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Motor Racing: Fresh blow for Ferrari

MICHAEL Schumacher last night abandoned plans for an early return to the cockpit and effectively eliminated himself from this year's Formula One championship equation. His decision confirms his team-mate, Eddie Irvine, as Ferrari's challenger for the title.

Schumacher had hoped to drive his car today at Fiorano, Ferrari's test track, and then make his racing comeback in the Hungarian Grand Prix next week.

However, doctors yesterday advised the German against an early return from the broken leg and injured heel, sustained during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Schumacher's publicist, Heiner Buchinger, said: "The doctors decided it would be too risky to drive so soon." It is now expected Schumacher will schedule his return for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on 12 September.