Schumacher to maybe Sauber but not Ferrari UPDATE #6 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' as Schumacher said today he will return to retirement after this year - see report.
10/04/12 (GMM) Michael Schumacher is not in the running to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari next year, the great Italian team has revealed.
With the seven time world champion ousted by Mercedes amid Lewis Hamilton's 2013 arrival, Schumacher had been linked with a possible return to his former team.
Together, Schumacher and Ferrari dominated the sport in the first half of last decade, until the now 43-year-old entered his first retirement phase in 2007.
He was replaced by Kimi Raikkonen, who won the 2007 title, and rumors suggest the Finn might also be an outside contender for Massa's seat next year.
As for Schumacher, Germany's Bild newspaper revealed that the great German spoke "for almost 45 minutes" with Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali in Singapore recently.
But, in light of that, Ferrari has told the newspaper: "The records show that Michael Schumacher is the best driver in formula one history, and he still deserves a place in the field.
"But every love story must come to an end, as was the case between Michael and Ferrari."
There are reports the leading contenders to replace Massa are actually Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta, even though it is quite possible the Brazilian will keep his seat.
Indeed, Spaniard Fernando Alonso made his feelings clear in Singapore by deriding the "little names" that had been linked to Massa's cockpit.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said last week: "Fernando must first win the title and then we definitely would not put him alongside someone who bothers him.
"The decisions about the drivers are taken by us and, of course, shared with him (Alonso)," Montezemolo is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.
A fascinating side-note to the whole story is that, by saying Sergio Perez is not ready for Ferrari, the Maranello team allowed its leading driver 'academy' member to be poached by main rival McLaren.
Autosprint magazine claims that Ferrari did not actually rate the 22-year-old Mexican overly highly, after Jules Bianchi went almost half a second faster in their most recent head-to-head test last September.
Referring to Perez's signing by McLaren, the magazine said: "Ferrari, as well as many others, were taken by surprise.
"But if Ferrari had been aware, would they have done something to stop it? Probably not."
Some have surmised that McLaren, whilst clearly rating Perez's performances at Sauber since his debut last year, see just as much promise in the driver's commercial links within Mexico.
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said on Wednesday: "He's a very intelligent, humble individual and we think he's got greater potential than he's shown so far."10/01/12 The Swiss-based Sauber F1 Team "is interested in the services of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher," according to Helmut Uhl of BILD. Schumacher's Manager Sabine Kehm said "everything is possible." Sauber F1 Team CEO Monisha Kaltenborn said, "Of course it is an appealing thought, and naturally you can't help but think about acquiring a seven-time world champion if he is available.
So far, however, Michael has only driven for big factory teams that we can't compare ourselves to." Schumacher wants a fast car, and that is what he would get at Sauber. Even Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso believes in Sauber's strength and said, "In a Sauber, Schumacher would have already won three races this season." Other options for Schumacher seem to open up at Lotus and Ferrari. The Scuderia "still has not confirmed its second driver" for '13. Kehm "has been seen talking to all three teams." BILD
We here at AR1.com still think Schumacher could replace Massa at Ferrari. He certainly could not do any worse. But Sauber uses Ferrari engines and we know then Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo was keen on signing Schumacher back in 2009 when he announced his F1 return.
|Luca di Montezemolo will be seeing red every time Schumacher wins|
"There's another one who looks like him, 40, 41 years old, German, same name and decided to do a new career," he said.
Montezemolo confirmed that some of Ferrari's passionate Tifosi will not appreciate the news that Schumacher will be wearing silver in 2010.
"They think Michael is a traitor. But I will explain to them it is not Michael but another one. The real Michael is still with Ferrari," he said in late 2009 after learning that Schumacher had signed to drive for Mercedes. Luca di Montezemolo now has one last chance to get him back before Schumacher retires for good.
And besides, we expect Mexican Esteban Gutierrez to replace Perez at Sauber. He's ready to move up from GP2 and is a very good driver. We expect Sauber will remain the 'training and grooming' team for Mexican drivers into F1 with Carlos Slim backing.
10/01/12 (GMM) Michael Schumacher's manager has answered speculation about the seven time world champion's future by saying "Anything is possible".
|Schumacher in Ferrari in 2006 at Monaco. Would Ferrari pick up Schumacher to replace hapless Massa? |
Replaced at Mercedes by Lewis Hamilton for 2013, 43-year-old Schumacher is now seriously linked with a switch to Sauber.
Schumacher's current manager is Sabine Kehm, who has been spotted recently in conversation with the Swiss team's chiefs Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn.
But Schumacher's well-known former manager, Willi Weber, said that if he was still in charge, "I would get in a car immediately and go and talk to Luca (di Montezemolo) at Maranello."
Insiders, however, think a return to Ferrari for Schumacher is not credible, and even Kaltenborn has doubts about the Hinwil link, even though Sauber needs to replace the McLaren-bound Sergio Perez.
"Of course, these are lovely thoughts, and of course we have to think about getting a seven time world champion when there's one on the market," she told Bild newspaper.
"But Michael has only ever been with large manufacturer teams that you really cannot compare to us."
Manager Kehm insisted: "Michael is not short of opportunities. It's just that at the moment it is far too early to talk about anything specific."
Niki Lauda was an architect of Schumacher's succession by Lewis Hamilton, because while he thinks the great German is still good enough for F1, "I doubt he can always be competing against Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton anymore", he told FAZ newspaper.
Kaltenborn said the issue of Perez's successor is not likely to be settled before Suzuka.
She wished Perez well for his big McLaren move, but did express some frustration.
"We have to be an attractive platform for the drivers," said Sauber chief executive Kaltenborn. "It's the only way to stop us developing drivers and then losing them to the competition.
"We have made the first step this season," she explained, referring to the Swiss team's stellar 2012.09/28/12 So what does this mean for Schumacher? After his mistake in the Singapore Grand Prix, when he ploughed into the back of Jean Eric Vergne after misjudging his braking point, the cries for him to retire were turned up 10 decibels. However, he simply isn’t ready to walk away, again. His management was in long talks with Sauber at the last race and what’s more, he has a great relationship with Peter Sauber from the Group C days.
09/28/12 (GMM) Michael Schumacher may not be returning to retirement.
Much like in 2006, when Ferrari replaced him with Kimi Raikkonen, the seven time world champion has now been elbowed out at Mercedes to make room for Lewis Hamilton.
Some expect the 43-year-old to now return to retirement, or take up a job offer on Mercedes' management side.
But Schumacher has also been linked with Sauber, whose Sergio Perez will move to McLaren next year to replace Hamilton.
Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm was spotted in conversation with Sauber chiefs Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn recently.
"I don't want to give him (Schumacher) advice, as I sure he will consider his future carefully and calmly. We will see what he decides," said Niki Lauda.
The fact Lauda is not simply wishing Schumacher well for his retirement is significant, as the Austrian legend is set to join Mercedes as non-executive chairman.
"I don't know the details," the triple world champion told SID news agency, "but generally I don't think he is too old for formula one.
"His comeback was surely not as good as he imagined, but in those three years he never had a really fast and reliable car," added Lauda.
Swiss commentator Marc Surer, meanwhile, said it is fairly obvious that the loss of the Mercedes seat was "not voluntary" for Schumacher, as the great German has insisted for weeks that he will only announce his intentions in October.
Surer told German Sky television: "I can imagine that one team or another will be very interested in him (for 2013). The problem could be the price."