Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Michael Schumacher aiming to win Formula One crown with Mercedes

Michael Schumacher poses on December 23, 2009 in Brackley, England. The Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One team have confirmed that 7-times Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher will make his racing return in 2010 with the Silver Arrows team
The Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One team have confirmed that 7-times Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher will make his racing return in 2010 with the Silver Arrows team. Above: Schumacher poses on December 23, 2009 in Brackley, England
Michael Schumacher (left) speaks with John Owen, Principal Aerodynamicist of Mercedes GP
Michael Schumacher shakes hands with Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn
Michael Schumacher takes part in the Race of Champions Beijing 2009 at Beijing National Stadium on November 4, 2009
Race of Champions winner Sweden's Mattias Ekstrom (right) celebrates with runner up Michael Schumacher of Germany
Manager Willy Weber (left) and Formula One legend Michael Schumacher pose for a photo ahead to the WBA Middleweight World Championship fight between Felix Sturm of Germany and Khoren Gevor of Armenia at Nuerburgring on July 11, 2009 in Nuerburg, Germany
Formula One legend Michael Schumacher makes push ups during the charity football match between Nazionale Piloti and biggALLSTARS at Brita Arena on July 8, 2009 in Wiesbaden, Germany
Michael Schumacher of Germany and Holzhauer Racing Team rides his bike during the International German Championship IDM training session at Sachsenring racetrack on June 12, 2009 in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Germany
Michael Schumacher of Germany and Team Holzhauer Racing rides his bike during the International German Championship IDM training session at Sachsenring racetrack on June 12, 2009 in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Germany
Michael Schumacher (left) of the Nazionali Piloti team challenges Ralf Weber of VIP Allstars during a football Charity match at the Am Boellenfalltor arena on July 16, 2008 in Darmstadt, Germany

German track legend Michael Schumacher believes he can win an unprecedented eighth Formula One world championship next season after confirming that he will come out of retirement to drive for Mercedes.

Schumacher was immediately installed as third favourite behind Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to win the championship.

The 40-year-old German will be paid £6.2m to drive for Mercedes in 2010, recreating the partnership with technical guru Ross Brawn which resulted in Schumacher winning the drivers' world championship with Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and with Ferrari in the years 2000-2004.

Satisfyingly for those for whom Schumacher's ruthlessness on the track means he remains something of a pantomime villain, there was a hint of the old arrogance in the way the old master laid down a challenge to younger drivers such as Hamilton, who have often talked about how much they would have liked to race the old champion: “Well, now they have the chance, so they'd better use it,” he said, smiling.

As for the fact 70 per cent of his compatriots expect him to win the championship, what else, suggested Schumacher, should anybody possibly expect? “I have won the title seven times, I'm at a team that won both titles last year, with Mercedes as a partner and team owner, so you cannot expect anything other than to go for the world championship, and that's what we are aiming for,” he said.

The German's contemporaries warned the current crop of drivers not to underestimate him. Ulsterman Eddie Irvine, a former Ferrari team-mate, suggested he wouldn't be as fast as he was at his best, but still might be good enough to win the title

“He's not at the peak of his game, but he's still good enough to win races as he has such an immense talent. It's still four wheels, a steering wheel and an engine and there's never been anyone better than Michael,” he said.

Hamilton, along with just about everyone involved in a sport which in recent years has become as interesting off the track as it can be uneventful on it, welcomed the news.

“It's great to have Michael back in Formula One. He is a legend and a really nice guy, and I am happy for him that he has once again got an opportunity to do the best job in the world — race in Formula One,” he said.

Whether the young Briton will feel the same way after experiencing first hand Schumacher's legendary, or possibly infamous, drive to win at all costs remains to be seen.

In the meantime, however, Hamilton was one voice in a chorus of universal welcome from a sport conscious of the immense publicity value of Schumacher's return.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre