Michael Schumacher will have little problem rediscovering the form that helped him to seven world titles when he makes his F1 comeback in 2010, claim a host of former grand prix drivers and rivals. The German has decided to return to F1 with Mercedes GP after three seasons on the sidelines, and has set his sights on adding another championship to his tally.
His personal optimism that he is as good as he ever was has been shared by a host of big names from the sport – including former champion Niki Lauda (left), who himself won two world titles after a three-year break from the sport. "It is a sensation not only for F1," Lauda said. "It's perfect, as Schumacher will tighten his alliance with Ross Brawn again. There is no doubt for me he will be competitive from the first day of his return.
"Being three years away from driving is no problem for a seven-time World Champion. I am very much looking forward to the reaction of the Hamiltons, Vettels, etc., on the track. This competition between generations will add much flavor to F1. Michael will be ready from the first day and he will be on the top level he used to be, because a World Champion does not lose his abilities."
Gerhard Berger, a former rival of Schumacher's, added: "It is excellent news, excellent for F1. He will be competitive from the start of the season and will race for top positions. I have no doubt he will be fit and quick. His decision is no surprise to me."
Schumacher's brother, Ralf Schumacher, who has also been looking at opportunities in F1, said: "Basically it's surprising for everyone, though it's a big thing for Michael, of course. I am happy for him because this is a great offer I would have liked to accept, too! His chances depend on the whole package but by working with Ross again he can be pretty optimistic."
Austrian Karl Wendlinger, who was Schumacher's teammate in the Mercedes sports car days, said, "Michael accepts a huge challenge. Three years absence is a long time during which the whole system had no standstill. His major competitors made a lot of progress in that time. Being associated with Ross again gives him a good chance to succeed again."
But one man keeping his cards close to his chest about Schumacher's comeback was Keke Rosberg – father of the German's 2010 teammate, Nico. "No comment," said the 1982 World Champion. "I am not a driver anymore – ask my son."