Rumours point to Schumi return
Speculation is rampant that German Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher will come out of retirement and once again take the wheel for Ferrari.
The rumours come three days after the Italian team’s driver Felipe Massa fractured his skull after an accident while qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday at the Hungaroring near Budapest. The Brazilian was hit in the head by an 800-gramme suspension spring that came off of Brawn-Mercedes driver Rubens Barichello’s car.
Massa lost consciousness and drove into a tyre wall before being pulled from the vehicle and rushed to hospital.
The 28-year-old is still in critical condition but stable while in a medically-induced coma.
Ferrari is now scrambling to find another superstar to maintain their chase against McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who took the title at Sunday’s race. With the Valencia Grand Prix in Spain coming up in three weeks, the team is looking for someone to drive in the Massa’s place.
“Ferrari now needs Schumi to replace Massa and Michael is considering it,” reported the Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport.
The newspaper added: “Those around Michael say he would consider a comeback if Ferrari would outright ask, but he probably won’t make any commitments beyond the current season.”
Schumacher has been retired since 2006 but remains contracted to Ferrari as a consultant.
Former Ferrari driver and three-time world champion driver Niki Lauda told German daily Die Welt that Schumacher’s coming out of retirement would be good for the sport.
“If I were [Ferrari President Luca di] Montezemolo, I would have no second-thoughts about calling up Michael. Everything depends on his decision to do so. Of the available drivers, Schumacher is the best, and with him, Formula 1 will see an increase of interest in the sport go up 20 percent.”
F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, who recently made headlines for complimenting Hitler’s leadership skills, also said he would gladly welcome the German 40-year-old back to his horsepower circus.
But all the enthusiasm has yet to garner a response from the man himself. There are still questions of injuries he sustained during a motorcycle accident in February in Spain. Schumacher’s manager Willi Weber said on Sunday that the reports were all speculation.
“As far as I can see, I don’t see it happening,” he said.
The Valencia Grand Prix takes place from August 21 until August 23. Massa is expected to recover, but his racing future is still unknown. The last fatality at a Formula 1 event was at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, where Ayrton Senna, also from Brazil, was killed in a crash.