Martyn Bell will sit out this year's British Touring Car Championship on medical grounds. Bell, who scored points twice for the Tech-Speed Honda squad last season, missed three rounds of the 2009 season after a fall while on holiday.
Despite believing the injuries to his hip were easing, it has been revealed that they are, in fact, worse than first thought.
"It's been common knowledge that I have been carrying an injury since July, but after extensive tests and treatment following the final round of the season at Brands Hatch, it has now been discovered that I suffered a fracture in my hip, and have now developed arthritis," said Bell. "Added to the fact that I also require surgery on a long-standing back injury, I've been forced into the difficult decision to sit out the 2010 season.
"It's not a decision I have taken lightly, but in reality, I had no option. My sponsors and backers fully understand the reasons behind the decision and have already said that they will continue to support me despite this setback."
While Bell, 45, wants to return to the BTCC in 2011, his decision to take a sabbatical means that Tech-Speed has an available seat alongside Paul O'Neill for the coming season.