Michael Schumacher has refused to rule out the possibility of returning to racing at the very highest level, after the German's manager revealed that the record-breaking seven-time F1 World Champion could test a Ferrari again in the not-too distant future.

Schumacher pulled out of his planned comeback to replace injured ex team-mate Felipe Massa as persistent neck pains from a motorcycling fall at Cartagena in Spain back in February continue to plague him. That left the Scuderia's loyal and long-serving test driver Luca Badoer to step into the breach, but a poor return to competition in the European Grand Prix in Valencia at the weekend - qualifying plum last and taking the chequered flag just 17th in the race - betrayed just how long the Italian has been out of action, having not previously started a race in the top flight since 1999.

That has left Ferrari needing to ask some serious questions, and ramped up the pressure on Schumacher to fill the void until Massa is well enough to return. Though the 91-time grand prix-winner has insisted that he will not be in the car at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend or at Monza in front of the Maranello-based outfit's adoring tifosi a fortnight later [see separate story - click here], he has dropped hints that it would be wise never to say never.

"For the moment, I don't have any plans to start another attempt to come back," the 40-year-old told British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, "[but] I do not want to exclude the possibility that I [will] come back one day. I'm still part of the Ferrari family. You never know what happens. For right now, though, I have to say 'no'."

Meanwhile, Schumacher's long-time manager Willi Weber has only served to fan the flames in admitting that the Kerpen native remains in training and could yet be seen inside the cockpit of an F1 car before too much longer.

"He still wants to drive motorcycles and karts," the German told Cologne's Express newspaper, "and for the recovery from his injuries it could be helpful for him to test again in the old F1 Ferrari. When? It has not been decided."


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