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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 11, 2010

Auto racing: Schumacher's first drive will be GP2 car

Associated Press

MADRID Michael Schumacher will begin his Formula One comeback on Tuesday by taking part in GP2 testing sessions in Jerez, Spain.

The seven-time F1 champion, who signed with Mercedes last month, will prepare for his return after three years in retirement with a three-day testing session at the Jerez circuit. The session is meant to help develop GP2 cars for the 2011 season. GP2 is a feeder series to F1.

GP2 organizer Bruno Michel called the collaboration a "milestone."

"Michael's input and advice will be invaluable," Michel said. "I am confident that his knowledge and unparalleled driving skills will help us to develop a great car for next season."

Governing body FIA gave its approval to the sessions.

F1 tests begin in Valencia, Spain, on Feb. 1, when Schumacher will get behind the wheel of a current F1 car for the first time since the 41-year-old German retired after the 2006 season.

"Michael needed to get in shape for his F1 return and we saw this opportunity as perfect for helping him," GP2 spokeswoman Alexa Quintin said.

Schumacher test drove an older model Ferrari car last summer as he attempted to replace the injured Felipe Massa, but eventually had to abandon the return because of neck injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash earlier in 2009.

Quintin said more developmental tests were likely before the series begins racing in Abu Dhabi next month but couldn't speculate on whether Schumacher would be involved.