In a move that is sure to delight F1 fans around the world, Ferrari have confirmed in a short statement Michael Schumacher will race in place of the injured Felipe Massa.

Michael Schumacher on Wednesday announced he is looking forward to the challenge of replacing his injured former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa at forthcoming grands prix.

"I met this afternoon with Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe," the 40-year-old German, who retired in 2006, said.

Schumacher hung up his helmet as a record-holding seven time world champion and winner of 91 grands prix and insists he has never regretted his decision.

"Though it is true that the formula one chapter was completely closed for me a long time ago, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore (this) unfortunate situation," he added.

"But as the competitor I am I also very much look forward to facing this challenge," said Schumacher.

Ferrari also confirmed the news, following reports in the respectively German and Swiss newspapers Bild and Blick.

The Italian team said it will enter Schumacher as the alternative competitor of Massa's car number 3 following a training programme for the German, who earlier this year hurt his neck in a motorcycle testing crash.

"I really can't tell you if his neck would be fine to drive an F1 race ... and remember he is a 40-year-old man, too," Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said on Tuesday.

Ferrari Statement

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro intends to put Michael Schumacher in Felipe Massa's car untill the brazilian driver will be able to race again. Michael Schumacher said he is ready and, over the next few days, will undertake a specifc training programme at the end of which confermation will be given of his participation in the Championship with effect from the European Grand Prix on the 23rd of August

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