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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Don't expect miracles from Michael Schumacher when he returns

11 wins, 28 podiums, and a career too short.

That will likely be the final stat line on Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa, who suffered severe injuries this weekend in a freak qualifying session accident that saw a spring smash straight into his head after he ran it over at more than 150 mph.

The good news is that Massa survived, after emergency surgery to treat skull fractures and being very close to death. He was speaking to his family as early as Monday and is breathing without help from machines.

The bad news is the Brazilian driver may never see again fully out of his left eye. This means the 28-year-old Massa will likely never drive again in a Formula 1 car. This comes on the heels of Massa emerging as a true contender, having come within one position of winning the 2008 Formula 1 championship (Lewis Hamilton gained a spot on the last lap and just barely beat Massa for the crown) in an exciting finale last year.

This year has been a struggle for Ferrari, but Massa was entrenched at the team and would no doubt have made more title runs in the future ... until this happened.

It's a sad situation, but out of it all comes a shocker ... Michael Schumacher, who has been working as an adviser with the Ferrari team since retiring after the 2006 season, will briefly come out of retirement to finish the season in the car Massa has driven all year. This is not a permanent comeback, and Schumacher just wants to help out the team that helped him earn five of his seven titles.

Anyone thinking Schumacher is going to come in and dominate should think again. The Red Bull cars of Vettel and Webber, and the Brawn cars of Button and Barichello, have been putting a whooping on the competition all year -- including Ferrari and McLaren, the usual title contenders.

So even having Michael Schumacher, perhaps the greatest race car driver of all time, behind the wheel might not be enough to win.

Either way, I'll be happy just to see him race, simply because I never thought it would happen again. The whole time, though, we must not forget why he's there.

I was never a Felipe Massa fan, but it's just a terrible thing to see a promising young driver's career end on a such a senseless note ... a piece of debris in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If Schumacher can somehow pull out a win this seaon, you can bet he'll dedicate it to the guy who spent the last few years in that seat ... and most likely will never drive in it again.


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