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Schumacher scraps F1 comeback plans

  • Story Highlights
  • Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher calls off his F1 comeback
  • Schumacher is suffering from a neck injury sustained in a motorcycle accident
  • The German was to replace the injured Felipe Massa in European Grand Prix
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(CNN) -- Michael Schumacher has called off his eagerly-anticipated Formula One comeback with Ferrari because he has not recovered from a neck injury he sustained in a motorcycling accident earlier this year.

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher has called off his much-anticipated return to Formula One.

Schumacher was due to replace the injured Felipe Massa for the Italian team at the European Grand Prix in Valencia on August 23, but announced on his personal Web site that these plans have now been scrapped.

"Unfortunately I'm not able to step in for Felipe," the statement read.

The seven-time world champion added: "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."

The 40-year-old German started a two-day test session on Tuesday at the Italian circuit of Mugello ahead of his return.

An earlier one-day test behind the wheel of a 2007 Ferrari had given the first hints that Schumacher was struggling for fitness. Photo Michael Schumacher's career in pictures. »

Last week, he told his Web site www.michaelschumacher.de:

"I only have to admit that my neck pinches a bit. We have to get a grip on that as health has priority -- that's the clear arrangement made with Ferrari and, by the way, with my wife, too,"

After Schumacher announced he was unavailable for the Italian-based racing team, Ferrari confirmed on their official Web site the vacant berth will be filled by test driver Luca Badoer for the race in Valencia.

Massa is recovering in Brazil from the serious injuries he received in a freak crash in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix and is set to miss at least four races. Video Watch CNN's analysis of Schumacher's situation. »

Schumacher has worked as a special adviser to Ferrari since his retirement from Formula One in 2006, after winning five championships during his time with the team to add to the two he won at Benetton.

His seven world titles surpass the five won by the Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio and his tally of 91 grand prix wins from 250 races is also a record.

Schumacher broke the news that he would not be returning to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and team principal Stefano Domenicali on Monday evening.

His decision followed a further thorough examination of the extent of his neck injury.

"I really tried everything to make that temporary comeback possible, however, much to my regret it didn't work out," he said.

"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."

Di Montezemolo responded with a statement on the Ferrari Web site that read: "I am very unhappy that a problem means that Michael cannot return to racing.

"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.

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"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," his statement read.

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