While team owner Ross Brawn said yesterday that he is excited by the prospect of his old ally Michael Schumacher returning to Formula One, Peter Sauber, who was seeking to emulate Brawn's management buyout, said he was disconsolate after failing to reach agreement to buy back his team from BMW.
Brawn, the mastermind of much of Schumacher's success and the man behind world championship leader Jenson Button, said he is not surprised at Schumacher's wish to come back. "After Massa's terrible accident, it was natural for him to say yes given the need of his old team," he told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport. "In my opinion there is also another aspect to consider: the fact that this is for a limited time. Michael will return with his usual determination and seriousness, but above all with the intention of having fun. Personally, I admit I'm excited and can't wait to see him at work."
Brawn said he has no doubt that Schumacher will be quick, but added that his chances of a record 92nd grand prix victory would depend entirely on the competitiveness of his car.
Meanwhile, Peter Sauber has laid the blame squarely at BMW's door for the failure to pull off a rescue plan that would ensure that their team would stay in business in 2010. Despite protracted negotiations over the past five days, BMW were asking too much for the Hinwil base from which Sauber operated his own team until selling to BMW late in 2005.
"I tried to launch a takeover and rescue of the team," Sauber said. "However, the negotiations with BMW have failed because the demands were simply far too high for me. Consequently, I have been unable to sign the Concorde Agreement, which guarantees payments worth millions and would have secured the future of the team."
Describing the moment as the worst in a long motorsport career, he added: "I am incredibly disappointed and disconsolate. For me this is the bitterest day in my 40-year career in motor sport. It is also a devastating setback for the team."