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Schumacher to test GP2 car as warm up for F1 test
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jan 2010   |  1:33 pm GMT  |  39 comments

Seven times world champion Michael Schumacher is to take part in a three day GP2 test at Jerez, starting tomorrow, as he limbers up for a return to Formula 1 testing with Mercedes in February after three years away from the sport.

With only one test in an F2007 Ferrari last summer behind him, Schumacher wants to get back up to speed as quickly as possible. GP2 is the feeder level series for F1, one level down. It is backed by Renault. It replaced F3000, which was the feeder level series in 1991 when Schumacher was coming through the ranks. Ironically he bypassed that stage, moving straight from sportscars, where he drove for Mercedes, to F1.

Schumacher will drive the GP2 development car and will help the GP2 engineers evaluate suspension set ups. It shows how up for it he is and how you can make things happen in top level motorsport if you have the imagination and determination to do so. This test required the permission of the FIA, the F1 testing committee and GP2.

GP2 series organiser Bruno Michel said, “It is an honour and a privilege for us to have seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher help us to develop our car. The goal of the GP2 Series is to prepare young drivers for Formula One. This test will prove to be very important for the future of our GP2 drivers and will be a confirmation of the high-standards and competitiveness of our Series.”

Schumacher will start testing the new Mercedes F1 car on February 1 in Valencia.

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39 Comments
  1. stefan says:

    what helmet and outfit will he wear ? The mercedes one or a bland white one ? Impatient to see the helmet, which will have to evolve from the Ferrari red, back to maybe german colors ? Or a silver grey one?

    1. MBR says:

      The Stig?

      1. monktonnik says:

        Yep, that was the last time I saw him in racing garb. It would be great if he did it again at the test for a laugh.

    2. John F says:

      Maybe the white Stig outfit? ;-)

  2. Jason C says:

    Hmmm – a good idea for him to test a fast single-seater, but he’s got a bit of an advantage there hasn’t he? Other drivers in a similar position (for argument’s sake, let’s say that Villeneuve gets signed up at one of the new outfits) would be unlikely to have a similar opportunity.

    Oh, and off-topic, I got your 09 review book in my Christmas stocking James! Excellent!

    1. Stu says:

      If you had the choice of MS or JV to test your car who would you choose?

      1. Jason C says:

        Indeed, but that’s not the point I was trying to make.

    2. jose says:

      the guy is 40. He’s got a big challenge in front of him. Let’s cut him some slack. If he wants to drive a gp2, let him do it. And don’t be surprised if he gets the fastest time of the week.

      1. russ says:

        cut him some slack?
        you are kidding right?
        [mod].The fia is back at its favoritism.

    3. Lola says:

      The other drivers could do the same with other single seater or they could just hire/rent another gp2 car, most of them could afford it out of their own pockets, it is just a matter of will.

      1. Jason C says:

        I think you underestimate the difficulty of doing that.

        What I’m trying to say is that here is the Schumacher, on the face of it he loves racing, doesn’t have to prove anything and so this is like a little adventure for him. But it’s not the case: it’s the same old Schumacher, pushing every conceivable angle to try and gain that advantage. It’s admirable in a competitor that he’d do that, but it’s also questionable whether anyone other than he would have been able to swing this test.

      2. sam says:

        Do you know why testing is banned?
        To save the cost of developing CARS not to prevent drivers from practicing.

        In this case, it’s a GP 2 car not an F1 car. No team benefit there. And for the record, F1 drivers FIA didn’t have any rule that prevent F1 drivers from driving cars or planes.

  3. rpaco says:

    Oxford rowing club :-)

    1. Momo says:

      London Rowing Club do you mean?

      1. rpaco says:

        Yeah probably, I knew someone would know. ;-)

  4. Lee Grant says:

    Maybe he’ll go as The Stig!

  5. Ginger says:

    As we should have all expected he and RB are doing everything possible to help before the F1 tests. This season is going to be fantastic and I would put money that he will be on the first podium of the decade.

    Bring it on.

  6. DaveCS says:

    Nice to see him being as thorough as ever in his preperation.

  7. Really great stuff even though it’s not an ideal test for F1, surely the outcome of GP2 testing will be all over the news. Most people including ex F1 champions believe that Michael Schumacher still has got what it takes to be a grand prix winner. Just a quick query James, what sort of data collected from GP2 testing can be used in F1?

  8. Something off the topic I thought I’d mention. It seems that most fans like the idea of having ex drivers as stewards from now on. I personally prefer a mixer of personnel to do the job. As much everybody talks about how good it is for F1 that Schumacher is back, I do not reckon it will go down very well with ex drivers if they have to decide something about Michael Schumacher unless the ex drivers are the drivers he didn’t race against. In such a highly political sport like F1 impartiality is rare. Some people will always disagree with the decisions made. But what counts are most people agreeing with the decisions made. Anyone got any idea who these ex drivers are?

    1. M__E says:

      maybe damon hill? :D

      1. monktonnik says:

        No idea, but it should be DC.

  9. James W says:

    Out of interest, do Mercedes have a contingency plan should (and I hope it doesnt happen) Michael’s neck start playing up again? Would they have another german driver, or is Anthony Davidson still on the books?

    1. Danny says:

      I very much doubt Schumacher would even contemplate coming back if he had any doubts about his neck. We have all heard from the horses’ mouth (Schumacher) that he has no doubts about his neck, as he said, he is training at the same level now as was when he was still racing.

      1. James W says:

        He had doubts about his neck before thinking about coming back in August.

        I really want this to happen, I’m just worried that there is a 0.01% chance it wont happen.

  10. Williams4Ever says:

    On Plus side – Testing GP2 car before actual F1 testing starts shows level of thoroughness and work ethic that seven time champ is demonstrating.
    On Minus side – Does it show lack in confidence :-? After all when he started his career, he jumped from Mercedes Sportscars directly in F1 car. There was option of doing F3000 series even then, which he chose not to follow. A Schumacher with even 0.00001% less confidence is vulnerable to be blitzed by younger drivers on the grid,
    I look forward to Lewis Hamilton to “Open his big mouth” as is the tradition :)

    1. rpaco says:

      ” After all when he started his career, he jumped from Mercedes Sportscars directly in F1 car. ”
      Yes but he was 30 years younger then, now he is middle aged and bits of him will have slowed down.

  11. RON says:

    You can bet Michael will leave no stone unturned in his quest to compete for the WDC against Hamilton…

    It’s been years since I’ve been this eager to watch the first F1 race of a season…

    Geniune racing is such a thrill… just hope the FIA stick their politics where the sun don’t shine…

    1. Eric Weinraub says:

      You do mean Hamilton competing against Schuey don’t u?

  12. Eric Weinraub says:

    You can bet that Ross is having no problems getting additional sponsors now having signed the 7 time WDC Michael Schumacher. The GP2 test raises visibility all the more for all involved. I see no reason why the Mercedes will not be on par with McLaren and Ferrari. I am still trying to work out how I am going to route against Ferrari as I have been a loyal fan since the mid ’70s.

    1. lip_iceman says:

      According to Bild, Schumacher has quadrupled his €7m (the retainer for this year) with personal sponsorships.

      Going from no sponsors and a slim budget (as Brawn), Mercedes has snatched the Petronas title sponsor from numerous teams… A big sponsor like that wouln’t have come to a Heidfeld/Rosberg lineup ;)

  13. David says:

    Re: Jose & JA reply under comment #2. Just doing a bit of re-reading, and ran across the stat on the Wikipedia article ;) for the 1994 Australian Grand Prix that it was the “last time to date that a driver over the age of 40 has won a Grand Prix”.

    I wonder how long that statistic will last….

  14. James Allen says:

    Good question. Very good question.

  15. P Byrne says:

    Could Martin Brundle do it? Would it conflict with his commentating gig?

    Mind you I know he’s not on Max’s X-mas card list and Schumacher held a grudge against him for several years…

  16. Last time I read about Martin Brundle in F1sa.org that FIA is trying to ban him. Stil not sure what that was all about. He would be a great steward I believe. Damon Hill on the other hand, would be a nightmare for any driver let alone MS. Maybe somebody from different Era would be a good choice. Certainly not Nelson Piquet Sr either.

  17. sam says:

    I disagree. The dude is so jealous of MS to the point where he obviusly was being bias in public domain.
    Insanely unprofessional.

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