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Old 07-28-2009, 09:07 AM   #2
StuBeck
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Michael Schumacher is not ruling out the possibility of standing in for injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.

The Brazilian is recovering in hospital after suffering a fractured skull at the Hungarian Grand Prix and is likely to be out for the rest of the year.

"The whole thing will be considered by Ferrari. If they approach Michael, then he will consider it," the seven-time champion's spokeswoman told BBC Sport.

"But there is no reason for him to step into their discussion."

Schumacher, who retired from Formula 1 at the end of the 2006 season, told the BBC in an interview at the German Grand Prix two weeks ago that he was not interested in returning to F1.

However, his spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said that was a reference to a permanent return.

"Usually, I would say he's not interested because he's fine with his life and he doesn't miss anything but now the situation is so different - it's very hypothetical - and Michael doesn't want to step into that [discussion]," she stated.
Michael Schumacher

In-depth interview - Michael Schumacher (UK users only)

She added that Schumacher still trained every day but that she did not know whether he was fit enough to race an F1 car again.

"Michael had a motorcycle accident in February when he had a neck problem - and I really can't tell you if his neck would be fine to drive an F1 race," she said.

"If Ferrari asked him whether he would consider driving, he would have it checked - and remember he is a 40-year-old man, too."

Massa has had surgery on a fractured skull sustained when a spring from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn hit him on the helmet at more than 160mph during qualifying in Hungary on Saturday.

He is in a "severe but not critical" condition, according to the hospital that is treating him in Budapest and there is also concern about damage to his left eye.

The surgeon treating him, Robert Veres, revealed it was "too early to say" whether Massa would be able to compete again.

But he will almost certainly not be able to drive at the next race, the European Grand Prix in Valencia in Spain on 23 August - and probably not for the rest of the year either.

606: DEBATE
I don't think it will happen, but as a big Schumacher fan I would love it, if he did.

Steven Davis 7

That means Ferrari need to find a team-mate for Kimi Raikkonen for the Valencia race.

Schumacher, who won a record 91 grands prix in his career, is under contract to the team after taking on a consultancy role following his retirement.

The German is close to Massa, who was his team-mate in his final season, and has taken a close interest in the Brazilian's career.

But he has not driven an F1 car since 2007 and may consider that he has nothing to gain from a temporary return.

A number of other drivers have been mentioned as possible replacements for Massa.

Among them is Renault's Fernando Alonso, who is expected to move to Ferrari in 2010 anyway - although the team have not confirmed that report and the Spaniard has denied it.

Renault have been banned from the Valencia race after allowing Alonso to return to the track with a loose wheel following a pit stop.

The wheel and its fairing both became detached from the car as he toured slowly back to the pits - an alarming sight only 24 hours after Massa's accident.

Renault have appealed against the decision to suspend them and a hearing of the court of appeal of governing body the FIA is expected in the next couple of weeks.

It has been speculated that Alonso's move to Ferrari may simply be brought forward - but that would leave Renault without a recognised top driver for the rest of the season.

The team were on the verge of sacking Alonso's team-mate Nelson Piquet before the Hungarian race and while Alonso, a two-time world champion, qualified on pole in Hungary, Piquet qualified 15th and finished 12th in a similar car.
40-year-old Schumacher has kept himself fit since retiring from F1 in 2006
40-year-old Schumacher has kept himself fit since retiring from F1

Ferrari have two reserve drivers, the Spaniard Marc Gene and the veteran Italian Luca Badoer.

Spaniard Gene - who raced intermittently for Williams as a stand-in during 2003/2004 and has competed in 36 races with a best result of sixth - is the more likely to be given the drive.

Badoer has been a test driver for Ferrari but has not raced since 1999 and has never scored a world championship point.

A number of other drivers have been mentioned as possible stand-ins.

The most qualified, Schumacher aside, is BBC F1 pundit David Coulthard, who won 13 grands prix before retiring at the end of last season. He is under contract to Red Bull, who would need to give him permission to race if Ferrari approached him.

Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais, who was sacked by the Toro Rosso team before the Hungarian Grand Prix, has been mentioned as he has the same manager as Massa - Frenchman Nicolas Todt.

And last winter, Italian Formula Three champion Mirko Bortolotti reportedly impressed Ferrari in a test. The 19-year-old is racing in Formula Two this season.
Quote the article n00b.
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