Racing Rap

Oct 14, 1999

Schumacher Will Return to F1 This Year After All

By JR Nerad

A week ago former World Driving Champion shocked the racing world when he said he would not return to the Ferrari team for the final two races. This week he shocked the racing world by changing his mind.

Ferrari has announced that Schumacher will race in the final two Grand Prix of the Formula One season in Malaysia this Sunday, October 17, and in Japan on October 31. The announcement came less than a week after Ferrari revealed that Schumacher, who broke his leg at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July, had not recovered quickly enough to compete.

Apparently testing sessions at the Mugello and Fiorano circuits convinced Schumacher that he could indeed stand up to the rigors of F1 competition. Schumacher also had a recent audience with Pope John Paul, so perhaps divine intervention had something to do with the two-time champ's quick recovery.

In the two Asian races, Schumacher will team with soon-to-be-departing Eddie Irvine, who, at 60 points, is two points behind McLaren's Mika Hakkinen in the world championship standings. Schumacher's hope for another world title this year died with the crash at Silverstone, but he still has 32 points, good enough for sixth place. Mika Salo, who showed a great deal of promise filling in for Schumacher, is being bumped from the Ferrari team for the time being. Ferrari will use an evolution version of its type 048 engine in the final races of the season, pulling out all the stops in an attempt to win back the Driving Championship.