Mercedes today confirmed that seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher will return to racing for the 2010 season. Speculation has been rife since Jenson Button switched his allegiance to McLaren and Rubens Barrichello signed for Williams. Schumacher will partner Nico Rosberg and once again joins Ross Brawn to extend his career for a further season and race in the sport he so clearly loves.
Schumacher last drove in 2006, at the time with Ferrari and although his retirement came with a lot of emotion from both the driver and his fans, the decision to quit was probably well calculated. Ferrari, although managing the 2007 drivers title and a couple of constructors, have slipped in form. Schumacher remained with the Maranello squad though, taking on an advisory role.
Earlier in 2009, Schumacher had hoped to return to racing with the Scuderia, the intention being for him to deputise the injured Felipe Massa. However, a neck injury sustained from a biking accident prevented the multiple world champion from returning.
With the desire to race still burning, and Mercedes needing someone special to take over from the dominant form displayed by Jenson Button in 2009, Mercedes courted Schumacher and with consent from Ferrari, the German driver will rejoin the marque that helped him so much in his early career.
The motivation I think is pretty straightforward. The call I got from Ross at the end of November concerning the chance to go racing, Mercedes being involved, I felt great.
I never left the race track. I was tired of F1 by the end of 2006, but in three years of absence I got back all the energy that I am feeling right now. I played around with motorbikes and I feel ready for some serious stuff now. Michael Schumacher.
Although Schumacher will turn 41 in January, he has maintained his fitness regime and in the summer increased his work-outs with the then-intention of driving the Ferrari. Clearly motivation is not an issue for the German – the decision to return and potentially tarnish his illustrious career (statistically speaking, I add) would have not been taken lightly.
This means that Mercedes will field an all-German line-up next year, hopefully competing directly with McLaren’s all-British line-up. Mercedes vs. Mercedes should also prove interesting, no less than having 4 world champions in the field.
Ollie – assuming Schumi would have always had a seat at Brawn, what is your opinion on JB’s move now? Do you think he would have a better shot at a Lewis McLaren or a Schumacher Brawn/Mercedes?
Oooh, good question Bill.
I think Button would have had a better chance of beating his team mate if…
…his team mate had been Michael Schumacher.
I didn’t just say that lightly, it is a tough question. But, Hamilton is so at home with McLaren, he’s grown up with them, experienced good times and most importantly, experienced bad times with the team. The fact that Lewis experienced these difficult times recently, but managed to comeback from it suggests that Hamilton will be strong in 2010. Assuming McLaren give him a decent car, I think his motivation, skill and determination will outweigh Button’s who, like Hamilton this year, was coming down from the high of winning the championship.
Schumacher on the other hand, although statistically the world’s greatest F1 driver, has been away from the car and will not be as familiar with the Honda/Brawn/Mercedes staff. His biggest ally is Brawn himself, but he’s just one of a few hundred. Schumacher will come good – his talent at team building is by far his greatest strength – but it will take a few races, assuming of course Brawn/Mercedes can continue with their car’s good fortune*. As we saw in 2009, Button would have been able to just get on with it while Schumacher found his feet again.
What do others think?
*I actually have doubts over the 2010 Mercedes. The BGP 001 was good, but was only spectacular while they had semi-exclusivity with the double diffuser. Red Bull soon caught up and arguably surpassed them in the ‘best car’ stakes. Whatever happens though, I can’t wait to watch it unfold and write about it. Bring on 2010.
I think it’s a moot point, since Jens is going to pale in comparision to any half decent driver. I would not put money on him ever beating Lewis or Schuey as a teammate.
Schumacher returning to Formula One can only mean trouble for everybody else on the grid. Brawn will shape the new Mercedes around Michaels wants and needs and we already know what kind of misery that teamwork made for everyone else in the past.
Rosberg gets the lucky dog award and will reap the benefits of having such a strong team mate. Thinking that they will start the season as equals is a bit of a joke. Nico needs to prove his value as he has oddly enough a good reputation from little if any results.
Sorry Ollie, you are mistaken to think that JB may somehow be better than a rusty MS in the same car. JB was completely lucky last year and still is just a mid field results racer. I question him being able to be in the top six at the end of 2010.
Schumacher will ruin the dreams of the many who make the grids at next years events. His return is and will become the big newsmaker for Formula One in 2010.
I called my friend Sebastian (The Ferrari supporter one) and he genuinly screamed. You of course have to consider that he is one of THE most masculine teenagers EVER!!!
This is the boy who will beat you up if you say Formula 1 is slightly feminnine. He screamed higher than my 4 year-old cousin (Who, believe me, can scream).
This is the boy who has racist nicknames for his friend (Well, they not too offensive).
I guess that just shows how important Schumacher is, not just his generation, but mine (Well he was at his peak when I was a young ‘un)
Also I’ll just take this oppertunity to say Merry Christmas to everyone at Blogf1.
Just one question.
at 41, will he able to maintain the standards he has set for himself?
Ok so rule changes or none, lets be honest, with the return of Michael, who do you think all the money is going to be riding on this year???
f1 india – He has already shown his speed in some events he took part in 2009. There is also no question about his fitness – he is fantastic shape.
2010 will be the best season yet in my opinion and I personally can’t wait for the first race. I’m so excited!
[…] stop the German driver. Shortly after the announcement that Mercedes would be taking over the team, Michael Schumacher was announced as the lead driver alongside fellow countryman Nico Rosberg. BMW-refugee Nick Heidfeld completes the all-German […]