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Reaction to Schumacher's return

Michael Schumacher
Schumacher has been working as a consultant at Ferrari

After weeks of rumour and speculation, it has been confirmed that Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher has come out of retirement and will race for Mercedes next season.

The seven-time world champion quit the sport at the end of 2006 but is back after Mercedes bought Brawn GP, who won both drivers' and constructors' titles in their debut season this year.

Schumacher, who aborted a comeback attempt with Ferrari last season because of a neck injury, will partner Nico Rosberg while he will be reunited with Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn - a man who masterminded all seven of his titles.

Here, BBC Sport gathers the reaction to the 40-year-old's comeback from the biggest names in F1.

ROSS BRAWN, Mercedes team principal

"It's a very exciting move for the team, Michael Schumacher and Formula 1. It's great news. We've kept in touch over the years and in Abu Dhabi this year we first mentioned the subject.

"We were in deep discussions with Jenson and when those negotiations ran into trouble we entered discussions with Michael.

"I could see how disappointed he was in the summer when he couldn't drive for Ferrari and we're delighted and excited to have secured his services.

"We didn't want to see Jenson leave but I could understand his reasons and we are really delighted with how things have worked out.

"I don't think Jenson left because of money, I think he wanted to prove it was him as well as the car that won the championship and now he's going to match up with Lewis Hamilton. Jenson wants to prove he can do it with another team and another car.

"I know Michael very well and his last race in Formula 1, Brazil 2006, was the best race of his career. He has been rejuvenated by the break, has kept himself fit and I don't think talent leaves you. You are born with it.

"Whether the car will be good enough no-one knows. We know it is better than last year but whether that is enough no-one knows.

"It's about trust. Neither of us get it right all of the time but I find it very easy working with Michael. When you work with that type of talent it is hugely rewarding."

LEWIS HAMILTON, McLaren's F1 world champion in 2008

"It's great to have Michael back in Formula 1. He is a legend and a really nice guy, and I am happy for him that he has once again got an opportunity to do the best job in the world - race in Formula 1.

"I used to watch Michael race when I was in the junior categories, and I always hoped that I would be in Formula 1 while he was still around. I'm 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 wishes on his comeback with such a fine team and company as Mercedes Benz."

NICO ROSBERG, Schumacher's team-mate at Mercedes

"It is fantastic Michael is returning to Formula 1 and will be my team-mate. It's a great challenge for me to be up against one of the best drivers of all time.

"I'm sure 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."

NORBERT HAUG, vice-president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsports

"Michael has more of everything than every other driver. 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.

"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."

MARTIN WHITMARSH, McLaren team principal

"I think I share the sentiment of every single Formula 1 fan across the world by saying that Michael Schumacher's return to the sport is fantastically exciting - and a thrilling prospect for the 2010 season.

ANDREW BENSON BLOG

"I've no doubt that Michael has studiously examined this opportunity from every possible angle, and that he's convinced he still possesses the same fearsome drive and determination required to succeed in Formula 1.

"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.

"To Michael, Norbert [Haug, vice-president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsports], Ross, Nick, and everyone at Mercedes GP, we offer our warmest regards and congratulations and, most importantly, we look forward to some terrific racing in 2010."

MARTIN BRUNDLE, BBC analyst

"Michael says he has recharged his batteries after his three years out and he wanted to drive a Formula One team again.

"He is going to have to pedal hard to beat the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, but I still wouldn't bet him against winning some races over the course of the season, or even lifting the championship.

"Michael could always galvanise a team around him to deliver his full potential. He always had the team's focus on him, which might not be good news for his new team-mate Nico Rosberg.

"Michael can drive every corner of every lap flat out and he will need to because he will be a little bit rusty and you can get a bit out of kilter with the pace. Racecraft will be difficult for him initially but it will be interesting when he goes wheel-to-wheel with Ferrari to see who will win."

DAVID COULTHARD, former F1 driver and BBC pundit

"We've now got, on paper, one of the most exciting Formula One seasons coming up that I can remember.

"Michael has probably won more Grands Prix over his career than the rest of the current grid combined, so it will be exciting for the youngsters who watched him when they were growing up to now have the chance to race against him.

"He will be 41 in January and I think he has realised that the racing buzz is still there and his competitive juices are still as strong as ever. It's right for him and it's good for the sport."

JOHNNY HERBERT, former F1 driver and Le Mans 24 Hours winner

"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."

EDDIE IRVINE, former Ferrari driver

"The speed will be there, though he won't be as fast as he was seven years ago.

"He's not at the peak of his game, but he's still good enough to win races as he has such an immense talent. It's still four wheels, a steering wheel and an engine and there's never been anyone better than Michael."

DAMON HILL, former world champion

"Forty-one is getting towards the over-the-hill stage, though you are talking about a very unusual individual.

"He is someone who has done nothing else except race all his life and he clearly misses it and he now has a golden opportunity to add to his tallies of world championships.

"He'll have Ross Brawn running the Mercedes team - so he is in familiar territory - and he even has Jean Todt, his old Ferrari boss, now running the FIA.

"There will be a lot of interested viewers on that one as the suspicion was that Michael always got a little bit of favouritism from the FIA.

"The FIA will need to be on their toes that there is no suspicion of that in the coming season."



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see also
Schumacher signs up for F1 return
23 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Schumacher's career in photos
29 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Schumacher close to Mercedes deal
18 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Mercedes eager to sign Schumacher
15 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari clear way for Schumacher
14 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Mercedes want Schumacher - Jordan
20 Nov 09 |  Formula 1
Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 team
16 Nov 09 |  Formula 1


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