Pain in neck is proving a problem for Schumacher

Injury from motorbike crash in February hampers German's race to be ready

Michael Schumacher has revealed a neck injury is giving him concern in the build-up to his planned Formula One return later this month.

Since confirming his comeback last Wednesday in place of the injured Felipe Massa, Schumacher has been working intently on his fitness. The seven-times world champion, who was behind the wheel of a 2007 Ferrari on Friday, has lost weight over the past few days. However, after a crash during a motorbike test in Spain in February when he damaged his back and neck, the 40-year-old is still experiencing some soreness.

"I'm currently in the midst of my preparations for the upcoming race," said Schumacher, who aims to be back on the track in Valencia on 23 August for the European Grand Prix. "I have already lost three kilograms, even if it is also important for me to build up muscles.

"All in all, the training is going pretty well, although I have to admit my neck pinches a bit. We have to get a grip on that as health has priority. That's the clear arrangement made with Ferrari and, by the way, with my wife [Corinna] too."

After almost three years in retirement, Schumacher is delighted at the support he has received over the past few days from fans. "I really would like to thank all my fans who are keeping their fingers crossed for my plans and for all the positive feedback," he added.

"It's incredible how much support I have been getting from all over the world. It feels as if a flush of positive energy is coming over me. I accepted the challenge and, as you all know, I love challenges. It seems as if my fans love them too."

Schumacher's return to Ferrari will be an education for some Formula One rivals, Bernie Ecclestone said yesterday. "I think he's going to give one or two of them a driving lesson," the Formula One rights holder told a news conference. "He obviously wouldn't have decided to come back unless he thought he was going to be competitive and Michael is a competitive guy."

His comeback will see McLaren's current world champion Lewis Hamilton, as well as Red Bull's title contender Sebastien Vettel – nicknamed "Baby Schumi" by his compatriots – race for the first time against the man who dominated the sport for a decade.

"He's always been super popular, even though he won too many races and people said he was boring. He was never boring and he won't be boring now," Ecclestone said. "I think I was just as surprised as Willi Weber [his manager] he didn't know he was coming back [either]. I think it was [Ferrari president] Luca di Montezemolo that convinced him."

Schumacher's preparations were hampered on Monday by the Red Bull and Williams teams who have opposed Ferrari's request to let the German test in Massa's F60 car prior to Valencia. Formula One regulations do not allow track testing during the season, although Schumacher completed 70 laps in a 2007 version Ferrari at Mugello near Florence last Friday. "Guess who opposed the test with the F60?" read a statement on Ferrari's website. "A team that hasn't won anything for years and yet didn't pass over the opportunity to demonstrate once more a lack of spirit of fair play."

Williams last won the constructors championship in 1997, when Canada's Jacques Villeneuve topped the drivers' standings for them, too.

Ferrari also hit back at Williams' and Red Bull's argument that Schumacher should be treated no differently than Spanish teenager Jaime Alguersuari, who was unable to track test his car before his Formula One debut for Toro Rosso in Hungary.

"Just for the record, the Scuderia Ferrari had given its approval to let Alguersuari test, but it seems even in this instance someone decided to stick to the precise wording of the regulations," it said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album