Reaction to Schumacher’s return

There has been widespread reaction, from the Formula One world and beyond, to the announcement that Michael Schumacher will return to Formula One.

It was revealed on Wednesday that the seven-time World Champion would substitute for the injured Felipe Massa at the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

Among those who gave positive reaction to the news was the German’s brother and former Formula One driver Ralf Schumacher.

“He was itching to come back. But no one expected that,” Ralf told German television network N-24. “After all the bad headlines on the sport recently this is absolutely great.

“Nothing better could have happened for Formula 1 than my brother coming back.”

Three-time World Champion, Niki Lauda also gave a similar response, claiming that Schumacher’s return can only be good for the sport.

“The return of Michael Schumacher is such a massive sensation that Bernie Ecclestone should pay him half his wages. Has there ever been anything more exciting in motor racing?” Lauda told the BBC.

“I am not saying that Michael will win because that depends on the speed of the car but I have absolutely no doubts about his ability to perform as well as ever.

“I was 33 when I came out of retirement and he is 40 – but you are what age you want to be. I have no concerns about his reflexes. He will be brilliant.”

Although in agreement with Lauda, Formula One Journalist Maurice Hamilton, issued a stark warning to the 40 year old.

“Schumacher’s canny racing brain, his ability to think of several things at once while driving at 175 mph, will be as sharp as ever but his fitness will not.” Hamilton explained to the BBC.

“No amount of graft in the gym will act as a substitute for time spent in the cockpit.

“It is a splendid story for sport, for motor racing, for F1 – but not necessarily for Michael Schumacher in the long run.”

Of the current crop of Grand Prix drivers, reigning World Champion, Lewis Hamilton expressed his delight at the imminent return of Schumacher and of the possibility to race against one of the sport’s legends.

“I am excited by the possibility of Michael Schumacher’s return to Formula 1 assuming it happens, but my thoughts are still with Felipe and his family following his terrible accident in Hungary,” Hamilton told Autosport Online.

“Michael is one of the sport’s greatest competitors and a legend in his own right and it would be great to compete against him.”

Jenson Button, the World Championship leader, also welcomed Schumacher’s return and believes that the German will be competitive.

“It’s a tough position for him to be in but I’m happy he’s taken up the challenge and it’s very brave of him,” Button told the BBC.

“He’s still young – 40 is not old and he’ll still be competitive.”

Meanwhile, the FIA have confirmed that Michael Schumacher will have to reapply for his mandatory superlicence.

Although the German’s previous superlicense expired at the end of 2006, it is not thought that Schumacher will encounter any problems in the application progress.

“Under normal circumstances Michael Schumacher should get a superlicence,” a FIA spokeswoman told the German news agency SID.