You could say Michael Schumacher saved Formula 1 this week.
The rather downbeat news of BMW quitting the series has disappeared from headlines and from fan discussion sites.
Ticket sales are expected to rise 20% (according to SportPro Media), ratings for Valencia will be the highest ever.
I suspect the timing was not coincidental. Right after BMW's announcement, Ferrari had issued a press release essentially saying "We've been in F1 for 60 years, we've seen plenty of teams come and go. Good bye, thanks for playing". What better way to protect the F1 brand than to announce the return of the most successful and controversial champion ever? Mission accomplished.
Schumacher, who one would think is certain to have his Ferrari consultancy contract renewed (rumored to the tune of 5M Euros) will become the Lance Armstrong story for a series that has managed only bad news this whole season.
Good thing Schumacher said he relishes the challenge because he will have one day, Friday August 21, to get to terms with a new car, new aero, new tires and a new track. He will have to come up with a reasonable setup with a new crew and then face crushing public expectations he will not embarrass himself. A tall order even for a seven time champion.
And here is the rest of it.