Schumacher injury could impede comeback

Michael Schumacher hopes the neck injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident in February will not hinder his attempted comeback to Formula One.

A day after announcing he was ending retirement to temporarily replace injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, Schumacher's return was contingent on passing a fitness and other medical tests that could take several days, his doctor Johannes Peil said.



"Had Michael not worked so hard in recent months, all this would not have been possible," Peil said.



Schumacher was considered one of the fittest drivers until he retired at the end of 2006, and Peil said the seven-time world champion has been working out at home regularly, especially on his neck muscles.



In February, Schumacher crashed during a motorcycle race, but his neck injuries were never described in detail. He has not believed to have raced on two wheels since. Neck muscles are critical for F1 drivers, who experience great G forces during a race.



While the 40-year-old Schumacher hopes to compete in the next race, the European Grand Prix in Valencia on Aug. 23, he and Ferrari were downplaying any chance of him adding to his record 91 victories in 250 starts.



"I hope he's up to it physically and he can pass the tests that must be administered for the neck muscles, which he hasn't used in a while," Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said in Rome.



"But already today, the entire team is working to prepare him. Tomorrow he'll have his first tests on the track."



Montezemolo said Schumacher had little time to become accustomed to the Ferrari and new KERS overtaking technology. Also, the circuit in Valencia has been modified since Schumacher retired, and testing has been banned to save costs.



"This will be a big problem, at least for the first race, because he's going to find himself on a circuit he's never driven on, with a car he's never driven, and with technology he doesn't know," Montezemolo said. "But, unfortunately, this is the price we have to pay."



Former world champion Niki Lauda, also a Ferrari alumnus, agreed.



"He doesn't know the circuit in Valencia, he doesn't know the car, he is not allowed to do any test driving," Lauda said. "These are tougher conditions than for his rivals. And on top, Ferrari doesn't have a top car."



As a consultant for Ferrari since his retirement, Schumacher was aware of its struggle to develop a competitive car this year.



After winning the constructors' standings last season, the Italian team was third, languishing 74 points behind leader Brawn GP.



"Last year we were fighting for the championship really to the last race, which made development a little bit more complicated," Schumacher said. "It made us have to develop the (2008) car and a new one at the same time.

"But we're preparing a new one, and over the years it has worked out pretty good. We like competition, but we like to be the winner out of it."



For now, Schumacher's decision to step in for Massa, who was recovering from skull fractures from a crash in Hungarian GP qualifying last weekend, had triggered a massive media hype, and was considered welcome news for F1.



Auto racing's premier series has been hit by setbacks, including the withdrawal of two major manufacturers within less than a year. Honda pulled out after last season and BMW announced its withdrawal hours before Schumacher made his decision public. The manufacturers have been feuding with the series' administrators about cost-cutting moves and other rules in recent months.



Television ratings have also been dropping in Germany, one of its top markets.



"This is the best thing that could happen to Formula One and it's simply great for our series," said Mercedes motor sports chief Norbert Haug.



Massa has been warned by doctors that he may never race again, but the Brazilian still hopes to.



"Yesterday, I went for the second time to visit Felipe and I saw big improvement," Montezemolo said. "I hope Felipe returns soon, and of course whenever he comes back the car will be there waiting for him.



"To have Michael in for us, for the team, and I think Formula One after this, will help the sport bounce back after useless polemics and controversy that has had nothing to do with the sport.



"Let's hope he's coming back to win, together with Kimi (Raikkonen)."

Sourced from: The New Zealand Herald

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert