The new rules, cars and rivals Michael Schumacher will have to get to grips with

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

F1 cars and rules have changed hugely in the three years Schumacher's been away
F1 cars and rules have changed hugely in the three years Schumacher's been away

When Michael Schumacher makes his return to F1 in three weeks’ time, he’ll find a lot has changed since he parked his 248-F1 after his last race on October 22nd, 2006.

That car had grooved tyres, traction control and much less restricted aerodynamics than today’s cars. Not only that, but race weekends have changed, three of the remaining tracks are new to him, and there’s a host of new opponents as well.

Slicks

He may have ended his career on grooved tyres but Schumacher won his first two championships on slicks in 1994 and 1995. He made 101 of his 248 starts on slick tyres.

True, the current generation tyres are much different to those he last sampled in 1997. But his working relationship with Bridgestone was never anything less than first-class, and he we surely be up to speed quickly.

What he will find different is that, for the first time since 2000, he will have to use the same tyres as everyone else. And he will have fewer tyres to use over the course of a weekend than he was used to.

Reduced downforce

Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari 248-F1 at Suzuka in 2006
Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari 248-F1 at Suzuka in 2006

Schumacher’s last F1 car (above) was festooned with many of the aerodynamic appendages now banned: bridge wings, flip-ups and all manner of different flow conditioners. Plus, larger and more complicated surfaces for the front and rear wings.

Compare the 248-F1 with the current generation F60 (below) and it’s easy to see how far aerodynamic devices have been cut back this year. That means less grip and, in particular, a more lively rear end to contend with.

The current Ferrari has much simpler wings and less downforce
The current Ferrari has much simpler wings and less downforce

No traction control

Disappointingly for racing purists, the most successful driver F1 has ever seen was a staunch defender of traction control. Happily, the introduction of a standard ECU last year has made traction control extinct – Schumacher will have to rely on all the dexterity of his right foot to ensure the F60 doesn’t get away from him.

He won’t have engine braking to help keep the car stable under deceleration either. All in all, we could see a far greater demonstration of his skill than we did in his previous seasons with Ferrari.

KERS

He’s got some new buttons to play with as well, including the most controversial of all: KERS. Ferrari along with McLaren are the only team left using it, but the one-two for KERS cars at Hungary suggests it could now be the thing to have.

He will be treated to its already famed utility in helping drivers make up places at the start. And the man wh pushed the boundaries of defensive driving further than anyone will now be even tougher to overtake.

Adjustable front wing

The other major innovation on the 2009 cars is their adjustable front wings, which have drawn conspicuously less attention than KERS has. What – if anything – will Schumacher make of them?

Among the other technical changes to the cars since Schumacher last raced are 18,000rpm limiters and

Qualifying and race rules

Beyond he technical tweaks to the cars, what else has changed?

There have been many small tweaks to the rules of competition since Schumacher last raced in F1. The madness of ‘fuel burn’ qualifying, for example, is gone.

The restrictions on spare cars introduced in 2008 will be new to him, and he will take on Felipe Massa’s limited allocation of engines.

And the safety car rules are much changed compared to what was in place in 2006, with lapped cars now able to un-lap themselves

Read more

Tracks

Schumacher has never raced on the Valencia street circuit before
Schumacher has never raced on the Valencia street circuit before

Valencia is the first of three circuits remaining on the calendar that Schumacher has never driven at before. If he remains in the seat for the rest of the year he will also have to tackle Singapore, where he will race at night for the first time since the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours.

The season finale at Abu Dhabi will also be new to him – and everyone else on the grid, for that matter.

However he will get to race at two of his favourite venues: Spa and Suzuka.

Rivals

Michael Schumacher has never raced in a Grand Prix with eight of the active drivers in F1 today. They are Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen, Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Sebastian Vettel, Kazuki Nakajima, Adrian Sutil and Nelson Piquet Jnr (though the latter may not get to race at Valencia).

For us, this gives us a chance to measure him against recent emerging talent like world champion Hamilton (who he did once race against in karts) and ‘new Schumacher’ Vettel.

For him, these are opponents he has little experience of at best, and any of them will delight in putting one over the old master.

Team mate

Schumacher’s new team mate will be the man who replaced him in 2007 – and who won that year’s championship: Kimi Raikkonen.

The suspicion on Schumacher’s retirement in 2006 was that he didn’t want to take on a driver of Raikkonen’s talent. But after winning the championship two years ago, Raikkonen has since suffered a slump in performance.

The Finn faces the unenviable task not only of being Schumacher’s team mate but also – having much more experience of the F60 – being expected to give him a run for his money.

Ferrari personnel

The Ferrari team Schumacher returns to is much changed from the one he won five championships with. Jean Todt is no longer at the helm, nor will he have the organisational ability and tactical cunning of Ross Brawn to fall back on.

Under Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari has been much more warmly regarded by its rivals than it was under Todt. But how will Schumacher perform without the uncompromising Todt?

And who will be his race engineer? Rob Smedley may not want to return to action without Massa, and Schumacher’s old engineer Chris Dyer is now on Raikkonen’s side of the garage.

Despite this, the F60 is arguably more competitive now than it has been all year – Raikkonen finished a solid second behind Hamilton at the Hungaroring. Even considering all the changes to F1 in the last three years, it’s not inconceivable Schumacher could win on his return.

What do you expect from Michael Schumacher’s return to F1? What changes will give him trouble – and which ones will play to his strengths? Have your say in the comments.

More on Michael Schumacher

134 comments on “The new rules, cars and rivals Michael Schumacher will have to get to grips with”

  1. In all honesty, even if the young talent in F1 wipe the floor with him, it’s not something you could really hold against him. Having no experience of the new cars it wouldn’t be a surprise if he struggled all weekend.

    Having said that, it’s Schumacher we are talking about, and therefore it wouldn’t be a surprise if he wipes the floor with everyone out there.

    One thing for sure is that Schumi will be the busiest person in the paddock come Valencia, on and off the track.

  2. Wow it’s amazing to see how much F1 changes in such a short period of time. I never liked Schumacher, but he deserves so much respect for coming back when he’s got so much to lose. If he gets beaten then people will just say Raikkonen was indeed faster, disregarding the fact that Schumacher hasn’t been out to play in a long time and has to be severely past his prime. He is risking his legacy in a way.

    Isn’t Chris Dyer the head engineer or something now? He looks over everything that Raikkonens and Massas engineers do. Raikkonen received a new race engineer this year I believe.

    1. Yep, Raikkonen’s engineer this year is Andrea Stella.

    2. Bartholomew
      30th July 2009, 20:21

      Hope the Kaiser does not push the KERS button instead of the braking adjuster

  3. He’s hoped in unfamiliar territory in the past and come out shining. I doubt he will have lost his edge. this yearscars are some 2sec per lap slower too so any slow down in his reaction time won’t be an issue.

    I expect him to qualify within a 1/10th of Raikonnen in the first race and then beating him in the next

  4. Terry Fabulous
    30th July 2009, 13:19

    I would back Schumi to meticulously prepare for his first race and arrive in Valencia having done everything possible to maximise his race.

    It was one of the big impressions of the man that James Allen’s book gives. He makes every little thing count so that the big things look after themselves.

    He will also flog Kimi!

  5. Andrew White
    30th July 2009, 13:21

    If Alguersuari can beat his team mate on his F1 debut, then I have no doubt that Schumacher can at least be competitive in Valencia.

    I don’t think the technical rules and the weekend format will be a problem because he has been an advisor to Ferrari this season. Likewise with the personnel for the same reason.

    The most interesting thing will be seeing Hamilton and Schumacher racing; I hope they end up jostling for position a couple of times!

  6. If it is a regular race I don’t think Schumacher will win in Valencia but I would expect him to get some points if Ferrari’s recent pace is anything to go by, and if he continues for the rest of the season I wouldn’t be surprised if managed to get a win, but I think it will largely depend on how competitive the F60.

    After the performance Alguersuari put in at the last Grand Prix having never even turned a corner in an F1 car I don’t think Schumacher will have much trouble adjusting to F1 2009 with all his experience.

    1. i kind of hope he doesn’t win a race. i collect the 1:18 scale models and i have a schumacher retirement series model commemorating his final win in china 2006. if he wins, it will be worthless!!!! but in every other respect, i hope he wins.

  7. keepF1technical
    30th July 2009, 13:22

    not to mention the competition he now faces off the start line. Raikanon and Webber will give the chop meister some equal wheel bashing in return.

  8. but one thing is clear… the formula1 (commercial, ferrari, teams, fans, me … ) get amazing contribution for all time in f1 history!!

  9. I think in the first race he’ll do all right. He won’t set the world alight, but he won’t be suffering from a relative “lack of experience” either. He’ll certainly be putting in the laps in practice… for sure!

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the podium in that first race.

  10. HounslowBusGarage
    30th July 2009, 13:27

    Keith, can you elaborate on this a bit

    He won’t hve engine braking to help keep the car stable under deceleration either.

    I’ve obviously missed this.
    How does this not happen any more, or has it been banned?

    1. I think Keith may be referring to affect KERS has in reducing the engine braking effect.

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        30th July 2009, 13:45

        Understand. Thanks.

      2. It’s not a KERS-related thing. It is a feature of the standard ECUs so it affects all cars, with or without KERS.

  11. If he can live up to his reputation then I think we will have a very enjoyable end of season seeing him competing against Vettel, Hammy, Button, Barichello and Webber, as well as Kimi.
    However, what are the implications within Ferrari if he manages to get more points than either Massa or Kimi have so far in the Championship? It won’t look good if he beats Kimi too often either, and on the other hand it won’t look good if he doesn’t beat Kimi at least once.
    I wonder how well he will get on without Todt or Brawn supporting him from the Pit Wall, as Stephano does not appear to have the tactical expertise Schuey may expect.
    And an interesting point about Rob Smedley too, I guess he has to work with whatever driver he is asked to, so we can expect some ‘Schuey Baby’ when all is wonderful….

    1. I am certain that Schumi will perform creditably. He is, however, unlikely to win at Valencia given that it is a street circuit and unless he qualifies well – KERS does not seem to make much difference in qualifying – he cannot win.
      But it’s without a doubt the best thing that has happened in F1 in the recent past. There are ever so many who stopped watching F1 with the same passion once Michael left the scene. Valencia will see a tremendous boost in viewership

  12. It is almost as if it is his debut all over again.

  13. Its Hammer time
    30th July 2009, 13:35

    I am fit to bursting with excitement. Question to every one. He cannot drive the F60 until spain because of the testing ban but presumably Ferrari could hire out Mugello and have Michael lapping an F2008 constantly for ‘exhibition/ demonstration’ over the next few weeks. Would this be allowed in the rules?
    How is testing defined?

    1. Yeah I wondered this. I’m sure the cost wouldn’t be an issue to Ferrari. So they could (if it’s allowed within the rules) produce an aero kit for the F2008 that would produce the same level of downforce as the F60, fit it with some slicks and let him have some fun in private so that he would at least have a baseline setup come Valencia.

      1. He is already testing last years car in mugello.That is allowed in the rules…

        http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/77445

        1. Oddly enough, it’s not even last year’s car, it’s the F2007 he’s testing.

    2. Schumi is already doing that – not with a F2008 but with a 2007 model and he is using a simulator, which is within the rules

      1. FOTA has agreed that Michael could test drive the F60. Now it is up to FIA

  14. Sebastien Carter
    30th July 2009, 13:37

    Schumacher is facing a serious risk of tainting his legacy. That last race is Brazil is remembered far and away as one of his greatest races and to end on a note like that was something special.

    I’m not the greatest of Schumacher’s supporters but I have enourmous respect for his racecraft and his winning achievements. It would be a great shame to see one of, if not the number one, greatest driver in f1 history flail about in a car he doesn’t know, on tracks he hasn’t driven on.

    I think there must be enourmous, but unfair, pressure on him to make sure he can still do what he used to do. I personally don’t want to see a once great racer go the way of other talents like Graham Hill, Alan Jones, Emerson Fittipaldi and Nigel Mansell in not knowing when to stop. I think Schumacher retired at the right time in 2006, and to come back now and get it wrong would not only disappoint his legion of fans, but also ruin his image as one of the greatest racers ever.

    I’m fascinated by the return of Schumacher, and I wish him all the best. It’s going to be a great sight to see him fight against the new generation, but I don’t want to see him fade out like a old man amongst a young crowd.

    1. @Sebastien Carter – I disagree, the F60 is not championship quality and he therefore doesn’t have to be either. If he has some decent results, something similar to what Massa has done so far then it will just be looked at as a kind thing that some old guy did back in 09 (keep in mind the Ferrari’s didn’t score for the first couple of rounds so it won’t be hard to match Massa or Kimi).

      Also, he’s not trying to make some come back, he’s just helping out his old team and his old friend in a tough situation. I think he could have miserable results, and it would still not tarnish his reputation.

      If it was 2007 with Kimi and Lewis pushing for the title and shumi came in and got out raced, then I would agree with you 100%.

      1. Yes, you are right!

      2. @Sebastian, I will say that I am not a Schumacher fan, but I am not a detractor either. I remeber when he came to Ferrari his first season, he took a car that was midpack at best and won with it 3 times and was third in the championship.
        I would not be suprised if he places better than most and would be less surprised if he wins. I have seen him do better than was expected on several occasions.

    2. I disagree, there’s no damage to his reputation or legacy if he’s slower than Kimi and struggles a bit. He spent over 10 years as the fastest driver in the field, if he’s slow in a fill in role after 2.5 years out of a car, that will not reflect in anyway on his decade at the top.

  15. We can’t get overexcited and forget how this season has looked so far. Ferrari had the worst start to a season since almost two decades, and have been very slowly climbing up the ladder with each single race.

    The Brawn might not have the best car in the field anymore, but the Red Bull do. Perhaps it was only a matter of a very slow Hungaroring track characteristic that made McLaren and Ferrari suddenly competetive again.

    On a ‘regular’ (=faster) track they might be still one or two steps behind the fastest cars. And we shouldn’t suddenly expect more – than we would have expected 2 or 3 races ago – only because of the driver’s name that we associate with Ferrari’s days of glory.

  16. I’ve been following F1 since 1994, and I’ve got a question for older fans: how does this compare to occasions when other great champions returned to the racing seat? Lauda was absent for two seasons before racing again in 1982. Prost took a sabatical and came back to win a title in 1993. Mansell unexpectedly replaced Coulthard for a few races in 1994. Is the excitement around Schumacher’s return unique?

    1. When Lauda came back to McLaren in 1984 he won the Championship by 0.5 points from the new star Prost who was also his team mate.
      Mansell came back for three GPs and won the Aussie GP even with Schumacher and Hill in top cars. Always great fun to see the old guys wake up the young uns… I expect Schumacher to do the same when he gets up to speed. The great thing for me is to see him up against Hamilton now Hamilton car is good. It would have been such a waste if the McLaren was still crap! Like all the F1 nuts on the website I cannot wait to see the action. The racing is so close just now only 10th in it, so Schumacher could even win!! But no disrepect to the new greats, Vettel & Hamilton, also the new found drivers that have raced with Schumacher before Alonso, Kimi, Button and Webber.

      1. Derek

        Couldnt agree more – Nige showed both Damon and the Williams team how to move forward in difficult times. I remember a classic quote from Damon after a Williams team briefing when Nige obviously told everyone present to get their act together (though he probably didnt use those exact words) and Damon came out and said that he had never been to a briefing quite like that one!! Classic
        MSC has been at numerous races this year and will have a good idea of the cars systems so wont be a complete rookie when it comes to adapating to the new rules – I cannot wait!!!!!

    2. Well, it’s the greatest name in F1 (wether we like ir or not)… Ever.

      So there’s really not much of a comparison.

      But we really shouldn’t make such a fuss about it, he just wants to have some fun, and he’s the only one that can do that (I don’t see McLaren giving Mika the same opportunity, they race Pedro for example)

    3. I have been a F1 fan for a long time. Lauda’s return was remarkable because he had come back from the dead, so to speak, after a horrific accident. Prost never brought the fervour to racing that his great rival Ayrton Senna did. Mansell was not treated well by the teams so did not do well on his return and with just one WDC to his credit was not considered to be in the same league and Lauda and Prost.
      In Lauda’s days media coverage of F1 was nowhere near what it is today. Had it been, I am sure it would have evoked a lot of interest world wide

  17. I being a solid supporter of Schumi because of what he accomplished with Ferrari, am quite sure that all the changes that have come to F1 since her retired will not be signficant to the way he looks at things.

    you have to keep in mind that he is not a rookie, the guy has considerable experience, and has been on the pitwall this year. so regulations, tactics and tyre specification are not the issue, nor are his thoughts on the rival drivers and how they drive. the red car fear factor might make a comeback with him in valencia, and Jaime better look out when he’s swerving out of his way….

    what i’m trying to say is that there is a lot of talk throughout the internet picking at what might go wrong. the most intriguing problem is his lack of experience with the car, and if Alguessari, never having driven a race in Hungary finished well out of trouble and shut everyone up, someone like Schumacher with a winning car and engine can easily bag it… so why don’t people focus on that possibility???

  18. I’m sure Schumacher will find a way to enable traction control on his Ferrari, after all, they managed to sneak it on to the 94 Benetton despite it’s use being banned enabling him to win the world title. I respect him as a driver but he’s not the greatest ever.

    1. Oh yes he is.

  19. schumi the greatest
    30th July 2009, 14:29

    intresting article….1 thing i have noticed on my now daily read of f1 fanatic is that keith isnt the biggest fan of schumacher…

    a view valid points, the lack of traction control and engine braking in my opinion wont affect him, look at how greaqt he was in the wet which is the ultimate test of car control.

    i think kimi will beat him in valencia, but i dont think it will be a huge gap and i wouldnt be suprised to see him out qualifying and beating kimi if he has a good couple of races in the car.

    When i 1st heard the news i was shocked, and i agree with sebastien carter, he could really mess up his legacy after this/ But i think that shows a strength in character and if he comes in and beats kimi that would just enhance his legacy.

  20. To me this is actually wonderful! Schumacher challenges the risk of being defeated, and entres the fray with no fear. To me he as everything to lose, and this is something that tells us a lot about his courage and sport attitude.
    I think he will not be unconfortable with any of the new rules and technical restrictions, but he will need some time to set up the car and get used to the new aerodynamic balance.
    I think he will be able to fight for the win at Spa. And also I like that Raikkonen will feel pushed to give more than what he’s been doing for one year and a half.

    1. It will be interesting to see him drive again. I disagree that he’s risking anything at all though. No one will blame him if he doesn’t cut it any longer because the car isn’t what it should be so he’s not really under any pressure. Couple that with his talent and confidence and I reckon he’ll just be able to go out there and enjoy the first race. With that under his belt, should he end up in the seat for the season, he can try a bit harder. Once he gauges how competitive he is realistically he’ll want to win if the opportunity is there. Like many I became frustrated with the processional races of Ferrari one twos but it’ll be good to see how he shapes up against this bunch in these new cars.

    2. He’ll have the car sussed within 10 laps.

      1. You think it’ll take him that long?

  21. StrFerrari4Ever
    30th July 2009, 14:36

    Great article Keith Schumi will have to contend with all these factors and maybe in Valencia he won’t be quite on it but come Spa & the other circuits he will be a force to be reckoned with and could ruin a few people’s title ambitions. I hope he doesn’t ruin Seb’s title charge it would be nice to see Schumi helping his fellow German as Hammy is helping his fellow Brit.
    P.S A lot of spelling mistakes Keith :)

  22. GO KiMi Show everyone you can beat him!!! :) :) BTW One of the most interesting articles written to date Keith! (or maybe it’s because i’m excited at the prospect of being live in Valencia)!!!

  23. I never was a big Schu fan, but… well done old chap!It takes some nerve to make such a move. Considering his “wanna know it all” obsession, he will adapt quickly. He will be the boost for the whole team, and additional motivation for Kimi. All in all Schumi is safer in F1 cockpit then on a Fireblade! Ferrari’s test drivers are pretty useless race-wise, so are JV and others. I never thought i’ ll say this but… welcome back old Schu! and have some fun…

  24. wonderful

  25. Bigbadderboom
    30th July 2009, 15:22

    Nice to get excited about some on-track happenings than those off-track.
    I used to shout abuse at the TV when Schuey was winning everything, I really had no time for the guy. However I softened on him towards the end of his career, and having seen many interviews with him since his retirement I have found myself warming to him more. Whatever he achieves on the track, he has helped F1 massively. What our sport needed was some really good positive press and Schuey is a one man marketing miracle for F1 this year.

    As for the question of what he can achieve on track. The bookies see it like this;
    Odds for a Schuey win in Valencia 12-1
    Odds for a Schuey win this year 9-4!
    Bookmakers are not wrong often! So he will get some podiums and maybe a win!

    As for the racing, class is permanant, and I’m sure his fit enough. I can’t wait for the current crop of young talent to try and stick one on the old master, I reckon on some suprises for some of them! The starts are going to be classic with Schuey given a KERS button LOL ;) I can’t wait.

  26. New info indicates maybe none of this will happen:

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/77434

    Massa says he wants to race in Valencia; recovered pretty quickly considering he cant remember the incident. Though im not sure if its wise for his skull to take the g-forces and strain until it heals properly… :/

    Certainly massa doesn’t seem very happy about the idea lol

    1. best news i’ve heard all day :) no schummi, even better.

      1. yer that will maybe cool you down a bit… lol jeez..

    2. Yes but it’s not up to Massa when he’s allowed back in the cockpit.

      His doctor’s will have to assess whether he is physically fit enough and more importantly, whether it is safe for him to expose his body to the forces involved in F1 and consider the potential risks invovled if he were to be involved in another accident. Morbid, but true.

    3. In boxing there is a rule that if you were defeated by a knock-out, then you cannot compete in another boxing match until 6 months have passed.

      This is obviously for the boxers’ safety, and it clearly shows how delicate a human brain is, and how long it needs to regenerate. It also explains that the regeneration process is not over as soon as the sufferer thinks he feels fine.

      Felipe has had his skull fractured, come on. This is more than just a “knock-out”. I don’t believe the doctors will have cleared him to race very soon.

      Fortunately, it is not Felipe who’ll decide when he can come back.

      1. Well, I certainly agree with you on that.. for his own safety given the circumstances he needs to go through a proper rehabilitation process.. that was a serious injury. If the skull was fractured as they said, then that will take ages to heal for the strain required in F1…

        1. going by what massa says in the autosport interview, he seems very determined to get back, which is very positive & mark of a true racer. even the great british driver Sir Stirling Moss is of the same opinion.

          http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article6732197.ece

          hope massa really recovers in time for valencia.

          1. well I know “exactly” why you are hoping for his quick recovery :p,

            But those are interesting comments from Moss, however Massa will simply have to wait for his skull to heal regardless of how he “thinks” he feels… lets see what happens

            If Massa can indeed recover for Valencia I would certainly be very happy for him.

            But I guess that decision will come down to the bosses of the team. And as Damon made an interesting point above I am sure F1 have limits on injured drivers. Overall what I find strange is that Massa and his doctor seem to be downplaying the severity of the injury at this stage. the simple fact is that his skull was fractured, and most importantly the guy can not remember a thing about the incident.. so lets see how long that takes to come back..

          2. he seems very determined to get back, which is very positive & mark of a true racer.

            it’s great how being determined to get back is so positive & mark of a true racer or being a shameful coward depending on the racer and your preferences to them.

            btw, with this definition, are you saying that Sir Stirling Moss was not a true racer?

          3. The great Sir Stirling Moss got back into the car after his near fatal crash and decided he couldn’t do it any more…

          4. well, technically he drove, but he didn’t race :)

            anyways I’m not saying Sir Stirling Moss is not a real racer, it was just reductio ad absurdum

  27. Schumacher was the best. He did everything he could to win.

  28. I cant wait to see Schumacher and Hamilton in the same race. Really hope we get some wheel to wheel action with them! :D

  29. Obviously I’m glad to see the Kaiser back.. mostly for the sheer drama and to see if he can really perform to anything like his best.. so it’s almost torture having to wait for Valencia – and that dull circuit will now be interesting no matter what.. but I do hope that young Jaime Alguersuari gives a press conference saying that he thinks this ‘rookie’ may be a danger to the field etc etc as he got from the drivers before his debut..

    1. That would be hysterical!!! :)

      Schuey IS a very ‘agressive’ driver though…

  30. My predictions for Michael’s return.

    Europe DNF
    Belgium DNF

    and that’s it. Hahaha… lol

    1. superb! massa is as determined as anyone else to keep out the trickster. get well soon massa!!

  31. I’m certainly not going to expect much from him. Its exciting to see him come back, but with old age, questionable fitness, and lack of experience in the car, I’ll be floored if he can make it into the points even. Either way, I hope that people can curb their expectations of hs forthcoming performances. He was, and is, an incredible driver, but so are the younger, more fit, more acclimated drivers on the grid today. I wish him the best of luck though!

  32. i think its fantastic to have him back even if its only for a few races but if he is competative i can see him wanting to carry on ,cos despite what he said in the bbc interview his brother ralf says hes been itching to comeback and it must of at times been frustrating watching some of kimi and massas poor showings over the last couple of seasons.( even though massa came within a point last year some of his performances were crap)and as for some saying he as everything to lose thats rubbish. if hes not competative people will say so what ,three years out of racing very little testing new cars new rules not as fit as he used to be and nearly 41.if he is competative they will call him the greatest of all time and he may rewrite some of his records,its a win win situation

  33. fair few spelling mistakes in there Keith :P but anyway I think Shumacher has some BIG BALLS to come back. I say good on him. He was always my favourite driver and I am soo exited for the next race.

    1. Quite a few spelling mistakes in there too..

  34. It was always Schumacher’s habit that, when trying to assess the limit of how hard he could push the car, he would overstep the limit. On the practice days it was not an uncommon sight throughout his career to see Schumacher havng a number of spins during the practice session, or else taking a trip across the grass as he set about finding out how hard he could lean on the car. But the thing about the Valencia track is that there is no grass – indeed, as a street circuit there is very little run-off area, and any mistake will result in damage against the walls. With Schumacher never having driven the F60 before, this may well hamper his getting up to speed, if he feels he can’t push the boundaries.

    Having said that though, I think Schumacher will probably acquit himself well, and his comeback won’t descend into Mansell-McLaren-style embarrassment. He’s got enormous experience to draw upon, and he’s maintained his interest in the sport, as shown by his presence at races in his ‘advisory’ role, so he’s most likely aware of all the changes that have occurred in the various fields (sporting, technical regulations, etc.), and no doubt he’ll be milking the other drivers for info as soon as he arrives. Above all, I hope that biggest change his return bringz is the revitalisation of Raikkonen. Surely, after all these races where he’s been an anonymous presence seeminhly happy to just go through the motions, he’ll want to assert himself and up his game to prove his worth against Schumacher in the same car, or at least to prevent himself being humiliated by an old man sitting in the car for the first time.

    I think the biggest worry for Schumacher came during the Shell promotional video that was posted here a few weeks back. I don’t know whether it was the lighting or what, but as I watched the clip all I could see was the face of David Cameron!!

    1. Schumi will not have to face the embarrassment that Mansell did at McLaren because the Ferrari team is with him all the way, while Mansell had to contend with a grumpy Ron Dennis who did not like him.
      It would be great if Michael were to outqualify Kimi at Valencia. If that does not get Kimi to move his ass, nothing else will!

      1. I agree that Schumi always pushed the car to the limit in practice. That is what enabled him to notch up the record for pole positions. True he will not be able to run off at Valencia, but then he could not do that at Monaco yet won 5 times there and was on the podium 7 times in all.

  35. I was never a great Schumi fan by any means, but have to hand it to him that at least he is a racer. There are very few tru racers left on the grid. Kimi is one, as is Alonso and Hamilton. Cannot wait until the next race!!! Really hope we get to see some dicing between him and Hamilton.

  36. Humm I am a shumi fan but in some way I fear that this can end in tears. There are just some many things to get a grip on.

    I am sure that all British tabloids after the race would read

    “Shumi trashed by Hamilton”

    1. Who cares they already think that anyway, besides Schu doesn’t care. To say “I beat Schumacher” one needs to win 8 championships and beat all the other records he holds.

    2. Yes that’s what the British tabloids will read. I’m waiting to hear what the British TV commentators have to say before qualifying at Valencia. They are both so prejudiced. Unfortunately since we in India get only English commentaries, we have to put up with them

  37. He probably has a simulator in his basement, and he will be using it. lol. I don’t know if he has a simulator, but I’m sure he will be middle of the pack in Valencia.

  38. Fandysilalahi
    30th July 2009, 17:53

    I think apart from being a lil’ annoying, mp4’s posts was accurate and very informative. We have to give credit for his efforts to compile those data up.
    I’ve never been a big Schumacher fan, due to the facts that mp4 pointed out, but this news is certainly a good news for me. Never been this eager to watch the old chap go racing.
    Good luck Michael, u have just shown that u can be a good sport afterall.

  39. To finish well he has to qualify well. It’s Valencia, remember?? Limited passing chances and all that.

    Schumy will overcome most of the items Keith points out in his article with the possible exception of qualifying, but he won’t be able to overcome the track limitations. So if he doesn’t Q well don’t look for him to finish well, unless it’s due to attrition.

  40. Can keith or someone explain this statement to me

    “What he will find different is that, for the first time since 2000, he will have to use the same tyres as everyone else”

    Did Schumi use differnet tyres than everyone else

    1. Sebastien Carter
      30th July 2009, 20:09

      2001 was when michelin entered f1 and so there was the “tyre’ war between bridgestone and michelin until they pulled out again in 2006.

  41. This is all nonsense guys!

    Legacy? Don’t give me that american c**p!

    Do you really think the man cares about anything being said of him? Seriously?

    He’s back just for the fun of it. He’s going to hang around and if he can he’ll beat anyone, if not then he won’t be fussed about it.

    His “legacy” is in the books already. 7 championships. Brought back Ferrari from the dead. Won everything, done everything.

    This is the man that recently put on the Stig suit just not to get too bored.

    1. @Haplo – “American crap” ?? what are you talking about? where do you hail from that doesn’t have legacies. also, the word comes from the 15th century, long before us ‘Americans’ were becoming legacies.

      By the way, I totally agree with the rest of your post 100%, except that you think only Americans care about their legacies.

      1. @mfDB
        AS an American, we don’t care about our legacies really much at all.

        i do agree with the rest of your post though

        1. i ment @Haplo

  42. I don’t know whether this is the right place to post this or not, but here’s a video clip from Kimi’s interview in Finland about rallying and F1 related things:

    http://www.mtv3.fi/urheilu/f1/uutiset.shtml/arkistot/f1/2009/07/923535

  43. The Gospel According to John
    30th July 2009, 19:22

    I think he is going to embarrass them all quite frankly. So he has never driven the car or raced on the track and oh my gosh he is 41 etc etc blah blah blah.

    How soon people forget this is the man who could do a single qualifying lap and stick it on pole, do consistent fastest laps when it mattered, blitz all his team mates, lapped Barcelona within 2 seconds of everyone else whilst stuck in 5th gear for half the race! Not to mention his wet weather masterclass – roll on Spa, Suzuka & Sao Paulo anyone!

    I’ve been watching F1 since 1984 – 25 years later and I can count the number of natural born racers on one of my deformed hands – Senna – Prost – Schumacher – Alonso – Kimi & Hamilton! At least 3 of those are going to be at the sharp end of the grid in a few weeks time and I cannot wait.

    He may be older, but I would bet my left nut he will be one of the fittest there. Kimi’s going to look like he spent the last 4 weeks in the sauna post race. Schu to win Vettel 2nd Hamilton 3rd.

    Here endeth the lesson!

    1. Yes, although the oldest on the track in 2006 Michael was the fittest. He will still be fitter than many of the guys on the track at Valencia

  44. Ross Brawn will be really twitching to get back to Ferrari for a few races for those good old days of theirs. Remember he went world wide fishing for an year after Schumi retired.

    Though I am a great Schumi Fan and am personally thrilled to see him race again, I feel that this is a huge media stunt created by Bernie eccolstone along with ferrari. Bernie saw a huge opportunity in this whole thing.

    Imagine the week, Massa Injured, BMW exiting etc F1 was losing the charm. Bernie seized the opportunity with both the hands and converted this into a great media galore. Look at the coverage this news is getting. Valencia will be a sellout despite Alonso racing and imagine the TV audience that is going to watch the Race in Valencia which by itself is one of the boring tracks of the calender with Zero overtaking possibility and literally a parade lap till the finish. Schumi is doing a great favour to Bernie than to Ferrari to making F1 a sell out for rest of the year.

    On his racing. I would see him working around the midfield at Valencia to understand his machine better. Maybe in might blossom by SPA or Monza. If he races in Monza it is going to be on crazy audience once again.

    Again little strange to see Schumi racing without Brawn in his periphery. He will sure be beaten by Vettel, Hamilton, Kimi and others no doubt. Being 7 times world champion with 91 race wins and 200+ Podium one can never underestimate him. I am really counting down already for Aug 23rd.

  45. The Gospel According to John
    30th July 2009, 19:36

    Hope it wets his appetite for 2010 Schu in a Brawn alongside Button, Alonso & Vettel in the Ferrari’s, Hamilton & Senna in th McLarens – Now that needs to happen.

    1. Dream on, John. But it sure would be cool…wouldn’t it.

  46. guys…..hold ur eagerness till august 23rd,we can come to a conclusion.iam schumi fan,i like massa too.massa although he is not a champion he proved he is better than kimi in ferrari.i need schumi to proove this and he will proove…
    the only competition is between schumi and kimi
    as we expect between others caanot be juged as they are having different cars..
    he is a legend,he din think to comeback,he is having the confidence and he will proove it.
    he wants to help ferrari and his best friend as much as possible…lets watch schumi in action

    1. kimi has been bored and lazy this year, but when he wants to drive, there is ‘almost’ no one faster than him. maybe Shumi will re-ignite the fire for the iceman???

  47. Bartholomew
    30th July 2009, 20:23

    I hope we have a good Shumacher vs, Alonso fight, like in the old days.

    The Kaiser vs. The Terminator

  48. Schumi has to worry most about how he will get the time to drive road cars round a test track as the Stig

  49. He might not have “raced” at Valencia before but I can’t see that being a problem– neither has anyone else!

    1. Laugh out Loud

    2. @Matt

      Had to read yours twice to get it and then I really laughed!

      People forget MS’ first F1 drive was at Spa and he qualified 7th. He will have Valencia figured out long before the first practice session is over.

  50. I will be happy when Massa is back and we are all watching and talking about racing.All this Schumi gushing is making me sick.

    1. Agreed. I really, really don’t like Michael. He’s just…not nice. And I still say he cheated in a couple of races.

      1. im sure he doesnt care, nor do the 90% of the F1 fans who actually see and respect his exceptional skills, and want to see some fun in F1

        I honestly hope for those fanatical haters here, that your head doesn’t explode from all the hate and misery.

    2. Can anyone honestly say that they would be happy if Schumi was not racing?
      Love him or hate him, with Schumi’s departure F1 lost a lot of fans. There’s now talk that Bernie should pay Michael for coming back and revitalising F1. Frankly it’s been quite boring these last couple of years.

  51. the master returns.
    let’s face it his early suscesses were in cars that, while far less technically advanced, are much closer (slicks, far less downforce, no traction control, ect) to the current F60 then what he had to work with at the “end” of his carrer.
    also he was/is racing 1000cc superbikes and did finish 3rd in his very first outing frim the back of the pack. where he started with the other more experienced riders, although he was eligible to start up front.
    he may not win at valencia but expect to see him atop the podium again.

  52. the master returns.
    let’s face it his early suscesses were in cars that, while far less technically advanced, are much closer (slicks, far less downforce, no traction control, ect) to the current F60 then what he had to work with at the “end” of his carrer.
    also he was/is racing 1000cc superbikes and did finish 3rd in his very first outing frim the back of the pack. where he started with the other more experienced riders, although he was eligible to start up front.
    he may not win at valencia but expect to see him atop the podium again.

  53. it would be amazing to see MS stand on the podium and hear him speak at the
    post race press conference.

    it seems surreal in a way.

    1. He was never that great in press conferences I thought – always very stiff with PR-speak – but surely he’ll have something interesting to say this time.

  54. I must say I’m a little surprised with how many ‘wouldn’t it be great to see Schumacher and Lewis go wheel to wheel?’ comments….as opposed to seeing many…

    ‘Wouldn’t it be great to see Schumacher and ALONSO go wheel to wheel…………AGAIN??!!!’

    These two battled competitively for a number of years particularly in 2005/2006 when Alonso had the car to beat Schumacher……and he did!

    No disrespect to Hamilton, he’s seeded no 1 as he’s the current world champion but lest we forget, Alonso is still the best driver out there and Alonso v Schumacher racing each other in similar performing cars would be just about the best thing to watch imaginable!

    1. Couldn’t agree more.

    2. well I agree with that also, but Alonso and Renault will be out in the next race

    3. I thought ‘Alonso the best out there’ had beed disproved a couple of seasons ago. I don’t mean he isn’t, on balance, only I think he has yet to prove this point. Besides, the general feeling is, I’d guess, that Schu and Ham are more likely to be sharing the same bits of track with McLaren and Ferrari with similar performance levels, both with KERS and both these drivers aggressive/cunning.

      This must also be the last thing Webber and Button want! Not only serious competition in Massa’s place, but competition that’s going to stir other drivers to compete more as the season ends – undoubtedly less points for them.

  55. Paul Sainsbury
    31st July 2009, 0:24

    I am always a little confused by the ‘Alonso is the best out there’ remark.

    The plain truth is that Hamilton outdrove him, albeit narrowly, during his rookie year.

    1. yeh, but hamilton hasn’t overtaken a ferrari flat out around the outside of 130R has he?

      1. of course ignoring the fact hamilton’s never been there…

    2. They did finish level on points and wins.

    3. Sorry Paul, didn’t see your comment below!

  56. I think his biggest challenge will be fitness.
    As he does have some problem with his neck.

  57. Schumi’s race in Valencia will be short lived…Trulli will punt him into the wall

    1. In fact, this is something I was thinking about exactly. Just like we see fanatical haters here on this site, same goes with the existing F1 drivers who will also hate schumacher equally to death, especially those who have not succeeded in F1 as yet.

      Barrichello, Trulli come to mind…

  58. Welcome back Schumi.

    God..23rd August seems an eternity away!!!

  59. as a man approaching forty (december ,no cards ) i hope he does the business and ferrari could use the imput for there development .
    i wonder how much affect this will have on the championship as Kimi showed well in hungary .
    welcome back michael.

  60. It is said that he’s going to test at Mugello an old F1 2007 (a loan from a friend!!!).
    I’m going to have a look, will let you know…later on.

  61. A lot of “scores” could be settled with this development. Schu vs. Barrichello, of course we know this one. Schu vs. Alonso, with Alonso having a not-so competitive car. Schu vs. Hamilton, two “overtakers”. And Schu vs. Raikkonen, now teammates. Wow, first time in Mike’s career he’s had a “real” teammate who’s a champion. Very interesting. All the “real” greats went up against fellow champions on the same team. Mike’s the only one who hasn’t.

  62. ive previously commented on schueys return ,but after reading allot of negativaty on a teletext page from suposadly f1 fans i just felt i had to comment again.why are so many people being negative about it ,for most f1 fans who grew up with the sport like myself its fantastic that the guy who ruled the world of f1 comes out of retirement for one last fling,and anybody who folowed the sport back when he retired no’s he retired not because he feered raikonen as a team mate but because ferrari had signed raikonen and schuey had become great friends with massa and if he had continued like he wanted to, massa would of been out ,and he felt hed had his carreer and massa’s had just begone ,so he did what he felt was fare to the team and fair to massa.most of the negative comments in my opinion seem to be comeing from the people who only started following the sport when lewis arrived.its great to have a new generation of fans but its also great to show respect drivers past and present because without drivers like schumacher the sport would not be what it is today,and when he drives in the forthcomeing races his performance can only be mesured against raikonen ,not button and not hamilton theres to much speed and handling variations in the cars for any other comparison

  63. With “a more lively rear end to contend with”, Schumacher will be in the zone: no one was a better manipulator of the car than he was.

  64. Even if you hate him, you have to admit that Michael Schumacher was one of the exceptional talents in F1 – in my books he and Ayrton Senna, is/was the greatest driver that I have seen racing.
    If you have watched some of his greatest races (either live or on TV) and yet hate him as a driver, I wonder what you are doing watching F1?

    1. @ThommO
      Well said Thommo. There are a few out here, who may be are ****** for various reasons. None of them logical, seemingly. Schumacher WAS/ IS (thank the lord) the best of our generation. We were previliged to view him ply his trade, which he doth best. Here we have a few, who are trying to play that it will be difficult for him. F1 is difficult. Who didn’t know that?

      Then there are those who actually are saying something entirely devoid of any thought. Let me not waste any more time on those.

      Schumacher, in the modern era, was peerless. He hates comparisons and avoids any discussion on the same feverishly. However in my eyes there’s no doubt that he is the best grand prix driver that has ever lived and yes that list includes Hamilton and Vettel(flame on).

      Schumacher had the best of machinery in years 1995, 2002 & 2004. In his 4 other championship years, he didn’t always have the fastest car around.

      Let us start with 1994. I know, Hill was behind on track, and Schumacher ran into a wall. However, Schumacher was ahead on track and was turning in, Hill could and should have had waited. He could have easily overtaken Schumacher later on, but he didn’t. He rushed in, and Schumacher closed the door, like any self respecting racing driver would. Hill, in my belief was just as much at fault as Schumacher in that incident. Given that he could have easily overtaken him after that corner and rather easily. Well, but hindsight is indeed 20-20. Now during that year, they also banned him from a couple of races and all. They (FIA) were more or less pushing for Hill to get it, Hill who even had a faster car. Yes, they didn’t always favour Ferrari/ Schumacher.

      2000. Ferrari had a good car. Mclaren had a better handling and a faster car. Yes, am saying that Mika, was close, was good, but not as good as Schumacher. Schumacher, he won the championship, but again most wins were down to superior driving skills and excellent strategy than superior machinery.

      2001. Schumacher won the championship again. He yet again manages to equal his record of most number of wins. Astonishing. A better car compared to the competition, it is questionable at best.

      2003. Kimi ran him close. Even in an old car, Kimi kept up with Schumacher. A testament to Kimi’s speed and the fact that though a year old, the McLaren was no slouch. Which makes me wonder, why they weren’t doing as good in 2002?

      Now, he also has the record for fastest laps. Let us face it. Even Senna was not so consistent at maximum speed. The only one who comes close in my memory is Fangio. The great Argentine though, he switched teams and had the benefit of having the best machinery on the grid, through all championship winning years of his. It is debatable, i know.

      However, the point that am making is, we have watched a great man ply his trade once. Now, we have an opportunity to see him do it again. Where’s the effin’ problem? Those who do have a problem with this, you have an easy option to hand. Switch the bleeding telly off and spare us fans the hate.

      1. Those who do have a problem with this, you have an easy option to hand. Switch the bleeding telly off and spare us fans the hate.

        I basically disagree with your view of Schumacher’s career. But I agree 100% with this bit.

  65. Sri, you hit the nail on the head. His record of records is only surpassed by his talent.

    additionally, schumacher is a complete x-factor having him at the wheel of the F60 will give ferrari a huge moral boost, invaluable set-up and performance advice, not to mention a huge boost to F1 in general.

    besides it’s impossible to overlook the fact that the last 4 champions will be on track together. plus i’ve always wanted to see how hamliton would deal with schumacher’s opening chop. as steely nerved as these guy’s are, i bet there will be some sweaty palms come 23Aug.

  66. Valencia was struggling to sell tickets .I bet they are selling like hotcakes now.F1 was a little dull lately; Schumi will stir things up a little. For sure. A win in spa going flat out through “On Rouge” without traction control like in the old days.yehaw

  67. Paul Sainsbury
    1st August 2009, 9:57

    “On Rouge”

    Now that is a corner I have not heard of before…….:)

    1. Sorry for my french. Perhaps you know “Eau Rouge” better?

  68. Spa is perhaps Michael’s favourite circuit 6 wins 3 runners up and who can forget 1998 when he crashed into Coulthard while leading the race by a country mile!

    I am sure KERS will give the Ferrari and Michael a competitive edge at Spa. I’m keeping my fingers crossed

  69. i hope hamilton beats schumacher :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.