You’re unbelievable, you know that?
You return in a blaze of hype and controversy–and yet after nearly two years into your return, your best-ever finish was a 4th place in the Canadian GP, and even though loads of journalists and racing fans have been saying that your comeback was a dud and that you should permanently hang up your racing boots, you still somehow make me hope. And yes, I’m still here, cheering for you.
Man, you’re really something else.
I will try to keep this brief, considering that you’re German and no-nonsense and all that, but please understand the fact that you’ve been away from F1 for 3 whole years, so I really need to get some things out of my system:
I’ve been your fan since you were still racing for Benetton, way back in 1994. Way back when we still didn’t have cable TV so I can only watch F1 races through intermittent repeats or through meager highlights from the news. I’ve followed you when you switched to Ferrari and resurrected a Mega Racing Empire that has yet to be equaled nor surpassed. I’ve defended you when you had your “tricky” moments on-track and when your Machiavellian actions got the better of you. I was gobsmacked and flabbergasted when you chose to leave Ferrari and F1 altogether at the end of the 2006 season. I gasped and clutched my pearls when rumours circulated of a possible Ferrari return (and a grandtastic pairing with Kimi Raikkonen) when Felipe Massa got injured in 2009, and hung my head in disappointment when the deal eventually fell through. I rejoiced and did a happy jig in the office when I found out of your real F1 return via Mercedes GP in the winter of 2009. I felt 10 years old again when I finally saw you in the flesh last year in Singapore, and had to remind myself not to squeal like a rabid fangirl and to keep my mouth shut every time you zoom past in your shiny silver car and distinctive orange lid. I got teary-eyed and sentimental when you celebrated 20 years of your F1 debut in Spa-Francorchamps, did not ever mind that you started dead last at 24th but cheered you on with every fiber of my being until you finished in a way-decent 5th place. I never became less of a fan, all throughout. I grew up a Schumi supporter, and I’m still a Schumi supporter. That’s a badge you wear proudly, no matter what.
Thank you, by the way. Not just for the wonderful memories of 2 WDCs with Benetton and 5 more with Ferrari. More important, thank you for keeping your word and (hopefully) honoring your contract with Mercedes GP until the end of 2012. Thank you for the assurance that you will keep trying, because in your words, “It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the challenge. It’s about the fight”. Spoken like the true icon of the sport that you are.
So, if you hear a woman cheering like mad everywhere you go in Singapore, that will be me. I apologize if this was not brief, but then again, brevity has never been a strong trait of mine.
And yes, I will wait. Patiently. I’m not sure when and where it will happen, but you will have that podium finish and another race win. And even if you don’t, what matters to me is that you tried, and you never gave up.
I got your back, Schumi. That’s a promise.
Marj (a.k.a. bouncebackabilitrix)