It now seems that a certain Mr. Michael Schumacher is to replace Felipe Massa on a temporary basis, following Massa’s freak encounter with a Brawn spring at Hungary.
Schumacher, the greatest racing driver of all time, has been out of the sport for the last two years but has apparently been keeping himself pretty fit, undoubtedly as part of his job as the Stig. The Ferrari has shown a marked improvement of late, with Raikonnen achieving the second spot at Hungary.
So, could Schumacher win a Grand Prix? Yes, but it’s not guaranteed. He’s been out of an F1 car for two years and thanks to the brilliantly moronic no-testing rule the first time he’ll get to play with the new Ferrari will be during free practice in about three weeks time at Valenica. However, he has tested as recently as April 2008 for the team, and he has more experience, wins, pole positions and titles than anyone else in the field.
This would also be the first time that newcomers Vettel and Hamilton get to joust with the old master, and if he’s anything like he used to be then rule-stretching shenanigans may not be far away.
I’d be surprised if he didn’t achieve a podium (on the assumption Massa is out for 3 races or more), and if he has a crack at all 7 of the remaining Grand Prix I think he has a great chance of at least 1 victory.
This also has implications for whether Raikonnen or Massa, as it is supposed, will leave the team to make way for supertalented crybaby Fernando Alonso. Schumacher is not only the best driver ever, he’s also a consultant for the team, and has previously raced with Massa, apparently giving him tips over the phone last year. If Raikonnen impresses Schumacher it would certainly help his chances of retaining his seat. But if he gets beaten by the old man after two years enjoying life in his massive castle on Lake Geneva who only stepped in because Massa got a spring in the face at 200mph it wouldn’t look good.