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Schumacher could return to F1

MICHAEL Schumacher would consider coming out of retirement if Ferrari asked the seven-time Formula One champion to drive for the injured Felipe Massa, his spokeswoman said yesterday.

"If Ferrari approaches Michael, he would think about it," Sabine Kehm told German news agency DPA, but added that it was up to Ferrari to make the first move.

Massa sustained multiple skull fractures in a crash during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, and doctors say he will not race again this season.

Schumacher, the former Ferrari driver who holds nearly every record in Formula One, retired after the 2006 season. His manager Willi Weber told German media after the Hungarian that Schumacher had no intention of returning.

The 40-year-old German driver, who had 91 wins in 250 Formula One starts, still acts as a consultant for Ferrari.

Italian newspapers have mentioned Schumacher as one of Ferrari's options, along with test drivers Marc Gene and Luca Badoer.

Ferrari has said no decision has been made.

"I understand Ferrari's future is of great interest but at the moment we haven't thought about it at all," Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told La Repubblica daily.

In an interview with the German illustrated weekly Bunte conducted more than two weeks ago and published now, Schumacher said he felt he could still win races, although at the same time he ruled out a comeback.

"Purely mentally and the way I feel physically, one could get the feeling that I could still drive to win," he told Bunte. At the same time, Schumacher said "it made no sense" to talk about a comeback "since there have been no serious talks, because my decision stands."

Since retiring, Schumacher has raced occasionally in a motorcycling series but he was injured in a crash in February and is not believed to have raced since.

Massa continued to show improvements in his condition yesterday.

Doctors said on Monday that Massa could be released as early as next week.

Massa's family doctor Dino Altman described the racer as "more alert than he was before" and "improving continuously," adding that Massa was answering questions in three languages.

Altman also addressed what is considered one of the most crucial issues with Massa's health - vision in his left eye, which was injured in the accident.

"Yes, he can see with his left eye," Altman said. "He knows what's right and left so his left eye has no problems. His eyesight is OK."


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