Schumacher cancels his Formula One return

Michael Schumacher has announced he will not be returning to race at the European Grand Prix in Valencia, as a result of his neck injuries the German suffered in a motorcycle crash earlier this year.

In a statement issued on his personal website – full extract below – Schumacher said that he told the Ferrari team last night that he was not fit enough to race as a replacement driver for the injured Felipe Massa.

Yesterday evening, I had to inform Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo and Team Principal Stefano Domenicali that unfortunately I’m not able to step in for Felipe. I really tried everything to make that temporary comeback possible, however, much to my regret it didn’t work out. Unfortunately we did not manage to get a grip on the pain in the neck which occurred after the private F1-day in Mugello, even if medically or therapeutically we tried everything possible.

The consequences of the injuries caused by the bike-accident in February, fractures in the area of head and neck, unfortunately have turned out to be still too severe. That is why my neck cannot stand the extreme stresses caused by Formula 1 yet. This are the clear results of the examinations we did on the course of the past two weeks and the final examination yesterday afternoon. As there were no improvements after the day in Mugello, I decided at short notice on Sunday to do that thorough examination already yesterday.

I am disappointed to the core. I am awfully sorry for the guys of Ferrari and for all the fans which crossed fingers for me. I can only repeat that I tried everything that was within my power. All I can do now is to keep my fingers crossed for the whole team for the coming races.

The seven times world champion suffered a sizeable accident during a German superbike test at Cartagena in Spain on February 11 – which forced him to abandon entering motorcycle races. It had been hoped that the injuries he suffered in that crash would not impact on his Formula One return, but medical examinations have indicated that problems remain.

It is not clear who Ferrari will now slot in as the replacement for the injured Felipe Massa, with the team having little more than one week to find a suitable driver.

Test driver Marc Gene remains the possibility but we shall see if the Italian team will opt for the Spaniard in the next coming days. Another suitable driver is Luca Badoer. Who ever gets the role will do a good job representing Ferrari but it is still a big shame that Michael won’t be competing against the likes of Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton at the end of the month. Many Formula One fans including myself was looking forward to the European Grand Prix with great enthusiasm. And now this… oh well.

9 thoughts to “Schumacher cancels his Formula One return”

  1. Luca Badoer has been drafted in as the temporary replacement for Felipe Massa for the European Grand Prix, after Michael Schumacher was forced to abandon his F1 comeback.

    Schumacher had hoped to fill-in for Massa at the forthcoming races, but a neck injury picked up in a motorcycle accident has forced him to call off his F1 return.

    As a result, Ferrari will promote its test driver Badoer to the race position for the next race in Valencia, as a reward for his many years of efforts with the team.

    Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said: “I am very unhappy that a problem means that Michael cannot return to racing.

    “In the past few days, I could appreciate his great efforts and extraordinary motivation which had spread through the team and fans around the world. No doubt his return would have been good for Formula 1 and I am sure it would have seen him fighting for wins again.

    “In the name of Ferrari and all the fans, I wish to thank him for the strong attachment he displayed for the team in these circumstances.

    “In agreement with Stefano Domenicali, we have therefore decided to give Luca Badoer the chance to race for the Scuderia after he has put in so many years of hard work as a test driver.”

    The 38-year-old Italian has been a Ferrari test driver since 1998 and last raced in 1999, for Minardi.


  2. has written a fact profile on Luca Badoer. Read the story in full below:

    After 12 years of service as Ferrari’s test driver, and almost a decade since his last grand prix, Luca Badoer is probably as surprised as many observers about getting a chance to race again as Kimi Raikkonen’s temporary team-mate.

    Felipe Massa’s injuries from his Hungarian GP accident, allied to Michael Schumacher’s inability to race, have left the door open for Badoer to get at least another grand prix under his belt.

    Here are 10 facts about the Italian

    • Luca Badoer’s return to F1 means there will now be two drivers in the field who competed in the 1993 season. Both he and Rubens Barrichello made their debuts that year.

    • Badoer’s promotion to F1 in 1993 came after a title-winning F3000 campaign the year before, where he took the crown with four wins.

    • Badoer’s F1 return means he will be the oldest driver in the field – taking over that honour from Barrichello. The Italian is currently 38 years old.

    • His promotion to Ferrari race seat means Badoer will still only have driven for Italian teams in F1. He has previously raced for Scuderia Italia, Minardi and Forti Corse.

    • Badoer is Ferrari’s longest serving test driver, having originally begun work for them back in 1998.

    • Despite having competed in 48 grands prix, Badoer never scored a point. His best finish was 7th in the 1993 San Marino Grand Prix.

    • Badoer’s failure to score a point gives him the distinction of being the driver with the most race starts who has not achieved that feat.

    • His best grid position is 12th, which he delivered for Minardi at the 1995 Hungarian Grand Prix. In the race he finished 8th.

    • Luca Badoer famously broke down in tears at the 1999 European Grand Prix after his car stopped with gearbox failure as he seemed en route to fourth place.

    • Badoer’s near 10-year gap between his last race at the 1999 Japanese Grand Prix and his return in Valencia is not quite as big as the 10 years and three months between Jan Lammers’ races in the 1982 Dutch and 1992 Japanese Grand Prix.

  3. Even though Luca Badoer has been given the opportunity to race for Ferrari in the forthcoming European Grand Prix, the Italian has expressed mixed feelings on the situation. Read on for the full story, taken from

    Luca Badoer has expressed mixed feelings about being called up by Ferrari to replace Felipe Massa for the European Grand Prix.

    Although delighted at the opportunity to race for Ferrari, having been the team’s test driver since 1998, he is a bit upset at seeing Michael Schumacher fall short in his battle to return to the cockpit.

    “Since I’ve been a child I always wanted to race for Ferrari and now I’ve got the possibility to make this desire come true,” Badoer told the official Ferrari website.

    “I’m really sorry for Michael, because I know how much he wanted to return: I’m saying that as his friend and his fan. We’ve been in contact during the last days and we drove karts together at Lonato last week. So I followed him very closely in this attempt.

    “Last night he called me a couple of minutes after Stefano Domenicali had told me the news and I know that he’ll always be ready to give me some advice and he will shout for me.”

    Badoer has not had the opportunity to drive the F60, having last tested in December last year at Portimao, but he is familiar with the cockpit and thinks it will not take him long to get used to the machine.

    “Although this year’s rules foresee a drastically reduced mileage for us test drivers, I have prepared myself to be ready under any circumstances, just as I’ve been doing the last years too; I’ve been in this business for quite a while,” he said.

    “After Felipe’s accident I intensified my programme and I’m sure that I won’t have any problems from this point of view.”

    And having been granted the opportunity to race for Ferrari, Badoer has expressed his gratitude to the team’s chiefs – as well as expressing hopes that Massa’s recovers fully soon.

    “My first thought goes to Felipe. I was shocked about his accident and I’m so glad that the situation is getting better so quickly: I wish him all the best and to get back on the track as soon as possible.

    “I also want to thank Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali for the faith they put in me and for the honour that they are handing the car over to me: I will give it my best for them and for all the Ferrari fans, who – and I’m sure about that – will give me their support.”

  4. A push by Ferrari to allow teams to run three cars in Formula 1 next year could yet allow Michael Schumacher to return to the sport.

    That was the firm hint dropped by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo on Tuesday night, just hours after Schumacher’s F1 comeback was called off for now because of a neck injury.

    Di Montezemolo believes that Schumacher has plenty to offer F1 still, even though he is 40-years-old, and he has said he will not ease off in his efforts to get the rules changed so Ferrari can run three cars next year – with Schumacher a possibility to fill for as many races as he wants.

    In an interview that will appear in La Stampa on Wednesday, di Montezemolo said that there were clear reasons why Ferrari opted for its former champion rather than a young driver when it came to finding a replacement for Felipe Massa.

    “Well we’re talking about Michael Schumacher,” said di Montezemolo. “He is 40 years old, but he’s still from another planet.

    “I prefer the champion, even if matured, to the mediocre driver, even if he’s young. Our circus needed some great input.

    “We’re continuing to fight until every team has the right to start with three cars in the next season (and one I’d have handed over to Michael with pleasure). I prefer three McLaren and three Renault to three “whatevers”. With BMW gone, there’s not much to say but lots to do.”

    Di Montezemolo said he was ‘very disappointed’ by the news delivered on Monday night that Schumacher’s neck injury from a motorcycle crash had not healed enough to allow him to race in F1, but said there was no point in pushing the German to try to get in the car.

    “They found something that still didn’t work,” said di Montezemolo. “So it’s better not to insist. We wouldn’t do that at all. He had the small motorcycle accident in February and on the first laps at Mugello he felt that something was wrong. You shouldn’t joke with your health.”

    Di Montezemolo also revealed that Schumacher himself was unhappy about the development that has kept him out of the F1 cockpit for now.

    When asked how Schumacher reacted to the news, di Montezemolo said: “What do you think? He answered with such an enthusiasm to my request; the enthusiasm of a boy and not of a retired champion.

    “He lost four kilos; same weight as in October 2006 when he raced for the last time in Brazil. You can imagine how he took it.”

    And di Montezemolo said that Badoer’s chances of keeping the race seat beyond the European GP would very much depend on the job he did.

    “[We have] faith in Luca Badoer, who’s one of us,” he said. “Destiny has given him a unique possibility now he has to make the best out of it. We will support him with all we’ve got.”


  5. 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 Ferrari. I would have been clearly number two, which was ok – I almost drove, but finally I did not, for the same reasons.”


  6. Michael Schumacher has not ruled out racing for Ferrari later this season, during a press conference called in Geneva to explain why he pulled out of a comeback in the European Grand Prix next weekend.

    The seven-time world champion was forced to abandon plans to return at Valencia after experiencing neck pain following a test in an F2007.

    It is not yet clear whether Schumacher would be fit to race if he had more time to prepare, and hasn’t yet thought about the forthcoming races at Spa and Monza.

    When asked about rumours that he could race at Monza next month, or even return next season, Schumacher said: “Speculation in this business is pretty natural. Lots of people have their own opinions and thoughts but the fact of the matter is that I’m very disappointed not to do what I was looking to do. That’s all that I’m really thinking about and have to digest somehow.

    “You can imagine that I obviously do feel kind of frustrated and quite sad because due to the circumstances I wasn’t exactly expecting to be ready, but because of what happened I was obviously available to support the team and everybody.

    “We have prepared ourselves very seriously, we have done as much as we could do from our side, but right from the beginning, Ferrari and ourselves always mentioned that I would do the job under the condition of being ready for it. It’s sad that in the end I couldn’t fulfil this target.”

    Schumacher added that he believes Luca Badoer is the right man to step in and replace the injured Felipe Massa in the European GP.

    “Luca is a very good friend,” Schumacher added. “He has prepared himself quite strongly to be ready for all the years because this was his main job – to be ready in case something happened.

    “So he is not somebody that has been sitting quietly around not doing anything. He has always been ready and naturally he has worked out very hard since Felipe’s accident. We had said that I first need to confirm if I physically could do it and therefore it was always normal for him to keep himself on the fitness level he would need.

    “I think he is the best one. Yes, he hasn’t raced for a long time, but a racer doesn’t lose the racing spirit and I wish him well for a difficult task. It’s a tough thing to face but if I see anyone it can be Luca.”

    Schumacher also said that he was delighted to see the progress being made by the injured Massa.

    “At the time I gave him [Massa] my cockpit I was tired and I wanted him to take over. The good thing is to see that his recovery is going well, he’s very motivated – he’s working not very hard because he’s not allowed to – but it’s good to see his progress and I’m very happy about that.”


    Read the interview here:

  7. I think its a good thing he didn’t race. I know it sounds bad of me to say but Shuie is the guy who made F1 boring. He was the guy who was winning every race going. I don’t mean any of this in a bad way but I quite like remembering him as this guy.

    If he was to race in this new car which isn’t as good as any of his previous ones and not quite cutting the mustard. I think it takes away from some of his legendary status. Don’t get me wrong I would have loved to see him race. And the idea of three ferraris sounds kewl.

    Also I’m surprised Ferrari don’t have a capable test driver ready to fill this type of position.

    What else is really sad is Michael hurt himself in a bike accident, specially since I was thinking of buy a bike later this year >_< its my biggest fear of getting a bike.

  8. Very disappointing. I wasn’t pinning much on him doing that well in Valencia, it is Spa that I was looking forward to. He always have been mighty there, rain (particularly) or shine. The current Ferrari is nowhere near as bad as the ’96 car relative to its competitors yet he still won there that year.

    I’m not getting my hopes up for the 3 car teams becoming a reality – the rules I think only allow a maximum of 26 cars on the grid;even with the grid spots vacated by BMW there are enough serious bids from the new teams to fill them if the FIA chooses to.
    That means the only way for that to happen is an amendment to the rules. With the newly signed Concorde agreement in place, that’ll require unanimous support from both the FIA and ALL of the teams.

    The chance that Williams (for one) will go along with that is very slim.

    Unless someone can give them some tasty sweeteners………..

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