Record-breaking seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher will sit down and talk with Ferrari about his future at Monza next weekend, his manager has confirmed – but whether that future entails merely further consultancy work or a race driving role remains to be seen.
Schumacher was due to replace injured former team-mate Felipe Massa at the Prancing Horse following the Brazilian's Hungaroring qualifying accident – one that left him with a fractured skull and severe damage to his left eye from which the São Paulista is continuing to recover – but following a preparatory test session the legacy of the German's motorcycling fall at Cartagena in February returned to haunt him.
That ruled his comeback out, forcing the Maranello-based outfit to turn instead to loyal long-time test driver Luca Badoer, who is now being replaced himself by Force India veteran Giancarlo Fisichella following a brace of lacklustre outings aboard the #3 scarlet machine in Valencia and Spa-Francorchamps.
However, despite now being 40 years of age, it is clear that the experience has set Schumacher thinking again and re-whetted his appetite for the fight, and allied to the fact that Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo is pushing hard for three-car teams to be allowed in the top flight next year, the minds of the paddock's conspiracy theorists have been working overtime.
Currently a special advisor to the Scuderia
on a reputed salary of some €5 million a year, Schumacher has refused to rule out an active return in the future once his neck is ready for it once more, and whilst he would reveal only that 'it's good to be part of the Ferrari family', the Kerpen legend's manager Willi Weber hinted that more might become apparent over the weekend of the Italian Grand Prix.
“All concerned parties will sit down in Monza,” the German told Bild
newspaper. “We'll meet each other for the first time in peace again to talk.
“[Whether or not he wants to return to racing] is Michael's business. He participated in one of the most dangerous sports in the world for years. He knows best whether it's good for him or not.”