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.