In the summer of 2009, Michael announced plans to return to driving an F1 car in races for the first time since his retirement at the end of the 2006 season. He agreed to step in on a temporary basis from the European GP 2009 – to replace injured driver Felipe Massa. Indications were that Massa would not be able to return to racing that season, which could have meant Schuey competing in the final seven races of the 2009 season. His plan to step back into the cockpit was confirmed on Wednesday 29 July by both Ferrari and Schuey himself.
As the most successful F1 driver ever, Michael was sure to make a big impact on his return. Although he had not had the benefit of extensive testing of the car that season, and his fitness levels may not have been at the level of when he was competing – he had the advantage of not having raced the first half of the season so would be less fatigued than the rest of the field. Fortunately the summer recess meant the next race is not until 23rd August, allowing him time to prepare more fully, familiarise with the car and increase his physical fitness levels. Whilst the Valencia street circuit was not on the calendar when Schuey last raced he previously proved a quick learner of new circuits.
A return to racing by Schuey is something his fans could only have dreamed of – let alone in a Ferrari. It goes without saying that Massa was wished a full recovery from his unfortunate accident.
“Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro intends to put Michael Schumacher in Felipe Massa’s car untill the Brazilian driver will be able to race again. Michael Schumacher said he is ready and, over the next few days, will undertake a specifc training programme at the end of which confermation will be given of his participation in the Championship with effect from the European Grand Prix on the 23rd of August”.
“The most important thing first: thanks God, all news concerning Felipe are positive. I wish him all the best again.
I was meeting this afternoon with Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari Team Principal) and Luca di Montezemolo (Ferrari President) and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe. Though it is true that the chapter Formula 1 has been closed for me since long and completely, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I am I also very much look forward to facing this challenge.”