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Why Schumacher had to call off dream comeback
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Why Schumacher had to call off dream comeback
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Aug 2009   |  9:44 am GMT  |  114 comments

Michael Schumacher will not drive the Ferrari at the European Grand Prix on August 23rd, nor at any of the remaining races of 2009. The comeback is officially off. Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo confirmed this morning that test driver Luca Badoer will take his place at Valencia, we will see what will happen at the remaining races.

As I posted here last week, Schumacher always said that his comeback was subject to passing medical tests on his neck, which he injured in a motorbike accident earlier this year. Everyone had got terribly carried away with the story and forgotten that there was a chance he wouldn’t be fit.

At the time the extent of his injuries was not given and when I asked his assistant Sabine Kehm last week about this she said that this had been deliberate, which indicated that perhaps they were more serious than merely bruising or a strain. He was moving stiffly in the neck and shoulders when he came to Grands Prix recently in his role as Ferrari consultant.

In his statement today on his website he says, “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.”

‘Fractures’ explains the reason why he isn’t coming back and why Kehm was so keen to manage expectations last week when she said that the comeback was not certain, but subject to medical checks.
Picture 11

His test at Mugello recently was to evaluate his physical condition and to test his neck. He was due to test again this week, but clearly the medical examinations have revealed to him that it was not worth it. He said that the deal with his wife Corinna was that his health had to be the number one priority in any comeback and it is clearly the case that this could not be guaranteed should he race an F1 car in his current condition.

The statement on his website shows the depth of his regret, “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 test in Mugello, even if medically or therapeutically we tried everything possible.

“I am disappointed to the core. I am awfully sorry for the guys of Ferrari and for all the fans which crossed their 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 seat will be filled by Luca Badoer, the long time Ferrari test driver. This was confirmed by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo this morning as he expressed his disappointment that Schumacher would not race again,

“I am very unhappy that a problem means that Michael cannot return to racing,” commented Luca di Montezemolo. 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.”

Badoer was passed over for the stand-in role in 1999, when Schumacher broke his leg. His presence in the car will make it more difficult for Ferrari to achieve its goal of third place in the championship.

Montezemolo’s comments about Schumacher and his ‘extraordinary motivation’ are aimed at Kimi Raikkonen, who now leads the Ferrari team and on whose shoulders their fortunes rest this season. The team needs him to step up and win a race for them this year. Raikkonen’s response on track will be interesting to monitor.

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114 Comments
  1. Andrew Watson says:

    Why Schumacher had to call off dream comeback ? Answer because he would have ruined his reputation AND proved me right and James Allen Wrong ! :-)

    1. Antoine says:

      I think he’s not afraid of anything but in the end all people are interested into is ONLY STATISTICS :-(

  2. Dicko says:

    What a shame, although there were always hints about Schueys lingering neck problems that he may not have made it back.

    With Schumacher back in F1 the viewing figures for the European grand prix would’ve been through the roof, with Badoer are people even going to switch on?

    1. vicweir says:

      I’d guess a number of F1 fans won’t be switching on if Renault isn’t running, never mind MS.
      I think many of the media got so carried away with the notion of Michael’s returning that Renault’s little matter of a team ban seemed to fade from view.
      Back to the drawing board for them indoors!

  3. Nicollers says:

    I’m glad Badoer is getting the drive. If he or Gene hadn’t been given the drive, it would have been a massive kick in the teeth for them both…

    1. Badoer’s already been kicked in the teeth once back in ’99. I’m disappointed but also happy Badoer finally has his chance in a race seat for Ferrari.

      While he’s definitely no Michael Schumacher, I kinda feel like James Allen sells Luca a bit short here as well.

    2. Robert McKay says:

      “I’m glad Badoer is getting the drive. If he or Gene hadn’t been given the drive, it would have been a massive kick in the teeth for them both…”

      They weren’t initially, and it still was.

      Plus I suspect that, unless Badoer stuns us all in Valencia, he will only be in the car for one race whilst Ferrari see if there’s someone else available to do the remaining races that Massa will miss.

    3. diana says:

      But i think it had already been a massive kick in the teeth from them both that Ferrari had to call for a retired -despite it being MS- driver to replace Massa, and instead of them first. : p

      1. Nicollers says:

        Totally. The Williams team said that if one of their drivers was out of action, their test drivers would get the nod. Ferrari are obsessed with image and instead of going with one of their 2 test drivers, asked Michael. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, just indicitive of how Ferrari treat some of their team members. After all, there isn’t a rule set in stone, so they can do what they like. But then again, Ferrari always do….

      2. Rob H says:

        “Badoer was passed over for the stand-in role in 1999, when Schumacher broke his leg. His presence in the car will make it more difficult for Ferrari to achieve its goal of third place in the championship.”

        With respect James, this comment is completely disrespectful. Badoer is a good guy who deserves this chance, and yet all you can say is that it will make it harder for Ferrari to finish third in the constructors’ championship. Well I doubt given Ferrari’s glorious recent history and vast financial resources that a third place in the championship is that important to them, if so, I’m sure someone like Kubica could have jumped at the opportunity. Thankfully, Ferrari have chosen to reward a long-time team player who was unfairly passed over in ’99 and was actually a good driver at his peak but never got to show this in poor cars.

        I agree with the other comments and best wishes to Luca in Valencia – hopefully he’ll shut some people up with a respectable performance.

      3. artorwar says:

        Yes, Badoer has been a consistent point scorer when he’s had the chance. I am sure that he won’t be 5-7 tenths slower than Kimi and sink Ferraris 3rd place campaign. You are talking nonsense mate, Luca may be a nice guy but hes not a great driver, and should have been passed over again.

  4. Spike says:

    Gutted about this. But there was always doubts I guess.

    However James, that the ‘extraordinary motivation’ comment is aimed at Kimi is in your own head.
    Schumacher trying everything to come back shows impressive motivation regardless of who is in the other car.

    1. Ted the Mechanic says:

      I think Montezemolo had seen genuine motivation spread through the team, just like the glory days. Whether he intended it as a dig at Kimi or not, the fact remains that a significant factor in Schumi’s success was his ability to motivate the team to greater things. To perhaps achieve something more than the sum of the parts would otherwise suggest.

      Even if Kimi had taken this as a shot in his direction, it is unlikely to change the way he goes about his business. Kimi is Kimi after all and he has own unique way of approaching things and I imagine it would be like water off a duck’s back.

      The whole Schumi comeback saga and the responses from the fans, the Ferrari team, the other teams, Montezemolo, Bernie, the media, and the critics, only serve to underline just how good he was and what a difference one good driver can make to the fortunes of a team.

      The legend remains intact, the legend is enhanced, with barely a wheel turned…

      1. colm says:

        Well said.

  5. BrightMinds says:

    ah well, at least the race at Valencia will have sold about 235987234 more tickets than last year.

  6. Adrian says:

    Can you imagine if Badoer (or Gene if he gets the nod at a later race) were to win a race and Kimi to not!!

  7. Victor Beamish says:

    “Montezemolo’s comments about Schumacher and his ‘extraordinary motivation’ are aimed at Kimi Raikkonen, who now leads the Ferrari team and on whose shoulders their fortunes rest this season. The team needs him to step up and win a race for them this year. Raikkonen’s response on track will be interesting to monitor.”

    Where do you get this stuff? How can you possibly know … Journalists frighten me.

    1. PT says:

      The man has his opinion just like you have yours… and after all it IS his blog!

  8. Tom says:

    Raikkonen’s response will be very interesting indeed if they announce a 2010 line-up without him at Monza!

  9. Bob says:

    All promise no action.. thats what F1 is.
    Big build up and big disappointment.. like most of the races today.
    You could turn the channel after the race starts.. its usually over after the first corner what a big yawn..

    Schumi could have raced.. but hes decided for whatever reason that he doesnt fancy it.. my guess is its because he doesnt have a number 2 that will race for him and the fact that the ferrari is not the best car on the grid, had it been a dominant car and a slow guy in the other car hed have come back.

    1. Hammad says:

      Do you not for one second believe that his injuries could be real? Do you think then that when he had to take time off when he broke his leg in 99 that it was a fake? Jeez, the guy has nothing to lose by coming back.

  10. Darkstomper says:

    James,

    Do you think we will see Schumacher in 2010?? I was very much looking forward to seeing him back…

  11. Ginger says:

    Gutted, shame for MSC, Ferrari, their fans, F1, the sponsers, everyone except Luca.

    Its a sad day.

    1. Antoine says:

      So you think sponsers planned that at some point during the season Massa would be out and put in scheuy?

      Don’t worry about the $12.000 helmet, that was only a concept, nothing built yet…

  12. Andy says:

    So no new chapter for the book then, James?

    At least a lot of tickets have been sold for the Valencia bore-fest.

    Seriously though, all credit to schu, he stepped up to the plate, and tried his hardest. The last thing any of us wanted to see was for him to injure himself.

    Will be interesting to see kimi’s response.

  13. Matt W says:

    Another complete PR shambles by the F1 community then. You can’t blame people for getting carried away the comments coming from leading figures like Montezemolo made it seem like it was all done and dusted.

    With Valencia ticket sales stuttering, and Schumacher’s comeback announced the day BMW pulled out the timing of that all looks very curious now, convenient even. Burying bad news?

    F1 is so manipluated these days to boost commercial value that it is hard to see the truth anymore.

    1. Ted the Mechanic says:

      “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

      A woman once explained her many children to Groucho Marx by saying, “I love my husband.” And Groucho responded, “I love my cigar but I take it out once in a while.”

      Matt, it seems you love something too, but let go of it once in a while…

    2. Michael C says:

      I hope you are not right in your cynicism – but you very well might be. Come on Michael do a ‘proper’ comeback in 2010 with Ross

  14. Amy says:

    ‘His presence in the car will make it more difficult for Ferrari to achieve its goal of third place in the championship.’ – harsh words regarding Badoer! Lets give hime a chance before writing him off so disparagingly.

    1. Andy Fov says:

      That reasonable enough. Had Bruce Sringsteen withdrawn from his headline slot at Glasto at the 11th hour, would you go on stage and tell 100,000 fans to at least give Darius a chance?

      Personally speaking I’d like to have seen Gene in the hotseat. When he covered for Montoya in McLaren he was a joy to watch. What he lacked in racecraft he made up for with enthusiasm.

      1. Tom L says:

        You’re thinking of de la Rosa there – Gene did a few stand-ins for Ralf Schumacher at Williams in 2003 and 2004.

      2. Andy Fov says:

        You’re right. Thanks for the correction.

    2. BrightMinds says:

      But he’s not raced in 10 years and is a ‘test’ driver when in-season testing is banned! BRING ON THE VILLENEUVE WITH No. 27!

      1. Peter Freeman says:

        BRING ON THE VILLENEUVE… as what? Ballast?

        Villeneuve has to be the most overrated driver in the history of F1. The year he won the WC the car was so good Nelson Piquet Jnr could have been WC in that car…

      2. Charlie B says:

        I’m not sure it was THAT good!

  15. Amritraj says:

    Hi James,

    Thanks for excellent insight on the Schumacher-comeback episode through your series of articles on this topic. Though I am disappointed to see Michael not being able to race again in F1, I am relieved that a sensible decision has been taken. The hype around his comeback could have pressurised anyone. He needs to convalesce from his injuries, which are understood to be severe.

  16. pbyrne says:

    James, You were the first to raise serious doubts about Schuey’s comeback so kudos for that.

    Why Badoer instead of Gene? I seem to the remember the Spaniard as being pretty talented but hampered by his late start in motorsport(?)

    Medium term, how about putting Anthony Davidson in the car? I don’t think he ever got a proper crack at F1…

    Would BMW release one of their drivers now that they’re just going through the motions?

    1. Tom L says:

      I think it was Pedro de la Rosa who started late. Gene, as far as I’m aware, began karting at a reasonably early age.

  17. Tim Lamkin says:

    Alonso is looking for a ride in Spain…

  18. Charles Kane says:

    LdM: ““I am very unhappy that a problem means that Michael cannot return to racing,”

    He didn’t if the problem was the neck or something else. Maybe Nr 1 status, trillion dollars, sack Kimi, season 2011 contract for Massa and Ralf, half of what LdM owns, half of Italy???? Who knows.

  19. Jon Wilde says:

    In my opinion this story is far from over.

    Has Luca Badoer driven the F60? I can’t find records of him taking part in any official test sessions this year. if he has tested the car it was only at Mugello. When did he actually take part in a race in any category? Is he race fit?

    I strongly feel Fernando Alonso will be racing for Ferrari in Valencia.

    You could read Luca Di montezemlo’s comments to mean they need a new Schumacher, this is Alonso.

    Take your bets now!!

    1. TruckyBoy says:

      Renault will probably win the appeal. The team will have to be at the circuit on appeal day.
      I would think they may just get a suspended ban to allow Alonso to race at another Spanish race to sell a few more tickets.

  20. jose says:

    His wife must be putting some pressure on him not to do it. A lot to lose, very little to gain.
    He is a family man now, even though still a lion inside.
    I have more respect for him, just for trying.

  21. guy says:

    ‘Managing expectation’ – maybe they should have done this with clarity from the outset?

    James, it seems the revised edition of ‘edge of greatness’ will need to be put on hold – pity, would have been a great few final chapters.

    Valencia – ’09 – no schumacher, no alonso, no massa – refund anyone??

  22. Matthew Bewers says:

    I know a cousin of mine who is on holiday in Valencia at the mo and decided to go to the Grand Prix after she heard that Schumi would be returning.

    What a disappointment that fortunes have changed – but would Ferrari want to be responsible for nurturing 2 injured drivers?

    They always say that “your health is your wealth” and for Michael, he has got plenty of it and I think the team have made the right decision. His involvement with Ferrari will still be invaluable.

    1. DavidT says:

      Can she drive an F1 Ferrari?

  23. jumbo says:

    You say “everyone got carried away” apart from you. I don’t think that is true quite true!

  24. Paul Mc says:

    I’m absolutely gutted… :(

  25. Jake Pattison says:

    A double-edged sword for Kimi. No doubt relieved that the past master doesn’t have a chance to show him up, but now as head honcho he really needs to perform. The pressure will be on him big time.
    I would wager that Schumacher is more disappointed than anyone.

  26. Rusty0256 says:

    Pointedly Badoer has only been given the Valencia race which could indicate either an early crossover for Alonso (although I am sure Flavio might have a word or two to say about that) or someone else entirely new; perhaps one of the GP-2 brigade or dare I even whisper the name…. Senna.

    I just hope serial sulker Bordais doesn’t get the gig; he doesn’t deserve it.

  27. Eric says:

    What a shame. However, it would have been even more of a shame if he had crashed and killed/paralysed himself due to a weak neck that was susceptible to injury.

  28. luca says:

    Sorry for Schumi and sorry for Ferrari. I was looking forward to following the new “fallible and approachable” Michael the rest of the season.

    His whole demeanour through this time has been no less a revelation than that of another of sport’s untouchables, Lance Armstrong, who seems to have got in touch with his touchy-feely side lately (Twitter and all).

    I hope Michael won’t let this opportunity pass by and continue to develop a more open rapport with the many fans who still admire him. And if Ferrari have any sense they will encourage him to stay close to the team and Badoer through this period.

    James, as his official biographer, you should convince him to Twitter alongside you for a race!

  29. benwillfordjohnson says:

    ” His presence in the car will make it more difficult for Ferrari to achieve its goal of third place in the championship”

    ouch!

  30. Z says:

    well this sucks :(

  31. russ parkin says:

    fortunately he didnt test the 09 car i would say there would have been some more serious repurcussions if that happened, i think ferrari should thank mr williams. ferrari would have been accused of just taking a days development with one of the best car developers around. thank god it didnt happen, could have been one of the final nails in the coffin

    1. Geoff says:

      I wonder if that was perhaps not the main goal in the first place. Get Michael in the 09 car to tell them what needs fixing.

      1. russ parkin says:

        its a strange one i feel. just shows the underhand tactics of some red cars.

  32. Peter says:

    Mmm…rather curious. So, all these Spanish fans buying extra tickets to see the great man are going to be disappointed. Plus, if Renault are unsuccessful in overturning their ban, then there will be no Alonso. Surely, Ferrari could have put Gene (a Spanish driver) in the car to generate some interest. The guy just won the Le Mans 24 a few months ago so we know he’s no slouch and he’s in super fit condition. Somehow, I think Ferrari has missed something here…

  33. Ben says:

    Schumacher was never going to race, but with Alonso banned from Valencia and tickets sales already low his announcement provided a much needed stimulus.

    Ecclestone perpetrated these rumours by being the first to come out and say that Massa would not race for the rest of the season, quite how he knew this before Ferrari or the doctors treating Massa is a mystery – but as soon as that comment was made the Schumacher rumours started. As soon as these rumours gained substance the tickets sales rose. Valencia is Ecclestone’s darling European race as it is a modern circuit in a fashionable location – the modern image of F1 he wants to promote. He wants it to stay and the calendar and to ensure that it needs healthy ticket sales.

    The 10,000 people who have paid to see Schumacher race have been robbed by his hidden agenda – it sickens me that Massa’s unfortunate accident has been manipulated to these ends.

    1. Snail says:

      Massa would not race for the rest of the season, quite how he knew this before Ferrari or the doctors treating Massa is a mystery

      The only reason you would believe that is because you think, mistakenly, that recovering from a head injury is just like recovering from any other injury.

      Anyone that has had a head injury, or known someone that has had a head injury knows that the recovery times are long. Much longer than for other injuries and that it is different for everyone because the nature of the head injury dictates anything else.

      If there is invasion to the skull and/or damage to the neck then you are talking serious amounts of time.

      What Bernie said regarding Massa was pretty much obvious to anyone familiar with this. By the end of the race I had come to the conclusion that Massa would be extremely unlikely to race again in 2009. I came to this conclusion based on what happened to a friend several years ago. Recovery time: approx 1 year. Impact speed: Walking.

      I find it incredulous that despite James writing about this subject quite accurately, an other independent quotes of the doctors indicating he won’t race this year, the comments on this message board, continually push the idea that Massa will race again this year, even next month. Just amazing.

      Its as if some of you read what James writes but don’t both to actually process what you read. Just mind boggling.

      Schumacher not racing is NOT a put up job. He said he might not from the start, it was down to his health. Now some of you guys are “he knew he wasn’t good enough, he’s bottling it”. Utter nonesense. He’s had the medical checks, they have said “don’t race” and he had reluctantly taken the advice.

      Take it at face value – the *VAST MAJORITY* of the world is not a paranoid delusional pull the wool over my eyes deception fantasy and that includes F1!

      Yes, there are inter-team agendas and politics, but there is a point where its gets ridiculous – and that is around people’s health – you cannot and do not play games with that.

      End Rant.

      1. Ben says:

        I think that you are reading things between the lines that are not there; I am not disputing the severity of Massa’s injury and the recovery time he will need to get over it. Ecclestone made his comments before any official announcement over the extent of Massa’s injuries were released by Ferrari or by the doctors treating him. He made them at the height of the speculation by many news outlets reporting ‘facts’ such as ‘Massa will never race again because he has permanently damaged one of his eyes’ – things that were later refuted by the doctors treating him.

        Bernie Ecclestone is not Felipe Massa or Ferrari’s spokesperson; even if he was privy to the latest medicial information of the extent of Massa’s injuries it is not his responsibility to act in that role. Ecclestone’s role, and the one role he cares about, is raising the publicity of Formula 1.

        When you say it is obvious that Massa’s condition means he will be out for the rest of the season you are speaking with hindsight. At the time Ecclestone made his comments – no one outside of the need-to-know circle was aware of extent of his injuries. The general public did not know whether he was blind in one eye, or just had mild concussion.

        By throwing out an unsubstantiated viewpoint that people could only assume was made from an informed position, Ecclestone throw petrol on the fires of speculation, at the critical time people were debating Schumacher’s potential involvement. It was a win win situation for him, regardless of whether Schumacher raced again. Valencia was struggling to sell tickets, Alonso – the star attraction – had just been banned. The only thing that could turn that situation around would be the idea that Michael Schumacher would sit in that cockpit again. The fact so many people were wishfully speculating it proved how popular the idea would be. All it needed was a little bit of Bernie spin to give the notion potential reality.

        It is not about being a conspiracy theory, as that requires people to ‘conspire’ – I do not think for one second that Bernie Ecclestone met up with Di Montezemolo in a darkened alleyway and passed him details of some master plan – both men are businessmen and both men will play situations for maximum personal benefit.

        For Ecclestone, maximum personal benefit was capitalising on all the Schumacher potential return speculation that was buzzing in the press and Internet forums. Once Ecclestone set that alight, it would be a natural reaction for di Montezemolo to try and make that a reality. As people have already mentioned, Schumacher knew his physical condition at the time, and his spokespeople initially made very subtle indications that he might not be fit enough. However one the snowball started rolling these were easily forgotten. Within a couple of days the fact his comeback was a ‘might be’ was discounted for being a certainty.

        Ferrari did not even need to announce 3 weeks before the race who would be standing in for Massa. Had they managed it ethically, they would have said unambiguously that Schumacher’s return was only a potential return, and that it was subject to him passing health checks.

        Of course, acting ethically and acting in the best interests of business are not always mutually inclusive and the publicity generated had they been more transparent would almost certainly have been a fraction of what was experienced.

      2. Snail says:

        When you say it is obvious that Massa’s condition means he will be out for the rest of the season you are speaking with hindsight.

        No more so than anyone else. I came to that conclusion when I’d viewed the video of Massa getting hit by the spring and heard about the surgery (in a previous posting I stated “after the race”, which was incorrect). Not days or weeks later. You can see my first posting on this topic on Jame’s site (no idea how hard to find that and frankly too tedious to bother). I state quite clearly that I don’t think Massa will race again this season, and why I think that.

        The information about his surgery was available before the race. Even the Guardian had this information:
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/jul/26/felipe-massa-surgery-scan-hungarian-gran-prix-accident

        I don’t need a doctor’s report to reach those conclusions. If you know someone has had cranial surgery, that is all you need to know. After that its rest and recuperation on a grand scale.

        The other example for this is Schumacher himself. No cranial surgery, and six months later his skull and neck are still not up to the job of driving an F1 car.

        As for the rest of your argument about Bernie. I disagree. Sure Bernie has his motivations, but he can’t have the only person thinking “Schumacher?”. Either way, If you paid attention to what Schumacher and his PR people were saying you would not have been caught out. Anyone that was caught up in the media hype has *themselves* to blame for not reading carefully enough.

        And those people that think Schumacher pulling out is another stunt, they really need their to check their imaginations in for a service and valet.

        As for Ferrari not needing to announce. That is true, but meaningless. People would work out that Schumacher was testing and put 2 & 2 together and then there would be probably even more speculation (and publicity for Ferrari) and lots of questions asked of Ferrari. Either way Ferrari would have got bag loads of publicity, if anything they probably got less publicity doing it the way they did, plus they did the exceptionally stupid Williams tantrum PR release on their website, which now that Schumacher isn’t competing looks even more stupid than it originally did.

        On the PR front, I’d say that Ferrari got it wrong for this story, they could’ve had more publicity for less outlay.

      3. Ben says:

        “Sure Bernie has his motivations, but he can’t have the only person thinking “Schumacher?”.”

        That was my point – Bernie would have been all to aware of the Schumacher speculation that was rife in the media at the time – that was what he was playing to.

        “Either way, If you paid attention to what Schumacher and his PR people were saying you would not have been caught out.”

        I was paying attention which is why I knew* he would not be racing. Falling off of a motorbike and damaging your vertebrae is a difficult injury to recover from for someone in their twenties – let alone a 40 year old with a history a neck trouble.

        The fact is, for the past week and a half the story has been allowed to run as ‘Schumacher is going to be racing in Valencia’ – I accept that a great deal of the blame for the continuing lie is due to irresponsible reporting. However this version of events was catalysed by Ecclestone and never challenged by Ferrari, at least until it begun to dawn on them that he wasn’t going to race.

        I will reiterate that I am in no way considering Massa’s injuries to be a stunt. I also do not believe Schumacher’s reasons for pulling out are a stunt, however I do believe the withdrawal has been carefully managed to lessen the negative fallout.

        However, with regards to the Guardian article proving that we were aware of Massa’s conditiopn prior to the race… at the same time we were getting reports that Massa’s sight was permanently damaged and still had no definitive report from Ferrari. Whilst the Guardian may be a more reliable source than other papers, so many versions of Massa’s condition were floating around at the time it was impossible for any outsider to know the true extent of his injuries.

        Finally, having re-read my original post I can see that I was possibly a little too vociferous in my choice of language and didn’t express my point clearly enough. Part of my anger stems from the fact the press has gone on about what a shame his pull out is and how the fans have been robbed, however it was the press who perpetrated this lie. I appreciate I made no real mention of that in my original post, however my main anger is directed at Ecclestone – as he has not been damaged by the affair, but was responsible for igniting the whole debate.

        (* very strongly suspected)

    2. Conor says:

      Hit the nail on the head with that one

    3. Barry says:

      That’s some conspiracy theory you’ve got worked out there :)

    4. l says:

      Guys like you will always find another conspiracy to blame Ecclestone who murders babies to earn money of course.

      Blame Ferrari for announcing this like it was 100% sure, instead of waiting for the rapport of the doctors.

      1. Ben says:

        Please see my above response. It is Bernie’s job to raise the publicity for F1, so in that sense, fueling the fires of the Schumi-return speculation could certainly be argued as acting responsibly in terms of his position.

        Also, I concur with your position that the way Ferrari handled the situation was ethically conducive, however – from a publicity point of view it was played for maximum effect.

  34. Richard Hill says:

    Its a real shame about Schumi but how about another senior driver with more recent race experience than Badoer. David Coulthard is still match fit!

    1. Rob H says:

      Personally I think Coulthard would do well to stay in a graceful retirement. Last season, he seemed to be involved in an incident almost every other race.

  35. Ian says:

    Honestly I am absolutely gutted by this news. Love him or hate him, the fact remains that this was one of the most anticipated comebacks for years and would have been the icing on the cake for what has been an incredible season of F1 up to now.

    In a word? Gutted …

  36. Sian James (Telford) says:

    James, Do you know if Luca Badoer has tested the Ferrari F60? I know that Marc Gene did a test with it earlier in the season, but I dont know if Badoer has.

  37. guy says:

    What about Piquet??

  38. Paul Mc says:

    I think the FIA have to overturn the ban on Renault for the next race otherwise is there any point in the average Spanish F1 fan going to the race?

    Ferrari should pay to get Alonso in now. Kimi has been in a 2 season coma and needs a swift kick up the arse that im sure Schumi would have delivered. Alonso has constantly shown that even with an inferior car he was always pushing hard and delivering, a real Schumi like trait.

  39. bonnie b says:

    James,
    If Santander leaves Mclaren for Ferrari in
    2010,will Abbey take its place?

    1. Cliff says:

      There will be no Abbey.

      All Santander owned companies will be rebranded. Abbey, A & L will have the same name…Santander!

  40. Andy says:

    Too bad that we don’t get to see him after all.

    I don’t quite understand why Schumi and Ferrari handled the situation the way they did. It was clear from the very beginning that Schumi’s neck was a question mark (indeed, this was given as the reason why he wouldn’t make a comeback before he announced that he would). Why not do all the checks first, in private and silence, and only after those (if everything is ok) come out and announce the comeback. Now one wonders if everything was done just for hype’s sake.

  41. Red Kimi says:

    “The team needs him to step up and win a race for them this year. Raikkonen’s response on track will be interesting to monitor.”

    ah yes, becuase it is so easy to do with this car. It is not a bad car it is just a bad car int eh hands of Kimi and Massa according to James then… and of course MS woudl have won the next 7 races in this car for Luca and all the boys back in Maranello. James you floor me

  42. Peter says:

    Now I doubt Kimi will get a competitive car this year at all. All effort is goingt to be thrown into 2010. That will provide the opportunity to critisie Kimi again and get him not interested in F1 any more. It is a shame one of the most talanted driver ever been in F1.

  43. Nick says:

    I dont think he ever intended to come back, It was all a load of hype to help Bernie cover the exit of BMW.

    Like many things Michael has done to the sport, his attempted return has done a lot of damage; for the first time in years the teams were all working together, if not fully united. Ferrari had almost convinced the world that they had changed, but Schumacher’s return has sent all this back to 2007. I hope the next time he fakes a comeback he considers what he is doing to a sport he supposedly likes.

  44. Anssi says:

    Again an unnecessary snide at Kimi. I think it tells more about you than about Kimi.

    Kimi has been the faster Ferrari driver this season most of the time (nor was he slow last year either). He doesn’t need to particularly step up to improve or does he, he was 2nd in the last race and also had another podium so far this season, and almost a pole position in Monaco. I cannot believe someone unmotivated would achieve such results. An example of unmotivated is Ralf Schumacher in his last season in F1 and there is a world of difference to that from what we have seen from Kimi last year and this year.

    I suggest you tune down your criticism on Kimi – it comes across like you have made up your mind about him based on gossip whilst ignoring what he does on the racetracks.

    Let’s remind you also of the fact that Kimi has, on average, achieved better results in the F1 WDC than his team-mate Massa. Just to remind you of that fact as I don’t think it reflects from your writings.

  45. Stevie P says:

    Awwwwwwww mahn!!!!

    Loved Schumi on his arrival in F1 – as I figured it was all natural ability and someone else to throw into the Prost\Senna\Mansell mix.

    Then as I learnt more about him, my affection for him slipped and I moved onto others. Not because he was winning everything, but because of the manner in which the bulk of those wins were taken – I wish to see team-mates race, where possible!

    However, I was looking forward to seeing him (back) in action in Valencia…

    Maybe he’ll come back for a race later in the season? Abu Dhabi perhaps… new track for everyone… Ferrari may want to win the inaugural race there (more than other races this season) due to their partner \ sponsor (Etihad?).

  46. A real shame. This would have added a real bit of excitement to the latter half of the season and given F1 a real ‘Rocky’ story.

    I can’t believe Badoer is going to make many headlines given his previous form.

    Incidentally, the editor@jamesallenonf1.com email address is rejecting an email I tried to send James – is there an alternative?

  47. Neil says:

    Isn’t Luca the holder of a record along the lines of “most races participated in without scoring a point”?

    At least he has a chance to drop that!

    Neil.

  48. ALONSO_FERRARI says:

    GET ALONSO IN THE FERRARI IF RENAULT CANT RACE!

  49. ALONSO_FERRARI says:

    let’s say renault don’t get there appeal allowed. Then renault are breaking there contract with Alonso by not providing him with a car for that race, (get out clause out of the contract)

    I’m sure bernie will be thinking of something cunning! lol

  50. Sam98 says:

    Cue spurious conspiracy/’bottling it’/marketing scam theories.

    The news is disappointing, but understandable. Broken vertebrae are delicate matters and I can fully understand that what appeared to be on the mend in normal life felt very different after a test in a Formula 1 car,

    Let’s not forget though, there’s another cockpit return we seem to be forgetting about that I’m looking forward to as much as Schumacher’s – namely, Massa’s.

    Part of me wonders if this will be the making of Massa, with a team re-grouping around a much loved and talented driver (as McLaren did with Hakkinen after his serious smash). But you tell me James, do Ferrari have such sentiment in them?(Not that I’d have thought it of Ron Dennis though come to think of it!).

    Get well soon Felipe – your sport needs you!

  51. Yvonne says:

    Montezemolo’s comments about Schumacher and his ‘extraordinary motivation’ are aimed at Kimi Raikkonen…

    If KR doesn’t read newspapers or something else and misses these LDM’s words,how would it be…

  52. Vik says:

    Badoer is knocking on 40, holds the record for the most race starts without a point and has not tested the F60. What precisely do you expect from him?

  53. El Shish says:

    They should see what takes to get Kubica released from the remainder of his contract. His agent has said that he is a free agent at season’s end and BMW have openly committed to developing younger drivers. It’d give Ferrari a great (and probably cheap) opportunity how Alonso’s best pal in F1 shapes up in a leading car. Doesn’t seem like either team or driver would have anything to lose but a great opportunity for both Robert and Ferrari.

  54. john g says:

    gutted that schumacher won’t be at Valencia (and probably alonso won’t be there either so it will be even duller than last year – are there any alterations to the track like singapore to improve the racing?).

    however, the statement does not reveal whether schumacher will continue to train and try to come back for the last few races? as we all saw in his last race, he’d monster sao paulo and also i’m sure he’d be great in suzuka the best drivers circuit of them all – could his neck have fixed by then?

    as for who gets the vacant seat (i don’t see badoer being much good – clearly dimontezemolo agrees with me) then i can’t see alonso jumping in early, if nothing else just from a contractual PoV with Renault. Kubica to ferrari on the other hand, currently at a team thats underperforming and winding up ready to withdraw… and then Klien comes in to the BMW seat for the rest of the year. what do you think?

  55. Rhi says:

    I’m so gutted. Aside from the joy of seeing my local lad (well, til he ran off to the Swiss tax haven) Lewis finally get to race against Scumacher, I’ve just generally missed seeing the guy on the track doing his amazing best.

    His health and well being have to come first, though, and I’d never argue against that.

    It’s still the most disappointed I’ve felt about something in a while though.

  56. Meeklo says:

    Badoer would be the oldest driver on the grid, at 38 yrs. While their traditional test drivers of Badoer, Gene and Massa have contributed to Ferrari’s many championships Ferrari should look at raising some new children.

  57. Kay says:

    Any chance of Badoer doing Valencia, Gene doing Spa and them the team announcing Alonso from Monza onwards? That’s where they traditionally do their annoucements.

    Although Renault would need some compensation from Ferrari and a replacement driver of similar quality.

    Would BMW have anything to lose by releasing Kubica?

  58. LMW says:

    Publicity Stunt?

    The Ferrari brand and F1 in general have received great media coverage in the last couple of weeks, in addition to increased ticket sales for the forthcoming venues.

  59. RON says:

    This clearly stinks of FIA meddling…

    I suspect Schumi was never going to comeback, but was another publicity stunt to lure in more F1 fans for more free money…

    F1 seems to be a series of scams and very little else…

    If Indycar had no ovals, I would switch over in a minute…

  60. Dave Smith says:

    Shame :( dissapointed no schumacher , no massa :(( all I can say is bring on Alonso.

  61. Dave Smith says:

    Sorry forgot to add this bit from ITV-F1. James can you shed any light on this?

    Badoer, who started 48 grands prix between 1993 and 1999, has so far only been confirmed as Massa’s stand-in for the European Grand Prix. Why Only for one race??

    Schumacher was confirmed until Massa was ready to come back? Does this rest on an Alonso possibly getting out of Renault due to the ban etc?

    1. PT says:

      Alonso getting out of Renault for Ferrari would be disrespectful towards Massa and despite all Ferrari’s faults I don’t believe they would do such a thing.

      Do you think Badoer is only in for one GP because they have little confidence in him – one reason he wasn’t the automatic choice?

      I thought it would be nice for Gene to get this one and Badoer to get the Italian one so they get their home races.

  62. Ati says:

    wonder how many people will cancel their tickets for the upcoming races.

  63. Antoine says:

    Is Ferrari going to pay him for testing unexpectedly or that’s an invoice for MotoGP?

  64. Dicko says:

    Wouldn’t it just be brilliant if Badoer came back and totally stormed the race. Everyone loves an underdog and I for one will now be rooting for Badoer to come out wipe a few smiles off peoples faces.

  65. JohnBt says:

    Reality: NOT 100% FIT – Sorry for the hardcore MS fans, wondered if there’s a refund, if not there are other very good drivers….Vettel, Webber, Button…Alonso??? We can also observe Jaime. Bernie won’t be happy, for sure. Anyway Valencia was voted the most boring circuit.

  66. Red Kimi says:

    I am stunned the way the press pretends Kimi is no longer in F1… or a back field driver.. the Guy has a title to his name. Massa gets tons of love and he has never won a title or nearly the races Kimi has.. Kimi has had a top car in 2005, 2007 and 2008… Massa has had a top car in 06, 07 and 08 they both have had 3 great years of cars and Kimi has many more wins in that time

    1. Richard Mee says:

      This is off-topic… your name suggests a certain partiality in your allegence so I choose my words carefully. Kimi seems ungrateful of his priviledge. The man lacks class. Why should anyone care about Kimi?

      1. Antoine says:

        So true hey, but in the last race the boy was on it…

      2. Brenda says:

        the man does not lack class, in fact, he is full of integrity (on and off track) – even when jounalists keep kicking him down just because he prefers to be coy – unlike Mr. Comeback who is too chicken to comeback after failing to get a test in the new car (that is my humble opinion).

        You don’t say your neck is pinching a LITTLE bit in the first test to get fans’ hopes up. You say it like it is – that it hurts like hell, so no one will think otherwise when the request is turned down for testing.

        Also, Mr James Allen wrote that schummy was moving stiffly in some recent races where he was present – and if those words are to be believed, then who was lying about the comeback if he knew he was just not up to it in the first place? Things just dun add up.

        In a quote I saw in the past, Kimi said he does not care what people think of him, that he is not michael schummacher (something along those lines). Publically differentiating your sense of self worth and character when compared with the so-called most accomplished, most fawned over driver in the history of F1 (whose legacy to me is one of a cheater) is where I find him classy… to have the balls to say I am not like him, whether it is a positive or negative attribution.

        It is not his fault that he is taking MS’ seat, bcos MS went into retirement on his own accord (if they all will have us believe) – taking his seat doesn’t mean you have to perform like him – which everyone knows schummy will do WHATEVER it takes to win. Other than giving his best at what he is paid to do, I believe Kimi is not willing to taint his name for a win. That is classier than most people, and where this world is in severe shortage of such kinds of people IMHO.

  67. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Unfortunate, but without a doubt the right decision to avoid risk of further, possibly catastrophic, neck and skull injuries. As for Michael’s heirs and successors at Ferrari…

    Kimi has a title in his pocket, but he’s never struck me as a team leader or motivator: It’s more that, because of his talent, he’s been the driver FAVORED by the management in the teams he’s driven for. Certainly that was true at McLaren, where pairing him with Montoya didn’t work because JPM wasn’t going to accept the wingman role.

    Everyone recalls conventional wisdom holding that Kimi would dominate FM at Ferrari (something I never thought would happen, but I like to swim against the tide). He didn’t. And most pundits held that it was because “the car doesn’t suit Kimi.” It took until the end of last season for them to give FM credit for his own prowess, that he was simply gone on with the job of beating Kimi head to head.

    The team loves FM. They’ll go to the mat for him, just the way they did for Schumi. They respect Kimi. But I don’t think they’ll put their hearts into it the way they do for FM.

    Felipe leads this team He is Michael’s heir. Kimi is merely his successor.

  68. ZENOBIA says:

    I wouldn’t think to much about what Montezemolo is saying, he and Kimi gets along pretty well. He for one would certainly know not to send hidden messages to Kimi through the press, as Kimi doesn’t bother himself with the media.

    Atleast it is good to hear that Badoer will finally get his chance.

    1. john g says:

      he’s done 48 races without scoring a point – i’d say he’s already had his chance…

      1. Charlie B says:

        He was in a Minardi…enough said.

  69. Cliff says:

    James I just got back and read your take on MS story. I enjoyed the article, but I enjoyed the ranting that followed most. I can only presume that you’re having a laugh at some of the comments. There’s nothing like throwing petrol on a fire to get a reaction.

    Keep up the good work!

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