Michael Schumacher cancels F1 return

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher at the wheel of a Ferrari F2007 in Mugello
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

172 comments on “Michael Schumacher cancels F1 return”

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  1. Pedro Andrade
    11th August 2009, 10:50

    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 :)

  3. 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!


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

  5. 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… :)

  6. 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!

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

  8. 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 ;)

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

    News clip of Schumacher’s non-return here

  10. 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…

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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).

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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”!!)

  17. Deeply Saddened..

    :( :( :( :(

  18. 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.


  19. 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?

  20. 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.

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