Michael Schumacher returns to Formula One to replace injured Massa

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

File photo of Michael Schumacher (2005)
Image: Chris J. Moffett.

Seven-time world Formula One racing champion Michael Schumacher announced his plans to replace Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari car in the FIA Formula One 2009 European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain.

It is true that the Formula 1 chapter has long been closed for me ... For team loyalty reasons I can't ignore this unfortunate situation.

—Michael Schumacher

Massa was recently injured after a spring got loose from Rubens Barricello's car and hit his head in the Hungarian GP. Schumacher is expected to replace Massa for at least one Formula One event until the recovery of the Brazilian driver. Schumacher will get ready for his return using a special training program, checking his recovery after he fell off a motorcycle.

As the competitor I am, I also very much look forward to facing this challenge.

—Michael Schumacher

The last time the "Red Baron" drove the Ferrari car was more than a year ago, in April 2008. If Schumacher starts in Valencia, it would be his first GP with Kimi Räikkönen as his team mate.

The most important thing first: thank God, all news concerning Felipe is positive, and I wish him all the best again.

—Michael Schumacher

Massa and Schumacher were team mates during the latter's last season and the two are said to be close friends. Massa was in a medically induced coma for several days but took his first steps today and can speak coherently; it was also confirmed today that he can still see out of both eyes. Concern does still remain about potential damage to his left eye. Massa was due to leave intensive care Wednesday and may be walking fully within ten days, although doctors remain cautious in their outlook for the Brazilian, who was runner-up in last year's season.

There were different speculations about Massa's replacement: most notable and curious was that the double world championship winner Fernando Alonso was to negotiate with Ferrari after the Renault team was penalized to skip the GP on Alonso's home soil. Alonso was out of the recent Hungarian GP just after the first pit-stop cause of a loose wheel nut of the right front wheel. This incident not only stripped Renault of the possible podium finish, but also caused that penalty. To note, it was also the Hungarian GP of 2006 when Alonso was in the lead for most of the race, but ended it right after his pit-stop because off a badly attached right front wheel. That race was unexpectedly won by Jenson Button, who is now the championship leader.

In other news related to Formula One BMW Sauber announced plans to retire from the sport at the end of this season. FOTA says it will try to help the team to stay in Formula One, which could possibly mean moves similar to those when Honda was withdrawn from Formula One at the end of the previous season.


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