Michael Schumacher turns down offer to drive for Lotus

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher has turned down an offer to come out of retirement and drive for Lotus in the season's final two races.

The 44-year-old German declined an invitation to replace Kimi Raikkonen, who is absent with a back injury.

Raikkonen's place will now be filled by fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen, according to the Press Association.

Lotus are set to make an announcement on Thursday morning in Texas ahead of Sunday's United States Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher records

Most F1 World Championships: 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

Most Grand Prix wins: 91

Most season wins: 13

Most podium appearances: 155

Most wins at one race: Eight (France)

"It is true they were asking and I can understand why. Everyone can see Michael is still very fit," Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm told BBC Sport.

"I think it is fair to assume Michael would still be strong but he has happily settled in his new life."

Raikkonen will miss Sunday's race and the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix in Interlagos seven days later.

The 34-year-old will drive for Ferrari, one of Schumacher's former teams, next season.

Schumacher retired in 2006 after a decade with Ferrari, but made a comeback with Mercedes in 2010.

He retired again at the end of the 2012 season, making way for Britain's Lewis Hamilton after the 2008 world champion left McLaren.

Kovalainen began his career with Renault in 2007 and had two seasons with McLaren, during which he won the 2008 Hungarian GP, his only victory to date.

He had two years with Lotus and spent 2012 at Caterham but was unable to score a point for either team and was without a drive this season.