Badoer relishing Ferrari chance

There will be no consoling the fans who had hoped to witness Michael Schumacher's comeback this weekend but, even without the Ferrari great, Formula One will still see an astonishing return.

A decade on from his last appearance on the starting grid, and still without a point after 49 starts for various now-defunct teams, Luca Badoer can look forward to Sunday's European Grand Prix as the first Italian to race for Ferrari in 15 years.



Called up as a replacement for a replacement, with Schumacher having to abort plans to come out of retirement and stand-in for injured Brazilian Felipe Massa, Badoer has his chance of a lifetime.



Just scoring a point will be hard enough for the 38-year-old, who has barely driven the F60 car now that testing is banned during the season, and he knows it.



"I am very motivated to make the most of this opportunity, even if I know I am facing a tough challenge," the test driver told the Ferrari website.



"It will effectively be a test session for me, but I will be trying my best to secure a good result."



The team's focus will be mostly on 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen, who finished second in Hungary last month after Massa - last year's winner in Valencia - was hit on the head and seriously injured by flying debris in qualifying.



McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton won in Budapest and is hungry for more while Brawn's championship leader Jenson Button is eager to reassert himself at a key point in the season after struggling in the last three races.



Button is 18.5 points ahead of Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber with seven races remaining and will stay top of the standings whatever happens in Valencia.



Webber and team mate Sebastian Vettel, third in the championship, will be hard to beat while Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso was on pole at the last race and can see signs of a Renault resurgence.



Throw in the threat from Germany's Nico Rosberg, who has scored points in his last six races for Williams, as well as Brawn's Rubens Barrichello, and Badoer will have his work cut out to make any impression.



The Italian is under no illusions, acutely aware of the painful circumstances behind his good fortune.



"My first thoughts when I take to the track will be for Felipe, because I got a real fright when I saw his accident," he said. "I am delighted that he is making a good recovery and I hope he will be back racing as soon as possible.



"I have to add that I am also thinking of Michael, because having trained with him over the last few weeks, I know how much he wanted to make this comeback and how much effort he was putting into his preparation.



"Even though his decision has provided me with this great opportunity...I feel sorry for him, because not only are we friends but I am also an admirer of his."



A new Ferrari driver is a rarity, and Badoer will be very much in the limelight, but he will not be the only newcomer to the street circuit.



France's Romain Grosjean will be making his Formula One debut after Renault dropped Brazilian Nelson Piquet while Spanish teenager Jaime Alguersuari lines up for the first time before his home crowd after racing for Toro Rosso in Hungary.



News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Furyon London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam