Michael Schumacher has begun preparing for his expected return to Formula One racing at next month’s European Grand Prix. Assuming Ferrari are happy with his fitness levels, Schumacher will replace the injured Felipe Massa at the Valencia race.
The seven-time world champion travelled to Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters in Italy on Thursday to familiarize himself with the functionality of the F60’steering wheel, using the team’s static simulator, and to discuss preparations with engineers, Formula 1 reports.
Italian media said the 40-year-old, who retired at the end of 2006, had gone out for a few laps in the car at the Mugello track near Florence.
F1 testing is banned during the season but Schumacher is being allowed to drive an old car as he undergoes a programme of preparation to make sure he is fit to race in Valencia, Reuters reports.
Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher's manager has denied rumours the German pledged to replace Felipe Massa in exchange for a new 5m euros per year contract to retain his Ferrari advisory role.
"No. We haven't spoken about that yet," Willi Weber told the Bild Zeitung newspaper.
It has been rumoured that Schumacher agreed to not be paid for his driving so long as Ferrari renewed the consultancy role, but also that the seven time world champion may be receiving a multi-million euro sum per Grand Prix he substitutes for the injured Massa.
"In all honestly, we haven't spoken about money and nor will we do so in the coming weeks," Weber insists. "At the moment that's not important," Motorsport.com reports.