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Page last updated at 17:49 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Michael Schumacher buoyed by GP2 test before F1 return


Watch seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher testing a GP2 car

Michael Schumacher says he felt "comfortable" as he returned to the track by testing a GP2 car in Spain ahead of his Formula 1 comeback.

The seven-time champion completed 52 laps at the Jerez circuit as wind and rain limited his running.

"All my senses were on full alert - this alone was worth it," said Schumacher, who is returning to F1 with Mercedes after a three-year hiatus.

"I felt comfortable out on track from the very beginning," he added.

"The day was especially good because, after a long time, I could drive again in a car that comes close to a current Formula 1 car.

"I'd like to thank our team and the GP2 Series very much for the opportunity to drive."

Schumacher is taking part in a three-day development test for the 2011/2013 car for GP2 - F1's feeder series.

Loven Krabs

The test also gives the 41-year-old a chance to get some mileage before F1 winter testing begins in February.

It is his first experience of a powerful single-seater since he completed a short test with Ferrari last summer in a 2007-specification car when he was set to deputise for injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.

Since calling off his temporary comeback with Ferrari because of a neck injury, Schumacher had been restricted to karting to sharpen his racing instincts.

The German's first chance to get behind the wheel of an F1 car will be during testing in Valencia on 1 February.

However, it is not yet known if Schumacher and his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg will both take part in the first of four pre-season tests.

The ban on in-season testing means Schumacher must wait to try out an F1 car for Mercedes, who won both championships last year in their former guise, Brawn.

The GP2 test, which has been approved by motorsport's governing body the FIA and F1's testing organisers, now gives the 41-year-old another opportunity to blow away the cobwebs.

Since signing up for his F1 comeback with Mercedes just before Christmas, Schumacher has begun his preparations by spending a few days at the team's Brackley headquarters.

He has also visited the Mercedes engine factory in Brixworth and was satisfied with what he found in the UK.

"I have to say I am very impressed about the high level you see there," Schumacher told his official website.

"The people seem to be highly motivated as well and I find that encouraging as it perfectly fits my personal mood."

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see also
Schumacher gears up with GP2 test
11 Jan 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher signs up for F1 return
23 Dec 09 |  Formula 1

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