Injury forces Schumacher to scrap plans for comeback

SEVEN-TIME champion Michael Schumacher yesterday said he was &ldquo;disappointed to the core&rdquo; after being forced to abandon his hotly-anticipated comeback less than two weeks before his first race in three years.<br /><br />The German, 40, had been set to make a sensational return to the track at this month&rsquo;s European Grand Prix as a short-term replacement for injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.<br /><br />But a neck injury failed to withstand the demands of practising in an F1 car and, after consulting doctors on Monday afternoon, Schumacher admitted defeat.<br /><br />Ferrari have confirmed that test driver Luca Badoer, whose last grand prix came 10 years ago, will instead stand in for Massa in Valencia on 23 August.<br /><br />&ldquo;I really tried everything to make that temporary comeback possible, however, much to my regret it didn't work out,&rdquo; said Schumacher.<br /><br />&ldquo;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.&rdquo;<br /><br />Schumacher, who won five consecutive titles during an 11-year spell with Ferrari, broke bones in his neck and head in a motorbike accident in February.<br /><br />The injury was not thought to be a major concern when he provoked huge excitement earlier this month by announcing he would come out of retirement.<br /><br />&nbsp;But practice sessions at Ferrari&rsquo;s Mugello track in a 2007-specification car aggravated the complaint, forcing Schumacher to seek urgent medical attention.<br /><br />&ldquo;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,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />&ldquo;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.&rdquo;<br /><br />Ferrari coaxed Schumacher, who retired at the end of the 2006 season, out of retirement after Brazilian Massa suffered a fractured skull at last month&rsquo;s Hungarian Grand Prix.