Michael Schumacher’s Formula One return with Mercedes Benz has been confirmed today after an official announcement with the German driver.
Schumacher, who will be 41 at the season opener in Bahrain, has been signed on a three year deal.
He is known as the most successful F1 driver ever, with 7 titles and some 91 wins to his name and painted Formula One red with a highly successful period in the early 2000’s with Ferrari.
Ferrari as a team, and its fans will be bitterly disappointed on the announcement of Schumacher’s return with a rival team, and not with the Scuderia who make their 2010 title assault with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
“The motivation I think is pretty straightforward,” Schumacher said. “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.”
“It [Mercedes GP] is a team that has won both championships this year,” he said. “With Mercedes Benz as a strong partner, our aim can only be to fight for the championship.
“There will be strong competition, as we have seen, but I am thrilled to be back in this one.”
“I played around with motorbikes, and I feel ready for some serious stuff now.”
Schumacher returns to team up with Ross Brawn a man who helped mastermind many of his titles through the years with Benetton and Ferrari.
The unstoppable duo will be back, with German backing and Nico Rosberg too. Ross was understandably delighted that Schumacher is back.
“I asked Michael that question and he is the best judge of what he can do,” Brawn said. “I trust him explicitly and he told me he can do it.
“He has always been his own best critic, the man himself knows what he is capable of. I am very comfortable and confident and put my trust in Michael, and it won’t be misplaced.”
The comeback of Formula One’s most successful driver Michael Schumacher now looks to be just a matter of hours away.
The German driver will be racing for the Mercedes Benz GP team in a shock come back, the first time he will have raced since quitting the sport at the end of 2006.
Schumacher, who will be 41 at the season start, ended his career after a record number of World Championships, wins and pole positions. He has been working for his team, Ferrari, since retirement as a special consultant however it is understood he has been released from the role within the team.
He almost made a Ferrari comeback part way through last season, when it appeared he would drive in place of injured Felipe Massa but a motorcycle accident sustained earlier in 2009 put pay to that drive, Schumacher had injured his neck.
Now all Mercedes Benz are waiting for is a 100% health confirmation, which could come through within hours or just a matter of days and then announce a deal with Michael – a contract which could potentially have a record salary.
Fans of Ferrari will be no doubt disappointed that their prodigal son and hero Schumacher will be leaving the team, some have branded him a “traitor” already.
“I hadn’t spoken to him since Abu Dhabi but I spoke to him yesterday (Wednesday),” Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo told a news conference yesterday evening.
“He phoned me and he told me that there is a very, very, very strong possibility [of racing for Mercedes-Benz]. Having said that, it is not 100 per cent decided. But that is what he said yesterday morning.”
“A guy called Michael Schumacher told us at Monza (in September) he would renew his (Ferrari consultancy) contract,” Di Montezemolo said. “And it looked like his career would finish with Ferrari.
“But then there’s another one who looks like him, 40, 41 yrs old, German, same name and decided to do a new career.
“Everybody in life can do what they prefer, and I understand that there is somebody at 41 years who wants to try again.
“So I think it’s possible this twin, another Michael Schumacher, same age, same capability, some determination and spirit, will drive for Mercedes next year.”
Montezemolo added that as a friend, he was glad to see Schumacher return and would be rooting for him. He also part acknowledged the Ferrari fans unhappiness towards the move, but stated he was happy to see Schumacher in a Mercedes.
Michael Schumacher, the most successful racing driver of all time has made the shock decision to come out of retirement to race for Ferrari from the next Grand Prix onwards after Felipe Massa’s unfortunate incident in the last grand prix weekend.
Schumacher, who won the F1 world championship 7 times, will now spend the next few weeks preparing himself to drive the Ferrari F60 car, he has not tested it thus far. The last time Schumacher drove an F1 car was testing in 2008, and he retired in 2006 at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Since Massa’s incident, rumour has been flying about who would replace the Brazilian for Ferrari, and now the rumours are put to bed as Schumacher returns.
“The most important thing first: thanks God, all news concerning Felipe are positive. I wish him all the best again,” said Schumacher.
“I was meeting this afternoon with Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe.
“Though it is true that the chapter Formula 1 has been closed for me since long and completely, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I am, I also very much look forward to facing this challenge.”