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With the news of Michael Schumacher's return to F1 after a 2 1/2 season absence let's have a look at how some of F1's other come back kids have got on?

Alan Jones - Twice a comeback kid. After bailing out of the Williams team at the end of 1981 by finishing with a win Alan decided he had unfinished buisness in F1. I have no idea what that unfinished buisness must have been but it obviously wasn't winning more races!! After 1 race for arrows in 1983 that ended in a DNF he returned to Australia. In 1985 he made another return this time with the Lola-Beatrice team. In two seasons he ran in 19 races he DNF'd in all bar 5 and scored an amazing 4 points in total. He finally packed it all in at the end of 86.

Bruno Giacomelli - After a few ad hoc drives for Mclaren in the late 70s, Bruno spent the bulk of the early 80's driving for the well funded but not very realiable Alfa Romeo team. He even managed to put the car on the podium in the season ending 1981 US GP. After a final season in the Toleman in 1983 during which he scored a single point he turned his back on F1. That is until 1990 when 7 years after he last raced an F1 car he was back driving for Life replacing the luckless Gary Brabham. So how did Bruno do? Well it didn't help that the car was an absolute dog but in his first GP at San Marino he posted a pre-qualifying time of 7 yes thats SEVEN minutes. The words DNPQ (that's did not pre-qualify for you youngsters) appeared next to Bruno's name in all 12 of the races he entered. I think that would be enough for anyone.

Nigel Mansell - To some the 1992 Formula one world champion was "our Nige" the gritty, determined British hero but to most he was the moaner who went to America instead of facing a season alongside Prost. After winning the Indy title at his first attempt in 93 the going was a little tougher for Nige in 94 so it was time to make an F1 come back. Firstly he replaced Coulthard at France and then later in the season he raced in the final 3 GP of the year for Williams. He took his final win in Austraila after Schumacher and Hill had collided. For some reason (probably common sense) Frank Williams didn't take up his option on Mansell for 95 and in a move that shocked most of the grid Ron Dennis stepped in. Now any credability Mansell may have had went up in smoke. Too chunky to fit the narrow cockpit of the 95 Mclaren he missed the first 2 races of the season. When the chunkster did eventually squeeze his bum into the seat he spent 2 races piddling around the track not doing very much before calling it a day.

Niki Lauda - At last a comeback success story !!! After walking away from Bernies Brabham team in 1979 having lost all motivation Niki was on the side lines for 80 and 81. It was during this time he built up his airline "Lauda Air". Struggleing for money he was persauded to do a test by Ron Dennis. Finding himself imedialty on Watson's pace Lauda made a return to full time racing in the 1982 season. Three races into his comeback he took his first win for the team. Another win and a podium saw him evetnually finish 5th in the title race with Watson joint second. 1983 was a pretty poor year with a pretty poor car using the by now underpowered Cosworth engine. In 1984 Niki was paired with Alan Prost and with a good car beneath him he used it to full effect. Realising that he couldn't beat Prost in terms of qualification pace he used all his skills as a two time world champion to set the car up for race day. As a result all though he took less wins that Prost he was far more consistant and at the end of the season was crowned world champion for the third time by a half a half a point. The following season was perhaps a season too far for Niki. Despite taking the last of his 25 wins (equalling the number of wins by Jim Clark in the all time rankings table) Niki spent most of the time climbing out of a broken down car. He called it a day at the end of the season to concentrate fully on running his airline.

Jacques Villeneuve - Where did it all go wrong for Jacques. The 1997 world champion had a team set up around him in the shape of BAR and was one of the highest paid drivers in F1 at the time. It all ended in tears in 2003 after being outpaced by Button for the whole season Jacques was so far out of favour with the team that for the final race of the season in Japan he was replaced by Takuma Sato (yes you did read that correctly). Taku brought the car home in 6th place on his debut for the team which was as far as Villenueve had managed to get the car in the previous 15 attempts. After being forced out of the sport it looked like we wouldn't see Jacques again. That is of course, until the final three races of the 2004 season when Flavio at Renault decided that the ideal man to replace Jarno Trulli was Jacque Villeneuve. I'm not sure what he did during his 3 races with the team but obviously his 11th and two 10th place finishes were enought to convince Sauber to sign Jacques for the following season. He was narrowly outscored by Massa in 2005 but once again managed to do enough to stay at the team for the following season. Now bankrolled by BMW, the Sauber f1.06 was a better car than the C24 of the previous year. Now partnered by Nick Heidfeld the German held a narrow points advantage of his more experienced team mate in the early part of the season. Villeneuve missed the Hungarian GP due to an injury he had apparently picked up during the German GP. As a result his place in the team was taken by Robert Kubica. Kubica made a dream debut even though he was eventually disqualified for having an under weight car, meanwhile, Heidfeld managed to put the car on the podium. After Hungary Villeneuve walked away from BMW for good. His reason he claimed was that he didn't want to be involved in a battle with Kubica for his race seat beliieving that BMW no longer had faith in him as a driver. Fast forward to 2009 and it would seem that Villeneuve still thinks he has what it takes to cut the F1 mustard. Will we seem him make another comeback.

There have been more comebacks than those mentioned above however this article could go on for a week and my fingers are starting to get tired so I'll cut it here. As you can see though, it's no easy job returning to F1 after any time away so it's going to be really interesting to see if Schumacher can return as a hero and not leave as a Zero.
The main thing in Michael's favour is the circuit he will be racing on.

As we know Valencia is notoriously difficult to overtake on, even more so than the rest of the circuits, so if he can get pole position and put in some quick laps at the start to build up a lead then who knows what the outcome could be...

In a similar vein, I was wondering if the other team bosses are annoyed at all the press coverage Ferrari are getting and thinking "who can we get back to get people talking about us?"

Mika Häkkinen in for Heikki perhaps... ;)

P.S. Great post c_a_t :thumbsup:
How about JYS taking Nakajima's place in the RBS sponsored Williams? It would be a good way for Sir Jackie to repay the millions RBS paid him as their "Global Ambassador".

BTW C_A_T - I don't know how far your list of comeback drivers extended but it may help with the "Who am I" quiz...
alain prost

world champion for williams in 1993 after a sabbatical. prost rejoining was the erason our nige left for CART.
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