RasputinLives. There are some other (not so) great comebacks... Bruno Giacomelli is one that comes to mind... He should really have been a race winner with Alfa Romeo, and had creditable results for toleman in 1983.. He chose to return to f1 glory in 1990, spearheading Life's f1 entry... He failed to make it out of pre qualifying all season!
Honourable mentions should go to Graham Hill in this thread too... His accident in 1969 should have led to his retirement, but instead he continued racing, after a short break... However, his return was not successful at the top level- like Schumacher, he still had speed, but just not enough to compete at the top level..
More comebacks that could have done without: Jan Lammers (superb Sport driver with no so much luck in f1 - almost like the guy in my avatar) and Luca Badoer (excellent test driver but sub-par when it comes to racing).
I don't think Schumacher would have fared well in the 2009 Ferrari, he would jump into the car without driving it before hand, a very difficult car at that, and would have been up against Raikkonen who was supreme in the car at that time.
If he returned with Ferrari for that half season, I doubt he would have joined Mercedes in 2010.
A great read RasputinLives I would like to add to the Prost comeback and say that at the 1993 French GP Damon was told by the team before the race even started that he was not allowed to beat his team mate this annoyed Damon and It was quite clear to anyone who was watching that Hill was the faster driver and at the end he finished right on Prost's exhaust pipe to prove the point...
Hill was on pole and if I remember had to left Prost passed very early on and pretty much cruised behind him
I think most people will agree everyone was gunning for Senna or Hill to beat Prost
1993 he might have had 7 wins but I don;t remember many that were convincing as he had to fight for them hard or seems to inherit most of them from poor Hill's misfortune and inexperience
I remember reading Grand Prix Magazine 1992 Senna/Mclaren vs Mansell/ Williams and both James Hunt and Murray Walker mentioned Prost basically had been driving out of F1 by Senna being able to do everything better than him in terms of on track and off track politics
Should Nick Heidfeld or Alexander Wurz get a mention on this thread then?
Wurz who came into F1 with a bang thanks to his aggressive racing making up for a lack of speed was impressive against the highly rated Fisichella who he beat in 98 thanks to Dave Richards equal status policy but things went downhill when Richards quit over row with the Benetton family over team future and in stepped Flavio Briatore on his return who made Fisi - his protege de facto no 1 . Wurz never really recovered although got a test contract with Mclaren and had 1 outing replacing Montoya with a podium in 2005
a full time drive for Williams was a surprise in 2007 but probably due to his development abilities but he lacked race pace and compared to Rosberg was almost near 10 places down on grid positions but did inherit a podium and 4th place in two races...subsequently retired before the last race when realising his career was over as a F1 driver
Heidfeld - here's a case of a guy who never took his opportunities when presented to him having been invested heavily by Mercedes into F1
Fast tracked with successes in German F3 and International F3000....his F1 career started in 2000 with Prost team but saved by lifeline at Sauber beating Kimi Raikkonen. Unfortunately overlooked by Ron for the Mclaren drive citing PR issues seems to have spiralled his career downhill. A lifeline at BMW was quickly turned into a nightmare by the rapid pace of Kubica in 2008
Despite outscoring Kubica in 2009 most people agree it was through solid racing but not noteworthy and found himself out of a drive for 2010 and overlooked by Mercedes who opted for the returning Schumacher
A comeback drive with Sauber was followed by a full time drive with Renault in 2011 due to RK's accident..after a promising start he fell away as the team struggled to keep up with the front 4 but also he failed to show the leadership skills required and expected of him as he genuinely thought he had potential to be world champion
Dropped and ended on an ugly note about breach of contract
I believe most of what you say is factual but I also believe that the OP wanted this thread to be about people who had a full and successful career in F1 only to comeback and underachieve to some degree or other and not about people who had 2 or 3 excursion into the sport without making much of a mark on it.
Although Prost's comeback netted him a WDC it was one of the most fabricated in the history of F1 which is why it ranks in the top five.....