Schumacher’s return a big boost for F1December 24th, 2009 - 7:06 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Dec 24 (IANS) Like anywhere else, the Indian motor sports fraternity welcomed the decision of seven times World champion Michael Schumacher to return to Formula One racing in 2010 with Mercedes GP Petronas team.
“I think, you will see the same old Michael,” said Narain Karthikeyan, India’s first and only Formula One racer. “I have raced with him and he is simply unbelievable. Also, he has consistently beaten the current crop of drivers in karting races recently. Of course, this isn’t much, but at least, it is an indicator.”
Speaking to IANS, Karthikeyan said: “Michael has nothing to prove. He has seven World titles and 91 wins. May be, he would like to make it 100. He has a great team to work with now and virtually the same set of people who helped him win those championships. So, I expect Mercedes and Michael to be fighting for the championship.”
Karthikeyan felt that it wouldn’t take Schumacher too long to adjust to the 2010 model. “Over the years, he has driven a lot of different generation cars. More importantly, he has driven in the era when there was no refuelling as would be the case in 2010. He might take a few races to settle in, but I am sure he will be very much on pace. He is simply the greatest.”
Akbar Ebrahim, India’s first Formula racer in the early 1990s, said Schumacher’s comeback will give a huge lift to the sport.
“I am sure it was not very difficult for Michael to make up his mind. Although he retired at the end of the 2006 season, he never severed his links with F1 as he was associated with the Ferrari team.”
However, Ebrahim opined that one will have to wait until the qualifying session to ascertain whether or not 41-year old Schumacher is as good as he was at his peak.
“Overall, he has got a good package with the Mercedes outfit and a fellow-German team-mate (Nico Rosberg). Then there is Ross Brawn who was responsible for all his seven championship titles. But only he knows whether he still has it in him to drive at the same level as before,” said Ebrahim.
He felt that Formula One would get a huge boost by Schumacher’s return. “At least for the first three or four months, there will be more people watching and the TV ratings will be pretty high. But then we would have to wait until he actually races to see how competitive he is,” Ebrahim said.
India’s GP2 driver, Karun Chandhok, who once shared the track with Schumacher during a F1 test session, said: “Michael’s return is a great story for Formula One. After all, you need the big names and with Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamliton and Felipe Massa on the grid, it should be a fascinating season.
“It has not been a particularly good year for Formula One with all the controversies, scandals and the pull out of some leading manufacturers. So, in that context, it is nice to end the year with a positive story,” he said.
On Schumacher’s chances in 2010, Karun said: “He and Rubens Barrichello are the only two among the current drivers who drove in the years when there was a ban on refueling. As such, Michael will be familiar with the conditions.”
Pointing out that the Mercedes-Petronas-Brawn combination was just perfect, Karun said Schumacher could not have asked for a better overall package.
Vicky Chandhok, chairman of racing committee of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), said: “From F1 perspective, it is fantastic news that Michael is getting back to racing. Although personally I am sceptical of his chances, he has the natural ability. However, the mystique and mystery of Schumacher far exceeds everything else.”
- Buddh circuit gets a thumbs-up but dust remains a concern - Oct 28, 2011
- Bumpy ride for Karthikeyan and Chandhok - Oct 23, 2011
- Rosberg signs multi-year contract with Mercedes - Nov 10, 2011
- F1 caricature book released - Oct 21, 2011
- Chandhok eyeing test driver's spot in F1 - Jan 28, 2011
- Schumacher told to justify 29 million pound salary at Mercedes - Oct 10, 2010
- Chandhok, Gill shone in motorsports (2010 in Retrospect) - Dec 26, 2010
- Karun to test with GP2 teams - Nov 26, 2010
- Karthikeyan returns to Formula One - Jan 06, 2011
- Formula One: Force India fail to score a point - Jul 29, 2012
- Schumi has lost the edge, says old rival Frentzen - Dec 20, 2011
- Karun Chandhok moves to touring cars - Jan 12, 2012
- Schumacher confident of podium finish driving his new F1 car - Feb 02, 2011
- I1-Super Series: Dhoni and Yuvraj in race to own franchise - Nov 15, 2011
- Castrol ranking: Karthikeyan best among Indian drivers - Jan 15, 2010
Tags: akbar, champion michael schumacher, championship titles, chennai, dec 24, f1, ferrari team, formula one racing, fraternity, generation cars, german team, motor sports, narain karthikeyan, opined, petronas, ross brawn, seven times, team mate, world champion, world titles