So, it now looks highly likely that Schumacher will race for Ferrari again, quite probably for the remainder of the season. However, this is not yet an absolute certainty as there are still questions over his neck, stiff after a motorbike crash some months ago and possibly not up to the tremendous G-forces of F1.
Should he get in the car Schumacher will also face the problem of never having driven it. The ban on testing means that Ferrari needed to acquire unanimous agreement from the other teams for their ‘new’ boy to play with the F60 prior to Valencia, permission they failed to be granted thanks to Red Bull (title contenders), sister team Toro Rosso and Williams.
He has, however, been practising in a privately owned Ferrari F1 car from the 2007 season, equipped with slicks. He’s also been practising with karting and shed a few pounds already.
Importantly, Schumacher’s enormous experience of circuits will be less valuable at Valencia because he’s never raced there. The next race after Valencia is Spa in Belgium, a classic circuit Schumacher will know like the back of his hand. He’s won there no fewer than six times, and Ferrari is the top winning team, with 15 victories in Belgium. A second place in Hungary will fuel speculation Raikonnen and Schumacher have real podium potential, especially at Spa.
It will also be interesting to see whether or not Hamilton can retain the form that saw him triumph in Hungary after Alonso (probably not driving at Valencia due to a team punishment for Renault after a failed pit stop meant one of his wheels went walkies on the track) dropped out.