Eddie Irvine has said that Michael Schumacher will still have what it takes to win and succeed at the pinnacle of the sport if he opts to make a comeback with Mercedes Grand Prix in F1 2010.
Speculation surrounding the record-breaking multiple F1 World Champion has grown in recent days and on Sunday it emerged that the German has already allegedly reached a 'verbal agreement' to compete with the former Brawn GP team [see separate story - click here
Mercedes boss Nick Fry has also come out and said this week that the 41-year-old 'would be very good' for the Brackley-based outfit [see separate story - click here
], something Irvine agrees with wholeheartedly.
Indeed, Irvine, who raced alongside Schumacher at Ferrari from 1996-1999, added that motorsport is like a drug and Schumacher is in need of a fix.
"He's been bored I think. Very, very bored and he's definitely up for it," Irvine told BBC Radio 5 live
. "I hope he comes back, it will be absolutely fantastic for F1.
"In F1, you're on show and got to perform, whereas in the real world it's months or years before you can get the same rush. Michael has been karting since he was four or five so he knows nothing else.
"He tried the motorcycle riding which was sheer madness because he wasn't very good and wasn't getting paid so I never understood that one, but F1 makes sense."
Irvine warned though that some of the new kids on the block - such as Lewis Hamilton – will be a considerable threat.
"Lewis isn't going to back off, but Michael will have to because he'll be 41. The speed will be there, though he won't be as fast as he was seven years ago," Irvine continued. "He's not at the peak of his game, but he's still good enough to win races as he has such an immense talent.
"It's still four wheels, a steering wheel and an engine and there's never been anyone better than Michael."
Sir Jackie Stewart meanwhile noted that Schumacher obviously hung up his helmet in 2006 too soon.
"He obviously retired too early. That's why he has been racing bikes and cars whenever he could," the three-time F1 World Champion told the Daily Mail
"There's nothing wrong with that, but it shows he got his timing wrong. He was not ready to give it all up."