Seven time F1 champ snapped shaking down a Ferrari 599 at the 'Ring

Autocar can reveal that, contrary to what Fiat's adverts would have you believe, former doyen of F1 Michael Schumacher is neither delivering TVs nor chauffeuring school children around in his abundant spare time; he's helping Ferrari to develop their road cars. Or at least he was yesterday.Autocar's Nurburgring spies took these pictures of a red Ferrari 599 GTB lapping the Nordschleife yesterday afternoon (May 24). Awestruck by the driving they witnessed, they report realising the identity of the driver only on closer inspection. Check out our wallpapers section, or click here, to see a version of their shots at larger scale; we think you'll agree that the evidence is almost indisputable.

A change of direction for Ferrari?

Nurburgring testing is an unusual move for Ferrari. The prancing horse tends to do the majority of its development work at its own Fiorano test circuit, which is shorter, flatter and ultimately less demanding on a car than the 'Ring.So do these pictures signal a change of approach at Maranello? And what about for the 'red baron'; with his natural ability and familiarity with the Nordschleife, is he to become to Ferrari what Walter Rohl is to bitter rival Porsche – a kind of overarching, high-profile, development guru? Only time will tell – but if so, remember you read it here first.

Our Verdict

We’ll spare the 911 Turbo the ignominy of comparison times, because the Ferrari has moved the game onto another level

The Ferrari 599 offers mind-blowing pace and handling. Quite possibly the best Ferrari of its generation

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