Michael Schumacher is taking no risks when it comes to preparing for his F1 return with the emergent Mercedes team.
Starting tomorrow (Tuesday) he will begin an intensive three day test at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain, strapped firmly into the cockpit not of a Silver Arrows, but one of the Super Nova GP2 team’s Dallara-Renaults.
Not until the official round of designated pre-season tests begin next month can the 41-year old seven times world champion get back behind the wheel of a contemporary F1 car, but such is the need for him to maximise every aspect of his preparation that he has decided to get back on track as early as possible. It is absolutely typical of Michael’s meticulous attention to detail and refusal to leave anything to chance that he has decided to try this GP2 machine.
It is a shrewd move also because the general lack of F1 testing is one of the only areas which could put Schumacher at a slight disadvantage. And as Ross Brawn pointed out recently, maximising every opportunity is the absolute key to getting the best – and the most – out of Schumacher for whom there is unlikely to be much realistic F1 future beyond his three-year tenure with Mercedes.
Meanwhile, Bernie Ecclestone’s concern that at least one of the new fledgeling F1 teams might be unable to make its scheduled appearance on the grid next season continued to be given credibility this week with rumours that the Campos Meta squad is struggling to be ready in time.
Despite previous assurances that all was running to schedule with the Spanish outfit, whose chassis was completed by by Dallara,the German website motorsport-total.com quoted a source close to the squad who fears that it may never hit the track.
"It is not a secret that we do not have the budget - and time is scarce," the source is quoted as saying "If we can find a good investor, we could sell part of the team to them. If necessary, we could sell the whole team, but the basic conditions would have to be right."
Not the sort of news the sport needs to hear just two months before the start of the new season.