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Silly season gets ridiculous

NEWS STORY
07/09/2012

Mat Coch writes:

The Formula One silly season has gathered a head of steam which has seen it move on from the unlikely to the plain bloody ridiculous.

The Monza paddock has been abuzz with speculation that Lewis Hamilton is on his way to Mercedes as a replacement for the retiring Michael Schumacher. It's a rumour denied by both the team and Hamilton's own management yet the rumours continue unabated.

Of course, Hamilton is not the only driver on the move, if one is to believe the tabloids, with Ferrari's Felipe Massa on the lookout for a new drive next season. Under-performing compared to teammate and championship leader Fernando Alonso, it's widely accepted that the Brazilian will not be wearing red in 2013.

Indeed at various points both Red Bull and McLaren drivers have been mooted as Massa's replacement at the Prancing Horse, as have both Force India pilots. Sergio Perez, Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen have also been linked with a move to Maranello.

However if ever proof was needed that there is no end to the lateral thinking within the Formula One media it comes courtesy of suggestions 43-year-old Michael Schumacher could return to the team. The German won five of his seven world championships with the Italian team before being forced into retirement at the end of 2006 to make way for Raikkonen (who was subsequently paid to sit out 2010 so the team could hire Alonso).

There is no logic to the rumour, prompting Pitpass to suggest the team might consider Nigel Mansell. After all, the 1992 world champion has never technically retired and, what's more, has not denied rumours that he is in advanced discussions with the team for whom he drove in 1989 and 1990. Consequently, one might argue that it's almost a certainly that Mansell will make his F1 return next season.

Then again, what price Alain Prost, who has remained in active competition since the second part of his F1 career ended after 199 races, could return after a 19 year sabbatical?

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