FIA regulations do not allow any pre-season Formula One testing until next month, but Schumachers outing in machinery from the F1 feeder series should stand him in good stead when he finally gets to sample Mercedes new car, expected to debut in early February. The test is also designed to benefit the GP2 Series, as the German will be aiding organisers with work on their next generation car.
“Following the approval of the FIA, the GP2 Series and the Formula One Testing Committee, Michael will drive the GP2 development car for three days from Tuesday 12 January to Thursday 14 January,” confirmed the Mercedes team on Monday.
“Michael's desire to drive a high-performance competition vehicle as part of his preparations has found a match in the objectives of the GP2 Series to develop the 2011/2013 car. As GP2 are currently defining the technical features of the Series' third generation car which will debut in Spring 2011, the Series organisers saw a fantastic opportunity to benefit from Michael's experience and his legendary technical abilities.”
One of the main goals of the test will be to evaluate numerous suspension configurations in order to define several new set-up solutions which will provide more flexibility to GP2 drivers and engineers during race weekends. Alongside that programme, the test will see the evaluation and validation of updated components, including a new clutch, to be introduced later this year.
“It is an honour and a privilege for us to have seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher help us to develop our car,” said GP2 Series organiser Bruno Michel. “The goal of the GP2 Series is to prepare young drivers for Formula One. 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."
Schumacher retired from Formula One competition at the end of 2006, having won a record 91 Grands Prix and seven world titles.