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GP Week : Issue 59
Short Straights n The Canadian Grand Prix looks set to return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2010 following a one-year hiatus. With backing from capital city Ottawa and the Quebec government, a return to Montreal next season is all but signed. Rumours continue to circulate that the 2010 F1 calendar will feature 20 races. n The 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix will start earlier than the farcical running of the event in 2009, when bad weather and poor light led to the race being called short and half points awarded. The 2010 race will not go back to its original lunchtime start slot, but will begin instead at 4pm rather than the 5pm start of this season. n The Crystal Palace racing circuit in London, England, is set to see action once again in 2010, following plans made by the Sevenoaks and District Motor Club to resurrect the track for historic racing. “The plans are all in place and we are ready to go; we now need to raise the funds to pay for repair work to the track surface and the building of safety barriers,” said a spokesman for the club. n F1 race winner Johnny Herbert is set to make a racing return in the British Touring Car Championship. Herbert, who won the inaugural season of the Speedcar Series, will race a Team Dynamics Honda Civic in the last three rounds of the 2009 BTCC season. n Former F1 tester and GP2 race winner Neel Jani has been injured in a mountain bike accident near his home in Switzerland. T Schumacher return go HE hugely anticipated racing return of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher has been put on hold after the 40-year-old German was forced to admit that he was not fit enough to compete at this weekend’s European Grand Prix. “I am disappointed to the core,” he announced on his website. “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.” The news follows Schumacher’s tests at the wheel of an F2007, after which a neck injury he picked up in a superbike crash in February flared up. “There’s only one way to find out whether your situation is capable of standing the force because you have many simulations, I have lots of training machines and so on but none have ever simulated the stress and demands on the body of an F1 car,” he admitted at a press conference in Geneva. “Therefore, we really needed to do this test in order to find out. “My doctor had told me that yes we could do this test and see then had to give it a certain time and put some more stress on afterwards in order to see the development from there on. In the end, we did everything in the most prepared way that was possible but it didn’t work out.” However former Ferrari driver and three-time world champion Alain Prost has questioned whether Schumacher’s neck injury was as bad as he was suggesting. “It is questionable whether he only called his comeback off because of health problems,” Prost told French newspaper Le Parisien. “Perhaps, when he climbed back into the cockpit, he realised that there was an enormous task ahead of him.” Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer, who last raced in F1 in 1999 and has the unenviable record of the highest number of F1 race starts without ever having scored a point, has been called up to replace the recovering Felipe Massa for this weekend’s European Grand Prix. Ferrari has not yet confirmed that Badoer will still be in the car one week later at the Belgian Grand Prix, and such uncertainty has raised suggestions that Schumacher, although not fit enough for a return in Valencia, may yet make his comeback later in the season with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in three weeks time mooted as a possibility. With Massa’s recovery reportedly exceeding all expectations, however, there have been rumours in the Italian press that the Brazilian may yet make a return to Ferrari before the end of the 2009 season, and that the Italian Grand Prix may even mark his return to F1. He will have to pass stringent FIA medical checks before any potential return is made, and with twin skull fractures a comeback may be some time off yet. Neck injury rules former cham comeback, leaving Luca Bado Valencia