Ferrari boost as No 1 set to return

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER emerged from a smokescreen of his own creation yesterday to make the surprise announcement that he would be back for the final two rounds of the Formula One World Championship.

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER emerged from a smokescreen of his own creation yesterday to make the surprise announcement that he would be back for the final two rounds of the Formula One World Championship.

A week after ruling out a return this season because he felt he was still not fit enough to race, the German told Ferrari that he was ready to reclaim his seat for the grands prix in Malaysia tomorrow week and in Japan a fortnight later.

It now remains to be seen if he is able - and willing - to reclaim his place from stand-in Mika Salo to assist the cause of team-mate Eddie Irvine, who trails McLaren-Mercedes' Mika Hakkinen by two points in the contest for the title.

Schumacher's change of mind follows three days of intensive testing in Italy. The stint began alarmingly with a minor accident at Mugello on Monday and Schumacher admitted the incident brought back harrowing images of his crash at the British Grand Prix three months ago, which left him with a broken leg.

However, the German completed the day's work with a best lap of 1min 27.2 sec 1.3sec faster than Irvine's on the same circuit a week before. Schumacher moved on to Ferrari's test track at Fiorano and confirmed his fitness and pace over a further two days work. That satisfied him he was ready to return.

"I was still having problems with my knee last week and said all along I would not race until I felt I was fit enough," Schumacher said. "But after testing this week I feel I will be OK."

Cynics suggested he would not race again this season because he did not wish to help Irvine become champion. Schumacher has maintained all along he would comply with team instructions.

This development is bound to bolster the flagging morale in the Ferrari camp while Hakkinen, who has shown signs of nerves in the last two races, can scarcely be encouraged.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent