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Badoer says media forced him out

Luca BadoerLuca Badoer has claimed that negative press coverage of his two races substituting for Felipe Massa encouraged Ferrari to drop him in favour of Giancarlo Fisichella.

Long-time Ferrari test driver Badoer returned to Formula 1 after a ten-year absence when Michael Schumacher's neck injury prevented him from making his intended comeback while Massa recovered from the head injuries sustained in Hungary.

Badoer struggled in both the European and Belgian Grands Prix - spending both weekends at the tail of the field. He received substantial negative press coverage for his results, and he reckons Ferrari would have given him another chance but for all the bad press being aimed in his direction.

"Those who write don't understand how much harm they can cause," Badoer was quoted as saying by Gazzetta Sportiva. "The media played a fundamental role in the decision to replace me."

The Italian remains convinced that his performances would have improved given more time - and says he is still proud of his time as a Ferrari F1 driver.

"I realised my dream," Badoer said. "I will always be able to tell my kids I raced two races for Ferrari. Maranello had faith in me. I only have one regret - from the third grand prix I would have done better.

"There was no agreement on how many races I would do. I thought I had time to improve. And these rules stop a reserve driver from testing and make him a victim - it happens only in Formula 1."

Badoer admitted that Fisichella, who is moving to Ferrari after taking a shock second place for Force India at Spa, was likely to fare much better than him.

"Giancarlo is a quick driver," he said. "I am happy for him, he has achieved his dream of driving a Ferrari and he will do better than me because he has been racing for years in F1 and knows the 2009 cars well.

"He will have to learn to use the KERS but that's a minor thing. He can quickly aim for results, otherwise replacing me would have made no sense."

Ferrari has also announced that Fisichella will stay on and become the team's reserve driver in 2010, but Badoer expects there to be room for him in Ferrari's testing line-up too.

"My intention is to stay," he said. "I am finished with races but my relationship with Ferrari continues."

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