Seven time World Champion Michael Schumacher has made a shock return to Formula 1 to replace his injured fellow Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, it was announced on July 29 on Schumacher's personal website.
The German legend retired in 2006 and is now aged 40, but the magnetic pull of Ferrari and Formula One racing was simply irresistible for the world's most successful driver of all time, who has pledged his allegiance to the team in times of crisis, and will pit himself against the young lions of the sport, in particular Lewis Hamilton and the 11 years younger Jenson Button. Schumacher is set to return at the European Grand Prix on August 23 2009.
"It is true that the Formula 1 chapter has long been closed for me," said Schumacher in his personal website.
"It is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. And as the competitor that I am, I very much look forward to facing this challenge."
Schumacher indicated that his return is only to help the team for which he won five of his titles and, in particular, Massa with whom he developed a strong friendship as a fellow driver and as his personal mentor. "I will stand in for as long as Massa is sidelined by the serious head injuries he sustained in the Hungarian Grand Prix last week" Schumacher said.
"For team loyalty reasons I can not ignore this unfortunate situation," said the former Ferrari driver.
Reportedly, before announcing his decision, the German checked that Massa's condition was improving and asked if it was OK if he used his car until the Brazilian could return. Massa had told Schumacher "no problem".