Formula One's Comeback Story
Fittipaldi, Emerson, Newsweek International
Byline: Emerson Fittipaldi
The 2010 formula one season-opener in Bahrain marks the return of perhaps the greatest athlete to ever compete in the sport: after a three-year retirement Michael Schumacher, the former Ferrari star and seven-time world champion, has joined the Mercedes GP team at the age of 41. He will face a slew of new rules designed to keep the sport's skyrocketing costs under control and compete against great drivers roughly half his age, such as 22-year-old Red Bull star Sebastian Vettel. Other top contenders include Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber; two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, now with Ferrari; Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa; and the McLaren team, which recruited last year's champion, Jenson Button, to join 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton.
His return will be good for Formula One, on par with Michael Jordan's return to the Chicago Bulls in 1995. Schumacher's name alone draws tremendous interest from fans throughout the world, as well as from the press. But the big question is whether Schumacher can win again. In my view, he can. Like Schumacher, I retired from the sport for a few years only to return later, and I found that the motivation to compete came from the knowledge that there were new competitors, and that the challenge was both in winning and in proving that I could defeat athletes far younger than me. …