After not stepping into a Formula One car in nearly four seasons, seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher has been given a chance to get familiar with another race car prior to his comeback into the sport. Michael Schumacher tests...
After not stepping into a Formula One car in nearly four seasons, seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher has been given a chance to get familiar with another race car prior to his comeback into the sport.
Unfortunately for the German driver who is ready for his first "actual" test in a current F1 car, this test is in the GP2 Series development car that will not see real racing track time until 2011.
The 41 year old German drove a blue-and-white "Junior Varsity" car for a few laps on Tuesday at Jerez, Spain, on a cloudy day that saw many observers, including his new team engineer, Andy Slovin, and his doctor look on as the new Mercedes GP Petronas driver took lap after lap, trying to break in the talent that has seen him win more races and championships then anyone else in F1 history.
Schumacher himself will be at the Spanish track for a total of three days, trying out this special vehicle, which is much slower than the modern Formula 1 car. But because the F1 rules prohibit seasonal drivers from testing with their regular vehicles until February 1st , the German had to settle for another race car that was close to what he will be driving this season.
Schumacher had an earlier opportunity to drive a Formula One car, and this came after Felipe Massa was stuck by one of Rubens Barrichello's springs in the side of the helmet during qualifying for last August's Grand Prix of Hungary. Massa was out for the rest of the season. Schumacher, who at the time was a consultant for Ferrari, had already tested earlier in the season. But an event in Germany, where Schumacher raced a motorcycle, resulted in an accident where the F1 star suffered a slight neck injury and this problem prevented him from replacing Massa for the rest of the year.
But at Jerez on Tuesday, it was not a issue.
"This test is not about whether the neck holds out. On this subject, I have no doubts," said the F1 megastar.
Schumacher got his comeback wish this season, signing a one-year deal of approximately 30 million dollars to join fellow German Nico Rosberg at the new Mercedes GP team.
With the second day, Wednesday, rained out, Schumacher will have to rely on tomorrow to get more feel of the GP2 car before he joins Rosberg in Spain in two weeks time when regular F1 testing begins.