Mark Webber out performed him well so I would imagine that if Webber can win races in a top car (albeit top for half a season). Rosberg would struggle. Fernando Alonso did not really acquit himself well in the last 2 years at Renault so let's hope Ferrari can provide a very good car otherwise you can take away the claim of being one of the top drivers, Alonso last time was in a good car (McLaren) his brand new to F1 team mate beat him convincingly so Massa should dispose of him easily.
    Seb Vettel is the real deal, putting MW away this year proved it. Mark Webber holds statistically the best qualifying and race percentages over a team mate and is no slouch in any car.
    Red bull will be the team to beat next year and don't be suprised to see clear air between them and everyone else, webber will push Vettel to a championship and who know could even win it.

  • Comment number 69.

    Hmmm

    I find you views somewhat odd, Andrew.

    You rate Kubica who has one solid season and yet you happy to disregard Rosberg's achievements in 2009 who drove consistently into the points.

    Vettel showed flashes of brilliance but it wasn't that long ago he looked average against in a Torro Rosso against Liuzzi.

    Or how about Hakkinen who looked a bit lost in the mid 90s with McLaren.

    Clearly its now time that Nico prove himself against a better team mate.

  • Comment number 70.

    The Rosberg chit chat is quite interesting...apart from his schoolboy error in pit exiting in Singapore he's acquitted himself very well, being unfortuna
    te not to finish in the podium more that his drive deserved, this season ..He is a case in point of astute man-management and his Dad, Keke Rosberg, a former world champ himself,has expertly guided Nico to where he is today. It is assumed that the Brawn produced Mercedes will be a faster car than the Williams, so Nico has the chance to show if he really can take it up a notch or two to show he can mix it with the proven winners on the track...

    REF 68
    Maybe you should just quit...

  • Comment number 71.

    Schumacher's is not a very likable face but there is an air of cold ruthlessness and steely will to succeed about it. As for Mercedes Benz it is simply not associative publicity they are after; it is success on the track and its impact thereafter. They are here to compete.

    I think Schumi will only come in if he is reasonably convinced of success. By now he should have a fair assessment of his reflexes and his chances on the track. One can be sure he is not after money or mere glamour of being on the Formula. And he will be working with another no nonsense professional in Ross Brawn.

    Forget Mansell; it is going to be an exciting prospect if he does take the plunge.

  • Comment number 72.

    Great blog Andrew.

    At the risk of sounding my own trumpet, on the day that Mercedes announced the Brawn buy-out, I was the first person to suggest the idea of Schumacher returning with the team on this very blog with much of the reasoning that you have used.

    It all makes sense. He is still fit, has the speed to race and beat the new breed (Hamilton included) and should, re-igniting the 'dream team' with Ross Brawn, be able to fight for that eighth world title that he so cruelly missed out on in 2006.

    I said previously that the difference between now and the summer is that he had only three weeks to prepare for Valencia, whereas he has three months to get the neck sorted for Bahrain.

    As for post #19 Steven, you can hardly say that Schumacher is being disloyal to Ferrari. He raced for the team for 11 seasons, bringing them from nowhere to consistent world beaters, at the end of which, if you believe the rumours, he was edged out of the team in favour of Raikkonen. And we all know how successful a decision that turned out to be! He also offered to come out of retirement to deputise for Massa when the team was backed into a corner. Let's face it, Ferrari just haven't looked like the same team since both he and Ross Brawn left.

    If he does race next year, and I think he will, I will welcome his return with open arms. It will make the other 25 drivers up their game and this can only be a good thing. Roll on 14th March.

  • Comment number 73.

    I am wondering, if he does return does that mean that all the current drivers on the grid will have to have their contracts emended and an extra clause included stating that they are forbidden to overtake him or is that only applicable to his team mate?

  • Comment number 74.

    They discuss Rosberg and Schumi's return on the Motor Sport magazine podcast too.

  • Comment number 75.

    I wont blow my own trumpet and say that i'm one of the greatest fans of Schumi...but im quite right there...
    I started following F1 only cos him ( i was just 8 years old when Senna died, I had no head n tail of what F1 was) , I started following him in the 1995 season, when I found out that he won a F1 championship with a 2nd rate team like Bennetton in 1994.And then I followed him throughout his career, and what amazed me the most was his decision to snub Williams & Mclaren Mercedes to go to Ferrari, when Ferrari were down in dumps.
    What that man did with a failure of a team, devoted his 11 years there, and spent the first 4 years trying to build it, and thus losing the World Championships in 1996,97,98 n 99 is absolutely commendable.
    I truly believe for one, in my personal opinion only before the daggers come out, had Schumi joined Williams or Mclaren at tht time, then neither Villneuve, Hill or Mika would have won during those years.
    When you read his Autobiography, you know what he did and how he sacrificed to be there, the things he could do with the car, the over all knowledge he had of the car, the tactics are unparalled by any one in ths history of this sport.
    When Alain Prost joined Ferrari and left them half way through the season, he said ' The car is undriveable'.
    Michael Schumacher took the same Undriveable Car to being Unbeatable.
    I dont know how critics of MS dont see all this. This is the reason he is so attached to Scuderia and Tifosi love him. For what he did with Ferrari, no one else could have done.
    Anyways, I actually meant to write this blog to ask, where can I find Autosport's Top 50 Great Drivers List??? cos i googled it and couldnt find it anywhere..
    I dont know how I ended up writing such a huge blog post.. lol....sorry

  • Comment number 76.

    I think it would be great for he sport if schumi returned and the number of viewers would go sky high.
    I do however have a feeling that he will be a bit of a disappointment and that will do his image as a seven time world champion no good.

  • Comment number 77.

    ALONSO. Why don't we talk about Alonso? He cost a lot of money. He really wants to win. He really does. And he really does want that win in a Ferrari.

    At present, Schumacher, who is contracted to Ferrrari in a motivational/consultancy capacity, knows that Ferrari inside and out. He knows their team, strategy, thought processes, where they can improve, and where they are doing well.

    Why on earth would Ferrari let one man from his contract, to drive for the current champion team, with a manager who has won 7 titles with Schumacher before, and take all that knowledge with him. It does not make sense, regardless of his circumstances, fitness or adaptability to modern race craft. It is a simple contractual conflict. It is, however, great publicity for Mercedes, who I am sure feel robbed of their world champion. Why announce Heidfeld now, (who?) when the crowds can fantasize about an all German team, with God at the wheel.

  • Comment number 78.

    redmaverick911 - Please, get over yourself. I truly believe if a meteorite fell on the planet, ............... blah blah blah. Hill won, Villeneuve won, and Hakkinen won. Twice. I was there. I saw it. It happened. It did happen. So get over it an accept it. And by the way, he cheated, twice. Plus had some amazing stewards decisions. He is just another champion, he is not Jesus.

  • Comment number 79.

    Here Andy... would you do me a favour?

    If Schumi does decide to go back to Mercedes, it'll mean Top Gear are most likely looking a new man to be "The Stig". Could you just tell Jezza I'll take the job, he can drop me an email any time to arrange the starting date. :-D


    On a less serious note, this comeback will reinvigorate interest in formula 1. Surely that can only be a good thing from pretty much every perspective.

  • Comment number 80.

    As far Im concerned 2000 - 2004 were the most boring, uncompetitive years in formula 1. There was little to get excited about and rarely any overtaking. The best races were those where Schumacher was sidelined... why would we want to go back to that? He is by far the most complete driver ever to race... but also the by far most unfair, uncharismatic and boring. Lets keep him in the karts :)

  • Comment number 81.

    I dont understand people like Modena. In one breath he tells Andrew Benson to "grow up" and at the same time acts like someone who needs to do the same. It's not the end of the world if you dont agree with someone else's opinion and you dont have to refer to him as "Benson" - thats just rude. He wrote it how he saw it, thats what blogs are for. And whatever has the fact that Andrew is'nt a member of Team Mercedes got to do with anything? You're not a member of said team either Modena, so your own point can be thrown back at you as well. What makes your opinion any more or less relevant than Andrew's?

    Trolls eh?

    To get back to the point of the blog, I spent the majority of Shuey's career wishing for him to go away, but the thought of seeing him up against this new breed in todays F1 is too mouth watering to resist. I find myself actually looking forward to his possible return. Time does funny things to a person's opinion!

  • Comment number 82.

    Britain vs Germany

    you can't ask for much more than that

    ________________________

    Except, of course, that Mercedes will be a largely British team with a British team manager.
    The days of single country teams are long gone.

    Spitfires vs Meschersmitts?

    I don't think so.

    More like BMW mini vs VW Bentley (or is that BMW?)

  • Comment number 83.

    81. At 1:15pm on 12 Dec 2009, Riggadon wrote:

    I spent the majority of Shuey's career wishing for him to go away, but the thought of seeing him up against this new breed in todays F1 is too mouth watering to resist. I find myself actually looking forward to his possible return. Time does funny things to a person's opinion!

    ---------------

    Snap, the idea of Schui back on track is very exciting, at the moment we have a handful of very talented drivers in what hopefully will be competitive cars next season and the idea of re-introducing one of the greatest drivers of all time to the mix really would put the icing on the cake. For me I just want to see Lewis against Schui as I think they are probably the 2 greatest drivers of the new millennium (well Schui is, and I think Lewis is the only current driver with the potential to rival Schui's standing).

    As for Schui it seems he still has the drive and the passion to want to compete at the very top, and if he drives for Mercedes next season then the car will be fine tuned with him and his driving style in mind, and he will have winter testing to rub off the old ring rust. Given that and the fact that the new Merc car has been in development for a long time then I think it will be a package easily capable of giving him the wins he will desire.

    One thing I very much doubt is that we will have a return to the 'dark days' of 2000-2004 where Schui dominated everything, but you never know....

  • Comment number 84.

    I'd personally love to see him back on the grid in 2010, i'm sure it will inspire the other drivers and we could well see some incredible racing with the likes of Hamilton,Alonso,Kubica hardly likely to back down either. Bring it on!!

    "[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]>Carp Fishing in France

  • Comment number 85.

    I can not think of anything more exciting than watching Shumi race again on all the new tracks and against all those young guns.

    He so still has it in him. I can't wait to watch the master in action

  • Comment number 86.

    CORDAS

    "For me I just want to see Lewis against Schui as I think they are probably the 2 greatest drivers of the new millennium (well Schui is, and I think Lewis is the only current driver with the potential to rival Schui's standing)."

    It took Alonso,the only man so far, to beat Schumacher twice to win the WDC, when the Ferrari/Schumacher/Todd/Brawn axis were at their peak ie. when Schumacher was driving an ultra-competitive car.
    As much as I liked Mikka Hakkinen, the drivers who won it in the mid to late 90's did so as a result of Schumacher re-building a then disfunctioning and backward- thinking Ferrari unit...his car just couldn't compete during that period of time...Alonso effectively closed the door on Schumacher's career - It could be argued that Hamilton has cancelled out an Alonso dominated F1 over the last 3 years - and who knows? Ferrari might not be as competitive as we're led to believe for next season, or even the next few, but you put yourself in a palaver by omitting the only man who took on the might of Schumacher and Ferrari in their pomp and won, twice...
    and in 5 or so years' time we'll all be looking towards Hamilton to see if he still has the potential to rival Schumacher's standing...

  • Comment number 87.

    I dunno Ferrari were nowhere near as dominant team at the end of the Schui era as they had been previously, I always got the feeling that they were running out of steam by the time Alonso and Renault won their championships. I was also underwhelmed by Renault after Alonso returned to them, Surely if Fernando was worth a second a lap to McLaren he should have done the same at Renault when he returned....

    I am not saying I don't rate Alonso as a driver, just that I don't rate him as highly as he himself does, or as much as other people do. He is undoubtedly one of the sports greats, but I don't see him ever really belonging in the contenders for the greatest of all time which Schumacher obviously does, and I think Lewis has the potential to.

    I suppose time will tell if I am wrong or right.... and I am sure we/I will get much pleasure from many more seasons of racing and arguing before it becomes obvious ;-)

  • Comment number 88.

    I thought his wife was against his returning to the sport. What did he do to convince her that it was vital to his mental health that he restart his hobby of dangerously driving around in circles in far flung locations? Did he tell her it would help with their kids' (now 10 and 12) geography lessons or something? Poor Corinna!

    Still, this is the guy who donated 10 million dollars to the 2004 Tsunami victims... and donated tens of millions more to worthy causes. Being the first billion dollar athlete ever, let's hope he continues to show more class than the second billion dollar athlete ever.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Schumacher#Family_and_off-track_life

    If his family is cool with him having an incurable disease called CRF (Competitive Racing Fever), I wish him well on his return. Assuming, of course, that he returns! :-)

  • Comment number 89.

    I seem to be rare amongst the formula 1 addicts in not wanting Schumacher to return. He is, simply, not good for the sport. By the time he won the championship the last time, I had switched off watching, and this was not only because it was getting intensely boring seeing the same guy take the checkered flag each time, but also because we all knew some of the dubious decisions that got him there over the years. These various situations, which seem to be kept rather secret, were never dealt with by his loving bosses who would over-ride all sorts of curious goings-on on the track, ignoring or not noticing what, to many of us, seemed to be not just against the rules of the game but against the rules of sport generally. Mind you, this is not unique to this sport...I hope he doesn't return.

  • Comment number 90.

    Re post 35.
    Frankly, I am surprised that someone who calls him/herself Senna-Hamilton-Moss fan (ie an era spanning about 50 years !) claims never to have seen a Schumacher race....

  • Comment number 91.

    @89 - Hopefully the new systems that Todt is putting in place will put a stop to a lot of the dubious stewards calls that have plagued F1 for years. (Yes I am fully aware of the irony of thinking/hoping that Todt is the man to clean up F1 given the behaviour of Ferrari when he was team principle.)

  • Comment number 92.

    who cares ??

  • Comment number 93.

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

  • Comment number 94.

    you lot are all boring go out and have afew beers jenson will win end of

  • Comment number 95.

    Love him or hate it has to be said that having schui on the grid for the first grand prix of 2010 will only add to the anticipation,some will wait to see him beaten and humiliated others waiting to see him do once again just what made him so special.
    I dont actually think either will happen.
    Under Ross Brawns guidance schue will be a great asset to the team in terms of commitment,revenue,car development and of course public interest. But on the circuit can he get used to looking at the rear of a much quicker Rosberge getting smaller, not to mention Alonso (who beat him to two world championships in an inferior Renault) now in an inevitably improved ferrari. As for the McLarens and the Red Bulls, well he might have a chance to mix it with Webber, but Vettel,Louis and Jenson will be long gone.
    But you have to admit that for all F1 fans having a chance to watch it all unfold and find out one way or the other will be something to look forward to, so go for schuie and good luck to you (you'll need it)

  • Comment number 96.

    This would be great news - I never liked but always admired Schumacher, and honestly believe that Lewis Hamilton has the potential to cement his status as the next F1 legend. Racing against Schumacher, as he and Senna once, all too briefly, did, is exactly what Hamilton needs to show his calibre.

  • Comment number 97.

    i hope schumi returns

  • Comment number 98.

    hi ive been a schumi fan for years, will he come back well i hope so, dont no if he would win the championship but i would never under estimate him, i still no he would be a class act though,i think for the championship it will be lewis hamilton for sure.........

  • Comment number 99.

    Schumachers potential return is fascinating. Lets not beat around the bush though, we are talking about one of the dirtiest cheaters in proffesional sports history.

    A guy who was willing to drive into Hill and Villeneuve to win or lose championships and a guy who parked at Rascasse corner at Monaco to block everyone elses qualifying laps...A true low point in F1 history.

    His talent and dedication were unquestionable but his on track behaviour was largely disgraceful. If he comes back he will be welcomed like a King and I am willing to believe that age will have matured him to the extent that the on track behaviour would be better. Whether he has the pace to deal with Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel at the age of 41 is hugely doubtful but you can never write the man off.

  • Comment number 100.

    comeback at 41 years old? ... bad call

 

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