Former F1 racer Robert Doornbos says he feels that Michael Schumacher will produce better results than both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa when he makes a return to the sport at the European Grand Prix.
Schumacher will come out of retirement to rejoin the grid for the first time since he quit the sport at the end of the 2006 after a request from Ferrari to stand in for Massa as he recovers from the injuries he sustained at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The German has already started preparing for his return by testing a 2007-spec car at Mugello and Doornbos – now forging a career in the IndyCar Series with the Newman Haas Lanigan Racing team after an F1 career that saw him drive for Minardi and Red Bull – said he saw no reason why the seven-time champion wouldn't be successful when he rejoins the grid.
“I'm really surprised,” the Dutchman said of Schumacher's return. “I hope he will do very well - I think he will. He doesn't know the car that they are running this year. I read this morning that they sent a letter to all the teams to get permission for him to test the car of this year. I think he will do great, he's a legend. Actually, I bet he will do much better than Massa and Raikkonen."
Doornbos was one of a number of IndyCar drivers to comment on the news ahead of this weekend's race in Kentucky, with former champion Dario Franchitti admitting he was surprised to see Schumacher make a comeback.
"In some ways, I was a little shocked because he has easily achieved everything he could want to,” he said. “But I guess the competitive instinct is still there for him, and he wants to do it. I'm really happy to see him back. I'd much rather see him drive an F1 car than those Superbikes because you can really hurt yourself on those things!
“It's obviously really sad with the way it all happened, with Massa hurting himself, but I hope Massa gets better soon and jumps back in the car. Who better to put in your car, to sub for Massa, than Michael Schumacher? It's definitely going to put the cat amongst the pigeons for the remainder of the races.”