Michael Schumacher back to Mercedes?

20 November, 2009

Would Michael Schumacher make a return to F1 to lead Merecdes GP?

The 2010 driver market has been wild with major moves. There have also been surprises and Jenson Button’s move to mclaren certainly wasn’t one many were expecting.

Surely there won’t be any more surprise moves?

Michael Schumacher as a Mercedes-Benz driver in 1991

However all eyes are now on the Mercedes GP team and who they put in their driver line-up. It seems very likely that the team want to have two German drivers in their team, which makes sense seeing as Mercedes are German, and it’s now their team.

Although it’s not confirmed it’s almost certain that one of those drivers will be Nico Rosberg. Rosberg has left Williams and has been linked with the team for a long time now.

Now it’s a case of which other driver will take the other seat. The ideal candidate would be Sebastien Vettel who is the most talented German driver currently in Formula 1. The problem is he has extended his contract with Red Bull. Timo Glock has opted to help build a new team at Manor Motorsport. Adrian Sutil can be quick at times, but he makes errors and gets involved in alot of incidents. So perhaps not the wisest decision.

The favourite to take the second seat would have to be Nick Heidfeld, and Norbert Haug has already admitted to having talks with him.

Mercedes’ main rivals have very strong drivers in their line-up. Mclaren have Lewis Hamilton and Button. Red Bull have Sebastien Vettel. Ferrari have Fernando Alonso.

Are Rosberg and Heidfeld good enough to beat them?  Rosberg has driven well this season but can he step up next season? Can he establish himself in F1’s top tier of drivers? Gambling on him being able to step up is risky, as well as putting immense pressure on him.

Heidfeld is a very solid and reliable driver who can consistently collect points, but he isn’t considered a top driver. Neither driver have won a race in F1.

Therefore the driver line-up could be a weakness in Mercedes armour next season. If Mercedes want to win the championship next year they need drivers with proven race winning pedigree, as their rivals possess.

Kimi Raikkonen’s talks with Mclaren have stalled.  Raikkonen is heading for a sabbatical according to his manager. Although recently he has said that Kimi would be open for talks with Mercedes, but this could end up coming to nothing. Robert Kubica is set to drive for Renault (unless they decide to pull out).

Silver Arrows sportscar team of the nineties with Schumie

This all means that Mercedes are running out of top drivers to go for.  Could Mercedes tempt Michael Schumacher to come out of retirement and drive for their team?

He would certainly be the star driver they need. His records and abilities speak for themselves.

In the process his glittering partnership with team principal Ross Brawn will be renewed. Ross Brawn was involved in all 7 of Schumacher’s championship triumphs at Benetton, and then at Ferrari.

Schumacher is now reportedly no longer advisor to the Ferrari F1 team. Ferrari have been very keen to be allowed to run a 3rd car so that Schumacher could have the chance to return to F1.

Stefano Domenicali told the Sunday Times “It is correct to say that, if everything is fine, why not see him (Schumacher) in one of our cars?”

Unfortunately for Ferrari and Schumacher the other teams haven’t been too keen on 3 car teams. As it stands there could be 13 teams resulting in a 26 car grid. Therefore there is no reason for teams to run 3 cars.

Michael Schumacher tested at Mugello in July but aborted his F1 comeback due to injury

So it looks like there isn’t a chance there for Schumacher and Ferrari.

Schumacher was also very disappointed that he wasn’t able to complete his comeback due to his neck injuries.

“This is a very sad moment for myself.” Schumacher added: “I’m very disappointed not to do what I was looking forward to doing and that’s all I’m thinking about.”

It’s clear that Schumacher was very excited about returning to racing in Formula 1, and perhaps that he wasn’t finding retired life completely fulfilling.

Furthermore Norbert Haug has admitted that there could be surprises in the driver line-up: “It’s not finally decided, but I think and hope we can announce something in the course of the next couple of weeks. We will do a very good job in that respect as well I can promise you – and maybe we can create some surprises.”

Is that suggesting that Schumacher could indeed be one of Mercedes drivers?

Rumours will keep on persisting in the background although Schumacher keeps denying he is about to make a comeback to F1.

Schumacher as part of Mercedes 1990 team

“Right now, no” he said

Although that’s not a totally convincing statement that he will never return. Let’s remember he initially rejected the idea that he would replace Felipe Massa, but then it happened.

Surely if Schumacher got a call from Norbert Haug to discuss a potential seat surely it would at least be tempting because:

a)      He is German and the team is German so there is national pride, and commercial opportunties
b)      They have huge potential to be long-term front runners
c)      Re-uniting with the man who helped him to all those titles in Ross Brawn

It would have the potential to be a winning combination. With all of his experience he could also adapt to the re-fuelling ban and get one over his younger rivals. Let’s remember Michael made his debut before re-fuelling was re-introduced in 1994.

Michael Schumacher driving the Mercedes-Benz C11 finished second at Dijon in 1990

It must also be remembered that Schumie was part of the Mercedes Silver Arrows sportscar team of the early nineties and that Merc is alleged to have dipped into their pockets to finance young Schumacher (at the time) in his F1 debut with Jordan at Spa in 1991. These are connections that go way back, but perhaps the most important of the multiple World Champion’s career. And at one point in his career there were murmurs that he wanted to make his swansong with Mercedes….

Certainly this move could be classed as a wild suggestion, but 2009 has seen so many twists and dramatic turns.

Could there be one more major twist left in what has been one of the most fascinating driver markets in F1 history? All the elements of the jigsaw are there.

It would be brilliant to see Schumacher back competing for the championship against the likes of Vettel, Hamilton, Button and Alonso.

Surely with a lack of top F1 drivers to choose from Mercedes should at least be trying to approach Schumacher, rather than wait till 2012 for Vettel to be available.

Watch this space !?!


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