The spokeswoman for Michael Schumacher has revealed that the seven-time F1 champion would consider making a return to the sport if asked by Ferrari to stand in for Felipe Massa.
The Brazilian faces the prospect of potentially missing the remainder of the season due to the injuries he sustained in his accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with the latest updates from Budapest revealing that Massa has now been brought out of a medically-induced coma following surgery for a fractured skull.
While Ferrari has stated that it will take its time to choose a replacement for Massa for any events he is forced to miss, the rumour mill immediately started with Schumacher and Ferrari test drivers Marc Gene and Luca Badoer mentioned as possible candidates.
Since retiring from the sport at the end of the 2006 season, Schumacher has retained a consultancy role with Ferrari and carried out some testing duties with the team last year.
Although he has stated on more than one occasion that he has no desire to return to sport, spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said that the German would consider a request from Ferrari if they asked him to stand in for his former team-mate.
"The whole thing will be considered by Ferrari,” she told the BBC
. “If they approach Michael, then he will consider it, but there is no reason for him to step into their discussion.
"Usually, I would say he's not interested because he's fine with his life and he doesn't miss anything but now the situation is so different - it's very hypothetical - and Michael doesn't want to step into that [discussion]."
One thing that could work against Schumacher is a neck injury he sustained earlier in the year after a fall during German Superbike testing at the Cartagena circuit, with Kehm adding that she was unsure if his neck would be up the stresses and strains of an F1 return.
"Michael had a motorcycle accident in February when he had a neck problem,” she said, "and I really can't tell you if his neck would be fine to drive an F1 race.
"If Ferrari asked him whether he would consider driving, he would have it checked. You also have to remember he is a 40-year-old man."