Motor Racing: Schumacher's return on hold

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL SCHUMACHER has ruled out making a return for Ferrari in the European Grand Prix in Nurburgring on 26 September. The 30-year-old German, recovering from a double fracture in his leg, has been told by doctors that he still needs a further four weeks' recuperation before taking his place on a Formula One grid.

In a statement released by his spokesman, Heiner Buchinger, yesterday, the two-times world champion said: "Doctors have confirmed my recovery rate is normal, there are no complications. But that means I still need four weeks before resuming full training, so Nurburgring is not going to be possible."

The news will be greeted with disappointment by Ferrari fans, who had held out hopes of seeing him start in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Schumacher has missed four rounds of the 1999 championship already since his accident in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July. In his absence Eddie Irvine, who is set to move to Jaguar next season, has kept Ferrari hopes alive with two wins which have left the Ulsterman one point behind Mika Hakkinen.

n The Japanese bank Nomura is reportedly meeting Bernie Ecclestone to take a majority stake in his company, Formula One Management, which runs the sport. Ecclestone first contacted the Nomura chief executive, Guy Hands, two months ago, offering him 40 per cent of the company for around pounds 1bn., and the pair are now holding talks, with Hands looking for a bigger stake.