Friday, August 7, 2009

Michael Schumacher's Comeback 2009

There is no doubt that Michael's comeback to Formula 1 is the biggest event of the 2009 F1 season. No sooner than the announcement was made, the papers next day were abuzz with pictures and stories about the King of F1. Times of India even had the same title (the king is back or something to that effect) that I had used in my blog a day before. Oh well!

The difference between champions and others is the amount of commitment the former gives to the sport. Within a week of the announcement, Schumi lost 3 kilos of body weight. If you think 3 kilos do not make a difference, think again!
A) In a sport where the time is measured in one thousandth of a second, 3 kilos can make you faster than your competitor.
B) 3 kilos can give you an extra lap worth of fuel, allowing you to pit later than your competitor (and your teammate).
C) 3 kilos less weight can allow your car designers to balance the car better - it can give them the flexibility to re-distribute the weight of the car, allowing it to handle much better!

The last advantage comes with its own little challenge - As the (almost) bankrupt BMW Williams team disallowed Michael Schumacher to test the F-60 (the 2009 Ferrari F1 car) , the car designers will have to entirely rely on calculations and models to "gauge" the cars performance with the new weight distribution and with Schumi in the cockpit. The other part of the challenge is - Schumacher has not driven the F-60 even once! While the competition is close to being half way thru the season, Schumacher will drive the F-60 in Friday practice for the 1st time on a track that he has never driven before (the track was newly made after Schumi retired). While other drivers in F1 (Read Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso) crib and complaint about the lack of their car's performance openly, Michael has quietly adjusted to the circumstances and started testing in an old 2007 Ferrari with slick tires instead of grooved ones! That's a champion for you! Perhaps Alonso and Kimi can watch and learn as Schumi shows everyone that "A good craftsman never blames his tools!".

Not only that, Schumacher has already completed an entire day testing the car and training his injured neck muscles. That's a champion for you. At the age of 40, Schumacher will be more than twice the age of the youngest F1 competitor (19 yrs 4 months)! It takes sheer guts and Iron-like-will-power to make such a comeback.

Even before he retired in 2006, during the retirement, and post retirement - there were (are) no silly news about Schumacher in the media. The only news you get to see are about Schumi testing! No silly night-club games, no drinking binges, no playing the fool! No sir! Not Schumacher!

Perhaps that's why he could easily be amongst the fittest F1 drivers, even post retirement!

The comeback could not have been at a better time for Formula 1. A sport that runs on big money, such a comeback means, sold out tickets at the racing venues and big time TV eye-balls! I would not be surprised if there is at least a 30% increase in television viewership for the Valencia race on 23rd August 2009 as the F1 fans, Tifosi and Schumi fans are all eager to watch the king make a comeback! Honestly, for them (and for me), it does not matter if Schumacher performs or not. Just watching him get behind the wheel of the red car will be joy enough for the die-hard F1 fan! There are many F1 fans who stopped watching the sport after Schumi retired. More people did not follow the sport with as much gusto now than when he was racing - Schumi's comeback will bring these fans back to the sport - Then there will be others who will be watching just to be part of the buzz, while there will be those who will watch the race on Valencia, just to see him fail!

Whatever be the race viewer's category - the weekend of 21, 22, 23 August, Valencia Spain will see F1 fanatics have eyes only for one car and one driver. That car will be a red Ferrari and the driver will be Michael Schumacher! Period!


in search of ...... said...

i m a schumacher fan n to be honest the sport died once he left....nothin cud have been more of a challenge thn comin back at the age of 40.....i completely agree with u n i guess we just all want to see him jumping on the podium.....n i guess tht wud be the moment of the f1 history ....i had a sticker which read "after god its schumi" .... seems he is the man to do the impossible...

sujata said...

There are some names that cross the boundaries of fans and followers of a particulr game, Shumacher is one such name. If you are a fan or not of F1 races, you still would have heard of him, thats a legend for you!

eye-in-sty-in said...

This post was writtn for fans like you! Welcome to my blog. Its nice to meet another Schumi fan.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Sujata,
Right you are. The man is a living legend. I hope he is able to make a comeback like Niki Lauda and that post Kimi's retirement, the other Ferrari will be driven by him!

(Lauda retired and made a comeback - he went on to win another championship and also won the (second) race after he re-started F1 racing)!

Few people are identified worldwide and Michael is one of these few! Usually its only movie celebs and politicians who are this well known. That he hails from a sporting background is another astounding fact.

PurpleHeart said...

Sometimes legends find it safe to quit on their best note. But I think it takes far more than courage to come back and challenge your own records even if the world has started pushing your name to yesteryears. I hope Schumacher makes it big. So does Sachin, another living(and still kicking) legend !

Matt said...

To be honest, Ive never been a Michael Schumacher. He beat my childhood hero Mika Hakinnen too many times for me to like him.
But I must say hats off to his courage. Though an interesting point to be made is he is in a no win situation. If he wins people are gonna say "He was expected to win" and if he looses the brickbats are gonna come out. I think Michael Schumacher has proved time and again that he is a legend and there never was and never will be (probably except the late Aryton Senna) a champion in F1 like him. So I think this decision y him totaly lacks common sense..

Mumble! said...

You said it, EISI! Suddenly, I am super-excited at the prospect of watching what had become 'yet another F1 season'. All my wallpapers have already changed to Ferrari / Schumi. Posters are going up at home and office as we speak! I've lied, cheated, stolen, and successfully wriggled out of all commitments on 23rd, being Ganpati festival and all! Now looking for a 'Sports Bar' with more sports and less bar in it... Can't Wait!!

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi PH,
Its true what you say about quitting @ the top. Often they find the risk they take is not worth the reward. That holds true till they get bored with the mediocrity of life without passion.

Hi Matt,
Welcome to my blog. Wow, a Hakkinen fan... nice to know you. Hakkinen was another F1 great. Schumi regarded him as the last worthy competitor he had faced. Truly a person with a never-say-no attitude. I loved the overtaking manouver he pulled on Schumi in one of the races while using a slower backmarker as a moving chicane (hated that Hakkinen pulled it off, but loved the manouver)!
While I cannot argue what you say about Schumi being in a no-win situation, I feel he is not making a comeback to prove anything to anyone. I honestly doubt that Schumi cares what people think about his comeback. In my opinion, his decision is based on two things
1) First and foremost - Ferrari needs a good driver to fill Massa's spot. Being a legendary racing team, they just cannot run a ad in the paper and say "F1 racing driver wanted". Thats why Schumi made an effort to fill in the spot till the year end.
2) Schumi loves challanges - This is the perfect opportunity for him to test his mettle aginst the young racers. It will allow him an opportunity to check a) if he still has it b) to see if his decision to quit was the right one.

The fact remains that with age, it may not be possible for Schumi to compete full time, but this small window of opportunity presented at the right moment and he still is fit enough to last for half a season. When Lauda made his comeback and got in an F1 car after a gap, he could not last 3 laps in it. Schumacher has already tested for an entire day!
Whether his critics and fans approve or disapprove his performance is a moot point. The only person for Schumacher to prove any point is himself!
Btw, in a poll conducted on, only 20% of the respondents expect Schumi to win, 30% said he'll be on the podium. 50% feel he will just be in the points. So there is no pressure from the fans and I dont think he ever cared much about his detractors ;-)
It was good to talk F1 to someone knowledgable. Do stop by again.

Hi Mumble,
lol @ a sports bar that is more sports and less bar. How about "Jazz by the Bay"?? Heard that they show the races there. If you find a better place, do let me know. If you do not find anything, there is always that place with a big screen tv in it. or I can get cable! lemme know! The excitement is just amazing! Suddenly F1 has been spiced up! :-)

Shayari said...

Thanks for enlightening details of Michael, for people in oblivion :-)
I understand how it is for Schumi fans..One of my cousins is already screaming his lungs out in joy and chanting 'Schumi and Aug23' all day long!

Serendipity said...

I cant wait. SUPER DUPER excited!!!

and in complete agreement with everyhting youve said! :D

Ripples said...

Well I cant wait to watch the man back in action...Here is sumthin u wud wanna read :)

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Shayari,
Ur welcome. I think I would be safe in saying that everyone in Indian Metros would either be or they would know a Schumi fan in their immediate circle of friends.

Hi Serendipity,
Long time since u were seen here. How have you been? Where are you planning to watch the race?

Hi Rips,
Thanks for the link. Will read it...

Aparna said...

I am here, ok? So stop threatening me.
I may not know much about racing, but even I know Schumi. Have earmarked the dates even. And the only thing I know about Lauda is that he owns an airlines and I saw his house on the way to Salzburg from Vienna. Still think I am intelligent?

Aparna said...

Super intelligent me figured out just now what you meant by having problem accessing the follow up comments on your email. So please ignore the threatening part of my first comment, ok?
I thought all these days that it was your sarcastic way of reminding me to post a comment on your post.
Stupid, stupid me.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Aparna,
Intelligence has nothing to do with general Knowledge - I didnt know lauda owned an airline :D Thanks for enlightening me. Glad you figured out the comment problem on your own :D If I want you to do some thing, I'll tell you directly. Btw, I have not read your reply to me as I didnt get the alert. lemme hop on ur blog...

Serendipity said...

he's not coming backkk :(


Anonymous said...

Very True .
I stopped following the sport after Schumi retired. .
I am waiting for the valencia race now .. :D


eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Serendipity,
I read the news too! Grrrrrrrrrr!!

Hi Witsnnuts,
He is not making a comeback. Neck issues.

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