Continued rumours that Ralf Schumacher might return to Formula One for the new not-quite-team Stefan GP are rather surprising. Not least to Ralf Schumacher, it seems!
Perhaps we should start this story at the beginning.
Bernie Ecclestone has appeared in an exclusive interview with the German sporting magazine – yep, you’ve guessed it – Sportbild. He made it clear that he believes at least one new team is likely to fail, that Stefan GP could jump into the breach with ease, and that he – as the sport’s commercial rights holder – would like to see Michael Schumacer’s 34-year-old younger brother drive for that new new team alongside Kazuki Nakajima. (FYI, I’m translating Bild’s quotations, which were – of course – translated.)
I do not believe in the participation of USF1 and Campos. But instead I am in good contact with Stefan and am trying to arrange a spot on the grid for them.
Ralf Schumacher would be the perfect driver for them. He’s experienced, and he knows the team.
(Before continuing with the article proper, I feel compelled to quickly say: Kazuki Nakajima and Ralf Schumacher – killer lineup!)
The original Bild article is in print only, so there’s sadly no original link, but there is a synopsis of the Bild story at the top of this more interesting German language piece on Motorsport-total.com.
More interesting, I say, because the great folks at Motorsport-total.com rang Ralf to get his response. Now, it seems that the phone call was short, and maybe sweet, which is probably why they use more reported speech than quotations in their description. Here’s my translation of the relevant passage:
Schumacher has heard nothing
The 34-year old from Kerpen drove for Toyota in F1 until the end of 2007, before switching the to the Mercedes works team in DTM. However, he has not signed a 2010 contract for this series. On the topic of an F1 return, he has said in the past that it would be “an option, if the conditions were right”. Currently only his motor home has returned to motorsport’s top tier – he lent it to his brother, Michael, for the testing session in Valencia.
Concerning current rumours linking him to an F1 return with the Stefan team, he told Motorsport-total.com over the phone today (Wednesday): “I’m a DTM driver. Anything else is news to me.” He said Ecclestone’s comments were “well meant”, but didn’t want to comment any further on the matter at the moment.
It’s non-committal enough not to be an outright denial, but – for a man potentially without a ride next year – he’s hardly stoking the fire either.
So that’s the German rumour-mill for today folks.
Obviously, for Bernie, Ralf is perfect for that team. Two Schumachers for the price of one. From Bernie’s perspective, that’s a certifiable result! As it is from Bild’s point of view, and from the perspective of most of Bild’s German readers – and I have no doubt that Bernie is more than astute enough to know that.
However, Bernie is also a lot closer to all this than any of us could ever dream of being, so dismiss it out of hand at your peril, folks!
Personally, I think that if Stefan wants an experienced driver with first hand experience in Cologne with the then Toyota team, then they should give Alan McNish a call.
However, unlike some, Alan is currently gainfully – and successfully – employed. So they might not get far.