Michael Schumacher is expected to be given special permission by the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) to test the Ferrari F60 chassis as he prepares for his comeback in Valencia later this month where he will substitute for the injured Felipe Massa.
Testing midway through the season is banned this year under the new rules but Ferrari submitted a special petition to all of the teams asking that an exception be made so that Schumacher can acclimatise himself with the 2009-specification car ahead of his return to grand prix racing.
FOTA vice president John Howett told Speed TV: “I believe all FOTA teams have agreed to accept their request. The situation for Felipe is very unfortunate and this is a sporting gesture which we are confident Ferrari will respect.”
Schumacher has already tested Ferrari’s F2007 chassis as Ferrari made use of a loophole in the regulations and ran a version of the car developed by their F1 Clienti department at Mugello on Friday.
The seven times world champion completed 67 laps and posted a best time of 1:23.736, it was the first time he has driven a Formula One car since April 2008 when he tested for Ferrari in his role as a consultant.
“It’s a great thing getting back on the track with an F1 [car] even if this was a car from 2007 from the F1 Clienti department with slicks usually used in GP2 and obviously there is no real point of reference,” said the German.
“After a couple of laps I was able to drive constant lap times and I’m happy with the performance. Now we’ve got to see how my body and the muscles respond in the next days.”
Formula One Championship leader Jenson Button motored into Birmingham, UK, yesterday to launch Bridgestone s Driving Nation roadshow. Despite the showers, people from Birmingham, Warwickshire, the Black Country and Coventry turned out in force to welcome the world s current Formula One Championship leader and catch up with his views on all things motoring.
Bridgestone s Driving Nation Roadshow got up close and personal with motorists, finding out what pressures they are currently facing on the roads, what is driving them mad about motoring today and what they believe the future holds for motoring in the UK. Brawn GP s Jenson Button did a live question and answer session in front of the crowd with Bridgestone Motorsport s, Andy Stobart. They spoke about how the Driving Nation Roadshow will travel the UK spreading the word about greener motoring and canvas motorists views on the pressures of driving today.
Andy Dingley, advertising and promotions manager of Bridgestone said: “It was fantastic to see so many people from all over the West Midlands turn out to visit Bridgestone s Driving Nation Roadshow. What better way to kick off our campaign than with the driver who quite simply has kept us glued to our TV sets over the last five months and has truly come into his own over this F1 season. Bridgestone was very proud that Jenson could come up to Birmingham to launch the Driving Nation Roadshow.”
Members of the public were asked to share their views on various motoring topics, such as the cost of fuel, the condition of the nation s roads, traffic congestion and car maintenance; as well as divulge their driving confessions. They also got the chance to test their driving skills against Jenson in the Bridgestone F1 simulator.