Michael Schumacher has called off his Formula One comeback due to concerns over a neck injury.
Schumacher, a seven-time F1 world champion, had agreed to help out former team Ferrari and step in for Felipe Massa on a temporary basis after the Brazilian suffered head injuries at the Hungarian Grand Prix last month.
But the German has now abandoned the comeback after failing to shrug off an injury suffered in a motorbike accident in February.
Schumacher told his official website: "Yesterday evening, I had to inform Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo and Team Principal Stefano Domenicali that unfortunately I'm not able to step in for Felipe.
"I really tried everything to make that temporary comeback possible, however, much to my regret it didn't work out."
The 40-year-old had intended to return at the European Grand Prix in Valencia on August 23 but testing designed to help Schumacher re-acclimatise himself with the rigours of F1 have shown the injuries to his neck are "too severe".
Schumacher reportedly posted strong times having driven Kimi Raikkonen's 2007 World Championship-winning Ferrari at the Mugello circuit in Italy but the neck flared up again afterwards.
He added: "Unfortunately we did not manage to get a grip on the pain in the neck which occurred after the private F1-day in Mugello, even if medically or therapeutically we tried everything possible.
"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.
"That is why my neck cannot stand the extreme stresses caused by Formula 1 yet.
"This are the clear results of the examinations we did on the course of the past two weeks and the final examination yesterday afternoon.
"As there were no improvements after the day in Mugello, I decided at short notice on Sunday to do that thorough examination yesterday.
"I am disappointed to the core.
"I am awfully sorry for the guys of Ferrari and for all the fans which crossed fingers for me.
"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."
Schumacher, who retired at the end of the 2006 season, won five championships with Ferrari and had been working as a consultant for the Italian team before making the shock decision to return to racing at the highest level.
The German, who claimed his other two drivers' crowns with Benetton, has entered 250 grands prix, winning a record 91 of them.
Massa has made a speedy recovery after sustaining two skull fractures when he was struck on the left side of the head at high speed by a spring that had detached itself from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn.
But even though he has vowed to return this season, it is unlikely he will compete before the 2010 campaign.Reuse content