Michael Schumacher cancels F1 return

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?

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172 comments on Michael Schumacher cancels F1 return

  1. Kenny77 said on 11th August 2009, 15:26


  2. He would have run around mid pack and battled Fisichella for the last point, if he didn’t end up in the wall. A real thrill that would have been.

    Also, will Ferrari revoke its nasty harangues against Williams and Torro Rosse since it has just proved that attempting to ram Schumacher down the throats of the teams, and attempting to violate the rules in the process, was nothing more than an ill-considered flight of vanity?

  3. Aw cmon! I wanted to see him race Hamilton. :(

  4. The guy was a genius, a brilliant clever racer, awsome >> Benetton onwards, and an occasional grand cheat. :(

    Seen him, done that, who’s next, come on Lewis greatness beckons…

  5. sesku said on 11th August 2009, 17:32

    alex yoong for ferrari seat!!!!!

  6. I’m not entirely surprised by this development, because the possible consequences of this biking accident had been mentioned from the beginning.

    What I agree is interesting is the team’s handling of the situation after it had become clear Massa would not be able to race on the short term. Side-lining your experienced test drivers, one of who has competed in and won Le Mans this year was controversial decision, even if it is understandable they wanted to fuel some public interest with the prospect of a Schumacher comeback.

  7. Brian said on 11th August 2009, 17:53

    I know, I know, we are all disappointed and now Valencia will suck just as much as last year. But look on the brightside, its Spain, and if I remember correctly, last year, they had some pretty good camera angles of bikinis! :)

  8. I was also looking forward to seeing Schumi against Hamilton, Vettel, and the rest. But on that same hand, the whole thing looks more and more like a big publicity stunt to me. Frank Williams was right…they should have decided to use their reserve drivers right off the bat, esp. with Michael’s injuries from the bike accident playing into it.

  9. StrFerrari4Ever said on 11th August 2009, 18:07

    When I saw this on SkySports News At 8:45 I was thinking im probabl dreaming then it struck me his not coming back :( So disappointed my favourite driver of all time aint coming back but I guess we can take a positive in having Badoer step in see what he can achieve with a competetive car heck if Alguersuari can be just a second or one and a half seconds off the pace Badoer with his machinery should be midfield or top 10.

  10. The only person at fault here is Schumy himself. He is the only one who knows how seriously injured he is and should NEVER have whetted all our appetites in this manner, if he even suspected he couldn’t compete because of his neck.

    Truly disappointing!

  11. Steve_P said on 11th August 2009, 18:12

    Well, I am completely disappointed now.

  12. The whole thing has the distinct whiff of a publicity stunt. I’ll bet Ferrari, and Bernie too for that matter, were well aware that Schumacher’s neck injury would prevent him from driving. Nothing like generating a bit of silly season publicity!

    By the way … where would Schumi have stood in terms of getting a super-licence, what with him having not raced competitively since the end of the 2006 season?

    With regards to who’s actually going to be Kimi’s temporary team-mate, it makes sense for the team to pick one of their own test drivers but I would have liked to have seen what Anthony Davidson could do with a half-decent car.

  13. I was so looking forward to the return of Schumi. What a huge let down.
    How about Hulkenberg , is he free for the weekend?

  14. Andrew said on 11th August 2009, 19:00

    Poopmonkeys!! I was looking forward to Schumacher’s return. :(

  15. I don’t think it was a PR stunt, nor do I think that he “bottled it” and used his neck injury as an excuse, but I do have to reflect that it was all a bit Mansellesque. A lot of this was out of his hands, wasn’t it? Press, fans and blogs all predictably going nuts and expecting, not just a solid fill-in from Michael out of loyalty to Ferrari, but something sensational that, let’s face it, wasn’t gonna happen. Expectations are key, course. Plenty of drivers are capable of filling in and scoring useful points for the WCC, but the fanzone was clearly wetting its pants for a lot more than that, wasn’t it? Otherwise, why all the excitement? He was gonna thrash Kimi, show Lewis and Jenson and Vettel how it’s done, etc. etc. etc. In the event, he didn’t make it past the first hurdle and Lewis, Vettel et al will be there, flying round and round as usual.

    I’m sure there will always be claims that if only his neck had been up to it, he’d have done that and shown them all up. I don’t believe it, personally, and here’s why. If F1 is worth watching at all, it’s because it’s tough at the top, the sharp end is what it’s cracked up to be, as has been proved time and again, and there is no magic ingredient to success; in fact it would devalue the whole endeavour if there was some magic control knob, activated by your name or your past achievements, that could lead to immediate success. A proper, cold reflection on why MS was so good in the first place should show this to be the case. If you think he’d have hopped into the F60 and shown them all a clean pair of heels, then presumably you think that Ross Brawn was a superfluous element at Ferrari, that Kimi is a wastrel that Ferrari keeps on its payroll for no good reason, so is Massa (also with zero F60 wins), and Michael simply wasn’t trying from 1996 to 1999 when he drove for Ferrari but failed to achieve the domination he was obviously capable of. Surely Michael’s own career, when he was a younger man without a dodgy neck, shows that it takes time to get the elements in place, gel with the team and the car and raise the level; I thought this was his strength – motivating his team on multiple fronts, attracting the best people to work with him, optimizing every aspect of the package step by step, and working harder at it than everyone else. The environment he was planning to step back into in Valencia was a very different one from that, the car and the team management considerably less impressive, the competition arguably sharper and tighter than ever.

    I appreciate that it’s easy to downplay what he might have done in the F60 with the hindsight of today’s announcement, but I think there’s a clear argument for realism that still respects his achievements. For me, F1 moved on, and it’s time to recognize that. A new generation of athletes arrived, some capable of pushing and beating Alonso, who, like it or not, vanquished Michael over two seasons in a far more meaningful comparison than we were ever going to get from a few fill-in races in late 2009. So I think those people who thought we were going to see a terrific display of brilliance worthy of his old achievements were, a bit like Mansell fans in 1995 dreaming of Red 5, being rather hopeful.

    All in all, a bit sad and it could have been better managed. But, importantly for me, I certainly don’t feel I’ve missed the opportunity to see the hallowed showdown between the Lewis generation and the Schumacher of old – I just don’t think it would, or could, have worked out that way. I think Michael would have given a respectable account of himself, but there were too many elements missing for the stratospheric expectations of everyone from Lauda and Ecclestone to the man on the street to have been realized.

    Next chapter…

    • Maksutov said on 11th August 2009, 23:30

      very interesting and well put .. it definitely wouldnt have been easy for schumacher to provide something spectacular. So I am sure that is a part of the reason for his decision – he knows what it takes to push for the top and he simply was not fit for it.

      But I doubt he played some kind of a game, and I 100% believe that he seriously considered to race. Anyway, he might decide to come back in the near future so I would not dismiss it.In fact now I EXPECT that more so than before..

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