Schu confirms F1 return with Merc

Michael Schumacher
14 Dec, 2009 11:42am Jonathan Gill

Seven-times champ back in hot seat as move reunites him with Ross Brawn.

Michael Schumacher is facing a busy new year, as the seven-time world champion has confirmed he is making a Formula One return with Mercedes.

It was no secret that the former Ferrari ace was itching to come out of retirement to race in motorsport’s premier league again, and now he has agreed a three-year deal with the German squad. At 41, Schu will be the oldest driver on the grid, but he’s certainly not planning to make up the numbers.

“Our aim can only be to fight for the championship,” he said. “I was tired of F1 by the end of 2006, but after three years away I am getting back all the energy and I feel strong right now.”

His contract with Mercedes is a dream ticket. Firstly, there’s the chance to be a part of the firm’s all-German Silver Arrows programme, alongside the already confirmed Nico Rosberg. Secondly, it reunites Michael with Ross Brawn – the technical maestro behind his glory days at Benetton and Ferrari, as well as Jenson Button’s 2009 title.

Whispers of Schumacher’s return started shortly after Mercedes announced it was taking a controlling share in Brawn GP. Ferrari then fuelled the fire by saying it was happy to release Schu from his consultancy role with the firm. The deal was sealed following an announcement by his doctors that Schumacher’s neck was fully healed following injuries sustained during a motorbike accident early last year.

Grand prix colleagues weren’t surprised by the 91-time race winner’s decision to make a comeback. “The flame is still there,” said fellow countryman and Virgin driver Timo Glock. “It’s still burning.

It will be a highlight, and with Mercedes, you have a German driver in a German car.” Former team-mate Eddie Irvine had no doubts. “Michael has been karting since he was four or five, so he knows nothing else,” added the Ulsterman. “Trying motorcycle racing recently was madness for him as he wasn’t very good and wasn’t getting paid. But F1 makes sense.” Irvine expects him to be competitive, too. “The speed will be there, although he won’t be as fast as he was,” he said.
“He’s still good enough to win races. It’s still four wheels, a steering wheel and an engine – and there has never been anyone better than Michael.”

Living legend

statistically, Michael Schumacher is the greatest racing driver the world has ever seen. In 16 seasons at the top level, he won an incredible 91 grands prix and seven world titles – including five in a row with Ferrari from 2000. He is the only German to have lifted the driver’s crown. What chance that he can do it again?

Schumacher’s F1 career
    1991: Debut (driving for Jordan)
    1992: One race win, third in world
championship (Benetton)
    1993: One win, fourth (Benetton)
    1994: Eight wins, world champion (Benetton)
    1995: Nine wins, world champion (Benetton)
    1996: Three wins, third (Ferrari)
    1997: Four wins, disqualified
from championship (Ferrari)
    1998: Six wins, second (Ferrari)
    1999: Two wins, fifth (Ferrari)
    2000: Nine wins, world champion (Ferrari)
    2001: Nine wins, world champion (Ferrari)
    2002: 11 wins, world champion (Ferrari)
    2003: Six wins, world champion (Ferrari)
    2004: 13 wins, world champion (Ferrari)
    2005: One win, third (Ferrari)
    2006: Seven wins, second (Ferrari)

Schumacher’s F1 records
Most titles: 7    Most GP wins: 91
Most podiums: 154    Most poles: 68
Most fastest laps: 76    Most points: 1,369

Disqus - noscript

WOW! Great for F1

It would be nice if just once tthat Auto Express could do a report that actually tells the facts rather than making them up...

MS has not signed any agreement, a verbal nod towards a possible return was made, he, or his team have not agreed anything, Mercedes has not issued any statement of intent, or offered him a contract to sign.

Mercedes has said however that any driver line up will not be released until AFTER christmas and possibly into the new year.

I don't believe it.
He has done so much for Ferrari and the other way around, why in the hell would he want to go to Mercedes for?
It's crazy and in my eyes he would be a traitor.

F1 without Schumi is like PEPSI being alone on the market, without COKE competition.

F1 without Schumi was 100% boring.

After Schumi left, I watched only 1 or 2 GPs. And those not from START to END. Purely boring.

If the news will be confirmed , then I am happy for Formula 1 spirit.

Spirit that was lost after Schumi left.

Welcome back, Michael.

F1 without schumi was so boring i stop watching it, Cant wait to start travelling to some races and get up at 4:00am to watch the master at work showing lewis and jenson whos the daddy

Totally MAD, whats he got to prove NOTHING, whats he got too risk EVERYTHING, the mans a mug.

He is sticking his neck out by returning and possibly performing below other current drivers like Hamilton. I do not see why it was "boring" to watch him being passed by Alonso and bested by team mate Massa in the later years before retirement. The question is, will he be like Brett Favre or just be an also ran? I think the latter; he should have followed Michael Jordan's example. That said, only time will tell the tale.

I hope he's trained his neck muscles up, I doubt it.
This new lot of drivers may not stand for the "tactics" he used in past.

He's an arrogant cheat. He drives people off the road or crashes into them to stop them winning championships. The guy is a disgrace. Just because he's won so many championships (in the best car of course), some people ignore his misdemeanors. F1 with Schumacher was the most boring motorsport on the planet. Who wants to watch a 200 mph procession for 2 and a half hours every single Sunday again? BORING!

Since he left, F1 has at least been exciting again. You never knew who was going to win and everyone started racing again. Who can deny that the last couple of years have actually given us some exciting, nail biting finishes and results? Hamilton, Button, Hakkinen. Fantastic. All that is going to change if this Automaton gets back in. I for one will switch off and many others will too.

Well said Dame_edna, those earlier comments re GPs now being boring without Schumacher have left me baffled - the fastest man in the best car whilst anyone in front of him usually leapt out of the way in case he nerfed them off the track. The last two years have been some of the most unpredictable for a decade.

Winge, winge,winge.
When some one who obviously enjoys racing decides to have another go, why can't he. Michael did a power of good for the sport, he's no angel. Why do so many people not like him, maybe it's because he's good and he was successful. Tall Poppy syndrome, if it's tall and better than you, put the boot in. Don't try to improve the situation. Just be negative.
Welcome back Michael, take care and Good Luck for the coming season.
PS What is a proper racing fan???????????

Luck arrives when opportunity and capacity walk together.
Really, Schummi is a lucky guy.

Well’ he will sell tickets and put bums on seats, and I will be most surprised if he is not fast enough to win races as he is one of the best racers I have ever seen.
But I am not blinded by Schumacher mania as many have been throughout his racing carrier.
He will be like an old but skilful pro boxer and he will use that skill against the comparative novices of GP racing, but if he finds himself outclassed he will resort to his next best trick, and that is cheating, it comes to him naturally, from the day he blatantly crashed into Damian Hill, breaking his car and so taking the championship by default due to having a few more points than hill, to the day he spun his car to foul up practice at Monte Carlo.
I have seen all the stars from Moss Clark, Surtees and Hailwood also watched the young Airton Senna mature, and have followed all the top drivers of the day, and I have never seen any other driver pull as many foul moves as Schumacher has done in his long carrier, to think that Hawthorn, Collins, Moss, Damien Hill or Nigel Mansell could stoop to professional fouls as Schumacher has done is quite unthinkable.
But his place in the GP fold will without doubt create new interest and will gain new fans for GP motor sport.

...what a proper racing fan is?! Clearly Dame Edna and sophie11 aren't- fyi Hakkinen retired B-E-F-O-R-E Schumi did and another thing: how was Ferrari the best car at the time he joined the Scuderia? Anyone remember a driveshaft falling out of his "best car" while travelling down pitlane?

MIchael succeeded in inspiring the men and women around him, transforming his side of the garage into a winning team and he was always gracious enough to honour his team before accepting plaudits. Maybe it takes a real racing fan to see that....

I for one can't wait to watch him in action again, even if it isn't behind the wheel of my beloved Ferraris. As a true maestro he will undoubtedly learn and apply some of the tricks that the youngsters employ. I'd like to see any other "has been" in their chosen sport do the same and still be successful, which I have no doubt Schumi will be.

WELCOME BACK MICHAEL!!! My Sunday afternoons belong to F1 again :)

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