Mercedes lure Schumacher back
Wednesday 16 December 2009
Michael Schumacher is certain to make his Formula One comeback with Mercedes' new team in 2010 his fellow countryman Timo Glock said at yesterday's launch of the new Virgin Racing team. And as Ferrari made it clear that they will not hold Schumacher to the consultancy contract he has held since his retirement from racing at the end of 2006, the whispers about his return were turning to shouts within the Formula One world.
"The flame is still there, it's still burning," said Glock, the former Toyota driver who will be partnered at Virgin by the Brazilian rookie Lucas di Grassi, "and it will be great if Michael returns. For me, it is quite obvious he is coming back. There's still a lot of speculation, but in the end he is a crazy race driver and he wants to come back to racing. It's not enough for him to just do kart races, or to go to the Race of Champions at the end of each year."
Ferrari's president, Luca di Montezemolo, scotched suggestions that the Italian manufacturer would not release Schumacher from his contract yesterday: "It is not binding. It is clear that if he decides to take another road our agreement will no longer be valid, that is logical. You can't work with a competitor and with us at the same time. But I still haven't spoken to Michael about it. He is only a dear friend, not a team member."
Schumacher tried to return in July as stand-in for Ferrari's injured Felipe Massa, but his neck, injured in a motorcycle race in February, proved unable to withstand the high G-forces imposed by an F1 car. It is now believed that these problems are behind him, and he recently won one of the kart races organised by Massa in Brazil. Though the cornering forces are lower in a kart, it is clear that his competitive spirit is undiminished.
It is also thought that events in his personal life have made him consider a return to his "comfort zone" of wheel-to-wheel competition.
There has been no reaction from Schumacher's representatives beyond a spokeswoman's comment last month: "Michael is enjoying his life. A return to Formula One is not a subject for debate at the moment." But it may be telling that fellow countryman Nick Heidfeld, believed a likely candidate for the second Mercedes seat alongside Nico Rosberg, was also hedging his bets as a possible driver for Lotus until they announced their pairing of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen on Monday.
Recently Germany's Bild newspaper reported that Mercedes have formally offered the seven-time world champion a relatively modest salary of €7m (£6.3m) to join their line-up. Any contract, however, is likely to be subject to a clause that Schumacher first completes a successful test in January.
Manchester United's best XI of the season so far: No place for Angel Di Maria or Juan Mata
WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
WrestleMania 31: Undertaker begins a new streak after tombstoning Bray Wyatt
WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of WWE event
Sting vs Triple H: NWO, DX and Shawn Michaels return at Wrestlemania 31 as The Game triumphs in flashback to Monday Night Wars
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew