Michael Schumacher, Round the Mercedes Benz?

Michael Schumacher‘s imminent to return to formula one with Mercedes and Ross Brawn’s rebadged title winning team is the latest in a line of great sporting returns.

The 41 year old has professed he covets the 2010 drivers’ championship to add alongside his other 7, and he aims to do it in a car that will be the first silver arrows’ entry since 1955.

Brand Schumacher will be at it’s strongest since his 2006. and the German’s “will he won’t he” from last year now appears to have been a classic communications toe in the water exercise to see if the public were ready to see him race again.

His return will further explode the renewed interest in F1 and a new challenge to Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will, in theory, grip the sporting world – if he were to win, Schumacher would become the third oldest champion after Juan Manuel Fangio (1957) and Nino Farina (1950) – and cement his already prominent position as a great of modern, if not all time, sport.

I am excited.

The prospect of seeing the master racing against the new upstarts will add a new dimension to an already hyped 2010 season.

It is of course, a marketers dream and the interest in Schumi will drive ticket sales, TV viewers and merchandise buyers, all at a time when the economics would indicate that F1 (the world’s richest sport) should be in decline.

But we should be wary that if all falls flat on the ground, it may just appear to be a Graham Hill-esque last gasp attempt to clutch at forgotten glories and go all George Foreman. Saying that, he does make a good grill.

It promises to be a monumental season and one that the F1 PRs will be eager to play up to and drive (‘scuse the pun m’lud) attention around to maximise potential newsworthiness.

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