Michael Schumacher continues to demonstrate his usual methodical approach to the business of motor racing. During the off-season, he’s been driving karts to tune up his reflexes, and this week in Jerez he’ll be completing a three day test session with the Super Nova GP2 squad. The FIA has approved the test, which circumvents the Formula 1 testing ban in effect until the beginning of February.
Presumably, the test ban applies only to F1 cars, and not other formulas. Even so, Bruno Michel, the GP2 series organizer, has defrayed any potential criticism by claiming that the ostensible purpose of Schumacher’s test is to help the series with car development. GP2 is a spec series, and all GP2 teams run a Dallara chassis with a Renault engine.
“Today’s test marks a milestone for the GP2 Series,” said Michel, as reported in Autosport. “It is an honour and a privilege for us to have seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher help us to develop our car. The goal of the GP2 Series is to prepare young drivers for Formula 1. 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.”
In an ESPNF1 report, when Norbert Haug was asked if he thought Schumacher’s test would give him an unfair advantage over the rest of the F1 field, he said, “I don’t see it that way. And whoever does, can rent a GP2 car for themselves. The GP2 organisation was smart enough to use the situation in their favour. Because of the test, a great number of pictures of GP2 cars will be on the television, in newspapers, magazines and websites.”
During the three day test, Schumacher is scheduled to evaluate suspension set-ups and new components, including a new clutch. Although the first day’s testing (today) was halted prematurely due to poor weather conditions, Schumacher managed to clock a total of 52 laps.
As reported in Autosport, Schumacher said of the experience, “The day today was good especially because after a long time I could drive again in a car that came almost close to a current Formula 1. Despite the weather not being what we all would have liked all my senses were nevertheless on full alert – this alone was worth it. I felt comfortable out on the track from the very beginning, and naturally I’d like to thank our Team and the GP2 series very much for the opportunity to drive.”
GP2 Series Technical director Didier Perrin, who managed the test, added, “It is unfortunate that the weather conditions were far from optimal today. Still, Michael could get a good first taste of our car and has already managed to analyse the performance and behaviour of current car. Tomorrow, we hope for better weather and a dryer track which should allow us to move along with our programme and start working together on set up solutions for 2011.”