The king is back--at least for the time being. Seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher will stand in for Felipe Massa, the Ferrari driver injured in last weekend's Hungarian GP.
The BBC confirmed today that Schumacher will return to the F1 championship in a move that, above all else, is out of loyalty.
“It is true that the Formula 1 chapter has long been closed for me,” Schumacher told the BBC. “For team loyalty reasons, I can't ignore this unfortunate situation.”
Since his retirement in 2006, Schumacher has served as a technical advisor to Ferrari engineers. Rumors swirled earlier this week that he could serve as a substitute, although Ferrari test drivers Marc Gene and Luca Badoer were also in the running.
According to a corporate statement, Ferrari “intends to entrust Michael Schumacher with Felipe Massa's car for as long as the Brazilian driver is not able to race.”
That time, however, may pass quicker than was once believed. Massa, who was critically injured after being struck by a coil spring at speed, is said to have made considerable progress in his recovery. Yahoo Sports UK reports Massa was awake this morning, and was even walking around his bed.
Dino Altman, a doctor associated with Massa's care, said the driver shows no signs of permanent or debilitating injuries to either his brain or eye, and could be discharged from a Budapest hospital in as little as10 days.