F1

First reactions on Schumacher's return to Formula One

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Norbert Haug , Vice-President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsports: "In 1991 Mercedes-Benz helped him make his debut at Spa in a Jordan and the rest is history: seven World Championship titles, more than any racing driver, 91 Grand Prix wins, more...

Norbert Haug , Vice-President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsports:

"In 1991 Mercedes-Benz helped him make his debut at Spa in a Jordan and the rest is history: seven World Championship titles, more than any racing driver, 91 Grand Prix wins, more than any racing driver. Michael has more of everything than every other driver. As part of the Mercedes Junior Programme, Michael had raced in Group C sports cars and competed in a few DTM races. Ross Brawn, then our opponent at Jaguar, quickly realized Michael's talent and they went on to win all seven of his Drivers' World Championship titles together at Benetton and Ferrari.

"Our sporting ambition has always been that Michael should drive again where his professional career had started and Michael knew that. We often joked about it after the races and discussed the prospect seriously several times during the last 14 years in Formula 1. It didn't happen in 1995, it didn't happen in 1998 and it didn't happen in 2005. I am delighted that it will now happen in 2010. I am very much looking forward to working with Michael and everybody at Mercedes-Benz and Daimler extends a very warm welcome to our 'apprentice' of 19 years ago. That apprentice is now the most successful racing driver of all time."

Ross Brawn , Team Principal of Mercedes Grand Prix:

"I am looking forward to working with him again. With the completion of our driver line-up, I believe that we now have the most exciting partnership in Formula One with Michael and Nico, who provide the perfect mix of talent, experience, speed and youth. We can now turn our full attention to the preparations for the new season and everyone at Mercedes GP is extremely excited about the challenge ahead. With the investment and support in our team provided by Daimler, Aabar and our new title partner Petronas, and with two such exciting drivers, we have all of the building blocks in place to have another successful season in 2010."

Nico Rosberg , Schumacher's team mate in 2010:

"It is fantastic that Michael is returning to Formula One and will be my team-mate at Mercedes GP. It's a great challenge for me to be up against one of the best drivers of all time. I'm sure that we will form a very strong partnership as he will have lost none of his speed! It is also great news for our sport and the fans."

Luca di Montezemolo , President of Ferrari SpA:

"He was very special to us [Ferrari], and we were something special to him. But that's life, apparently we have nothing to offer him, so I'm not disappointed. Of course many Italian fans are disappointed, but for Formula One it is good he will return. But as Ferrari team chef I feel sad about his move to Mercedes."

Ferrari , Schumacher's previous employer:

"What we have to say regarding Schumacher has been said by Chairman Luca di Montezemolo last week on the occasion of the traditional well-wishing with the Italian and international press," a Scuderia spokesman said. "We're giving our warm wishes to Michael: as of today he is our competitor and we'll give it our all to beat him as we do with all the others."

Willi Weber , Schumacher's manager:

"Michael has the memory of an elephant, Mercedes has helped him to enter Formula One in 1991, and he has never forgotten that. You could compare Schumacher with a boxer who just lost a fight [replacing Felipe Massa at Ferrari], and now he wants revenge."

Martin Whitmarsh , McLaren team principal:

"I think I share the sentiment of every single Formula One fan across the world by saying Michael's return to the sport is fantastically exciting - and a thrilling prospect for the 2010 season. I've no doubt Michael has studiously examined this opportunity from every possible angle, and he's convinced he still possesses the same fearsome drive and determination required to succeed in Formula One. Obviously, Michael is a seven-time champion and has absolutely nothing left to prove, so it will be fascinating to see what he can achieve in a new team. We now look forward to some terrific racing in 2010."

Jenson Button , current Formula One World Champion:

"This is great news for the sport. But I don't know if it is good news for Schumacher as well, he is putting his reputation on the line. As far as I'm concerned, I want to beat the best drivers, and he [Schumacher] is one of them. My goal is to win the championship again in 2010."

Lewis Hamilton , 2008 Formula One World Champion:

"It's great to have Michael back in Formula One, he is a legend, a really nice guy, and I am happy for him that he has again got an opportunity to do the best job in the world - race in Formula One. I used to watch Michael race when I was in the junior categories, and I always hoped I would be in Formula One while he was still around. I'm now really looking forward to seeing him on the track and back at the top. It's brilliant news, and I wish him my absolute best on his comeback with such a fine team and company as Mercedes-Benz."

Sebastian Vettel , Red Bull Racing driver:

"I'm happy for him now that he returns to Formula One. It was his decision, he has his reasons. I hope he will, despite his age, be fit enough to compete. Nobody had expected this. I hope he will be fit and that his neck will give him no problems. I will certainly not go to the right and let him past when he appears in my rear view mirror. Schumacher is without a doubt a great driver, but he is not the youngest anymore, we will wait and see if he can keep up with the younger drivers."

Franz Tost , Toro Rosso team principal:

"In the last three years a lot has happened. He [Schumacher] can no longer test night and day, like he previously did, the clever driving aids which he used to his advantage are now banned. A race without refueling means he can no longer drive three sprint races, in 2010 a Grand Prix will be more like an endurance race. However, Schumacher is intelligent enough to adapt to the new circumstances, he knows how the nurse the car and bring it to the finish."

Niki Lauda , 1975, '77 and '84 Formula One World Champion:

"Schumacher's return is a world wide sensation, he raced at a level that still hasn't been equaled by any other driver, and therefore I believe he will be racing at the front of the grid from day one. Michael will be competitive, but more importantly it will be great for the sport. It's going to be great watching Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton going up against Michael in their McLarens, and Fernando Alonso in Michael's old role as Ferrari team leader."

Nigel Mansell , 1992 Formula One World Champion:

"People have written Michael off as over the hill, I look at it differently. Michael has tremendous experience and talent, and Mercedes will provide him with a fantastic package. He is extremely fit and we can take his commitment and professionalism for granted. For me there is no downside to this. He's won enough titles, so what does he have to worry about losing to anyone? It may take a few races to get to grips with his car, but after that it wouldn't surprise me if he was to challenge for his eighth title."

Eddie Irvine , former Ferrari team mate speaking to the BBC:

"It's still four tyres, a steering wheel and an engine - and there's never been anyone better than Michael at making that package go as fast as possible - but as I say in a head-to-head with Lewis or some of the other young guys, I wouldn't put my money on Michael because he's be mad to get really involved, but on pure speed he's probably up there with the best of them still."

Johnny Herbert , former Benetton team mate speaking to BBC radio Five Live:

"I think for Formula One it is a brilliant thing to happen. The fitness side is very, very important, but the way Michael keeps himself in shape - he brought the physical aspects of F1 up a couple of notches - it isn't going to be an issue. I don't know of anyone that has gone out of F1 and come back and actually achieved something by coming back. Alain Prost wasn't the same when he came back, but because of Michael's mentality it is different."

Ralf Schumacher , brother and Mercedes DTM driver:

"He will make it in Formula One again, I have no doubts about it. I know that the dream of many German Formula One fans now has come true, I can't think of a better Christmas present for the German fans. I understand why took up the challenge and signed for Mercedes, there is nothing to explain, I would have done the same."

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