As many people in Formula One already predicted, with the return of Michael Schumacher, the Schuey-mania is also back, and it is in full swing already. Schumacher will return to the Formula One grid on March 14 during the Bahrain Grand Prix,...
As many people in Formula One already predicted, with the return of Michael Schumacher, the Schuey-mania is also back, and it is in full swing already. Schumacher will return to the Formula One grid on March 14 during the Bahrain Grand Prix, exactly 1240 days after he drove his last race for Ferrari during the Brazilian Grand Prix at Sao Paulo in 2006. Newspapers and media in Germany, but also in the rest of Europe, are reporting about the comeback of seven times world champion Michael Schumacher. The fact Schumacher will be driving for the Silver Arrows, the all German Mercedes team, which was so successful in the past, has caused a barrage of reports in the media.
Especially in Germany there is a true renaissance of the Schuey-mania as we know it from his heydays when he drove for Ferrari and won five consecutive world championships, and the media simply can't get enough of it. Every newspaper, motorsport magazine or TV station is reporting about the return of the Red Baron, and most of them are more than happy to speculate whether Schumacher can or cannot, score his eighth world championship title for the legendary German Silver Arrows team. Schumacher is back, here is a compilation of the reports.
100 cameras for Schumacher
Michel Schumacher has parked his motorhome directly behind the Mercedes pit box, but when he walks the 50 yards to the pit lane, he is being followed by dozens of reporters, all of them trying to ask him something, and is followed by photographers who are hoping to shoot the picture of the day. Although he was the one who drove the Mercedes for the first time, team mate and compatriot Nico Rosberg, according to German Auto, Motor und Sport, jokingly said: "During those 50 yards there are 100 cameras pointed at Schumacher, and only one at me. I have to get used to that." And when reporters suggested he could turn the situation around by beating Schumacher on the track he responded: "I'm a racing driver, I don't care how many cameras are pointed at me."
Mercedes is afraid of espionage
German magazine Bild reported that Schumacher and Mercedes are afraid of espionage. Bild suggests that, with last year's double diffuser surprise still in mind, a number of teams are very interested in detailed pictures of the new Mercedes, and suggested some teams were even employing and paying photographers to spy on the Mercedes team.
Bild claims they interviewed one of these spying photographers, and he had told them that "there are teams who pay good money for detailed pictures of the Mercedes MGP W01, and were especially interested in the diffuser and bottom of the car." According to the evil photographer, teams pay up to 500 Euro for each picture, and also told "the pictures were immediately processed and analyzed by the team's engineers."
Bild also reported that Schumacher's previous employer, Ferrari, was afraid that Schumacher would make use of his knowledge about certain Ferrari secrets to help his new Mercedes team, something Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo was also thinking aloud during a press conference after the Ferrari launch at Maranello.
And to complete this James Bond story, Bild quoted team chef Ross Brawn saying that "the car we will bring to the first race at Bahrain, will be completely different from the car you see here at Valencia." Which led Bild to draw the conclusion that Mercedes perhaps indeed has a secret weapon, but didn't use it during testing, just to mislead their opponents and to surprise them during the first race of the season.
Michael is a Schu-rinse boy
UK newspaper the Sun came up with the above headline, and reported that Schumacher has admitted he dyes his hair. According to the newspaper, the 41-year old German, who is the oldest driver on the Formula One grid this year, had confessed: "I do have gray hair. I've been dyeing parts of it since 2005 but I have good genes. I have had an eye test but don't need glasses. I jog very little as I have had back and knee problems since I was 14. But I play football for three hours without a problem and swim every day."
Fit, focused and desperate to race - Schumacher comes home to F1
With this headline the UK Guardian also demonstrates they also can't get enough of Schumacher's return. They compare Schumacher with American stars Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods. This is how they described Schumacher: "His back as straight as a guardsman's, his chin - that caricaturist's delight - jutting out from beneath the cap bearing the logo of his personal sponsor, with a purposeful gleam in his eye and super-confidence radiating from every pore, Michael Schumacher strode back on to the world stage today." Needless to say that the Guardian expects Schumacher to fight for, and win, his eighth world championship title with Mercedes this year.
Showman Michael Schumacher sets pulses racing on his return
With this headline the UK Times described how Schumacher "returned to his spiritual home on Monday -- the racetrack -- and turned a dreary day of monotonous lap-after-lap testing into an extravagant party." They also reported about the many Schumacher fans who had traveled to the Ricardo Tormo circuit to see their hero back in action again. They also noted that Schumacher had to defend his "Mr. Nasty" reputation during the Mercedes presentation last week, and joined the critics by welcoming back "F1's nasty genius."
Michael Schumacher roars back into Grand Prix racing
The UK mirror was also impressed with Schumacher's return: "Even those who have long questioned his sense of fair play can't help but admire the man." They mentioned the fact that Rosberg is now facing the challenge of his life to beat the seven-times world champion, but they are not very optimistic about Rosberg's chances of doing so: "Schumacher has, after all, won more races than Rosberg has even driven in." Ouch!
Same Michael Schumacher, same old tricks
The UK Telegraph also reported about Schumacher's gray hairs, but also reminded us of Schumacher's Mr. Nasty reputation. When on Monday Schumacher suddenly topped the time sheets again, the Telegraph wondered: "Is the old maestro showing the young pups how it's done?" But after examining the lap times on the computer they came up with the answer themselves: "Well, sort of. Much to the amusement of those present, it emerged that the German had cut a corner and his time was rendered invalid. Same old Schumi - by hook or by crook."
Schumacher's doctor: We are ready
The Berliner Zeitung was interested in Schumacher's gray hairs as well, but was also interested in the fact that Schumacher's doctor, Johannes Peil, was present at the circuit and was quoted saying "We are ready, his neck has healed, Michael can concentrate on racing without any worries." Peil also told Schumacher has a strict training regime, which means he trains for at least 4 hours a day, but said it was no problem for the 41-year old veteran. "Schumacher is topfit, and 100 percent motivated."
A bit like the old days
And we end this Schuey-mania report by quoting the man who made all of this possible, Ross Brawn, the man behind the scenes of Schumacher's seven world championship titles and the man who lured Michael Schumacher out of retirement:
"Michael is very precise in describing what he wants and what is needed. At the moment, he is happy with the car and hasn't pinpointed any areas he needs us to work on. Michael was very enthusiastic and it was confirmation of what we both thought - that he would be competitive. One thing that came through was his precision in his car and his clarity of reason. It was a bit like the old days."