[...] the past NFL season has seen a pushback to that trend, as Brett Favre and Kurt Warner demonstrated that motivated talent and a superb fitness regimen can keep older bodies playing at championship-caliber levels. Owning the record book with seven World Championships and 91 grand prix victories, there seemed little left for Schumacher to prove. Despite just 15 days of testing being available under the 2010 regulations, Brawn is confident that the team will have time to hone its car - the first Mercedes grand prix car since the W196 of 1955 - and integrate Schumacher and teammate Nico Rosberg into the squad.
023_RA0310 1/27/10 11:00 AM STILL A SCHU-IN? RACING TIME If any 41-year-old can be a successful Formula 1 driver, it’s Michael Schumacher. But, can anyone? By Andrew Crask Main Images LAT, Mercedes Benz Composition Eddie Melendreras rofessional sports are a youthful pursuit and, in recent P years, new talents have been brought to the fore at ever- younger ages in motorsports as much as in stick-and-ball leagues. But the past NFL season has seen a pushback to that trend, as Brett Favre and Kurt Warner demonstrated that motivated talent and a superb fitness regimen can keep older bodies playing at championship-caliber levels. Now, Formula 1 faces a similar challenge to the reign of youth with the return of Michael Schumacher at the age of 41. The German star has been on the sidelines since retiring from Ferrari at the end of 2006. Owning the record book with seven World Championships and 91 grand prix victories, there seemed little left for Schumacher to prove. Yet his ongoing presence at the races as an advisor to the Scuderia demonstrated Schumacher’s continuing fascination with the sport. Increasingly, over the last year, he had dropped hints in interviews that a comeback was possible. When Felipe Massa’s accident last summer created a vacancy at Ferrari, Schumacher was quick to accept the team’s offer to fill in. A neck injury ultimately thwarted that comeback, but Michael pointedly refused to rule out another. When an even more enticing opportunity arose with Mercedes-Benz’s takeover of the reigning World Champion Brawn GP team, Schumacher seized it. “The motivation, I think, is pretty straightforward,” he said. Having started with Mercedes in sports “The call I got from Ross [Brawn] at the end of November cars, Schumacher is the perfect choice to concerning the chance to go racing, Mercedes being involved, lead the marque back into grand prix racing I felt great. as a constructor for the first time since the “I never left the racetrack. I was tired of F1 by the end of 2006, days of the legendary Silver Arrows. but in three years of absence I got back all the energy that I am feeling right now. I played around with motorbikes and I feel ready for some serious stuff now.” To emphasize that this was no mere dalliance, Schumacher signed a three-year deal with the team that reunites him with the man who managed all seven of his world titles with Benetton and Ferrari. While sure that Schumacher has lost none of his edge, Ross Brawn concedes that there is a small window of opportunity to get the best out of Schumacher’s return. “We have got to provide him with a good car and, if we can, then he will do a good job,” Brawn told AUTOSPORT. “What we don’t have with Michael is a vast amount of time if we get it wrong this year. There is a finite limit that Michael is going to be in F1, and we’ve got to make the most of it for the next three years because, almost certainly, that will be it. We intend to take full advantage of what we’ve
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