Lotus has reportedly failed in an attempt to return Michael Schumacher to Formula 1 for the second time, following the news that Kimi Raikkonen will miss the final two races of the season due to back surgery.
As reported by the Daily Mail's Simon Cass, Lotus turned to Schumacher in an attempt to coax the seven-time world champion back into the sport once more.
However, manager Sabine Kehm was quoted by Cass telling German newspaper Bild:
There have been quite a few requests in the past. Michael would still be fit enough but he has a new life.
I don’t find it unusual that people ask Michael. Many people change their assessment about Michael because of Nico Rosberg’s recent performances compared to those of Lewis Hamilton. Michael drove as well as Nico, just as Nico is driving as well as Lewis.
Cass suggests later in the report that fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen will instead be the team's replacement for Raikkonen, having spent the season as a test driver for Caterham.
Lotus had tried to bring in Nico Hulkenberg, he reports, with the Sauber man favourite to take Raikkonen's seat with the team next season. However, his outstanding commitments to his Swiss outfit take priority for the time being.
Kovalainen is an ideal replacement for two races, with plentiful experience in Formula 1 after years racing for some of the sport's biggest manufacturers, including McLaren and Lotus.
While the attraction of bringing in Schumacher and the media attention that it would receive is clear, there would seem little point for the German to return once again after failing to achieve real success on his first comeback with Mercedes.
Kovalainen, 32, will be motivated to earn himself a drive in F1 next season with two strong performances. Schumacher, 44, has already done it all and been out of the sport since last year's final race.
Sports fans always want to see true greats appear just one last time. At some point, though, a decision must be stuck with and time called on even the most illustrious of racing careers.