It took a failed comeback attempt and weeks of persuasion but it is finally here. Michael Schumacher has officially decided to make a comeback to Fomula One, with Mercedes. Schumacher signed a contract that will see him drive for the German team until 2013.
Schumacher made the decision to retire in 2006 however, the 41-year old German will be returning to the starting grid at Bahrain to add to his record tally of 91 race wins and 7 world titles. A biking accident led to a neck-injury, keeping Michael from making his return last season with Ferrari, after Felipe Massa had injured himself. However, this time ‘round, there is absolutely no doubt that a fully fit Schumacher will take to the tracks again. >
Mercedes have played a major role in Schumi’s career early on and after purchasing the 2009 title winning Brawn GP team, Schumi will be re-united with Ross Brawn who led Schumi to glory with Benetton and Scuderia Ferrari.
“Mercedes GP Petronas represents a new challenge for me both in a sporting and a personal context,” said Schumacher. “It is a new chapter in my racing career and I am really looking forward to working with my old friend Ross Brawn and my companions from my days with the Mercedes Junior Programme.
“I am convinced that together we will be involved in the fight for the Formula One World Championship next year and I am already looking forward to getting back onto the race track. For me, this partnership closes the circle. Mercedes supported me for so many years when I began my Formula One career and now I can hopefully give something back to the brand with the star.” >
Ross Brawn said, “I am delighted that we can confirm today that Michael will make his much-anticipated return to Formula One next year and drive for our Mercedes GP Petronas team. As seven-time world champion, Michael’s outstanding record in Formula One speaks for itself and I am looking forward to working with him again.
“With the completion of our driver line-up, I believe that we now have the most exciting partnership in Formula One with Michael and Nico, who provide the perfect mix of talent, experience, speed and youth. We can now turn our full attention to the preparations for the new season and everyone at Mercedes GP Petronas is extremely excited about the challenge ahead.”
A 22-year old Michael Schumacher had told Norbert Haug, Vice President of the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport programme that he considered himself good enough for Formula One. The programme helped him get a seat with Jordan, giving Schumi his debut at 22-years and 4-months. “Mercedes-Benz helped him to this point and the rest is history: seven world championship titles, more than any racing driver, 91 Grand Prix wins, more than any racing driver. Michael has more of everything than every other driver,” said Haug.
“As part of the Mercedes Junior Programme, Michael had raced in Group C sports cars and competed in a few DTM races. Ross Brawn, then our opponent at Jaguar, quickly realised Michael’s talent and they went on to win all seven of his drivers’ world championship titles together at Benetton and Ferrari. Our sporting ambition has always been that Michael should drive again where his professional career had started and Michael knew that. We often joked about it after the races and discussed the prospect seriously several times during the last 14 years in Formula One. It didn’t happen in 1995, it didn’t happen in 1998 and it didn’t happen in 2005. I am delighted that it will now happen in 2010. I am very much looking forward to working with Michael and everybody at Mercedes-Benz and Daimler extends a very warm welcome to our ‘apprentice’ of 19 years ago. That apprentice is now the most successful racing driver of all time.”