Ferrari has ruled out any chance of Michael Schumacher racing for the team this year, despite speculation over the European Grand Prix weekend that the seven-times champion could still make a comeback.
Schumacher had been Ferrari's preferred replacement for the injured Felipe Massa from last weekend's race in Valencia, but an old neck injury forced him to cancel his surprise return to F1.
Although doctors at the time left the door open on Schumacher perhaps being recovered enough to race this season, Ferrari has now revealed that such a prospect can be dismissed.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, when asked about rumors Schumacher was continuing physical training to prepare for a comeback, said: "I'm happy he is training, but what I can absolutely rule out is that Michael can return this year as a racing driver."
Luca Badoer, who was slotted in to Ferrari's second car, had a torrid time in Valencia and will need to improve dramatically in this weekend's race at Spa if he is to have any chance of keeping hold of the seat for the Italian Grand Prix.
Domenicali said he could not make any prediction for how much better Schumacher would have fared last weekend if it had been him in the car and not Badoer.
"It would have been tough for Michael too, because it's a difficult track and it's new," he explained. "Obviously, his approach is always aggressive. Would he have done well? I really think so, because he wouldn't have gone for it if he wasn't confident. As for how well, I'd be dishonest: I don't know. However, he would certainly have done well."
Ferrari will make a decision about its driver plans for after the Belgian Grand Prix when it knows more about the timescale for Massa's return to the cockpit.
Several drivers have already been linked with the team as a temporary stand-in, including Giancarlo Fisichella, Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Bourdais, Nelson Piquet and Nico Hulkenberg.