Formula 1 world reacts to Schumi return

Micheal Schumacher with the Mercedes GP Petronas Windtunnel model.

Updated: Reaction to Michael Schumacher’s sensational return to Formula 1 with Mercedes GP for 2010 and perhaps beyond ahs sent tremors through the world of sport. The announcemnet has claimed headlines on all major news websites while the Formula 1 world, including drivers past and present,  are having their say on the F1 news event of the decade.

Ferrari statement on their website under the headline Schumacher – a competitor to beat:
Ferrari fans all over the world received the news today of Schumacher having signed a contract with Mercedes GP and flooded the Ferrari website requesting an opinion regarding the matter. “What we have to say regarding Schumacher has been said by Chairman Montezemolo last week on the occasion of the traditional well-wishing with the Italian and international press,” a Scuderia spokesman said. “We’re giving our warm wishes to Michael: as of today he is our competitor and we’ll give it our all to beat him as we do with all the others.”

Ralf Schumacher, Michael’s brother and former F1 driver:
“Basically it’s surprising for everyone, though it’s a big thing for Michael of course. I know that the dream of many German F1 fans has comes true. This is a great Christmas present for many fans. I totally support the decision Michael made to accept the offer from Mercedes. There was not much to think about I am sure he made the decision without hesitation, I would have done so too.

Sebastian Vettel, second in the 2009 F1 World Championship never raced against Schumacher:

“What am I supposed to say about this. It does not really affect us as we are busy with preparations for next season. I hope he is fit and I assume he is professional enough to prepare for Formula 1.”

Jochen Mass, veteran team mate when Schumacher drove for Mercedes sportscars in the early 90s:
“I am disappointed that Michael Schumacher does not make his comeback with Ferrari. Michael has given so much to motorsport and achieved everything with Ferrari. I am personally very sorry that he is now returning with a different team. Expectations are very high of Schumacher which he is best aware of and I wish him the very best.”

Gerhard Berger,former rival and F1 team owner:
“It is excellent news, excellent for F1. He will be competitive from the start of the season and will race for top positions. I have no doubt he will be fit and quick. His decision is no surprise to me.”

Willi Weber, Schumacher’s long time manager:
“Michael Schumacher has the memory of an elephant. In 1991 Mercedes gave Schumacher the possibility to enter F1 and this is something that he never forgot.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:

“I think I share the sentiment of every single Formula One fan across the world by saying that Michael Schumacher’s return to the sport is fantastically exciting and a thrilling prospect for the 2010 season. I’ve no doubt that Michael has studiously examined this opportunity from every possible angle, and that he’s convinced he still possesses the same fearsome drive and determination required to succeed in Formula One. Obviously, Michael is a seven-times champion and has absolutely nothing left to prove, so it will be fascinating to see what he can achieve in a new team.” (As reported by Reuters)

Lewis Hamilton, 2008 World Champion who never raced against Schumacher:

“It’s great to have Michael back in Formula 1. 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 1. I used to watch Michael race when I was in the junior categories, and I always hoped that I would be in Formula 1 while he was still around. I’m really looking forward to seeing him on the track and back at the top. It’s brilliant news, and I wish him my absolute best wishes on his comeback with such a fine team and company as Mercedes Benz.”

Johnny Herbert, was Schumacher’s team mate at Bennetton:
“The fitness side is very, very important, but the way Michael keeps himself in shape – he brought the physical aspects of F1 up a couple of notches – it isn’t going to be an issue. I don’t know of anyone that has gone out of F1 and come back and actually achieved something by coming back. Alain Prost wasn’t the same when he came back but because of Michael’s mentality it is different.”

Eddie Irvine, Schumacher’s team mate at Ferrari:

“The speed will be there, though he won’t be as fast as he was seven years ago.”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.”

Nico Rosberg, Schumacher’s future team mate at Mercedes  GP:
“It is fantastic Michael is returning to Formula 1 and will be my team-mate. It’s a great challenge for me to be up against one of the best drivers of all time. I’m sure we will form a very strong partnership as he will have lost none of his speed. It is also great news for our sport and the fans.”

Niki Lauda, three times World Champion who won his final title after a comeback:
“His level is that of a seven time world champion. If Schumacher drives again, he will be immediately competitive, because he was the best — on another level.”