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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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1

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!

2

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.

3

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

4

He was in a Minardi…enough said.

5

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.

6

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

7

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?

8

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.

9

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

10

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.

11

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.

12

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

13

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

14

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?

15

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.

16

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

17

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…

18

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.

19

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?

20

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.

21

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.

22

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?

23

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.

24

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?

25

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…

26

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!

27

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

28

GET ALONSO IN THE FERRARI IF RENAULT CANT RACE!

29

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.

30

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?

31

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?).

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