Ferrari test driver Badoer to replace Schumacher

Ferrari have reacted quickly to the news Michael Schumacher will not race at the European Grand Prix by naming test driver Luca Badoer as his replacement.

Ferrari have reacted quickly to the news Michael Schumacher will not race at the European Grand Prix by naming test driver Luca Badoer as his replacement.

Schumacher, a seven-time F1 world champion, had agreed to help out former team Ferrari and step in for Felipe Massa on a temporary basis after the Brazilian suffered head injuries at the Hungarian Grand Prix last month.

However, the German has now abandoned the comeback after failing to shrug off a neck injury suffered in a motorbike accident in February.

Schumacher told his official website: “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.”

The 40-year-old had intended to return in Valencia on August 23 but testing designed to help Schumacher re-acclimatise himself with the rigours of F1 have shown the injuries to his neck are “too severe”.

Schumacher reportedly posted strong times having driven Kimi Raikkonen’s 2007 World Championship-winning Ferrari at the Mugello circuit in Italy but the neck flared up again afterwards.

He added: “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 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.”

Montemozolo was disappointed the audacious plan to reintroduce Schumacher to F1 had failed to come off, but he feels Badoer deserves his chance.

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

“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 One and I am sure it would have seen him fighting for wins again,” he added.

“In the name of Ferrari and all the fans, I wish to thank him for the strong attachment he displayed for the team in these circumstances.

“In agreement with Stefano Domenicali, we have therefore decided to give Luca Badoer the chance to race for the Scuderia after he has put in so many years of hard work as a test driver.”

Badoer last raced in Formula One a decade ago. He made 48 starts for Lola, Minardi and Forti Course but failed to register a single point.

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