Four-time champ says Schumacher was right not to return to F1
14 August 2009

Michael Schumacher was right not to comeback to Formula One, according to four-time world champion Alain Prost.

The Ferrari driver this week ruled himself of an immediate return to Formula One due to persistent problems with a neck injury he suffered in a motorbike accident earlier this year.

Prost said his decision was the right one as there were too many risks involved in returning to the sport he last raced in in 2006.

“The desire and motivation to return takes time to disappear; it takes several years to abandon F1,” said the Frenchman.

“Michael and I hung up our helmets for different reasons, but when you were competitive the temptation to return when asked is great.

"If there was any physical risk, Schumacher was right. The neck is crucial in motorsport and if there is pain you can quickly feel nausea and have impaired vision."

Prost also doubted how competitive Schumacher would be if he was to return to Formula One.

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“It remains to be seen if Schumacher stopped solely because of the health problem, or because when he resumed driving he realised that the task was enormous," he said.

"He has not started in F1 for three years and only had three weeks to prepare. The body changes very quickly when you stop racing, a driver does not react the same way and the vision is not as sharp."

Prost claimed when he returned to Formula One in 1993 after eight months out, he struggled initially to feel competitive in the car. He felt the same again in 1994 and even turned down a chance to be Michael Schumacher’s team mate at Ferrari.

“In 1994 McLaren asked me to take the wheel. I conducted three days of testing and I immediately realised that something was broken,” he said. “The speed was there, but not the will to manage the pressure, travel and media that comes with a championship contest.”

"A year later, Jean Todt suggested that I become team-mate to Schumacher to help him become champion at Ferrari. I would have been clearly number two, which was ok; I almost drove, but finally I did not, for the same reasons."

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