Michael Schumacher Makes Return to Formula One

Billy SextonAnalyst IJuly 29, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - APRIL 04:  Former Ferrari Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher of Germany is seen on the Ferrari pitwall before qualifying for the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit on April 4, 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher will make a return to Formula One for the European Grand Prix next month.

Schumacher retired at the end of the 2006 season, but will return to the cockpit after Felipe Massa was seriously injured at the last Grand Prix in Hungary. It has been confirmed that Schumacher will stand in for as long as it takes for Massa to heal or for Ferrari to find another replacement.

Being an advisor to Ferrari, Schumacher has kept in close contact with the team since 2006 and has become a special adviser since 2008. He also tested regularly last season.

However, the in-season testing ban that is in place for 2009 means that Schumacher hasn't driven an F1 car since April 2008.

With this in mind, Schumacher has an intense training program in place for the next three weeks to get himself back up to full fitness.

Schumacher said, "For team loyalty reasons, I can't ignore this unfortunate situation." 

"This afternoon, I met with team principal Stefano Domenicali and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, and together, we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe.

"As the competitor I am, I also very much look forward to facing this challenge."

Ferrari chose Schumacher over current test drivers Marc Gene and Luca Badoer. Many sports columnists believe this is because Schumacher is the man that can deliver the best results for the team, who are chasing third place in the constructors' championship.

If he can win all seven races and Jenson Button doesn't score, Schumacher could still make history and win the championship. Obviously, this is highly unlikely, but a few podiums from Schumacher could add some real spice to the championship.

Also, fans can look forward to a battle between Schumacher and current world champion, Lewis Hamilton, an event that many thought would never happen as Hamilton entered the sport when Schumacher left.

The multiple record holder will also be able to pit his skills against the likes of Sebastian Vettel, the supposed heir to Schumacher. He will also race alongside Kimi Raikkonen as a teammate for the first time.