Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Michael Schumacher's Back in Formula 1 for 2010 at Mercedes-Benz GP Team

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP Petronas

As Mercedes-Benz bought up controlling stake in the 2009 championship contractor Brawn GP, the newly established Mercedes Grand Prix team (or Mercedes GP Petronas following a recent sponsor addition to the team) started with a clean driver slate for 2010 as both Rubens Barrichello and 2009 F1 Driver's Champion Jenson Button transferred to new teams. Adding Nico Rosberg exactly one month earlier (November 23rd), rumours immediately surrounded who will fill the second seat.

Appearing to be wild speculation at the time, Mercedes Grand Prix was mentioned to be wooing 91-time grand prix winner and 7-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher. Those rumours turned true today for an early Christmas announcement as Michael Schumacher returns to Formula 1 after 3 seasons off from the series. It's with little surprise that the newly commissioned Mercedes Grand Prix team could lure the 7-time World Champion driver from his uneasy retirement. Last season, Schumacher was slated to return last season in a relief effort for Ferrari filling in for their injured driver Felipe Massa. Those plans were derailed only by an incident riding a Superbike.

Completing an all-German driver lineup for a German-owned team, Schumacher's signing with Mercedes GP Petronas also reunites the legendary driver with his former technical director Ross Brawn. Traveling with the Michael Schumacher's landmark move from Benetton to Ferrari, Brawn was behind every victory the driver claimed in Formula 1. Schumacher's move to Mercedes-Benz is also one of nostalgic. In 1990, the Mercedes-Benz factory's revived Silver Arrows effort allowed than unknown German Michael Schumacher to have his first step on the world stage.

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP Petronas

A major score for Mercedes as well as to fans that followed the multiple record-holding F1 driver as he set those marks, Michael Schumacher's return to formula 1 has more than a few fans happy. In an interview on the Formula 1's official website, CEO of Formula One Management Bernie Ecclestone commented "I think it is fantastic for Formula One that he turned into a ‘comeback kid’." shortly following Schumacher's announcement. Other supporters to Schumacher's comeback even included his rival Jacques Villenueve who said in a interview "I don't see any reason why he shouldn't get back to be his old self again".

Turning 41 years old in January 3rd of 2010, Schumacher's reentry into Formula 1 will make him the eldest driver of on the circuit. In spite of modern preconceptions that auto racing is a young person's sport, improved safety and physical fitness regimes have veteran drivers in sports car racing and particularly NASCAR showing that age is only a meaningless number. In fact, Formula 1's past reflects three drivers over the age of 40 winning the World championship title. 40 or older for all five of his championships, the original F1 superstar Juan Manuel Fangio won his final championship at 46 years old. Therefore, it should no be a terrific shock if Michael Schumacher could storm to his 8th Formula 1 championship in 2010.

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