Pain in neck is proving a problem for Schumacher
Injury from motorbike crash in February hampers German's race to be ready
Wednesday 05 August 2009
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.
Daniel Sturridge injury: Alongside Luis Suarez, how the Liverpool SAS may FAIL to become the most lethal partnership in Premier League history
CM Punk's WWE future 'to be determined' according to leaked Monday Night Raw script
Liverpool: Four remaining fixtures - can they stay top of the Premier League table?
Diego Costa transfer to Chelsea impossible to stop, admits Diego Simeone
Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2 match report: Gareth Bale scores wonder goal to claim Copa del Rey for Real
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Big Bang Theory to get special Star Wars episode with help from Lucasfilm
- 3 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 4 Pharrell Williams 'Happy': British Muslims dance to song in video
- 5 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back