Prost: Schumacher made the right call

Prost: Schumacher made the right call
Wednesday, August 12th 2009

By Steven English

Alain Prost says he understands Michael Schumacher’s desire to return
to Formula 1, but believes the seven-time world champion made the
right decision in calling off his comeback due to worries over the
strength of his neck.

Schumacher injured his neck in a motorcycle testing accident in
February and after testing a 2007 Ferrari decided that he was not fit
enough to race again in F1.

Prost, who won four world titles between 1985 and 1993, told French
newspaper Le Parisien that he believes Schumacher needed more time to
prepare himself for a return.

"The desire and motivation to return takes time to disappear, it takes
several years to abandon F1," said Prost. "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 questioned whether the German’s decision was made at least
partly because of question marks over his performance.

"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 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. When I
returned in 1993 after eight months it was very difficult to find the
best level, Schumacher may need more time.

"In 1994 McLaren asked me to take the wheel. I conducted three days of
testing and I immediately realised that something was broken. 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
ich was ok – I almost drove, but finally I did not, for the same