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Massa injury fuels speculation Schumacher could return
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Massa injury fuels speculation Schumacher could return
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Jul 2009   |  4:54 pm GMT  |  90 comments

While Felipe Massa’s condition continues to improve in hospital, speculation regarding who will stand in for the Brazilian at next month’s European Grand Prix in Valencia is mounting.

Word in Italy is that there is still concern about Massa’s sight in his left eye, with some suggestion that the optic nerve may be damaged. However Massa’s doctor Dino Altman, this afternoon said, “Felipe has no damage to his left eye. He opened it a little, it is still swollen, but he can see well. There is no obvious damage.” Only after detailed checks on the optic nerve will it be known whether Massa will race again.

Doctors at the AEK hospital are saying that he will be released in around 10 days time.

Michael Schumacher has stated several times that he is not interested in a return to Formula 1, however, his spokeswoman Sabine Kehm told the BBC today that he would not automatically reject the idea should Ferrari ask him. The important thing about this message is that he is willing to race, Ferrari would not want to be the ones to initiate this.

This idea, however, was soon quashed by the German’s manager Willi Weber who spoke with the 40-year-old yesterday and told the Daily Mail: “The pressure on him would be huge. He would be expected to win, but he has not driven this car.

“When Michael was racing he would get as close to perfection as possible. In this case, it would not be perfection; it would be a gamble – and that’s not Michael’s style.”

Ferrari’s alternatives, though, are poor with the team’s test drivers Luca Badoer, 38 and Marc Gene, 35 unlikely to be offered the seat. That would leave Schumacher as the team’s only remaining reserve driver.

Should Schumacher decide to return, he’ll be at the same age as Nigel Mansell when the Brit made his successful return to Formula 1 with Williams in 1994 which included victory at the Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide and it would come just weeks after Lance Armstrong, also a seven-times champion, made an astonishing comeback in the Tour de France, becoming the second oldest rider to take to the podium in Paris.

Despite not having been in the car since 2007, Schumacher still trains everyday while the regulations would allow the German to use last year’s car to get back up to speed ahead of Valencia.

It is ironic, though, that should this come together, Schumacher make his return at a track he doesn’t know. But just imagine what the atmosphere will be like at Monza just two races later.

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1

I cannot believe it. I thought Michael would feel as though he has nothing to prove. Apparently he still wants to drive…

Oh which tracks do you favor Schumacher?

2

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

3

And so Schumi seemingly is coming back! I REALLY can’t wait for the Valencia race now. I just hope it goes well for him and he beats Kimi somewhere (quali on similar fuel or the race!). Wonder what odds you could get on a Schumacher Monza victory….

4

bad luck mansell and davison….micheals gonna do the job in valencia

5
joseph farrugia

it’s not an IF but an IS!!

he has been confirmed as a temporary replacement for felipe.

BTW why r all teams on holiday whilst ferrari are testing straight line speed??? live on sky this morning

6

It’s a terrible shame we have to be discussing this – and get well soon Felipe but it seems a no-brainer for Michael (if he wants to) to return on a short-term basis. Unless he has an ego the size of a planet what has he got to lose. His reputation (occasional very prominent spur of the moment mistakes aside)- is very unlikely to be tarnished by his return whatever the outcome – and what a dream for Bernies nonstop soap opera!! And – by the way -what a ridiculous decision by the stewards (FIA?)concerning Renault in Hungary

7

What about Fisichella?

-Italian

-Years of experience to draw on, including this year; also knows what it’s like to drive for a top team

-I imagine he’d love to do it, and wouldn’t command much $$$

-Relatively easy to get him out of his Force India contract (or on loan), compared to Alonso at least! And FI can slot Liuzzi in his place easily

-With all due respect to Fisi, he’d be the perfect balance of good enough to not be an embarassment but at the same time not so good as to unsettle Kimi, or indeed Felipe. If they put Alonso in that seat (which I doubt is possible, but anyway) it might look like a kick in the teeth for Felipe. Fisi however is much more believable as a temporary replacement.

8

Only one person has mentioned Valentino Rossi and Sebastien Loeb. I haven’t checked the Moto GP & WRC schedules, but either of these super subs would make for a heck of a publicity coup if something could be arranged.

On the other hand Scott Speed and Takuma Sato would probably give rise to a blip on the Ferrari sales radar in North America or Japan…

But for my money Schumi’s would be the ultimate comeback.

P.S. Is reply #57 the real Anthony Davidson? Cool if it is. Give him a shot at the drive as well, just so long as he doesn’t spin off in the first few laps…

9

The way I see the Massa reports… 4 weeks rest and he’ll be back…

Not a chance. Brain injuries take a long time to heal.

A few years back a friend of mine had a similar injury (but a lower speed, he just fell over). Took over a year to recover and he still didn’t have total control over the little finger of his right hand.

There is no way Felipe will be driving in 4 weeks time. Hell will freeze over first.

10

So a big argument about MS not coming back would be down to his fitness but what makes anyone think LB or MG would be in a better shape?

I would personally love to see Anthony Davidson or Takuma Sato take the seat but i don’t think it will happen. I honestly think Vitantonio Liuzzi has the best chance to take it.

11

I’d love to see Schumi in the car, but I don’t think it adds up, as Willi stated he could end up looking daft….and for what.

Gene really ought to be the obvious choice, but there are a lot of quick drivers out there. Mr Davidson is one of the fastest…but I can’t see his luck letting him get the drive.

The way I see the Massa reports… 4 weeks rest and he’ll be back…and no offence to anyone I’ve mentioned but he is easily the quickest in that car.

12

Weber said he’s 200% sure MS won’t race in Valencia but said nothing about next race after that.

13

Not a bad shout putting Schumi in the car on a temporary basis… until they know the full situation with Massa. Can’t see Badoer or Gene getting the seat. Might also be a chance to throw in one of their young Italian prospects (who they regularly offer an end of season test to) a la Toro Rosso, and see how they get on. But won’t be surprised if Schumi gets to drive temporarily.

I can imagine Lewis being excited by that prospect too – he hasn’t raced against him in F1.

Plus F1 needs some interesting positive news, after the withdrawl of BMW (quel surprise!)… can you imagine how Kubica is feeling now, after last seasons opportunity was blown (to focus on this seasons car) – whoops!!

14

If the regulations allow MS to get up to speed using last year’s car, why couldn’t that have been done for STR’s rookie? Instead of that, he was seemingly thrown in at the deep end having never – more or less – driven an F1 car before!

As to other driver options, Villeneuve is available and has stated a desire / intention to return to F1 🙂

15

Because they are Ferrari and have different rules to everyone else.

The 2009 Sporting regs say:

22.1 a) Track testing shall be considered any track running time undertaken by a competitor entered in the Championship with the exception of :

i) promotional or demonstration events carried out using tyres provided specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier ;

ii) three one day young driver training tests carried out between the end of the last Event of the Championship and 31 December of the same year, any such driver having not competed in more than two F1 World Championship Events ; iii) eight one day aerodynamic tests carried out on FIA approved straight line or constant radius sites between 1 January 2009 and the end of the last Event of the Championship.

b) No competitor may carry out more than 15,000km of track testing during a calendar year. c) No track testing may take place between the start of the week preceding the first Event of the Championship and 31 December of the same year.

So no, it does not say you can do testing in last year’s car. I suppose Shumi could get away by saying he is not entered in the championship, actually Ferrari have until 4pm on the Thursday of scrutineering to enter the new driver with the Race stewards. (He could still use this year’s car under the “not entered” loophole.)

He must have a superlicence though, does Schumi still qualify for one?

Having said all that, I will predict that Schumi is eventually at least half a second quicker than anyone has ever been in the car, also that he goes off at least three times in practice, finding the edge.

16

Apparently BMW leavs Formula1…..

17

James,

What’s there to stop Ferrari choosing from outside their circles?

We saw it when they hired Salo over Badoer in ’99, so I don’t why they won’t do that again.

18

Who do you suggest?

19

i think that marc gene should drive for the european gp. although he has not driven a current f1 car in a race recently, he did win the 24 hours of lemans this year and has been racing in other series. he is also spanish which would please the spanish fans due to renault being banned

20
Alistair Blevins

Is there really no other viable candidates over and above Badoer, Gene and Schumacher?

What beggars belief in my opinion is that Ferrari retains 2 journeyman test drivers with no eye on the future.

Whilst Schumacher would undoubtedly be a competitive and crowd-pleasing choice, he surely lacks the fitness, edge and fire that he would absolutely require (of himself) to step into F1 again.

I’m probably not the first to mention this, but Alonso is free for Valencia.

Isn’t he going that direction anyway?

Just a thought.

21

Yes! Please!!!

Bring back Schumi!

Bring back Schumi!!

Bring back Schumi!!!

He didn’t win the championship in his last 2 years of racing and in my view this didn’t diminish his reputation in any way. We know the Ferrari is not the class of the field this year but it is getting better all the time. This for me (as a fan of F1 and Schumi) would be the ultimate solution to Ferrari’s enforced driver vacancy. It might even motivate Kimi to pull his socks up…

Schumi has maintained his diplomatic disposition and hasn’t launched into vitriolic allegations or bitter recriminations like a certain crooning, be-spectacled ex. champion did when he vacated the driving seat. I’ve no doubt that a Schumi return to the grid would be a great boost for the sport at a time when it needs all the positive news stories it can get.

BRING IT ON…

22

It will be great to see MS again, and no just that, but to see him compete with Lewis, Vettel (with a winning car) Kimi and Alonso (again). It will ne special. Besides that, the rating of F1 will be higher, not just in Monza, but in the rest of the remaining races. It will be nice, let`s hope…

23

Firstly, continued best wishes to Felipe as we want to see him back soon.

It would be great to see Michael race again so we could see him up against Kimi in equal machinery. So we could compare him to the younger drivers – Seb Vettel for example. So we could see how he gets on driving probably the third best car on the grid (Red Bull and McLaren ahead now).

However, I feel that if the speculation about BMW is true, it may well be Robert Kubica who is in the car. He will be available.

24

It would be fantastic to see Michael back in F1, but unfortunately I doubt very much that this will happen…

25

Wow… have I ever been happy to be wrong.

Welcome back Michael!

26
Anthony Davidson

I’ll do it!?!?!?!

27

AD to Ferrari! Yay! Definitely gets my vote . . . providing he also continues @5LiveF1 commentary from the cockpit ! 🙂

28
Anthony Davidson

The way Jensons car is flailing and failing, I could see him eying up the seat. He’ll probably be wondering where Brawn will be next year anyway.

29

NO I’M AVAILABLE, PICK ME..

30

this sounds like a job for the stig!

31

Many names have been mentioned as replacement for Felipe but I am surprised that nobody mentioned Valentino Rossi (very close to Ferrari) or Sebastien Loeb (keen to race in F1) 😉

Takuma Sato or Anthony Davidson would be very good choices too or even Alan McNish or Frank Montagny.

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