F1 Midweek – Schumacher update and looking ahead to Austria

Kansas City – If you haven’t heard, on Monday seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher at long last came out of his coma that had been caused by a skiing accident on 29 December at the French resort of Meribel. That being said, after having been in a state of comatose for that long, it will undoubtedly take quite a while for the German to fully recover, which in itself is unlikely.

News bulletins flew around the world on Monday from the Grenoble University Hospital, announcing that Schumacher had been taken out of France to University Hospital Lausanne in neighbouring Switzerland. Despite this, The Independent reports that Schumacher still is unable to talk. According to a 16 June article by John Lichfield of The Independent, Schumacher has a “one in ten chance of making a full recovery.”

That being said, at least the poor man is out of his coma at long last. I can’t imagine what his family has been going through during all of this. No doubt the F1 world will continue to have “Schumi” in their thoughts as they descend on a circuit which was last won by the seven time world champion, the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria this weekend for the resurrection of the Austrian Grand Prix, which was last run in 2003.

Formerly known as the Österreichring from 1969-1995, and the A1-Ring from 1996-2004, the circuit has since been bought by the energy drink company Red Bull, who have since become famous within motorsport for their ownership of two of the current eleven Formula 1 teams, Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso respectively. I have little doubt that the pressure will be on the two Red Bull drivers to win their team’s home grand prix.

At the same time, as we have seen throughout this season no one has been able to compete with Mercedes AMG Petronas as long as the silver arrows make it through the race damage free. We saw two weeks ago in Canada one of the weaker points of the Mercedes cars, namely brake failures, which resulted in Lewis Hamilton retiring and Nico Rosberg finishing in second behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. At the same time, knowing the Mercedes team I have little doubt that the will have fixed that problem by now in preparation for Austria.

The Red Bull Ring track runs clockwise, with ten corners. It runs 4.326 km (2.688 mi) in length. To date, the fastest lap record stands with Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher, who finished Lap 41 during the 2003 Austrian Grand Prix at 1:08.337. Only three of the current Formula 1 drivers, Kimi Räikkönen, Jenson Button, and Fernando Alonso have driven in the Austrian Grand Prix before, Button having competed in the 2000-2003 Austrian Grands Prix, whilst Räikkönen and Alonso have only competed in the 2001-2003 Austrian Grands Prix.

We will have to wait until this Sunday to see how the teams compete at the Red Bull Ring in Formula 1’s triumphant return to Austria after 11 years away. Hopefully Schumacher will be well enough to see at least a couple of the races this season.

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