Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Motor Racing

Schumacher desperate to begin racing

A fully-recharged Michael Schumacher is itching to again get behind the wheel of a Formula One car.

As part of his preparation for his comeback with Mercedes GP after three years in retirement, Schumacher tested a GP2 development car for three days in Jerez last week.

Ominously, the 41-year-old has admitted it was as if he had never been away such was the exhilaration and rush he again felt.

Now Schumacher cannot wait to savour Mercedes' 'silver arrow' that will take to the track for the first time in Valencia from February 1.

Although often stating he would never return to F1, the desire and hunger are back, and that spells danger for his rivals this year.

"After my retirement at the end of 2006 I was very happy," said the seven-times champion.

"I felt relieved, freed. I enjoyed that feeling because in my final two years especially, F1 had demanded a great deal from me.

"Not the racing, which I loved all the time, but all those things which relate to living under constant observation.

"It served me extremely well to be quiet for those three years. It really is as if my batteries are fully loaded.

"My energy is completely restored. I can really notice how the prickle is returning, and how motivated I am because I am so much looking forward to this competition."

Schumacher insists any concerns over a neck injury sustained in a motorbike accident nearly a year ago which forced him to abort a return to Ferrari last year are no longer an issue.

"The after-effects of that accident are long since gone," remarked Schumacher on his personal website.

"That's why I was sure the neck would not cause any problems. It was one year ago, that's over.

"Physically, I have been working out since December and I feel extremely fresh and fit.

"That was one of the reasons why I felt so good in the car in Jerez. The test was super.

"It went better than I had expected. I immediately felt well in the car, and it was as if I was never gone.

"But then Formula One is another thing. The g-forces are higher, so they are not really comparable.

"That is why I am so looking forward to testing in February. Only then will old feeling be completely back. I can't wait to be back there."

That is when his desire will be truly tested, but he is confident he can win further world titles, which is why he signed a three-year deal with Mercedes rather than returning for just one season.

"We want to achieve something together," assessed Schumacher.

"The team we have here is pretty unique, with Ross (Brawn) and his world championship winning team, with Mercedes' know how, with the best engine at the moment, and we want to use that.

"We have a clear aim: we want to win the championships. That's what we will fight for from the beginning. That is my personal goal too."