As I am sure you are all too aware, Michael Schumacher, 7 time World Champion and the most successful Formula One driver of all time, will return to the cockpit of a Ferrari car from the European Grand Prix in Valencia for possibly the rest of the season, in place of injured Felipe Massa.
Many fans were driven away from Formula One during the 'Schumacher years' (2000-2004). Because many fans thought it was just too predictable. Even I knew that he was dominant and I wasn't even 10! I actually used to call F1 Ferrari's because I had only ever heard of them.
I asked a friend of mine, who was driven away from Formula One during these years, why he stopped watching. The reply I got was, "I stopped watching Formula One because it was just so boring and predictable" He went on to say, "You always knew who would be on the top step of the podium every time, it was always Schumacher."
My friend is not the only person to have been driven away from formula one (excuse the pun). But since Schumacher retired quite a few more spectators returned to the sport and many more new spectators starting watching (including myself). Of course this was the first year since Schumacher's retirement so this may have had an effect in bringing back fans but would have also driven some fans away.
The 2009 season has so far been incredibly exciting, and I believe more so than last year, so I would have expected a lot of viewers to be watching week in week out. But since Schumacher was announced as Felipe's replacement, I have seen people on this site and others saying things like, "Finally F1 Is Worth Watching Again", "I will only watch now because Schumacher is back" and "At least now we can get something good to watch".
But no one has of yet been able to see the irony that many hundreds of fans were put off F1 be it temporary or permanent. But now that "The King" has returned he brings fans back! We will never learn will we?