At 40-years-old and with a two year break from grand prix racing behind him, Michael Schumacher is all to aware of the physical demands that will be placed on him when he returns to action at the European Grand Prix in Valencia later this month where he will substitute for the injured Felipe Massa.
The seven times world champion, who took physical fitness levels to new extremes when he was competing in Formula One, has not raced a Formula One car since the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix, although he tested for Ferrari in April 2008 in his capacity as a consultant to the team.
Schumacher’s comeback began on Friday when he tested a Ferrari F2007 chassis at Mugello, but he has also begun a rigorous training programme in the gym and using a G-Force simulator.
After his test Schumacher quipped on his official website: “I have to say that today I feel muscles I was not even aware anymore they exist. But then it was clear that you cannot test for a day after such a lot of time without feeling anything, and I am curious to see what will happen in the coming days.”
Schumacher is expected to be given special permission to test Ferrari’s 2009 challenger, the F60, this week to acclimatise himself with the nuances the 2009-spec cars.