Michael Schumacher cancels F1 return

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Michael Schumacher at the wheel of a Ferrari F2007 in Mugello

Michael Schumacher has announced he will not be returning to race at the European Grand Prix at Valencia.

A statement on his website says:

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.

Ferrari has not yet announced who will take his place. Reserve driver Marc Gene is likely to be the favourite.

Schumacher had been expected to conduct more tests in an F2007 to further assess his fitness, having been denied an opportunity to test a 2009 F60.

Update: Luca Badoer wil take Massa’s place at Valencia

Read more: Who will take Massa’s place at Valencia?

More on Michael Schumacher

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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172 comments on “Michael Schumacher cancels F1 return”

  1. Sad, but if Schumi won’t be on the pace, it’s better this way. He left on a high note in Brazil, why tarnish that?

    That said, I wonder if anyone who panic-bought tickets for Valencia, Spa, Monza, and Singapore will be asking for refunds…

  2. Bring on alonso (if contracts allow [which they probably won’t]). i remain hopeful…
    bit of a shame really, i was looking forward to that as were many others. now we can all return to earth. let’s get back to business. can’t believe it’s still 2 weeks to go. i feel deprived…

  3. well, that’s the most exciting race in a long time becoming the most boring. Meh.

    I say give it to Bourdais :) That’d be amusing.

  4. Shame. I was looking forward to that.

    The cynic in me call massive publicity stunt, though.

    1. Funny, I was just thinking the same thing. :P

  5. @noel – lol

    I think it was a big mistake on his part anyway. He was never going to do well – why tarnish your great reputation with a few races :(

    1. Michael was half a second faster than Massa when he tested the car at the end of ’07 after more than a year out of the cockpit…

      I don’t doubt his pace would’ve been thoroughly competitive. Perhaps he’d have had a bit of a struggle with fitness over a race distance though.

  6. Well they sold a few more tickets for Valencia. Now to sign Alonso to sell the rest of them :P

  7. I knew it. When it was first announced, I was going to say I bet he doesn’t make it because of his injury. What a lot of fuss about nothing.

  8. I’m certainly no Schumacher fan, but I have to admit I’m disappointed. :(

    1. Here here.

      1. It’s: “hear hear” :D

        But it’s the thought that counts. And I couldn’t agree more.

        1. Duely noted!

          I was much looking forward to his return. Keeps the suspense going on for longer though as to who will be Massa’s replacement.

          1. read on f1-live that luca badoer has been confirmed

    2. I agree, I’m also not really a Schuey fan but I too would like to have seen him return. nevermind!!

      I think Ferrari should do a “Have I Got News For You” and have a guest driver for each remaining race!!! :)

      1. Seconded!

        Boris Johnson for Suzuka!

        1. Clarkson for Spa :D

          1. The “star in our ridiculously priced car”?

  9. Ending up with 3rd in the WCC will be a little more difficult now. Hope they get Anthony Davidson instead of either of the Ferrari test drivers.

  10. I say good on him for not risking his health more than he has to. It’s one thing if he’d have not been carrying an injury, but given he has got an injury and that it’s to his neck I fully support him playing it safe.

  11. Rather pleased to be honest… Ferrari can now use a “proper” stand in driver and let the focus be on the leaders.

  12. Cridland [Cridcomment @ gmail]
    11th August 2009, 9:18

    Let’s hope this means that the FIA is more likely to allow Renault to race next week… Fans might burn down the Valencia harbor if they don’t!

    1. who cares tickets have already been sold

  13. This is a real bummer. I was really looking forward to seeing him compete with Vettel and Hamilton in their prime. It wouldn’t have changed anything about his legacy. It would more or less be a fun outing for himself and fans.

  14. Oh well it’s a shame but if he is not fully fit it is best he does not race.

  15. From Jon Noble’s twitter:

    Luca Badoer will race for Ferrari at the European GP

    Really too bad, I was hugely looking forward to MSC back in an F1 car. At least now we can all bet on whether Badoer will beat Kimi or write off the car.

    1. Beat Kimi? I don’t think so. It will be sufficient if he finishes in points

      1. It seems right that after so many years of testing, Badoer should finally get the chance to score his first ever world championship point(s). Obviously people are disappointed about Schumacher but I’m quite looking forward to seeing what Badoer can do in a good car!

        1. Same here :)

  16. I have to say i was thinking what Noel was thinking… Ferrari have been getting some great (and free) publicity out of all this.

    Hopefully Marc Gene gets a chance to prove his worth, it’s only fair.

    1. Ferrari get free publicity all the time. with or without Shumacher…

    2. They’ve gotten Luca Badoer to fill in, which must be a second disappointment for Marc Gene, he could have had his first race in a Ferrari in front of a home crowd…

      1. What this does show is that F1 is not 100% determined by money-making schemes. If Ecclestone had had any say in it, Gene would have driven at Valencia to generate ticket sales.

    3. yes Ferrari need to build their brand. No one has heard of them before

  17. And there I was, looking forward to Valencia.

  18. This is gonna ruin my week… ergh

  19. Back when it was announced he had an accident while racing on a bike, there were rumours that it was actually much more serious than the Schumacher camp lets on.

  20. That was good while it lasted – at least it made the summer break go a bit quicker.
    Does Badoer get a super licence? The last time he raced, Schumacher hadn’t won a title for Ferrari…how many races has he done since?

  21. I hear that Jos Verstappen has been seen at the Ferrari factory (for a seat fitting?) Verstappen beat Schumacher a lot of times on the kart track. That’s why Schumi mentioned him.
    Don’t know if Iam entirely happy with this, but it should be better then Luca…

  22. Sad,

    But this episode proves he retired too early, he obviously still has the hunger.

    Should have stuck to 4 wheels.

    1. bad news, even if i wasn’t a Shuey fan i was dreaming of this gp as most of you guys.. Let’s hope after Badoer Ferrari try some another driver, it’s a right prime for Badoer’s fidelity but without “the big coming back” F1 now need something more in term of show… what about Niki? :)

  23. *Slaps forehead* Luca Badoer! Good grief.

    The announcement mentions that Schumacher had fractures in the neck and head area, which is more serious than I realized. He must feel like a right dolt.

    Montezemolo: “Please Michael, we’re desperate, Massa’s got a skull fracture…”
    Schumacher: “Err, sorry guys, I’ve kind of, erm, got a neck fracture.”
    M: “What?! How?! All you do is watch and advertise Bacardi! Were you hit by a flying cheque?!”
    S: “Well… I sort of thought, if driving on four wheels is so easy, how hard it can be on only two? That’s half the number of wheels to think about right? So twice as easy! Except it turned out to be a bit harder than I thought…”
    M: “Right, I see. So basically, you’re a chump.”

    1. M: “Right, I see. So basically, you’re a chump.”

      you mean an "AFC" ?? lol!!! :) :)

      1. Shh! The first rule of … is that you don’t talk about it! ;)

    2. good monologue… LOL

      1. Ummm, monologue? Between two (imaginary) people. Right.

        1. Also known as a dialogue.

  24. HounslowBusGarage
    11th August 2009, 9:53

    I’m rather cynical about this.
    I think it’s made Ferrari look pretty stupid. First they did not have the confidence in either of their nominated reserve drivers, then it seems they did not do adequate medical testing on Michael before announcing that he had the drive.
    Whoever drives the Ferrari now will need a massive confidence boost if he is to compete adequately. After all, they will be third choice driver now, won’t they?

    1. poor gene & luca, they haven’t raced for years. can ferrari borrow rubens for a few races?? i’m sure ross brawn will not mind to loan him for a few races :)

  25. A bitter-sweet news for me :( :)

    1. Well that’s nice for you.

    2. The same here… :)

  26. But in hindsight it might prove to be a correct decision. he had everything to lose. Anyone maybe with the exception of senna would have taken the same decision as schumi.

  27. coulthard is the man for the job imo

    1. could you not wait 5min and put you collage of thoughts into a more succintic post?

      1. Oh come on, lay off. I’m all for open debate, but now you’re just sniping. One of the best things about this site, other than the fantastic reporting, is the mature nature of the majority of commenting. Maybe take a few deep breaths before you start trolling around here.

      2. hear hear

      3. I’m going to hear hear, but with HG on this one.

  28. Interesting that Montezemolo picked Badoer “after he has put in so many years of hard work as a test driver”. He was picked over Gene as a reward for long service.

    This suggests that Ferrari have so little faith in Gene and Badoer that they didn’t even bother selecting between them on racing ability.

    1. But can you imagine if they beat Kimi…

      1. I sincerely hope badoer beats that slaker kimi.

        1. well Badoer hasnt lost much of his racing ability, remember guys, he races other categories when not testing for Ferrari. DId anyone see him on the LeMans Podium by any chance, he was on the top step, in a Diesel (i know i know diesels are not what they used to be)

          1. That was Marc Gene in the Peugeot 908… not Badoer (who has had the most GPs without a single point)

          2. Sorry on that one, made a mistake, it was Gene, i mixed them up…gonna go stand in the corner reciting Marc Gene is the Ferrari test driver that Won LeMans in 2009.

    2. Well, if their decision was going to be based on racing ability, there’d be no point having them both as reserve drivers would there? Cause there’d always be one who would be favoured over the other, making the other redundant…

    3. Has Badoer tested the F60 at any stage during the year??

      1. He didn’t do any circuit work pre-season. He may have done some straight-line tests in the car. His last circuit test was at Portimao in December in the 2008 car.

  29. oh Crap, history has to be rewritten, again,,,, strange how they didn’t make a big deal out of his injuries having been as severe as they are….

    despite the euphoria that surrounded Micheal’s comeback, I bet Luca is livid, and hopefully he will put a good show on.

    But hey, remember, for a three week lull, F1 hasn’t been as exciting as it was for a while now.

    1. Just out of interest, are there any pictures or videos of Schumacher at Mugello without the helmet, or that definitively confirm that it IS him driving the car?

      1. sorry, posted in the wrong place…

        1. doesn’t make any difference now, even if it was a chimp testing :)

          1. Maybe this is all a ruse…maybe the Stig will show up in Valencia!!!

          2. What I mean to suggest is that Schumacher wasn’t the one testing and Ferrari knew he wouldn’t be able to race from the beginning.

  30. is this **almost** the longest gap between consecutive races? (badoer last raced in 1999?)

    the longest I can recall is jan lammers who appeared in 1979 or 1980 in an ATS and reemerged in a march in 1992.

    1. Autosport have a ’10 Badoer Facts’ article, including the one you mention. It is the 2nd losgest gap between races, after Jan Lammers.


      1. Interesting facts!

        It may be the longest gap in terms of number of races though.

  31. Interesting fact:

    Statistically, Ferrari have replaced the best driver in F1 history (1,369 points in 250 grands prix) with the worst driver in F1 history (0 points in 56 grands prix).

    1. That one hurts (if i was at Ferrari)that is

    2. Ricardo Rosset is the worst ever F1 racer.

      1. Hmm I think Yuji Ide was worse. At least Rosset didn’t have his superlicence revoked…
        And anyway, this is based on statistics – I imagine Rosset didn’t drive in as many GPs as Badoer.

  32. Prisoner Monkeys
    11th August 2009, 10:41

    C’est la vie.


    absolutely gutted. what a s&%^ start to my day. When i found out he was going to drive…pure elation…now pure devastation. *cry*

  34. As an anti-Schumacher who has grown to admire his ability, I can only be a bit gutted at this news… However, to me, Luca Badoer is the best choice Ferrari could make. Much has been made of Schumacher’s loyalty to Ferrari, but Badoer has been in the team for a very long time as well.

    Also, remember that Ferrari chose Salo over him when Schumacher crashed in 1999, and in that same year, in the European Grand Prix, who was not sad seeing Luca cry after his Minardi blew it with just a few laps to go while in 4th place? He finally has a chance of breaking his duck (he’s the driver with the most races without a single point to his name).

    Luca Badoer at the 1999 European GP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDTMQR4z2QE


    1. no, no, he’ll take the mask off after the race (of course wearing an alternative helmet for the weekend)

      1. Yeah, it’ll be one of those foam facemaker types, like in the first Mission:Impossible move :)

  36. This is the biggest anticlimax I have ever experienced in my whole life! Gutted!
    Hopefully Kimi gets swine flu next year!(only joking)

    1. This is the biggest anticlimax I have ever experienced in my whole life!


  37. Devastated. Love him or hate him you can’t deny it would have been one hell of a show.

  38. Great shame – I was looking forward to seeing how Schumacher did in the new harder-to-drive F1 cars.

    And also how far he could put Kimi’s nose out of joint. :D

    1. Newer yes… but harder to drive?… I’m sure the 1991 Jordan was a peice of cake… :)

  39. Terry Fabulous
    11th August 2009, 11:26

    This is wonderful news for F1 Reject Fans!!

    1. I can imagine there being some sort of massive celebration on that website if Badoer grabs a basketful of points after what is essentially 16 years!

  40. iam really dissapointed……. iam waiting for massa s return

  41. Another classic Eddie Jordan quote from an interview on BBC News:

    “Massa doesn’t want a young test driver trying to usurp him and take his seat away… my guess is that Massa will be back within 4-6 weeks.”

    Luca Badoer, young test driver? Massa back in 4 weeks? Why do the BBC keep treating this guy as though he was some kind of expert on something?

    This is the same Eddie Jordan who reported exclusively that he knew from his “sources” that Massa was mildly concussed after a bang on the chin. Massa was undergoing emergency surgery on a life-threatening skull fracture at the time.

    1. but he did predict alonso would be on pole in hungary ;)

      1. lol, Eddie Jordan either gets things spookily correct (Alonso on pole in Hungary) or purely ends up looking like a fool (saying that a KERS car will never win, then Lewis proved him wrong :) )

        1. That is the way with predictions, they’re usually either right or wrong… :P

    2. The same man who not long ago was saying that the younger dirvers had better watch out as Schumacher would be out to prove a point and is now saying that he doesn’t believe Schumacher still has the racing instinct you’d need…

      I liked EJ when he was a team boss (and not just because we share a surname) but I really haven’t warmed to him as a pundit. Bring back the bulldog!!

      1. Those are great assesments on EJ(Adrian, Jonathan)…easily some of my favorite comments on here in the past year and a half ;)

  42. Gutted that Schumacher isn’t returning. Would love to have seen him race Button and Hamilton.

    News clip of Schumacher’s non-return here

  43. People are so bloody cynical… Honestly I think that he was hoping his neck strength would improve with a couple of days in the F1-2007 car, but when the medics checked him over it didn’t, and the strain was too much. So with regret he couldn’t drive. Nothing more sinister than that. As for the publicity surrounding it – he was probably as excited as a little kid when he decided to try, and was not focussing on the possible negatives. That’s normal human behaviour when one gets caught up in the excitement of something.

    Personally I’m disappointed. I was never a huge fan but I didn’t hate him either. I would have enjoyed seeing him race against the current crop.

    1. I agree. I was never a real fan but it would have been interesting to see him return. I was just hoping he wasnt going to ram Button/Vettel/Webber and ruin their championship chances… not that he has done that before of course! :)

      Not sure what Badoer will do…

  44. does this mean he might come back later on the season? do a one race special appearance? like at suzuka.

    1. Schumacher’s language in the statement, “cancelling” the comeback, calling a return “impossible” and wishing the team the best for “the remaining races” suggests that this is not going to happen.

      Sadly the wording strongly implies that this is a cancellation, not a postponement.

    2. Dream on… lol

  45. It pains me to say it, but Ferrari should seriously consider signing up Nelson Piquet Jnr after Valencia for the remaining races.

    1. Piquet! Not Again!

    2. We know Flavio would love that ;)

    3. I suppose in many ways, it makes sense – he has recent F1 experience, knows all the circuits (apart from Abu Dhabi obviously), and has experience with KERS, which few available drivers do.

  46. The flawed genius eh – one gets what one deserves over time….
    Spoils what was shaping up to be a vintage season though (after a boring start).

  47. Hate to say but it seems like a massive publicity stunt set up by Bernie, Ferrari and Shu. Bet they sold ALOT of tickets to the next few races!

    1. I was going to buy sunday tickets for the singapore GP but they got sold out after schumacher announced his return!

  48. Like many F1 fans I was intrigued to see Schuey behind the wheel of a Ferrari again but I’m glad that common sense has prevailed.

    I still find it strange that Ferrari approach a 40 year old man -regardless of his 7 WDCs – who is not racing fit, not been in an F1 car for 3 years and is nursing an injury, when they have other drivers who at this time would be more suitable. However, I’m not going to blame Schumacher for taking up the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an F1 car again; after all, he’s a racing driver.

    But how well would he have done, had things been different, is now the great unknown and will have many debating this over the weeks to come. It’s also interesting that it feels like Schuey’s anticipated brief comeback has had far more attention in the press than the more important news of the departure of BMW.

    1. … when they have other drivers who at this time would be more suitable.

      I am more intrigued by the fact that they don’t have someone really suitable. A top racing team like the Scuderia should surely have some sort of contingency plan in case one of their drivers is heavily injured. Instead we find them flailing around asking completely unfit or non-current drivers to step up. They are risking millions of dollars depending on how this will impact their WCC effort.

      They seem to have the two extremes in the form of Marc Gene and Luca Badoer at one end and Mirko Bortolotti and the other rookies at the other. Nobody in between at all. Very strange.

      1. It shows a real lack of contingency planning.

  49. Well, I’ll miss seeing him, but in a way I’m relieved. Who wants to see Pele trip over his own feet or Michael Jordan getting dunked on?

    It’s good to go out in your prime and not stick around too long. I didn’t want to see the greatest driver of all time getting passed by Nakajima or something.

    1. Hey, leave my dad out of this…

      (NB: My dad just happens to be called Michael Jordan. But believe me if he tried his hand at Basketball he would certainly get “dunked on”!!)

  50. Deeply Saddened..

    :( :( :( :(

  51. If he would have been back there is NO way he would have been passed by Nakajima like the other commenter DC was saying. He had a good car and it is very VERY likely that he would have finished in the Podium. It would be awesome to see him in Pole and take the win at valencia..

    very sad. Wish he never did the bike racing though..

    I am hopeful he might get back in conditioning and return to race further down the season, if Massa is still not recovered. It is a possibility, even though the probability is small.


  52. Just read rumours off a Ferrari sponsored forum that he is planning a special two-race comeback for Ferrari towards the end of the season. One being Suzuka and the other rumoured to be Brazil..

    Keeping my fingers crossed! :)

    1. how? I doubt it. its all prank talk… Massa would have recovered by then.

      1. i wouldnt be too sure. sounds like michaels injuries are pretty similar (fractures to head/neck) and he hasn’t recovered since feb. i am now thinking we won’t see massa til next year…

    2. Oh, and then a Massa comeback for Abu Dhabi, presumably? Or how about giving Keith the drive?

  53. It will be interesting to see how Luca Badoer performs, but I still feel that Mark Gene would have been a better choice.

    This whole saga has made lots of money to “somebody” – all those extra tickets sold. Perhaps Schumacher will make a “real” come back one day!? It is very possible…

    Anyway, it is a little disappointing.. but what the hell, whats next…

    1. Even i feel the same. Gene should have been the one to take up that seat. He has the experience of being in fast competitive car, he raced for williams in 03 & 04 bringing home some respectable results. Being spanish, it would have certainly bolstered up the spainsh audience at valencia. After this i don’t expect ferrari to clinch that 3rd place in WCC, but mind you heikki is as useless a material as Badoer, so you never know. Now that MS is outta the scene, Kimi The polar bear will go into hibernation :) . he’s a slaker & deserves some rough treatment, but…

      1. Even i feel the same. Gene should have been the one to take up that seat. He has the experience of being in fast competitive car, he raced for williams in 03 & 04 bringing home some respectable results. Being spanish, it would have certainly bolstered up the spainsh audience at valencia.

        I totally agree! :)

        Now that MS is outta the scene, Kimi The polar bear will go into hibernation . he’s a slaker & deserves some rough treatment

        hehe, Kimi is great driver, however I think he doesnt have that interest and enthusiasm to extensively work in the setup of his car, meaning he doesnt really care to think much about that he just wants to drive the damn thing and certainly he is great at that (hence a little slack). So I think that he has a little weakness in that area. But I have feeling that his car will be little better in the 2nd half of the season

      2. I read somewhere that Gene and Badoer competed in 1999 and Luca was faster. Actually, in the race Badoer was aboutto finish 4rth, Gene ended in 6th position. Does anybody have more information about it?
        Anyway, I also think right now Gene is in better shape than Badoer. I wish him good luck.

  54. Chicken….

    1. but schummi is certainly not Marty McFly & he ain’t gonna come back :)

    2. LOL

      The best comment of the day!!!!!! eheheh

  55. He would have run around mid pack and battled Fisichella for the last point, if he didn’t end up in the wall. A real thrill that would have been.

    Also, will Ferrari revoke its nasty harangues against Williams and Torro Rosse since it has just proved that attempting to ram Schumacher down the throats of the teams, and attempting to violate the rules in the process, was nothing more than an ill-considered flight of vanity?

  56. Aw cmon! I wanted to see him race Hamilton. :(

    1. maybe he will come back next year? :] anything is possible, it is never too old :)

      1. what about when he’s 103?

  57. The guy was a genius, a brilliant clever racer, awsome >> Benetton onwards, and an occasional grand cheat. :(

    Seen him, done that, who’s next, come on Lewis greatness beckons…

  58. alex yoong for ferrari seat!!!!!

  59. I’m not entirely surprised by this development, because the possible consequences of this biking accident had been mentioned from the beginning.

    What I agree is interesting is the team’s handling of the situation after it had become clear Massa would not be able to race on the short term. Side-lining your experienced test drivers, one of who has competed in and won Le Mans this year was controversial decision, even if it is understandable they wanted to fuel some public interest with the prospect of a Schumacher comeback.

  60. I know, I know, we are all disappointed and now Valencia will suck just as much as last year. But look on the brightside, its Spain, and if I remember correctly, last year, they had some pretty good camera angles of bikinis! :)

    1. You’re right, and that was pretty much the only good thing about that race ;)

  61. I was also looking forward to seeing Schumi against Hamilton, Vettel, and the rest. But on that same hand, the whole thing looks more and more like a big publicity stunt to me. Frank Williams was right…they should have decided to use their reserve drivers right off the bat, esp. with Michael’s injuries from the bike accident playing into it.

  62. StrFerrari4Ever
    11th August 2009, 18:07

    When I saw this on SkySports News At 8:45 I was thinking im probabl dreaming then it struck me his not coming back :( So disappointed my favourite driver of all time aint coming back but I guess we can take a positive in having Badoer step in see what he can achieve with a competetive car heck if Alguersuari can be just a second or one and a half seconds off the pace Badoer with his machinery should be midfield or top 10.

  63. The only person at fault here is Schumy himself. He is the only one who knows how seriously injured he is and should NEVER have whetted all our appetites in this manner, if he even suspected he couldn’t compete because of his neck.

    Truly disappointing!

  64. Well, I am completely disappointed now.

  65. The whole thing has the distinct whiff of a publicity stunt. I’ll bet Ferrari, and Bernie too for that matter, were well aware that Schumacher’s neck injury would prevent him from driving. Nothing like generating a bit of silly season publicity!

    By the way … where would Schumi have stood in terms of getting a super-licence, what with him having not raced competitively since the end of the 2006 season?

    With regards to who’s actually going to be Kimi’s temporary team-mate, it makes sense for the team to pick one of their own test drivers but I would have liked to have seen what Anthony Davidson could do with a half-decent car.

  66. I was so looking forward to the return of Schumi. What a huge let down.
    How about Hulkenberg , is he free for the weekend?

  67. Poopmonkeys!! I was looking forward to Schumacher’s return. :(

  68. I don’t think it was a PR stunt, nor do I think that he “bottled it” and used his neck injury as an excuse, but I do have to reflect that it was all a bit Mansellesque. A lot of this was out of his hands, wasn’t it? Press, fans and blogs all predictably going nuts and expecting, not just a solid fill-in from Michael out of loyalty to Ferrari, but something sensational that, let’s face it, wasn’t gonna happen. Expectations are key, course. Plenty of drivers are capable of filling in and scoring useful points for the WCC, but the fanzone was clearly wetting its pants for a lot more than that, wasn’t it? Otherwise, why all the excitement? He was gonna thrash Kimi, show Lewis and Jenson and Vettel how it’s done, etc. etc. etc. In the event, he didn’t make it past the first hurdle and Lewis, Vettel et al will be there, flying round and round as usual.

    I’m sure there will always be claims that if only his neck had been up to it, he’d have done that and shown them all up. I don’t believe it, personally, and here’s why. If F1 is worth watching at all, it’s because it’s tough at the top, the sharp end is what it’s cracked up to be, as has been proved time and again, and there is no magic ingredient to success; in fact it would devalue the whole endeavour if there was some magic control knob, activated by your name or your past achievements, that could lead to immediate success. A proper, cold reflection on why MS was so good in the first place should show this to be the case. If you think he’d have hopped into the F60 and shown them all a clean pair of heels, then presumably you think that Ross Brawn was a superfluous element at Ferrari, that Kimi is a wastrel that Ferrari keeps on its payroll for no good reason, so is Massa (also with zero F60 wins), and Michael simply wasn’t trying from 1996 to 1999 when he drove for Ferrari but failed to achieve the domination he was obviously capable of. Surely Michael’s own career, when he was a younger man without a dodgy neck, shows that it takes time to get the elements in place, gel with the team and the car and raise the level; I thought this was his strength – motivating his team on multiple fronts, attracting the best people to work with him, optimizing every aspect of the package step by step, and working harder at it than everyone else. The environment he was planning to step back into in Valencia was a very different one from that, the car and the team management considerably less impressive, the competition arguably sharper and tighter than ever.

    I appreciate that it’s easy to downplay what he might have done in the F60 with the hindsight of today’s announcement, but I think there’s a clear argument for realism that still respects his achievements. For me, F1 moved on, and it’s time to recognize that. A new generation of athletes arrived, some capable of pushing and beating Alonso, who, like it or not, vanquished Michael over two seasons in a far more meaningful comparison than we were ever going to get from a few fill-in races in late 2009. So I think those people who thought we were going to see a terrific display of brilliance worthy of his old achievements were, a bit like Mansell fans in 1995 dreaming of Red 5, being rather hopeful.

    All in all, a bit sad and it could have been better managed. But, importantly for me, I certainly don’t feel I’ve missed the opportunity to see the hallowed showdown between the Lewis generation and the Schumacher of old – I just don’t think it would, or could, have worked out that way. I think Michael would have given a respectable account of himself, but there were too many elements missing for the stratospheric expectations of everyone from Lauda and Ecclestone to the man on the street to have been realized.

    Next chapter…

    1. very interesting and well put .. it definitely wouldnt have been easy for schumacher to provide something spectacular. So I am sure that is a part of the reason for his decision – he knows what it takes to push for the top and he simply was not fit for it.

      But I doubt he played some kind of a game, and I 100% believe that he seriously considered to race. Anyway, he might decide to come back in the near future so I would not dismiss it.In fact now I EXPECT that more so than before..

  69. Sod Schumacher!!

    I’m gonna be cheering Badoer to the rafters if he’s anywhere near the points, if he gets on the podium I’ll go mental!

    Bad-o-er! Bad-o-er! Bad-o-er!

  70. I also would like to see his return to see him make an ass of himself.

    But he proved yet again the needy coward he is – how many newspaper sheets, web pages were written about this – all to bust his ego. No trip’s over. No need to actualy do it.

    To prove also the stupidity Ferrari has been showing us for some time, they go and pick Badoer and not Gene to driver Massa’s car… I’m thinking he will have neck pains at the end of the Valencia GP also…

    The man maybe a very good test driver, but the is older than Gene, did very few GPs all in 3rd rate teams…

    Well, lets look at this from the good angle – more points from McLaren :)

  71. Sean, I want you to know that at least one person read that entire comment. Waiting for the movie version now. (Agreed, BTW).

  72. Boy, the guy has starpower…but all stars are just suns, and his having previously set we really could only expect to see him Q’ing up behind Kimi and running midfield. Anything else would be an unreasonable expectation.

    But with Luca we get a guy who can hoist himself out of a distinction he certainly can do without (the unpoint guy).

    Come race day my attention and hopes will be riding with the “other” guy in red.

  73. Well apparently Badoer hasn’t driven the F60 round a track either link and with him out of F1 longer than Schumacher, what chance has he got. I have a feeling this will not go well at Valencia for Badoer. I can see him at the back of the pack and maybe even worse lapped by most of the cars. Like Schumacher, I believe he hasn’t driven Valencia either. He’s caught his comeback sort of at the right time though as the F60 is getting up to speed, he’s got that in his favour, but its still not a winning car yet. It will be interesting to see what he can do with a front running car after driving for mediocre teams in the past. Can he finally score a point in F1? Probably what got him the drive was his Le Mans win this year, but F1 is a different ballgame altogether. For Schumacher I saw this coming as soon as they announced his comeback, frankly he was never going to make it with his neck injury, but it was good publicity to get tickets sold, so in the end Bernie wins again without a race even starting.

    1. My mistake, Gene won Le Mans, not Badoer. Would love to have a edit button.

  74. ‘That is why my neck cannot stand the extreme stresses caused by Formula 1 yet’ yet? hoping to return next year then? back with Ross? Hmmmmm

  75. HounslowBusGarage
    11th August 2009, 22:35

    Well I sort of sympathise with the old fella.
    You can imagine how it went at Chez Schumacher.
    Corinna: “You race, I break your neck!”
    Michael: “Liebchen, be reasonable. How can I tell them that my wife won’t let me race?”
    Corinna flies through the air, delivering a Bruce Lee Special to her husband’s neck. “Ha!”
    Corinna: “You tell them, if you race your neck will break some more.”

    Then again, I have great sympathy with the idea that this was a publicity stunt to sell more seats at Valencia after the ban on Alonso and Renault. Here are verbatim transcripts of conversations that Bernie *might* have had

    Bernie: “He’s banned who? For a Spanish race? For crying out loud! Does Max know who their main driver is?”
    Bernie phones Valencia ticket office.
    Bernie: “Hi, how’s it going? How many tickets have you sold so far? Oh. And for the main stand? And are they both sitting together, or are the separate fans? Oh. Oh dear. Okay. Yes I know who Alonso drives for. Well, that’s Max for you!”
    Now he calls Ferrari.
    Bernie: “Luca! How’s the diminutive Brazilian? Ok. Ok, so he’s taller than me! How is he? Oh, okay. How long will Big Tall Felipe be out for? That long? Well I think Badoer, don’t you? But wait, I’ve got an idea to get Ferrari worldwide headlines for a month! Yes, of course you need them! Listen . . . . . . and then you get Michael to withdraw and get Badoer into the car instead! Because once the dim public have bought the seats, they can’t ‘un-buy’ them can they? And everyone will be watching Valencia to see Badoer fail. Yes, I know Luca, but he hasn’t raced for ten years. Ok. All right, whatever you say so he’ll come second after Kimi. And beat both Williams. Okay Luca. They won’t finish – I’ll take care of Ross’s boys, don’t worry. Yes okay, and the Red Bulls. Bye Luca!”

    This has been a work of pure fiction. any resembelance of any character or event to any living person or event is purely coincidental. Objects may be closer than they appear in the mirror. Warning, coffee may be hot. May contain nuts.

    1. Post of the month!

  76. Come on guys’ give him a break-Stefano Domenicali
    We can’t all win all the time…Remember, failure is part of success, right?

  77. He’s caught his comeback sort of at the right time though as the F60 is getting up to speed, he’s got that in his favour, but its still not a winning car yet. It will be interesting to see what he can do with a front running car after driving for mediocre teams in the past. Can he finally score a point in F1?

    Ferrari have already stated that they will stop development on this year’s car. The car also isn’t particularly fast, Mclaren, Red Bull and properly William are faster, Renault’s updates also seem to be faster although the opportunity haven’t really presented itself to show their pace. One thing is certain, it will be a very demanding job to be a Ferrari driver for the rest of the season, it will properly also be difficult to score points.

  78. its sad that schmi not de anymore we were looking forward for it..they is always a next time..

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