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Category: F1

Michael Schumacher confirms he will leave retirement and race again in Formula One in 2010


Next year's Formula One season just got a whole lot harder for its drivers -- and a whole lot more interesting for the sport's legion of worldwide fans.

Michael Schumacher, Formula One's all-time champion with an unprecedented seven titles, confirmed widespread speculation and announced today that he will come out of retirement to race again with the new Mercedes GP team.

Saying he "was feeling like a 12-year-old boy who is jumping from excitement," Schumacher -- who will be 41 when the series opens with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14 -- said he signed a three-year contract with the Mercedes team.

One of the team's leaders is Ross Brawn, who was Schumacher's technical director when the German driver was winning his championships, including five at Ferrari. Brawn this year had formed his own team, Brawn GP, whose driver Jenson Button won the championship.

Button has since moved to the McLaren team, and Mercedes took over the Brawn GP team that will now have Schumacher and fellow German Nico Rosberg as its drivers.

"True, I will be 41 years old, but the combination of Ross and Mercedes is something that I believe in -- and I believe in myself as well," said Schumacher, who had retired after the 2006 season.

Schumacher this summer had planned to replace injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa but had to cancel that move because of a neck injury he suffered early in the year in a motorcycle accident. But Schumacher said today that "the neck is no longer an issue."

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Michael Schumacher, left, and Mercedes GP technical chief Ross Brawn announce Schumacher's return to Formula One at the Mercedes team's facility in Brackley, England. Credit: Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen join Lotus' new Formula One team; Steve Addington joins Penske Racing


The widespread driver changes among Formula One teams continued today with the new Lotus team announcing that it signed drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen for the 2010 season. Malaysia’s Fairuz Fauzy also was named test and reserve driver for the Malaysian-backed team.

Trulli arrives from the Toyota team, which pulled out of Formula One last month, and Kovalainen from McLaren Mercedes, where he was replaced by this year's series champion, Jenson Button.

Elsewhere in motor sports, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief Steve Addington today went from one Busch brother to another.

Addington, 45, was named crew chief for Penske Racing's Kurt Busch for next season. Addington formerly was crew chief for Kyle Busch but was replaced in October by Joe Gibbs Racing amid Kyle Busch's struggles in the latter half of the year.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: New Lotus Formula One drivers Heikki Kovalainen, left, and Jarno Trulli at a news conference today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Credit: Mark Baker / Associated Press

Formula One unveils new points system for 2010


Formula One drivers will compete for an increased number of championship points next season under changes announced today by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

Points will now be awarded to the top 10 finishers in a race, with 25 points going to the winner and 20 to the second-place finisher. The next eight finishers will receive 15, 10, eight, six, five, three, two and one, respectively.

Under the current system, in which Jenson Button of the Brawn GP team won the championship this season, only the top eight drivers in a race were awarded points -- 10, eight, six, five, four, three, two and one, respectively. Button has since announced plans to move to McLaren Mercedes next season.

The change was made to reflect expected additions to the number of Formula One teams in 2010, the council said.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Formula One driver Jenson Button during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Nov. 1 on his way to winning the season championship. Credit: Gero Breloer/Associated Press

Tracking the musical chairs in Formula One


The flurry of changes in Formula One drivers and teams continues, and you'll need a program to keep track when the season opens next year. In the meantime, here's an early condensed version:

-- Mercedes-Benz this week took over the Brawn GP team, which will be rebranded as the Mercedes GP team, with its two drivers yet to be announced. Brawn was the surprise success story this year, with driver Jenson Button winning the championship. But …

-- Button has moved from Brawn to McLaren Mercedes, where he’ll join 2008 title winner Lewis Hamilton. That means Heikki Kovalainen is out at McLaren and looking for a ride in 2010.

-- At Ferrari, two-time champion Fernando Alonso has moved from Renault to join Felipe Massa, replacing 2007 title winner Kimi Raikkonen, who reportedly now plans to take a one-year sabbatical from Formula One before deciding where he’ll drive next.

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