Ah well, it was a lot of fun while it lasted. After all was said and done, Michael Schumacher will not be standing in for the injured Felipe Massa in the European Grand Prix at Valencia after deciding that the after-effects of his recent neck injury, sustained tumbling from a racing motorcycle earlier in the year, were just too painful for him to contemplate making an F1 return.
Poor Michael, but poor Ferrari. And, now I come to think of us, poor Marc Gene, the Scuderia’s Spanish second test driver, who has been passed over for a drive on his home soil in favour of Luca Badoer. Also spare a thought for the poor spectators. Anybody who put any money down betting that Schuey would score points, or even win, on his return, will now be feeling as sick as a parrot.
We can also take it as guaranteed that the Renault team will get a fine substituted for their one race Valencia suspension when they come up before the beak at the FIA court of appeal next week. Ferrari must have judged there was no chance of ‘borrowing’ Fernando Alonso for a single race, to judge by the speed with which they substituted Badoer when Michael dropped out.
So now Badoer, Ferrari’s longest serving test driver, finally gets his reward for 11 years of thrashing around Fiorano and Mugello. He’ll be the oldest driver on the grid at 38 and has never scored a championship point during stints with Scuderia Italia, Minardi and Forti Corse. Good luck to him, I say. He might just spring a surprise.
At least he knows more about the Ferrari F60 than Schumacher!