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With Michael Schumacher now confirmed to have canceled his comeback due to a neck injury sustained in a motorcycle accident, Ferrari has been left with no choice but to put one of its veteran test drivers into Felipe Massa's seat until the injured Brazilian is ready to return to active duty. The trouble is that while other teams use the test driver position to groom up-and-coming drivers for the race seat, Ferrari's approach has been to use older, more experienced drivers past their prime.

Rather than give the seat to Marc Gené, who continues to race actively for Peugeot at Le Mans and last raced in a grand prix in 2004, Ferrari has decided to award the seat to Luca Badoer, its senior test driver. While testing the Ferrari California last summer, we had a chance to talk with Badoer on his way to the season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix and found him to be a good-natured and affable individual. Still, while his development skills are unrivaled, his actual Formula One race experience leaves something to be desired.

It's been ten years since Badoer last started a race – the longest gap in F1 history – and he rejoins the field as the oldest driver on the grid, narrowly eclipsing his former team-mate Rubens Barrichello at 38. Although he moved to F1 after winning the Formula 3000 title in 1992, in his four seasons and 48 grands prix in the big league (all with Italian teams, incidentally), he failed to score a single point (let alone a race win) and famously broke down in tears alongside his car after it failed to take him to a fourth-place finish at the 1999 European Grand Prix. Ten years later, he's looking to improve his record, and we'll be watching to see how he does. Follow the jump for the official press release.

[Source: Ferrari]

PRESS RELEASE
:

Maranello, 11th August 2009 - With Michael Schumacher now being unavailable to stand in for Felipe Massa, as from the forthcoming European Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro announces that car number 3 will be driven by Luca Badoer.

"I am very unhappy that a problem means that Michael cannot return to racing," commented Luca di Montezemolo. "In the past few days, I could appreciate his great efforts and extraordinary motivation which had spread through the team and fans around the world. No doubt his return would have been good for Formula 1 and I am sure it would have seen him fighting for wins again. In the name of Ferrari and all the fans, I wish to thank him for the strong attachment he displayed for the team in these circumstances. In agreement with Stefano Domenicali, we have therefore decided to give Luca Badoer the chance to race for the Scuderia after he has put in so many years of hard work as a test driver."


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  • 16 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why don't they just hire The Stig........
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just call up Jeff Gordon....didn't he drive Schumaker's ride before? He'd probably jump at the chance to even finish last in an F1 race to mix things up a bit. ;)
        • 5 Years Ago
        He drove Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams BMW.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Vodafone? Geez, how old is that picture?
        • 5 Years Ago
        or Marlboro for that matter...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Although Marlboro is still finishing their sponsorship contract with Ferrari, they don't flagrantly advertise like that in the picture.

        That picture is probably circa 2005.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nobody knows the F60 like Luca...he's had as big a part in the development of every Ferrari since 1999. Talking up his lack of points in his previous 48 grands prix, he drove sh*t cars for Scuderia Italia/Minardi and Forti. Ferrari is a completely different monster and he could easily score points, podiums, or wins. Monza is going to be wild, with an Italian driving a Ferrari on the grid.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is like something out of a movie
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good on him for getting one last chance. It is a great story and I hope he gets a point of two just to wash the past away.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "he failed to score a single point (let alone a race win)"

      I may not know all the rules of F1 (who does?), but doesn't that go without saying?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm guessing Ferrari's F1 expectations were already pretty low even before putting Badoer in the driver's seat.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Schumacher is going to beat himself over the head for desperately still having wanted to race, but then with motorcycles, after retiring from F1...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seriously... Gene should race at Valencia.

      Even if he is racing that weekend I'm sure he'll withdraw for a chance to drive in F1 again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Even before Michael was announced to fill in, I thought Gene would have been the obvious choice due to the fact that he does have Grand Prix experience at least more recently.
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