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Schumacher will attend Valencia GP
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Schumacher will attend Valencia GP
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Aug 2009   |  6:31 pm GMT  |  22 comments

Michael Schumacher will attend this weekend’s European Grand Prix at Valencia as part of the Ferrari team.

The 40 year old was hoping to race but failed a medical check on his neck. He will be there to support the team and particularly Luca Badoer, with whom Schumacher has had a long friendship. Badoer is substituting for the injured Felipe Massa until further notice.
Picture 13

Badoer drove the F60 car at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track this week as part of a promotional filming event. He wasn’t allowed to do more than 100 kilometres in a day and had to use extra hard tyres, so the test was of little value to him. He worked with Massa’s long time engineer, the irrepressible Rob Smedley, who is likely to engineer him at the races.

With Romain Grosjean also racing for the first time in a Grand Prix without any testing, one hopes that the teams will address the in-season testing ban rules to allow for some flexibility. The last I heard, during Budapest weekend, the ban was set to become even more severe next year, with less pre season testing and further restrictions on straight line aerodynamic tests.

As for this weekend, Badoer will be racing for the first time in 10 years and describes the weekend ahead as “a very tough challenge.”

“It will effectively be a test session for me, but I will be trying my best to secure a good result. I have to say, my first thoughts when I take to the track will be for Felipe, because I got a real fright when I saw his accident. I am delighted that he is making a good recovery and I hope he will be back racing as soon as possible.

“I have to add that I am also thinking of Michael, because having trained with him over the last few weeks, I know how much he wanted to make this comeback and how much effort he was putting into his preparation. Even though his decision has provided me with this great opportunity to race for the Scuderia, I feel sorry for him.”

According to Ferrari’s website the car will feature some further updates this weekend, “As a result of aero work and testing carried out prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix, the car will roll out with modifications to the front and rear wings and the diffuser.”

Massa said on Sunday night that he was targeting the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 18 for his comeback, which would him missing just five races. But Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, who visited his driver in Brazil over the weekend, said that there was no rush for him to come back,

“Felipe is on great form and his recovery is going very well…but we need to have patience, there’s no hurry,” he said.

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22 Comments
  1. Red Kimi says:

    I am glad to hear they have brought some new parts…. I think Kimi can steal a win at one point if they don’t give up on the car…

  2. Snail says:

    But Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, who visited his driver in Brazil over the weekend, said that there was no rush for him to come back,

    Nice to see someone being practical and patient about it. Just one knock on a less than up to par skull and thats game over. No one wants that.

    1. James Allen says:

      That’s absolutely the point, Snail. It’s not about how he feels, it’s about what would happen if he were to get another bang on the head, so the brain surgeons tell me (I play football with one!)

  3. Tom says:

    Does an Italian driving a Ferrari speak English with his team these days then? Or will we hear some Italian with a Mancunian accent from Rob Smedley?

  4. James says:

    Although I can appreciate that the teams have been told they need to drastically cut costs, I really think that cutting back on testing is going to be a BIG BIG mistake. Drivers will literally be risking their lives out on track when driving with parts that could be very lethal.

    Pre-winter testing needs to remain to the current level so that the cars can be given a full shake down, as well as younger talent trialled. That, in itself is a further issue that needs to be adressed. If teams are going to play musical chairs mid-season, they really need to give the replacement driver testing time in the car to get them used to the car. When Jaime Algusari was driving around in P1 at Hungary, I really feared for him as an F1 car will have been like nothing he had ever driven. The same will apply for Badoer and Grosjean this weekend. Although they have some experience with the car for this race, there is no experience like driving around a track during the midseason interval.

    I thought that the FIA was supposed to be promoting and improving safety? If they are, they’re going the complete wrong way about it! Disgraceful.

  5. Not a surprise that Schuey will be there to support the team. It’s be a long season for Stefano and company and any support they can get is great!

  6. Werewolf says:

    When it comes to Felipe Massa’s return, part of me keeps thinking Niki Lauda 1976 but Super-rat was fighting for a world championship and didn’t have a brain injury; and even he gave best at Fuji. Whilst a glorious return at Interlagos must be tempting, I cannot help but feel a longer recovery followed by a winter of intensive training and testing is the better option, but maybe this werewolf is getting old and would rather sleep than prowl.

    On the subject of testing, restrictions may save money but I see little evidence of enhancement to the sport. Having attended well supported (free-to-the-public) F1 tests at Silverstone in recent years, is there not room for, say, two or three formal test sessions in-season to be run as full commercial events at accessible European tracks, especially if they were at weekends? These would also be ideal opportunities to review the contracts of under-performing drivers by giving mileage to potential replacements.

    1. James Allen says:

      I agree 100%. But the teams don’t want it. They are going the other way. Apparently doing the Moto GP model, where you run Monday to Wednesday after a GP doesn’t work because of the rubber on the track. You don’t get the data you need for comparison as the track rubbers in because it is already hugely rubbered in, so it’s hard to get accurate reads. Sounds strange to me, but that’s what the top engineers tell me

  7. Considering the picture of Felipe Massa on the BBC F1 website today and the fact that Schumi could not return after injuring his neck 6 months ago, I think Massa is being optimistic when he says he will be back three months after the accident.

  8. BrightMinds says:

    I realise that limiting testing is important to keeping F1 budgets low but something’s really gone wrong over the years.

    Anyone remember Brazil 1992? McLaren brought 6 separate cars along to try and close the performance gap between themselves and the dominant Williams. As far as I’m aware there was no limit to testing and the sum of their total season budgets was less than half what Ferrari spent in 2008.

    Where did it all go wrong?!

    I have heard teams are finding it difficult to build advertisment/sponsorship portfolios with decent rates citing the recession as the main reason. I’ve even heard they blame banning tobacco advertising – they could always rely on Tobacco to provide recession-proof money. Shame too because I always thought tobacco company’s logos looked great!

  9. Lee Gilbert says:

    What will Ferrari do after Valencia with Badoer?

    Surely they won’t have him drive until the end of the year (or Brazil when Massa may come back)?????

    Badoer hasn’t driven an F1 car in anger for 10 yrs and even when he used to, he was bloody awful

    Me thinks Nelson Piquet would be a better choice!

    What price Piquet to Ferrari for 3 months!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Snail says:

      That’s an interesting idea.

      I guess many think Piquet’s F1 career is over. If that is the case, then driving for free for Ferrari for the rest of the year would be a good advert for your skills (assuming Piquet did a good job of it).

      Mind you, interesting idea or not, you need a few things to fit into place:
      1) Piquet’s contract may have conditional clauses in it. Although dropped by Renault he may not be allowed to race again until 2010.
      2) Piquet may not want to do it.
      3) Ferrari need to be interested.
      4) (Optional) Badoer needs to do really badly to make it worth replacing him.

      1. Lee Gilbert says:

        I was actually joking – but if Badoer is as bad as I think / know he’ll be then anything is on

        If Alonso is stick on to join for next year maybe Renault might forget about your point 1 to smooth matter this year

        As regards point 2: of course Piquest will do it, if asked, do you know who his Dad is?

        For point 3, well unless Schumacher is for Spa and Monza, will they seriously stick with Badoer?

        Point 4 is not optional – he will do badly

  10. RF1 fan says:

    Romain Grosjean there’s no mandatory results to have this year at Renault:
    http://video.lequipe.fr/video/iLyROoafMlRe.html

  11. Mon Pen says:

    You have to hand it to Ferrari they really do know how to stretch those loopholes don’t they? I don’t recall any other teams having 100km of “promotional filming events” in the diary.

  12. A.Zeb says:

    Is it me or is Luca almost a reluctant replacement for Massa. Its like he wishes someone else to race… C’mon man! I am not Tifosi but even I can understand what it must mean for an Italin to compete a GP in a Ferarri!
    If you really don’t want to race Luca call me… I’m free that weekend. ;)

  13. A.Zeb says:

    Sorry for my spelling.. sometimes I type too fast.

  14. Colin says:

    At least we know Kimi will implode with Michael in Spain

  15. Fokofpolisiekar says:

    Or you mean his engine will implode, luckily there is no rain predictions.:-)

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