Climbing into the cockpit of a Formula 1 car again has fired seven-time champ Michael Schumacher with youthful enthusiasm. Schumacher participated in the first official test of the season at Valencia today, and posted the third quickest lap on time sheets.
After the test, Schmacher told reporters that the experience made him feel like a young driver enjoying the first excitement of joining Formula 1. As reported in Autosport, Schumacher said, “In a way it is like 1991, honestly. When I came into F1 I was shocked on the first lap and extremely excited on the second lap and further laps. And it is exactly the same today. I feel like a young boy that has a toy in his hands and enjoys himself.”
Today’s test marked the first time since 1995 that Schumacher has driven a Formula 1 car other than a Ferrari. “Naturally I suddenly see my old car on the track and not siting in it, it is a strange sensation,” Schumacher said. “But it was good to see my brother [Massa] on the track, in the car and I enjoyed to see my friends down at Ferrari this week.”
Schumacher, who ran 40 laps today, was pleased with the results of the test, although today’s program was fairly basic. “I think we have done a very good job,” he said. “The guys did a superb job out there, being out there making a few control checks and making the car reliable. We did more than 80 laps, and for the first day that is a superb job.”
He also indicated that he felt fit, and experienced no residual effects from the injury he suffered in a motorcycle crash early last year. “I am fine,” he said. “I have worked out very well and prepared myself extremely precise and that is the result.”
Schumacher also wore what was ostensibly a new helmet livery today, although the color scheme looked very much like the one he wore at his recent GP2 test in Jerez. The new helmet is predominantly red-orange, as it was during Schumacher’s Ferrari era. Now, however, it has a small amount of silver trim, a reflection of the Mercedes Silver Arrows motif.
See below for a video of the test. Warning: the voice-over is in German.