Sitting next to me in The Times office is seasoned sports editor Archie Henderson. Balding, greying and wrinkling, he would be the last person to discriminate against someone on the basis of age.
But Archie quickly took a bet today against Michael Schumacher winning a single race in his comeback bid. Sure, Schumi’s decision to return to the track has sparked plenty of interest – even for me, not the planet’s biggest Formula 1 fan. After all, every sports fan loves a comeback – a la George Foreman!
Lance Armstrong’s return made the 2009 Tour de France far more interesting for me, and I’m sure many other fans. Armstrong did well, I thought. He may not have won, but coming third overall wasn’t too bad.
There’s always something intriguing when a great sportsman returns to the battle field, although I must admit I’ve heard a rumour of Corrie Sanders coming back to take on Fransie Botha. That would have been a great fight 10 years ago, probably even five years ago, but not now. Muhammad Ali’s return to take on Larry Holmes in 1980 was a sad tale too.
But it’s not only boxers who feel the urge to return to the limelight – swimmer Mark Spitz did it too (unsuccessfully).
In the case of Schumi, I agree with my colleague Archie – he won’t relive his glory years. Brian Mitchell made a two-fight comeback in the mid-1990s and afterwards admitted it was a mistake (even though he won both bouts). As Mitchell likes to say: “You can’t buy experience, but you can’t buy youth either.”
Good luck, Schumi. I’ll be watching, but not hoping.
The next thing David will want Stirling Moss, in his pisspot helmet, to return to F1.
And what about Jack Brabham. The man is only 83 and on dialysis….
you know nothing – Schuey will win at least 2 out of the remaining races – watch this space
your verdict i think is absolute garbage. michael schumacher has still most lap records on most f1 tracks. he has not at all lost any driving experience in an f1 car or on the track. michael schumacher is a test driver for the ferrari f1 team. people may say his body mite not take the g-forces anymore but michael schumacher trains in a gym almost every day he even does kick boxing. michael schumacher in my opinion and maybe a lot more f1 fans is that he will do the best he can. the trouble is can the youths and so called rising stars keep up with a legend. just watch those qualification times and i bet he will be at the top…. thanks
you will be proved wrong…
michael will finish in the podiumnm…i am not optimistic about a win because of the car and not because of michael…
he will prove everyother person wrong..
he is a winner to accept the replacement.
A person like Schumi can’t be put on bet.He’s the one man who’s calibre are out of question.So I think it’s better not to comment on the comeback of such a great personality .
I think we are getting it wrong. I dont think Schumi is getting back because he had this strong urge and was waiting for the first opportunity to jump in the cockpit. It is the turn of events- Massa’s unfortunate crash, Ferrari’s wish to get the best replacement possible and Michael’s loyalty to Ferrari (he calls them his family) which has led to this comeback. I am sure he is fully aware of the risks he is carrying of denting his reputation if he doesn’t do well on the track. The professional he is, Michael will be looking at all factors honestly to assess his chances, and the competitor he is, he will give all he has to give it his best shot, whatever the end result be. Let’s give it to this man for his values, bravery, loyalty, competitiveness, and let’s not take it from him just because he may not win races in the days to come.
Schumi will prove your critics Wrong.! I’m seriously betting Schumi on 3/7 races in Podium finishes…
Thanks for your article. I admit, Archie is one smart cookie. Betting on Schumi not winning a single race is a pretty specific set of results. If he wins two or more races, Archie wins. If he comes in second, third, etc., but doesn’t win, Archie wins. Such courage.
I somehow doubt, however, that your description of Archie’s bet was intended to be this precise. The case made is accessible and typical of sports commentary and talk radio, but it’s logically flawed, arguing from the general to the specific. You know better! Actuaries and doctors can use a large number of specific cases to determine reliable statistical properties of populations (average lifetimes are important for life insurance companies to know accurately), but going the other way simply doesn’t work (no one can predict how long a given person will live based on an average lifetime). So, what happened in these other sports comeback cases is not a reliable predictor for what would happen in any one of them. That’s why each of them was interesting in its time (some more than others, as you point out!), and the same is true here. We don’t know what will happen based on other similar cases.
But let’s try to do better, drawing on relevant data and insider information. Comparing Schumi – only 2-1/2 years out of ‘retirement’ – to these other cases is a little generous to them, except maybe for Lance, who I think has a lot in common with Schumi. Lance’s comeback this year was not his first, and as I recall, the earlier ones were pretty impressive – and he had cancer. Michael has been quite healthy since 2006, and as I recall, he delivered quite a pasting to the F1 field during 2008 winter testing. He’s not exactly been watching TV and eating chocolates since 2006.
You’ve perhaps noted that Mark Webber and other current and former F1 drivers are betting Schumi may well win. They are certainly not betting against him given that Raikonnen finished second in the last race with the equipment Schumi would have at his disposal in Valencia and beyond. And did I mention the demonstrated contribution he can make to improving the car? Seems like these factors could be more on point than considering old boxing match-ups. Then there’s Schumi’s record itself. Betting against Schumi in his element is, well, perhaps not the surest bet one can make.
The final piece of evidence is perhaps the most compelling – Schumi is THE STIG, for goodness’ sake! Now seriously, who would bet against the STIG? Did you see that FSX lap? Wow! And that was only a $2M Ferrari!!! Case closed – Archie is toast!
So, like you, I’ll be watching the upcoming F1 races (which is the point, now, isn’t it?). If Schumi wins, I’ll be enjoying them that much more!
F1 Fan Man
seems like a silly bet when ferrari are suddenly running near the front of the pack. here’s my prediction: if Archie took out a large bet (or does he like to put a microscopic amount of money where his mouth is?), Archie soils himself the next time there’s a wet race
now were talking .It will get interesting F1
It is great to have a master of F1 back. I will certainly watch F1 with keen interest. Only a fool will bet against Schumi