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F1 Rewind: Michael Schumacher announces his comeback 

rehaan díaz

Michael Schumacher announces his comeback to F1 after three years
Michael Schumacher announces his comeback to F1 after three years

This day, that year. December 23, 2009. Precisely nine years ago, Michael Schumacher (then 40) made the news public that he would be diving for Mercedes in 2010.

The move reunited him with Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn who had masterminded Schumacher's many victories with Ferrari and Benetton.

Signed on for €7 million a year contract, he joined Nico Rosberg to make an all-German line-up for the Mercedes works team's first year back in Formula 1.

Incidentally, a comeback had been brewing for quite a while. Ferrari's Felipe Massa had a massive crash at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009 as he was struck by a suspension spring that had fallen from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn, on a high-speed part of the track. 

Schumacher, then acting as a consultant for Ferrari was approached to take his place as a replacement.

A neck injury he was nursing from a bike accident in Spain prevented him from doing so. Luca Badoer and Giancarlo Fisichella ultimately drove out the rest of the season for Ferrari with Kimi Raikkonen. Watch his BBC interview right here:

The signing was a coup for Brackley based Mercedes, who raced as Brawn GP in 2009 and won both the constructor's and driver's title with Jenson Button.

Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo, who worked with Schumacher since he moved to Maranello in 1996 from Benetton was also keen to give him a comeback drive. However, with the injured Felipe Massa returning and Fernando Alonso joining in 2010, there was no spot left. Montezemolo, however, takes credit for putting the idea in Michael's head,

"It was me that rekindled his desire to race after Massa was injured in Hungary,"

The German's former team-mate Eddie Irvine not surprisingly thought that Schumacher will be able to win races, even though he would not be a force as before. That was the conventional wisdom as he was joining a race-winning team from the previous year and with a very strong Mercedes engine. 

Even former world champions like Niki Lauda, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill believed that Schumacher can make a competitive comeback to the sport that he dominated for the last decade. It was only Nico Rosberg, his new teammate who was quite correctly cautious of his chances

"It will not be easy for him. When you stay away from F1 for a long time, it takes time to get used to all the test sessions again. It's not simple." 

How right was Rosberg!

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