Michael Schumacher’s three-day GP2 test ‘to develop new components’

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Javier Villa driving a GP2 Super Nova similar to the one Schumacher will test

Michael Schumacher will get an early start on his preparations for the 2010 F1 season tomorrow when he gets behind the wheel of a GP2 car for a three-day test at Jerez in Spain.

The test has been approved by the FIA, the F1 testing committee and GP2 – and series organiser Bruno Michel stressed the purpose of the test was to develop the 2011-13 specification GP2 car.

But it doesn’t take a cynic to see Schumacher himself will view the test more as an opportunity to prepare himself for his F1 comeback.

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. Michael’s input and advice will be invaluable. I am confident that his knowledge and unparalleled driving skills will help us to develop a great car for next season.

He last tested an F1 car in August while preparing to substitute for Felipe Massa – but that was in a two-year-old model supplied by the Ferrari Corse Clienti department.

A request to test a 2009-spec F60 was turned down by the FIA at the time.

Testing restrictions mean Schumacher is likely to get no more than eight days behind the wheel between now and the first race of the year at Bahrain.

Testing a GP2 car is the next best thing, so I suspect helping them get their clutch and suspension setup exactly right will not be his number one priority during the test.

It’s further proof, if it were needed, that Schumacher has lost none of his appetite for success or eagerness to explore every avenue available to him to gain an advantage.

The dates of Schumacher’s test have been added to the F1 Fanatic Calendar.

Michael Schumacher’s F1 comeback

Image (C) Glenn Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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34 comments on “Michael Schumacher’s three-day GP2 test ‘to develop new components’”

  1. nice ! will there be any live footage? would like to see these new gp2 cars.

    1. They’re not bringing in a full new car this year, like they did in 2008, it’s just a development of the car from the last two seasons.

      1. Sorry let me correct that – Schumacher will be driving the 2011-13 car so it is components for the next generation of GP2 car he’s testing.

    2. no live footage i’m afraid. lots of photos probably!

  2. i’m just wondering, if it was someone like sutil or alguersuari, would the FIA permit them doing a similar test?… don’t think so.

    1. My question is, does the FIA allow current drivers to drive 2000-2009 F1 cars? If they do, then I do not see how MS gains an advantage. After all, then all the teams would have the same opportunity to “bend the rules.”

      1. I think that the current drivers are allowed to test with cars that are
        a) at least 2 years old
        b) fitted with non-formula 1 spec tires

        But I could be mistaken.

        1. I think its just a) as Schumacher tested the ’07 spec ferrari with slicks fitted. However he cannot test a mercedes/brawn as 2009 was the first year with the merc engine, and it is not compatable with the ’08 Honda chassis/body. So the GP2 class is the closest he will get before Feburary.

          1. But I believe that when he tested the F2007 it was fitted with GP2 slicks, or demo tires or something, so not a race-spec F1 tire. At least that’s what we’ve been told…

  3. Odd: an ex-Ferrari World Champion bound for Mercedes in 2010, will test a Dallara-built (Campos-related) and Renault-powered car.

    1. It’s not that odd, is it?

      I suspect anyway that the likes of alguersuari could have done this if they’d wanted. But (a) I’m sure they would have had a harder job getting the machinery, whereas I’m sure Schumi called and everybody dropped everything to make it happen and (b) what would they have gained? Alguersuari has plenty WSbR experience anyway, it’s pretty similar.

      Schumi probably just wants to test his neck in something a bit more than a go-kart. It’s not like really a Formula 1 test.

  4. Lots of conspiracy theories there Lustigson ;-)….. but I see where you are going. Now as a Merc and McLaren fan and obviously not a MSC fan, I dont know weather to cry or laugh…..

  5. Can’t wait for my champ to start his proceedings! Go Michael!! for the 1st time in my life I’d be supporting wholeheartedly a driver in a Mercedes Car….

  6. ‘The purpose of the test is to develop the 2010-specification GP2 car.’

    Yeah right. Schumi always does that sort of thing out of the goodness of his heart

    1. Lol! Nice one Ned.
      His neck has been cleared so I don’t see why another test should be granted. Give the new kids a try. They get virtually no testing time and are just thrown into races while Schumi’s only been gone a few years and is a driving legend.

      1. Other dirvers have these chances, not forgetting a lot drove a gp2 last year anyway. The main difference being that Schumacher, being the crazy competitor he is, constantly searches for ways to get an advantage. Others can do the same but no one else would be bothered too.

  7. Why can’t we just call this a win-win situation? I’m sure Schumi will provide lots of meaningful feedback during the tests. :P

  8. I don’t see it as that much of an advantage anyway.

    1. Me neither. GP2 cars are so far off from F1 cars in terms of performance that it doesnt really apply.

  9. any else think his neck injury may suddenly come back during these tests?

    1. I did think of that…LOL
      But from what I have read the neck was convenient after a secret f60 test was done…

      The car was so crap the neck was a problem….

      1. That article totally ignored the complete impossibility of a “secret” F1 test, however. The neck was a genuine issue.

  10. I think Schumi does it only to train.
    And, altough being a fan of him, I understand it is not fair versus the other drivers.
    But in another sense we should think that the testing banning is for cars, not for drivers. So if a driver want to train on another series car…why not? It doesn’t go against the spirit of the rule.

    (the motivation for the test, parts development, seems really ridicolous).

  11. I don’t see whats wrong with it. Testing a current F1 car has been restricted. He’s not testing a current F1 car, or any F1 car for that matter. So no problem.

  12. “It’s further proof, if it were needed, that Schumacher has lost none of his appetite for success or eagerness to explore every avenue available to him to gain an advantage”

    I totally agree with you!!!!!
    GAME ON.
    He will definitely come equal with the other drivers.

  13. It might be interesting to see how the GP2 drivers times eventually stack up against his.

  14. I can see schumi’s hunger for victory is as much as kobayashi or some one who has never won a GP race. He will leave no stone unturned . I mean no one can ever claim he did not give his 100%. I am sure Ross brawn would not have signed him if he is just coming there to have fun.

    As far as gp2 is concerned imagine the publicity the series is going to get the moment schumi steps inside that car. People who never heard of GP2 will soon be talking about it.

    He is defenitely going to make this season intresting for sure.

  15. What a biased article!!!

    “I suspect helping them get their clutch and suspension setup exactly right will not be his number one priority during the test. It’s further proof, if it were needed, that Schumacher has lost none of his appetite for success or eagerness to explore every avenue available to him to gain an advantage.”

    Oh come on. Can you cut him some slack. He is driving a Renault-powered car. Apart from the slick tyres, there is nothing in common with an F1 car.

    That the series organizer considers Michael Schumacher still the best driver to get feedback from is a testament to his skills, I might as well say, reflects poorly on the other drivers. Somehow, this point seems to go unnoticed.

  16. A bit of a non-story really.

    Schumacher has been out of F1 and single seater racing generally since the end of 2006, barring a small number of Ferrari tests. So he takes on three days of testing new GP2 components – he gets some warm up time in a fast single seater, GP2 gets some fantastic publicity (“as developed by Michael Schumacher” etc), everybody wins.

    Testing in a junior formula car (be it GP2, WSR, A1GP, F3, etc) is something open to any driver in the F1 field. If it were of such a huge benefit why aren’t more drivers doing it? It’s not even particularly expensive in the grand scheme of things and the teams who race the cars would earn extra income and kudos from offering Winter testing to F1 drivers. The boring answer is simply that established regular F1 drivers will learn nothing by stepping back, rookies will simply be returning to their old stomping grounds and also learn nothing – that’s why it doesn’t happen.

    Schumacher isn’t exploiting a loophole, breaking the regulations or doing something underhanded – if this was anyone else it simply wouldn’t be an issue. Jaime Alguersuari raced WSR cars in between his F1 commitments with STR – I don’t recall that being even remotely controversial.

  17. I don’ like this testing/pratice ban, In other sports the athletes get to train and try and improve their skills between compitions. In F1 the drivers can’t pratice f1 driving for weeks and weeks.

    1. In other sports it isn’t that expensive to train. F1 drivers are among the fittest athletes and they all train everyday to be able to withstand G forces they endure while in cockpit. Teams even have purpose built fitness machines which stimulate specific muscle groups F1 drivers need to perform better (neck for example).

  18. Will Webber get to test his new car then?

  19. So the rule bending begins. Is this in the spirit of the rules. Yes it’s been sanctioned but then all the other drivers should be given the same opportunity.

    What assurances do we have that parts are not being tested…

  20. Um, Chaz

    The fact that it is GP2 and not F1 means that any data that would be gathered from part testing would be completely useless as they are two completely different cars, they handle, drive, look and are aerodynamically different.

    And the other drivers do have the opportunity as someelse mentioned, the testing ban is on the CARS not the DRIVERS therefore they can test in different series, they just dont want to take a backwards step as they dont see the benefit in it.

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