F1 Winter Break
Schumacher pushing the opposition already
Schumacher pushing the opposition already
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Aug 2009   |  6:27 am GMT  |  76 comments

Michael Schumacher has only been back in Formula 1 for a couple of days and already he’s at the centre of a controversy, albeit one which says more about the state of the sport than about him and Ferrari.

Schumacher does not simply have to get back up to speed, he has much to learn about the 2009 cars before he makes his dramatic comeback at the European Grand Prix in Valencia on 23 August. They have adjustable front wings and above all the Ferrari has KERS, which he needs to learn how to use. So Ferrari understandably requested that the other teams allow him one day to test the car. And understandably the teams were not in a position to unanimously agree to that. So it will not happen.

Why should a seven times world champion get a day to familiarise himself with the car when a total novice, Jaime Alguersuari was denied that opportunity before his debut in Budapest and presumably Romain Grosjean will have no such luxury before he replaces Nelson Piquet?

No reason at all, but you’d have to say that as F1 is supposed to be about excellence, it’s a bad rule which forces all of these men to go into their big weekend poorly prepared.

Schumacher’s knowledge of the F60 will be merely what he can glean from sessions on the FIAT simulator, which is not as sophisticated as the McLaren one.

But for the 2009 cars the simulator lacks one key ingredient, which is an understanding of the way these tyres need to be ‘switched on’ and how difficult it is to do that. We have seen some extraordinary things this season, with slow cars suddenly putting on an amazing turn of speed or supposedly fast cars like the Brawn, unable to get the tyres working and toiling around to get poor results. Ferrari have had their fair share of these problems this year, I’ve sat in many a post race media debrief with Stefano Domenicali shaking his head about the tyres not working. This will be the area of most concern and focus once Schumacher has learned when to push the KERS button.

Schumacher will do plenty of real testing however; he is allowed to get back up to speed using a 2007 car, the one in which Raikkonen won the world championship. Although the F1 factory is on enforced closure for two weeks, the Corsa Clienti division, which manages and runs old Ferrari cars on behalf of wealthy customers, is managing Schumacher’s programme. He ran at Mugello yesterday on GP2 slick tyres.

These days are important because, aside from reconditioning his muscles to the demands of driving an F1 car, Schumcher’s brain will not be up to speed. To start with the car will be ahead of him. I remember interviewing Ayrton Senna when he came back in February 1993 to test not having driven a car since the previous November and he spoke very interestingly about the time it had taken for his brain to catch up with the speed of the car. Schumacher is less poetic than Senna was, but he will no doubt be very interesting on the subject.

I’m in Italy at the moment and the return of “il campionissimo’ is getting people very excited here. It will inject some interest into a disappointing campaign for Ferrari and will give a lot of motivation to the team members themselves.

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I think that there is a fundamental difference between the position that Ferrari/MS is in and the one that Red Bull/Alguersuari and Renault/Grosjean were (will be) in.

Both Red Bull and Renault are making a choice to terminate their current drivers and put in new drivers in their place. They do this knowing full well that the new drivers will not get to test.

Ferrari did not choose to have Massa crash. Sure, they chose to use a replacement driver while he recovered...but it would be ridiculous not to substitute him.

Basically, I think it is reasonable to give Ferrari/MS testing time since it was not a planned replacement, and more importantly Ferrari did not replace Massa with Schumacher. Massa had an accident and Schumacher came in to help the team.

Now, should a 7 time world champion NEED to test? I would argue that yes, he does. He hasn't driven in over a year and the huge regulation changes in 2009 I think are big enough to make it difficult for him.

I don't know, I just don't agree that Ferrari is in the same situation as RB/Renault.


Presumably it "be ridiculous not to substitute him" because he is so good? If so, then surely he needs the test less than Alguersuari whom Ferrari rejected a test for (http://www.planet-f1.com/story/0,18954,3213_5471519,00.html). If Shumacher really needs the test then why didn't Ferrari allow Alguersuari to test? Unsporting that's why, as always, the Schumacher/Ferrari team were always unsporting.


Jon, your arguments are irrelevant, the rules are, "No testing in season". Whether it's a good rule or a bad rule is irrelevant too.


it may not be the same situation as renault etc, but the fact is ferrari have 2 reserve drivers who have tested the car, and they don't have to have shumi driving it in the first place. he's not gonna be allowed to anyways, williams have blocked it 😀


Ferrari didn't have to have MS in the car - they have two other drivers that have driven the F60.



I am very interested to see Schumacher return to the cockpit. I do not feel he is the great driver every body makes him out to be. He rebuilt Ferrari as team Schumacher everybody in the Team was there t help him win. The no 2 driver was there to help MS. Johnny Herbert had to share his test data with Schumacher not reciporacated. Eddie Irvine was like a wing man who simply kept all other drivers away from MS. If schumi had a poor qualifying Irvine was fuelled light to get ahead of the competition and hold them up.

They pushed the rules didn't he have launch control 'hidden" in the software after it was banned. Ferarri Super Cooled the fuel to decrease its volume.

Bridgestone tyres were designed specifically for Schumacher and Ferrari.

Ross Brawn Master Tactitian won Schumi a lot of races

Don't get me started on Hill and Villeneuve.

So I think we will see a raw Schumacher race in Valencia and I would put him at 4th or 5th place finish


spot on!


You simplify things a lot ... well in general i don't agree with you... However, don't you think that 4th-5th place in Valencia would be great for Michael?


I think it would and if Michael finishes well and beats Kimi I will alter my opinion.

Remember Monaco 2006 when he parked his car at the entrance to the tunnel

By the way James we miss you at the GP


To be honest there is no reason why the other teams should let Schumacher test. I think the rule is stupid, but it is the rule.

If Alguersuari can get into a 2009 F1 and be reasonably on the pace I am pretty sure that MSC wont have a problem.

As far as his brain catching up I would be interested to know his lap times from Mugello.

I guess the real question is how similar are the GP2 tyres? Surely he can put 2009 slicks on the 2007 car.


Looking at the Mugello times I think he is immediately on the pace.

His best time beat the F60 time of Massa in Jan by 2 tenths. Obviously weather has a part to play in that, and nothing is ever straight forward but my (rather tenuous) assumptions are below.

The Q1 pace of the 2007 car is +0.8 compared to the Q1 of 2009. This is a rough average over a number of circuits, but you have to say that he is effectively a second faster than you would expect him to be. The GP2 tyres probably don't give as much grip as the f1 tyres, which probably makes up for the weather difference. Also this is day 1 of a test and presumably Massa's fastest time was set after more running.


I've just read that the FOTA Teams agree on Letting Schumacher test the f60 for one day, and just recently the FIA has approved it, Due to the nature of the Circumstances in which Schumi was Drafted in.. can you Shed some more light on this James?


I also question the decision to allow Schumacher to have a day to acclimatise himself with the F60 when Jaime and Romain don't. It would seem like a case of one rule for Ferrari, another for the rest, yet from what I understand the teams themselves agreed to it.

Of course, having Schumacher back is great for the spectacle, and the last thing F1 needs is for Schumacher to throw the car into the first wall at Valencia but why shouldn't other replacement drivers get the same opportunity?

It's probably easier for Ferrari to arrange this kind of thing as they have their own test track and don't have the headache of arranging a test day at a different track.


The answer is obvious. If Ferrari want a day's testing for Schumacher provided this option is given to every team then this should be allowed. I am sure most teams would jump at this opportunity with the exception perhaps of Red Bull who have the best car currently.

No exception should be made for Ferrari.

Moving forward perhaps in season testing needs to be introduced for next season albeit strictly controlled with just four sessions per season.


I was also thinking it was wishful thinking on behalf of Ferrari thinking Michael would be allowed to test the F60 while Jaime was not. Worth a shot though, right? Plus, Michael could have helped develop the car prior to racing it...

The Corsa Clienti loophole is clever too. Ferrari must think the F2007 is more similar to the F60 than the F2008. Interesting.

What I've been mulling over is the fact that the F60 was very strong at Monaco, and Valencia is not dissimilar. Therefore, we could potentially see a very strong result from Michael.


The Corsa Clienti loophole is clever too. Ferrari must think the F2007 is more similar to the F60 than the F2008. Interesting.

You don't know that. Maybe F2007 was all that was available. Maybe an F2008 was available, but it was in the wrong country, etc. Without knowing how many clients were willing to loan a car and what types of cars were on offer and how realistic it was to act on each offer, you don't know anything.

What would be interesting is the terms offered to the person loaning their F2007. What if it gets stuffed in the wall? Do they get an F2009 as compensation? What about the loan of the car for the day - how much does that cost? As a perk of loaning the car, does the owner get gratis servicing and tyres for a year, etc. Lots of things to wonder about, and I guess, never know the answer to.


Ferrari only offers car that are two years old for sale, so no F2008 was available.

Also I believe that most of the Corse Clienti cars are kept at Fiorano.


You make some valid points and the lack of practice could be worrying. We would not want another driver to be hurt and we don't know how he will manage driving the car. I hope this little stunt does not take away the important factor that F1 is in a state of emergency, teams are pulling out and know one knows how big some
rule changes are going to be from
season to seson.


Alguersuari wasn't allowed to test, so fair is fair. Schumacher has the advantage of being a 7-time champion. If Alguersuari can get on the pace after a couple of practice sessions, so can Schumacher. Shouldn't be too difficult for him to press a button on the steering wheel at the start of the race either!


I think when your super talented & experienced as he is I'd say by the end of Friday practice he will already be up to speed. You only have to look how good he is in the Race of Champions getting in & out of different cars beating drivers in their own machinery.

I don't doubt his speed & ability for one second he's just got 3 weeks to properly fit.


It's hard to be an F1 fan and not be excited about one of the sport's finest drivers returning... albeit in a disadvantaged subsitute role.

We're all aching to see how Schumi 2009 rates against Kimi and the rest of the field... it'll make the shockingly awful Valencia circuit somewhat more interesting. Hopefully.


James, given that all the other drivers on the grid got the chance to do proper testing before they drove this year's cars, is there not an argument that any newcomers should have the same privileges.

I thought it was pretty awful for Jaime Alguesuari to have to make his debut in the car going round a corner in front of the world's media. Sure, he did a good job, but it was an unfair pressure to put him under.

I just think on the grounds of fairness and consistency for all, there's an argument to allow it automatically. Mind you, I'd get rid of the ban on in season testing, anyway.

As a follow up to that, do you know of Toro Rosso made any requests to allow Jaime to test prior to Hungary?


"And understandably the teams were not in a position to unanimously agree to that. So it will not happen."

James, you make it sound as if some of the teams DID agree to this? Personally I think that Schumi and the newcomers are given a chance to familiarise themselves, if for no other reason than simple safety. However, given the restrictions on the newcomers I see no reason for Schumi to be treated differently.


I read somewhere that the FOTA teams had given permission for Schumi to test, putting the ball in Williams and Force India's court. My guess is Williams said no.

Is this correct?


Well it wouldn't be Schumacher if there wasn't controversy would it? The question is, will Shu and Massa be fighting over the same car once the former champ gets a taste for it again? It seems Massa is recovering quicker than expected and could be wanting to get in the car soon.


the situation with Schumi is different to the one with Jaime Alguersuari as Ferrari didn't choose to change drivers, it was forced on them by an accident, but I do agree that is not good for any of them to not allow any time in the car prior to the race weekend. I suppose the FIA would argue that's why you have test drivers who have already driven the cars, but testing and racing are not the same as we all know. Maybe in future a dispensation could be obtained giving a driver coming into the team mid season 1 or 2 extra testing days. It could be limited to 1 driver per team.


In my opinion it is on the edge and completely agree that it is caused from a big part due bad rules. It would be better to have jufr few days in season (2-3) reserved for no-regular drivers. It is not only about Schumacher return or rookies but also about reserve drivers - how they can be ready to race without any testing from February? I understand why Ferrari has asked for one day permission for Schumacher, with all respect to Alguersuari or Grosjean, in their case expectations are none and if they keep the car to the flag people are happy. And do not forget that both were racing all season long in different categories. It is quite a bit different with Schumacher, almost everyone expect him to shine and he had not test a single-seater for over a year before yesterday's test. He drove 2004 F1 car at Nurburgring in October but it was exhibition for fans and just few laps, so no benefit. If I were as a rival team boss I would permit one day test for him for a simple reason - his return will be big bonus for everyone in F1, everyone will profit from much bigger attention from the public. The happiest man must be Mr. E and his accountants 🙂


Hello James,

This is a great feeling for me personally! I was not so enthusiastic about F1 in 2009 and my interest was only declining, but with Michael coming back, be it just one race...or simply couple of tests, I feel the my heart beats more intensively!

I was sure that FOTA agreed to let him test and Howett confirmed this, didn't he?

I hear that people try hard to get tickets to Valencia....this is a real wonder how one man can turn things around.

I was certainly missing this feeling of excitement:-)


Why should a seven times world champion get a day to familiarise himself with the car when a total novice, Jaime Alguersuari was denied that opportunity before his debut in Budapest and presumably Romain Grosjean will have no such luxury before he replaces Nelson Piquet?

I suspect it's not as much to do with the drivers as the teams.

Toro Rosso replace Bourdais with Alguerasuari out of choice. Ferrari are replacing Massa out of necessity.

Still, I wonder if Toro Rosso even bothered to ask FOTA if they could give Alguersuari a test. If not, they missed a trick. If so, presumably it was turned down, and all of this without anyone finding out. Seems a bit unlikely.


I think this is a perfectly reasonable decision, no to allow MS to 'test' in the normally accepted way pre-this season. It's Ferrari's decision to re-employ him when they have an existing test driver and there are other younger drivers without seats who would have jumped at such a chance, Anthony Davidson to name but one.

Also, it's not just a matter of Michael getting up to speed himself, it's the input he could make to the team's car development, which the rest of F1 are currently unable to utilise with their drivers, which would have been unfair.


I don't think you can really compare the Toro Rosso and Ferrari situations.

In the case of Toro Rosso, there was no reason why they couldn't have kept Bourdais in the car, as he's completely healthy and has a valid license. He just happens to be slower than Toro Rosso require. If they are putting a driver out there with no testing, it's because they chose to do so.

Ferrari has no choice but to replace Massa. He's injured and they are required to field two cars. That would constitute "force majeure" which has, multiple times in the past, allowed rules to be modified.

I don't actually agree that he should necessarily get any track time in the F60, but there's certainly a good argument for it.


This remaindes me when he came back in malasya after his accident in 1999. He could have won easy, and gave irvine a victory he needed to be in the hunt. He is a little older, and was out of f1 accion a little longer. The challenge is bigger, but i expect him to be fighting for a podium in the first race, and be ready for victory in monza, if he has the chance to do more than one race.


No reason at all, but you’d have to say that as F1 is supposed to be about excellence, it’s a bad rule which forces all of these men to go into their big weekend poorly prepared.

You've got to hand it Max. He really does know how to screw things up. All in the name of safety of course. Er sorry, I meant to say in the name of reducing budget spend.

Lack of testing has made for some silly results this year, plus has possibly put some people at risk due to lack of preparation. Not good at all. Once again, Max, take a bow, knock yourself out.


Personally, I thought Schumacher should be granted the opportunity because he is replacing a driver who has been injured. It's not like Ferrari chose to take Massa out of the seat and put someone who hasn't raced one of these cars in to it, unlike at Toro Rosso.

Which brings up a point about the failings of the testing ban; situations like this should be covered. I would consider it acceptable to give a driver a day's testing in the car provided it was in 'exceptional circumstances' such as these and that the team and cars were closely monitored by the FIA's technical team to ensure that not new components were added for some sneaky testing.


The simple reason why Schumacher should be allowed to test while Jamie shouldn't is that Toro Rosso made the decision to replace Bourdais. Ferrari didn't make the decision to hurl a spring at their driver and hospitalize him. The more complicated reason is that it is beneficial to the sport financially to have Schumacher come back and do well. I think both of these things weighed in the decision for FOTA to approve Schumacher's testing of the F60 for one day. Whether the FIA approve is a different story however, as they seem extremely capable of shooting themselves in both feet lately.


It is entirely correct, under the current regulations, that Michael Schumacher should not be permitted to test the Ferrari F60 mid-season. Aside from the obvious rules-are-rules argument, it would be impossible to police whether the Scuderia were running any development parts.

The disappointing aspect is the less clear baseline on which to judge Michael's return. Fans want to see a great driver, fully prepared and on his best possible form. Moreover, in the event that Michael may have lost that legendary edge and is significantly out-qualified by Raikkonen, no-one wants ready made excuses.

That said, web and 'red button' viewing of Friday's practice sessions in Valencia will set new records!


I hope that Schumi is getting a big back hander from Bernie, because this is going to raise revenue for Bernie like nothing else could.

The Schumacher merchandising machine will also be wheeled out of the shed and given a thorough wipe down with an oily rag. I am sure that Willy Weber will overcome his reluctance for Michael to race again and force himself to accept his cut.

Reportedly Michael is not being paid for driving but is having to scrape by on the $4M Ferrari pay him per season as a consultant, hard times eh?

If the FIA (Whom it has been reported, have been approached for permission for MS to test in this year's car) grant permission, which is likely, since Ferrari and Michael in particular have different rules to the other teams, then the breakaway series could well rise Phoenix like, from it's currently cooling ashes. Such blatant favouritism by the FIA would be roundly condemned by all (although that has not stopped them in the past)


It's a difficult call for the other teamp principles - whether to allow Schumacher some time to acclimatise with the car, as the reason for his catapult back to F1 was off the back of Felipe Massa's horrible accident.

One would not want to be callous with regards to the difficult situation Ferrari find themselves in, but at the same time - giving Schumacher a free day pass to test the 2009 Ferrari does hark back to the other 'free passes' that he seemed to get years back, and will no doubt make some of the other drivers uncomfortable. Button's recent interview with the BBC on Schumacher's return, for example, was a tour-de-fource in seat-squirming.


James, I can say from personal experience it certainly does take your brain time to get up to speed after you have been away from it for awhile. I roadraced motorcycles in the USA for awhile and it was explained to me that the human brain was designed for walking or running at just a few miles per hour. When we put ourselves in or on a motorized vehicle at 100+ miles per hour our brain has to speed up it's processing of infomation. The human brain is truly amazing, processing where we are and where we are going to be at the speed we are travelling. The ultimate multi-tasker.


I'm thrilled about Schumi's comeback. I am not expecting a win from him in Valencia but it'll be very interesting how the other 19 high-skilled drivers will set beside him. His pure talent may be significant now that he has less than 4 weeks for preperation.

I expect a big boost in ticket sales for European GP. Spanish fans will have yet another Alonso-Schumacher saga even if it won't be that close.

At the end I just want to say that since 2006 (RK debut) I have seen all GP's with Polish, British and American commentary. Comparing Polish coverage with the other two I can only wish that in the future we will have as proffesional and competent group of journalists as you James, Martin, Mark, Louise, Steve, David, Bob, Peter.

All the best for the F1 family.

P.S. Get well Felipe!

P.S(2) Wish you moved to BBC James 🙂 Great blog. Keep it up!


Hi James,

John Howett has now said (on F1-Live) that all FOTA teams agreed to let him test, with condition attached, so can we assume that it was Williams or Force India that objected to the test?


"Why should a seven times world champion get a day to familiarise himself with the car"

Short answer, because of who he is and what he has accomplished.

Long answer...

Focusing just on F1, we all know that there has been more than the usual allotment of controversy this season. The constant fighting and bickering about this thing and about that thing have often overshadowed the racing. The fans are tired of it. The sponsors are tired of it. It is damaging to the sport.

Then, out of nowhere, comes a shocking revelation. Michael Schumacher will drive again for Ferrari. Who would have guessed it could ever happen?

Suddenly things have turned completely around. The negative talk has vanished. Tickets for upcoming events are being snapped up. F1 fans all over the world are holding their breath in anticipation. Everyone wants to see Michael behind the wheel again. The sponsors are happy. The fans are elated. Bernie must be vibrating.

In order to best preserve this current state of affairs, I believe that it is important for Michael to do well from the very first event at Valencia. An uncharacteristically slow start could have a deflating effect on everyone's hopes and dreams. With this in mind, why not give Michael a day to familiarise himself with the new car? If that is a problem, why not give all the teams a test day after the break. Wouldn't that be an acceptable compromise? What could it hurt?

In the broader perspective, it is true that Michael has gained a great deal from racing, and it is also true that he has given much back. Beyond the sport itself, Michael's humanitarian efforts and generosity are well known. He has used his image and influence always in very positive and beneficial ways. To look beyond the immediate moment and offer this small consideration is only fair and reasonable. In short, we owe him.

Michael, we are all with you!


Jim, let me the devil's advocate here. Toro Rosso and Renault have (had) two healthy drivers who are able to drive their cars (albeit slow). Ferrari lost their driver due to Massa's terrifying accident, Ferrari didn't decide to sack Filipe because of his performance issues. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with having Schumacher test the car for one day. Toro Rosso weren't forced to sack their driver and bring on Alguersuari, and Renault are also not forced to sack Piquet at this point in time.


exactly what i was thinking. why does schumi needs to be given time to prepare when no exception was given to jaime alguersuari...


I think I teams have allowed him to test it, according to this report from SpeedTV.com



Were the Toro Rosso even asking for a test for Alguersuari? It may be that I've missed something, but I don't remember for any public information regarding this denied request. As of Schumacher, based on my really limited knowledge about his equipment (I know it was the F2007 with GP2 slicks, but I'm sure that car was not fully setup and truly on the edge) I think his initial laptime was not so impressive but the amount of driven distance over the day was promising.

Therefore I was surprised to hear that he came to Budapest today and visited Massa because I thought he was driving the F2007 today as well. I wonder how he will perform, I hope he'll be up to speed because somehow it is the best interest of every involved parties.


This is the best thing that could have happened to F1 coming at a time with all the politics that have damaged the sport so much. I can only think of one thing that would be better than Michael Schumacher on the grid and that would be the late, great Ayrton Senna on the grid as well...imagine that...

Graham O'Reilly

I've been going on about the need to have a couple of mid-season test days for a while. This is the chance to rectify this silliness. And at the same time offer a day for Jaime and Grosjean, and any other third driver who might need one. Fairness should be satisfied, and the role of third drivers, which used to be important, brought back into the equation. Something really needs to be done about this.


no past or current f1 driver has a brain like the red baron,23 days of studying everything possible while other drivers are on a holiday relaxing their brains,come valencia he wil know everything there is to know about new setups of the car etc.

choc ice kid can say it doesnt bother him but he wil need a even more wide brimmed hat to hide his failings at ferrari this year and last.if your being payed millions to be a professional then you should act like it,one will show up in valencia.


It seems only that if Jaime wasn't allowed a little time in an current F-1 car,that it wouldn't be fair yo allow Michael Schumaker time in one. His huge experience should allow him to get through Valencia with out too many problems, and should he deal with the weekend in a similar manner as did Jaime, he should probably have a good if not great day, but God help everyone else come Spa, Monza and Suzuka.

I respect Michael greatly for his accomplishments in F-1m but I resented the way he behaved at times during his career. Many of his victories ring hollow for me, but many weren't happy with Senna, although I always liked him best, and in my own opinion he was the best. I quit watching F1 for a couple of years after his passing,as it just wasn't the same without him. As michael improved, I started watching again, but always with reservations as to the way Schu treated the sport, and the way both his team and the sport treated him.

with that said, I'm just as anxious an excited to see him drive again, and hope he can find his previous level before Felipe returns. But the bottom line for me is that I want Felipe back, as I fell hims the true sportsman and gentleman of the sport at this time. I like other drivers as well but the way Felipe dealt with his final race last season was something everyone should teach their children and keep in mind for their own behavior as well.

With regard to the lack of testing allowed in F1 , it's my opinion that teams should be reday to , an allowed to test on Thursdays. This would give the promoters a little boost in revenues, the fans a little more excitement, and allowing one more engine or the use of older engins would not cause undue hardship to the budgets of the teams. If F1 is the pinnacle of motor sport, why is it that they are forced to race under these circumstances, with so little time to sort and test. Testing is where F1 developes. To reducw it to these present levels, detracts from it's ability to maintain its prominance.



we have to go back to some in season testing even if only for rookie drivers or replacement drivers to a team.Safety is being compromised because of cost this is a recipe for disaster.

The slow development of cars this year is a direct result of this policy and the season has suffered for it.


I'm really looking forward to it! (3 weeks are going to take ages!)

there is already a storm brewing FIA are going to investigate the tyres that was used by Schumacher.


James, STR brought in Jaime Alguersserie for performance reasons relating to Bourdais, Ferrari lost Massa through an accident - surely it's different when asking for one day's testing in Schu's case?

John Howlett of Toyota stated that the FOTA teams are fine for Schumacher to test the 09 car. So it might work out alright.


How do you think the drivers (those that were there in 2006 and earlier) will feel in general about the return of Schumacher? He obviously wasn't Mr Popularity amongst the other drivers and IIRC got a bit of a slow clap out of the last drivers briefing?!


Re : Jaime Alguersuari was denied that opportunity before his debut in Budapest and presumably Romain Grosjean will have no such luxury before he replaces Nelson Piquet?.

Do we know if Toro Rosso asked or if Renault have?


F1 Technical (http://www.f1technical.net/news/13022?sid=ce25c17692e385a7f342834fbf88888b) is reporting that FOTA has agreed to the test?! How must Alguersuari feel? If MS gets a small test in a relatively superior car, then Jaime should have got a whole week. I can only assume that Grosjean will get a test too? I can't believe that MS is pushing the boundaries like this already. It's traction control at Benneton and barge boards at Ferrari all over again. This kind of thing will always tarnish him in my mind.


I don not agree with James. it is true that MS has a lot to learn, but I do not think it would be difficult as you portray it. he is MS after all.


I don't think he should be allowed to test the 2009 car - the testing ban is there for all, and if Torro Rosso had to abide by the rules with Alguersuari then so do Ferrari. There are 3 free-practice sessions before qualifying and that should be enough for him.

Many will say "but Schumacher has been retired for 3 years, and hasn't driven an F1 car for 2" - all of which is true, but that's tough luck on Ferrari. They knew all of this when they chose Schumacher to fill in for Massa, and they made their choice because of his undoubted strengths behind the wheel and in motivating the team - but they should also have to suffer the downsides of him not having driven in anger for a while.

Others will say that Alguersuari has recent race experience in GP2 that Schumacher does not have. But Schumacher raced in F1 for 15 years and won 7 titles - don't try and say he's not capable because that's rubbish. Nobody (FIA or FOTA) offered a test session to Torro Rosso or Alguersuari, and he did ok. Schumacher will do better than 'ok' - because he's that good.

If they wanted a driver with experience of 2009 F1 cars they could have chosen somebody else - Bourdais or Piquet Jr. aren't busy at the moment for example. Or the Scuderia could have chosen either of their own two test drivers Badoer and Gene - but they chose Schumacher and must therefore take the rough with the smooth. Ferrari can't have it all their own way.

As ever Ferrari are trying to squeeze every advantage from every situation, which is what won them so many titles in recent years, but in this case the rules are the same for everybody and if Ferrari feel Schumacher is not ready then he shouldn't race, and they should pick somebody else.


Which team refused the testing request?

The FOTA teams are reported to each have agreed, so was it Williams or Force India?

My guess would be Williams.


James, i have a question for you on the lines of "Practise for Schumacher's return". I understand that Ferrari was put into this situation and Torro Rosso made the change. I beleive its fair for a practice day (not a real testing). I have heard a lot of people complain about Jamie not getting a practise day and schumi MIGHT!.. STR did not ask for it and Ferrari did. Also Ferrari were unfortunate that something happened to Massa. What is your thoughts? Can the rules be changed if all the teams and FIA agree? I believe a unanimous aggreement can.


Jaime Alguersuari was denied the opportunity to test as STR did not bother to ask the FIA for special permission. Ferrari is simply more awake.


@James Allen

"Why should a seven times world champion get a day to familiarise himself with the car when a total novice, Jaime Alguersuari was denied that opportunity before his debut in Budapest and presumably Romain Grosjean will have no such luxury before he replaces Nelson Piquet?

No reason at all..."

I beg to differ James - STR got rid of Bourdais mid-season on their own volition. It was their CHOICE. Ditto Renault with Piquet.

So the fact that Alguersuari and Grosjean won't get any testing time is irrelevant - Schumacher is standing in for an injured driver due to exceptional circumstances. Ferrari didn't CHOOSE to get rid of Massa.


Ah! But didn't Ferrari choose MS over other drivers who are familiar with the car so would not require the time in the car?

Whilst I'm not suggesting that one of the reasons they chose MS over better qualified(?) aspirants was that they would get extra time in testing . . . oh, all right, that's precisely what I'm saying.

If I was a Ferrari 'test driver' I'd be a wee bit miffed at this precise moment.


Fans don't pay to watch under-prepared cars/drivers race during F1 weekends.

The whole test ban is stupid and should be lifted.


David, I beg to differ. James is totally correct. ferrari were not forced to bring back schumacher - it is totally their choice.

In some respects it is worse than that. They have 2 reserve drivers. It was ferrari's choice not to run one of them at Hungary. If they had done so they could be running a driver at Valencia who had knowledge of this years car and driven a whole race only a month before - rather than an aging driver who has not run competitively for the best part of 3 years.


I dont think u can field a reserve driver after qualifying only for the race!... Nope u cant


The rules state that a driver may be substituted after qualifying in the case of a "force majeure" - such as Massa's crash.

In some respects ferrari should be fined for not fielding a second driver in Hungary. In these days of such limited testing it could be argued that they were also foolish not to have run one of their test / third drivers.

This whole situation could have been avoided if teams were only allowed to run drivers who had been nominated at the start of the season - or perhaps only drivers holding a super licence at the start of a season.


Fair point mate, fair point...


This is great motivation for everybody, Michael is a seven time world champion and he retired to soon.

This will motivate is team, the drivers, the other teams and the fans. It´s fantastic.

Ferrrari couldn´t choose nobody else because there aren´t many good drivers available at the moment.

I wouldn´t bet against him winning again, but it will be difficult.


James, with respect I think its unfair to portray MS that way.

As Huag pointed out Jamie and TR never requested a written letter like Ferrari did. I think it is an indirect challenge to the rules, and I suppose, you have to be someone like MS to influence the decisions that has to be made.

If you think about it, god knows how many millions teams spend on the nuts behind the wheels and yet, the sport finest driver(and other newcomers) are not allowed to prepare for the races because of the cost cutting measures. This raise a lot of questions to those who are paying to watch Michael Schumacher driving in Valencia.

It doesn't look good in public domain and I think MS and other new drivers should be allowed to prepare.


Williams have refused to the test, and I think rightly so. Ferrari would gain an advantage from it.

The only way I think he should be able to test if all of the teams can for one day, otherwise it is simply unfair. I don't know how practical a test day would be, but it's the only solution. Otherwise he shouldn't be allowed to.


This is surely the FIA once again making themselves look stupid,they bang on all the time about driver safety issues and then come up with this testing ban,they would have been better off,by inserting a clause that any team changing drivers during the season were allowed a 1-2 day test for the new driver,which had to be observed by someone appointed by the FIA,and that the car was only allowed to be the same setup as the previous race which they would know from the stewards scrutineering.


I new that Bernie had power - but how on earth did he get that spring to hit the right driver at just the right point on the track - must have been some Harry Pottor magic...

I don't like MS, but fair play - this is gonna be awsome - some good publicity for the 1st time since before Melbourne

The big question is, do i cancel my music festival tickets that weekend so i can Schui back in business??

Somehow, i don't think my mrs would be to keen to miss out on 5 days of partying just to see a F1 race



If Schumacher can't keep up with the "new" boys who's fault will it be?

Blame it on Williams and Red Bull why not?

I don't see him being too far behind though, I'm not a Ferrari/Schumacher fan, but I don't think it will take him too long to get up to speed.

And, if I read between the lines correctly he will have seven races this year.


Exciting times for formula one brings me back to the times of mansell in 1994 when he made his four guest appearances & capping it off with a brilliant win in australia, I hope schumacher wins some races and blows the williams and the red bulls away at the end of the day its not he same schumacher who dominated the sport for years give the guy a chance to test it is clear red bull and williams must be running scared schumacher is already disadvantaged by been out the car for nearly 3 years he`s 40 years old and is coming back to something what is totally different to what he last drove, but it is clear to most he still carries the aura of greatness.


The way this is being reported, you’d think that the majority of people think Schumacher should test, but from this poll, it is clear that most fans are fair and agree that he shouldn’t be allowed to test.For more details http://www.dailysportsnews.org/schumacher-not-allowed-practice-in-f60-car/

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