Of Ferrari’s three-car plan and Schumi’s return

Luca di Montezemolo , the Ferrari president, wants each Formula One team to have the right to run three cars in the World Championship, a move which could mean Michael Schumacher returning to the sport from next season. Schumacher has withdrawn from his planned role as Felipe Massa’s stand-in alongside Kimi Raikkonen in the European Grand Prix at Valencia on August 23, but Di Montezemolo made it clear that Ferrari would be leading an initiative to get the rules changed for 2010.

He claimed it would be better for the places on the grid vacated by BMW Sauber, which will withdraw from Formula One at the end of the year, to be filled by third cars from established teams rather than by unproven newcomers.

Such a development would echo the trend of the 1950s when Mercedes, Ferrari, Maserati and Vanwall ran three-, sometimes four-car teams, quite regularly.

“We are continuing to fight until every team has the right to start with three cars in the next season,” Di Montezomolo told ‘La Stampa’. “I prefer three McLaren and three Renault to three ‘whatevers’. With BMW gone, there is not much to say, but lots to do.”

In regards to how that would affect Ferrari’s former star German driver, he added: “Well, we’re talking about Michael Schumacher. He is 40-years-old, but is still from another planet. I prefer the champion, even if he is matured, to the mediocre driver, even if he is young. Our circus needs some great input. I’d have handed (a third car) over to Michael with pleasure.”

Asked if he would consider coming back full-time, Schumacher said: “I’ve just made a very tough decision and that’s all I’m thinking about right now. I don’t feel like thinking too much about the future.”

Whether the necessary unanimous agreement of the teams could be reached to facilitate a deal, whereby Schumacher could “guest” alongside Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso at Ferrari in 2010, remains to be seen.

Alan Henry/© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2009