The seven-times world champion's return is not as well timed as his departureFor a driver who believed in being in total control, both in and out of the car, Michael Schumacher's decision to make a comeback as Felipe Massa's temporary replacement at Ferrari smacks of a 40-year-old superstar who has become bored.Schumacher retired from Formula One at the end of 2006, having won a record seven world championships and 91 grands prix. The time seemed right because the German was being usurped by Fernando Alonso, then a rising star and 12 years Schumacher's junior. Alonso was doing to the German just what the precocious Schumacher had inflicted on Ayrton Senna, the man to beat at the time of Schumacher's Formula One debut in 1991. His departure 15 years later – a record for consistent brilliance as the sport's benchmark – was as timely and graceful as his deft touch at the wheel. Having won everything in sight, Schumacher could only lose.Nothing has changed within Formula One over the past two years to alter that perception. If anything, the task has become even more difficult as the sport reaches new levels of competitiveness with the tiniest driving error or lift off the throttle costing several places on the starting grid. Yet Schumacher seems prepared to risk replacing his image as one of the sport's greatest protagonists with that of a sad former champion who did not know when to stop.It is true that, as things stand today, this is one of the biggest and brightest stories in a season blighted by politics, freak accidents and Formula One's unerring capacity to shoot itself in the foot. But, away from the clamour, Schumacher and Ferrari now have just under four weeks to consider what they have taken on before the next race in Valencia on 23 August.Schumacher's canny racing brain, his ability to think of several things at once while driving at 175 mph, will be as sharp as ever. But his fitness will not. No amount of graft in the gym will act as a substitute for time spent in the cockpit.Weight training and cardio work cannot replicate the violence of up to 4g experienced when cornering a grand prix racing car, or as it brakes from 190 mph to 70mph in under two seconds. Equipment has yet to be invented that can prepare a driver's neck muscles for the punishment dished out during races lasting for an hour and a half. There is no alternative to miles spent at the wheel.Schumacher has remained fit but it is his misfortune that the comeback has been planned during the first season when testing between races has been banned. Were that not the case, Ferrari would probably fit headlights to the car so that their golden boy could lap the team's Fiorano test track into the night.The first time Schumacher will be allowed to drive the Ferrari F60 in anger is when he joins the other drivers as they spill on to the Valencia street circuit – a track Schumacher does not know, incidentally – at 10am on Friday 21 August.The first and most revealing measure of Schumacher's performance will be a comparison of lap times with his team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen. That could go either way. If the Finn is having an off weekend, then Schumacher will appear credible. But if the 2007 world champion shows the devastating form demonstrated when he chased Lewis Hamilton home in Hungary on Sunday, then Schumacher will come off second-best.Of course, there will be the caveats beforehand, stating the obvious about the difficulties of making a comeback and how happy Schumacher will be simply to take part and help his old firm in their fight with Toyota and Williams for third place in the constructors' championship.But that burning competitiveness, which clearly has not been extinguished by racing a motorbike and frequently falling off it while being an also-ran, will play havoc with Schumacher's pride if, as suspected, his presence motivates Raikkonen like never before.And the difference this time is that Ferrari is no longer Schumacher's team. Whereas, in the past, the driver in the other Ferrari was No2, even if he dared to be faster, and knew his place, it would be a brave man who suggested to Raikkonen that he should fall into line.It was inevitable that Schumacher should become bored. He has enough money to last several lifetimes. Beyond his family he has few interests other than football and playing with go-karts. The prospects of a return will have returned this adrenaline to levels he must surely have missed. It is a splendid story for sport, for motor racing, for Formula One – but not necessarily for Michael Schumacher in the long run.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Your view on yourself:You are down-to-earth and people like you because you are so straightforward. You are an efficient problem solver because you will listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision that usually appeals to both parties.
The type of girlfriend/boyfriend you are looking for:You are a true romantic. When you are in love, you will do anything and everything to keep your love true. (So what does that actually say about the type of partner I'm looking for?)
Your readiness to commit to a relationship:You are ready to commit as soon as you meet the right person. And you believe you will pretty much know as soon as you might that person. (Really? If I meet him at 40, I'm sure as hell I'm ready!!!)
The seriousness of your love:Your have very sensible tactics when approaching the opposite sex. In many ways people find your straightforwardness attractive, so you will find yourself with plenty of dates. (What about seriousness again?)
Your views on educationEducation is very important in life. You want to study hard and learn as much as you can. (True)
The right job for you:You have plenty of dream jobs but have little chance of doing any of them if you don't focus on something in particular. You need to choose something and go for it to be happy and achieve success. (What if the dream itself is unattainable?)
How do you view success:You are afraid of failure and scared to have a go at the career you would like to have in case you don't succeed. Don't give up when you haven't yet even started! Be courageous. (Wrong, wrong, wrong.)
What are you most afraid of:You are concerned about your image and the way others see you. This means that you try very hard to be accepted by other people. It's time for you to believe in who you are, not what you wear. (Also wrong. I don't try very hard to get accepted. I actually don't care who likes me or not but I know I should. What if I'm generally likeable... enough that I don't even need to try?)
Who is your true self:You are mature, reasonable, honest and give good advice. People ask for your comments on all sorts of different issues. Sometimes you might find yourself in a dilemma when trapped with a problem, which your heart rather than your head needs to solve. (True - I'd always rather use my head.)
Thursday, July 02, 2009
It has happened before that Ferrari dismissed rumors only to reveal otherwise a few days later. That's how Michael Schumacher was unveiled as their newest acquisition.
I wouldn't be surprised if there's any truth to this, and if this is the case, Ferrari will have to let go of one of its drivers to make room for Alonso. My guess is that Kimi Raikkonen will be the one to leave. Although he isn't performing well lately, Raikkonen still has a title to his name and remains to be regarded as among the best. Alonso has always been known for his preference for a less competitive teammate and his desire to be the main priority of a team.
If this happens, the stage is well set for Kimi's exit. He's been participating in WRC a lot in between F1 races lately and he's always been very vocal of considering WRC as a career after his F1 stint. He also always stressed that he wants Ferrari to be his last F1 team.
Still, I think it's premature for Raikkonen to leave now that he's in a slump. I'd rather that he get his act together for one last hurrah before leaving F1 altogether.
On the other hand, Alonso in Ferrari will be exciting!
Client: Considering that our audience will already stay the whole day at the venue to attend the keynotes and the different tracks, what do you think will compel them to attend the cocktail party as well?