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Bernie Ecclestone Q&A: Schumacher comeback fantastic for F1 23 Dec 2009

Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) FOM CEO.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 5 April 2009 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari in the first practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 30 October 2009 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari 248 F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day Suzuka, Japan, 6 October 2006 Ferrari celebrate the final race for Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race, Interlagos, Brazil, 22 October 2006

Michael Schumacher is back. And Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One Management’s CEO, more than welcomes the German's decision. Ecclestone predicts the seven-time world champion could very likely add another title to his collection. At the very least Ecclestone is convinced 2010 will be a season nobody can afford to miss…

Q: Bernie, since this morning Michael Schumacher’s comeback is official. Are you surprised he really did it?
Bernie Ecclestone:
Not really. There were speculations around for quite a while and I was pretty sure that he would do it if his physical status would allow it. Now we know the answer.

Q: How long ago did you know that a deal would be reached?
Not much before everybody else. To be honest I’ve not spoken to Michael lately, but knowing him for so many years I was very confident that F1 would see his comeback.

Q: Is having Michael on the grid again next season a scenario to your liking? It seems like is the perfect ‘final curtain’ for an exciting year that’s seen some stunning results…
I think it is fantastic for Formula One that he turned into a ‘comeback kid’. But at the same time I also think that it’s good for Michael. When drivers have put in many years they sometimes lose focus and motivation - probably that was one of the reasons for his retirement in 2006 - but now he has again put all his strength together and has a 100 percent motivation level and that will give us many exciting races in 2010.

Q: With the manufacturers’ clout somewhat on the decline, is this again the time for characters in Formula One racing?
There is no doubt about that - and Michael, as we all know, was and is one of the most outstanding characters F1 has ever created.

Q: Do you have him on your bill for winning races next season?
Forget about winning races - I have him on my bill for winning the championship. He will be of immense value for the team to push the development of the car. We have all seen in the past that he was never satisfied unless the car was in perfect condition. With his drive for the optimum and his deep technical understanding he will save the team precious time. Nico Rosberg will be the one who will directly benefit from all this.

Q: 2010 will see some fantastic driver line-ups: Alonso/Massa, Button/Hamilton, Vettel/Webber - and now Schumacher/Rosberg. Looks like we are heading for a hell of a season…
That’s the intention. I always said that Formula One is a strong brand. It has demonstrated time and again that it can pull itself up by its own bootstraps. And yes, all indications point to a jaw-dropping season. Fans will love it.