A new press release from Ferrari has just arrived at AUSmotive HQ. The statement begins below and continues after the jump:
Ferrari has announced that the legendary seven-time World Champion, Michael Schumacher, will return to Formula One to replace injured Felipe Massa, subject to the successful completion of a training programme to get Schumacher back up to race fitness.
Schumacher’s last race was the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix, in which he finished fourth after a drive that the media at the time described as “utterly breath-taking”, “heroic” and “a performance that sums up his career.” Following his retirement he has been working as an advisor to Ferrari, both in Formula 1 and in the development of new road cars, in particular the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, the Scuderia Spider 16M and, launched just this week (28 July 2009), the Ferrari 458 Italia. Away from Ferrari he has been working as an ambassador for UNESCO and a spokesman for driver safety.
Statistically Schumacher is the greatest driver of all time, with the seven World Championship titles including not just the largest number of World titles, but also five consecutive titles, most race victories, fastest laps, pole positions, points scored and most races won in one season, as well as being the only driver to have a podium finish in every race in one season.
Schumacher’s Formula One return will be in the 2009 European Grand Prix, the 11th race of the season, which will be held on 23 August at Valencia Street Circuit in Spain. This year is only second event on this track, so Schumacher has no racing experience on the 5.419 km track, which has also hosted the GP2 series and the Spanish GT championship. The lap record of 1:38.708 is held by Felipe Massa, who went on to win the 2008 race ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica.