Returning champion begins testing old F1 car, asks for permission to test current car
31 July 2009

Michael Schumacher has began preparations for his return to Formula One at the European Grand Prix next month, getting round the current test ban by driving an old F1 car.

The seven-time world champion will replace Felipe Massa in the Valencia race, following the Brazilian's accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend.

Schumacher, 40, travelled to Ferrari's factory in Maranello yesterday, where he used the team's simulator to learn about the cockpit controls of the latest car.

Today, the German has borrowed an F2007 car and he is reported to be testing at the Mugello circuit.

Schumacher must test an old car as F1 regulations forbid testing of current machinery at this point of the season.

However, Ferrari has asked rival teams for permission to have Schumacher test this year's car during the testing ban ahead of the European Grand Prix.

Ferrari has written to the FIA and to its rival teams asking to allow Schumacher to test for a day with this year's F60 car in order to arrive better prepared for the Valencia race.

Schumacher admitted that he is trying to get as much mileage as possible before his return, even if it means driving old cars.

"There is this test ban in Formula One, therefore I contacted some of the guys from F1 Clienti if they could give me a car," Schumacher wrote on his website.

"Although those cars are not current or last year's ones, I simply like to drive as much as possible, so this is a good option. The next weeks will be totally on preparation then."

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