Ralf Schumacher Could Rejoin His Brother in F1

Gareth Llewellyn-StevensCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2009

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - OCTOBER 19:  Ralf Schumacher of Germany and Toyota is seen during practice for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Interlagos on October 19, 2007 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Ralf Schumacher is reported to be interested in a return to Formula One if he can secure a competitive drive according to Associated Press.

The younger Schumacher, brother of seven-time F1 world champion Michael, retired from the sport in 2007 after failing to secure a drive for 2008 following difficult years with the now departed Toyota, but with four new teams entering in 2010 taking drivers away from established teams, he has thrown his hat into the ring for a drive.

After leaving F1 with six race wins, and 27 podiums from 180 race starts, Ralf has raced in DTM, first in a 2007 AMG C-Class Mercedes, and last year with the 2009 AMG C-Class Mercedes without achieving much success.

When he joined the DTM series, Ralf said, “During my last three years in Formula 1, I didn’t have much success and it almost sounded strange to me when Norbert mentioned in our conversation, that short before this time I had managed to win two Formula 1 Grands Prix within only eight days.”

“However, I am still the same Ralf as at those times, the same racer who has fun in motor sports and who wants to compete with the best.

Having rejected drives with the new teams, Ralf has now been linked with the vacant seats at Renault and Sauber, and even been mentioned with Toro Rosso despite the Italian team usually fielding young drivers.

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Ralf's link with Toro Rosso comes in the form of team principal Franz Tost who looked after his early career in Japan and F1, and also worked with him at Jordan and Williams, but he has refused to confirm the rumours.

Jaime Alguersauri, who raced for Toro Rosso in 2009, has been left of the provisional drivers list for 2010, but has been included in preparation for next season, and hopes to have his seat confirmed in January 2010.

Never one to miss out on a bit of speculation, F1 rent-a-quote supremo, Bernie Ecclestone has already told a German newspaper it would be good if Ralf comes back to F1.

Ralf told Bild newspaper, "I feel that my desires to race in Formula 1 are still there. There must be a challenge, it is not about money but what we can achieve with the team.

"I know that my reputation suffered during my time at Toyota but I left that behind me. I know what I can do and I feel ready to do it again."

While Michael's return to F1 has to be welcomed for reinvigorating interest in the sport, and also providing us with a serious racer for the 2010 season, I wonder whether Ralf's interest in returning is genuine desire to come back and be competitive.

He will, once again be in the shadow of his older brother and all of the success or failure that comes with his return.

For one of the newer teams, someone like Ralf could be a useful addition as they look to establish themselves, but I don't think he could come back and fit into an established team and become competitive.