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F1 Clienti Lend Schumacher F2007 For Fitness Testing

F1 Clienti Lend Schumacher F2007 For Fitness Testing

With a current ban on in-season testing, that has already posed many questions about the usefulness of test drivers and the difficulty now facing up-an-coming drivers who want to break into the Formula One, Michael Schumacher has found an interesting way around the problem. The seven-time world champion is apparently at Mugello this afternoon pounding around the track in a 2007-spec. Ferrari. While he isn’t testing the 2009 F60, he isn’t exactly showcasing the car either.

Michael Schumacher claimed five titles while driving for Ferrari and has been asked to step in to replace Felipe Massa while he recovers from his accident sustained at the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend. Wanting to ensure he is in tip-top condition, Schumacher has requested to get in as much driving as possible. He will have spent some time on the simulator, but this still doesn’t compare to the real-life effects of driving an actual car.

Formula One drivers are allowed to drive racing cars between races, of course, and most of the times the pilots climb inside such a vehicle it is for some event, like the Red Bull Roadshows, of Goodwood’s Festival of Speed. In each of these cases, older cars are used, even if they are sometimes liveried up to match their younger relatives. However, the drivers gain nothing by running these cars other than promotion for the team and a chance to meet the fans.

For Michael Schumacher though, he is gaining and therefore he is arguably testing. Although not improving the car, he is improving himself.

Now I am sure the Ferrari Formula One team must have an old F2008 or F2007 kicking around somewhere, and the mechanics and engineers will know these machines as they would have worked on them less than a year ago (in the case of the F2008). But instead of siding with the Formula One side of the company, Schumacher has spoken with a subsidiary company – F1 Clienti – to help him out.

Today I was in Maranello in the afternoon to check the functionality of the steering wheel at the static simulator.

Of course I was also taking the opportunity to again discuss with the engineers how to proceed further. There is this test ban in Formula One, therefore I contacted some of the guys from F1 Clienti if they could give me a car. Although those cars are not current or last year’s ones, I simply like to drive as much as possible, so this is a good option. The next weeks will be totally on preparation then. Michael Schumacher.

F1 Clienti was set up (in collaboration with Ferrari) by rich businessmen who wanted to the chance to drive all manner of Ferrari racing cars that otherwise would have ended up in museums or worse still, they would have been destroyed. The company maintains these cars and often sells them to other rich businessmen who would like the thrill of driving a Formula One car. At meetings, the cars are prepared by mechanics, many of whom will have worked on the actual race team at some point in their career.

And so Schumacher has borrowed a F2007 to thrash around Mugello, but it strikes me odd as to why he went with F1 Clienti rather than Ferrari themselves. While they are almost one-and-the-same, I cannot help but feel the team want to ensure there is absolutely no question of rule-breaking. Of course, it could also be that any and every old Ferrari ends up at F1 Clienti, but the careful and measured approach by the team is the more interesting speculation.

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Oliver White

16 comments

  • Would tearing round in an F2007 with a monza spec rear wing, front wing dialled way down and perhaps a few of the easily removed flicks gone actually be useful?

    I mean surely there are center of gravity, size, weight, height & power differences… not to mention the tires.

    I suspect that schuey is doing this as physical training rather than trying to get a handle on the car.

    If it really is the latter, I suspect a delivery of oddly skinny F2007 front and rear wings made from an entirely non F1 division of Ferrari making its way to mugello shortly.

  • I agree, Kris. Schumacher is testing a car built under very different regulations which is not being prepared by Ferrari’s first choice engineers. This does seem to suggest that the focus is physical conditioning.

    One interesting factor to consider is just how worried they are about Schumacher’s ability to cope physically. It could be the case that these concerns would apply to anyone who’s been out of the game for as long as he has. Or maybe Schumacher’s neck injury is more serious than we have been told.

  • I suspect that schuey is doing this as physical training rather than trying to get a handle on the car.

    Yep, hence the title and further mentioning…

    Although not improving the car, he is improving himself.

    I haven’t read the precise ruling, but generally speaking, testing could also cover the testing of the driver. Which is why even when testing was allowed, the race drivers still participated with some regularity.

    Or maybe Schumacher’s neck injury is more serious than we have been told.

    This has been mentioned elsewhere on the Internet today. It is also quite well known that Schumacher raced for the best part of a season (back in the ’90s with Benetton) with a broken bone in his neck. Schumacher apparently didn’t realise he had done the damage to his neck after a shunt and continued as normal. It was only in his post-season check-up that his doctor asked when he had broken his neck that it was realised what had happened.

    Of course, that particular injury is very old now and Schumacher has since gone on to take 5 titles (or possibly all 7, as I think it may have been 1993 that he injured his neck). But it does show that sometimes injuries go by unnoticed, and in this day and age, Ferrari want to be absolutely sure that his neck is okay after his recent tumble.

    If it really is the latter, I suspect a delivery of oddly skinny F2007 front and rear wings made from an entirely non F1 division of Ferrari making its way to mugello shortly.

    Hehehe. 🙂

    Ferrari: Nuffink t’do wiv us guv, ‘onest!

  • But it does show that sometimes injuries go by unnoticed, and in this day and age, Ferrari want to be absolutely sure that his neck is okay after his recent tumble.

    It’s often said that the hardest thing to simulate in the gym is the forces applied to a driver’s neck. It might be an injury which wouldn’t concern the team if Schumacher had been driving regularly, but the fact that his neck muscles are likely to be underdeveloped at the moment could be what they’re worried about.

  • *Ollie makes mental note to add in some quicktags at some point to make formatting easier*

    It might be an injury which wouldn’t concern the team if Schumacher had been driving regularly, but the fact that his neck muscles are likely to be underdeveloped at the moment could be what they’re worried about.

    I think that’s pretty much it. Schumacher has been keeping himself fairly fit and healthy (he certainly looks okay), although it has been said he is going to need to lose some weight like some of the other drivers have. But the neck is so hard to train artificially. Hence why I think he wants to drive so much in the coming month.

  • “F1 Clienti was set up (in collaboration with Ferrari) by rich businessmen who wanted to the chance to drive all manner of Ferrari racing cars that otherwise would have ended up in museums or worse still, they would have been destroyed.”

    Remember in the old days when Enzo had no particular regard about his cars and he would cannibalize the old cars if he needed spare parts for fixing or improving the new cars …

  • Remember in the old days when Enzo had no particular regard about his cars and he would cannibalize the old cars if he needed spare parts for fixing or improving the new cars …

    Actually no, I’m too young (’81 born and a fan since mid-’90s) but I can well believe that from all that I’ve read of Enzo. I can well believe that! 🙂

    Also, this comment reminds me…

    I made a small error, I believe, in the text Lobo quoted. The Ferrari website was down for me earlier and I couldn’t double-check what I wrote. F1 Clienti was set up by Ferrari as a way of maintaining and restoring the old cars and I think the business people came along later looking to buy and drive these cars. At least, I think that’s how it all started. Either way, it’s rich people driving old Ferrari’s prepared by the team.

  • I now understand how Michael got round the rule. The Sporting Regulations only apply to teams themselves – partner organisations are not bound by the regulations. Since Michael borrowed the car from an organisation other than Scuderia Ferrari, the race team can legitimately use denial if the FIA object. Whether this should be permitted is another debate, but F1 Clienti is not itself a signatory to the regulations and therefore isn’t bound by them in any way, shape or form. If it had a 2009 Ferrari in its possession, it could have allowed Michael to test that instead of the 2007 version without breaking a single letter of the rules.

    Therefore FOTA would only have been asked for permission out of politeness.

  • If [F1 Clienti] had a 2009 Ferrari in its possession, it could have allowed Michael to test that instead of the 2007 version without breaking a single letter of the rules.

    And as I recently read on the F1 Clienti part of Ferrari.com, Scuderia Ferrari (or Gestione Sportiva or whatever) only give up cars to F1 Clienti that are two years past their last active season of racing. Although this hasn’t actually occurred yet for the F2007 (in terms of last race), it is two seasons (in terms of literal numbers) since the F2007 raced.

    Now, how do Ferrari go about getting an F60 into the hands of F1 Clienti? Maybe a technician could leave a 700 page document in the F1 Clienti canteen by mistake, and one new employee decided it was a conversion job for one of the recent cars to have been sent to the workshop… 😛

  • Now, how do Ferrari go about getting an F60 into the hands of F1 Clienti…?

    I doubt that will happen because it would be impossible to hide the aero from the eyes of Mugello’s spectators (and thus the FIA), but if the FIA judgement goes against Ferrari, as I believe it should, a heavily-modified 2008 version could well be heading Michael’s… …sorry, F1 Clienti’s… way.

  • if the FIA judgement goes against Ferrari, as I believe it should, a heavily-modified 2008 version could well be heading Michael’s… …sorry, F1 Clienti’s… way.

    😆

  • *Ollie makes mental note to add in some quicktags at some point to make formatting easier*

    Oops… a lack of concentration on my part. Maybe including an edit button would be worthwhile, if you can add one easily. Is there a WordPress plugin?

    Schumacher has been keeping himself fairly fit and healthy (he certainly looks okay), although it has been said he is going to need to lose some weight like some of the other drivers have.

    Schumacher was also one of the fitter drivers during his active time in the sport, and this is also likely to be to his advantage.

  • Maybe including an edit button would be worthwhile, if you can add one easily. Is there a WordPress plugin?

    Yep, used to use it but it conflicts with another part of the site. I said earlier in the year that I would bring it back with the redesign as I now understand why it was working/wasn’t working/was working… Watch this space. But obviously don’t, you’ll tire your eyes out. 🙂

    Schumacher was also one of the fitter drivers during his active time in the sport, and this is also likely to be to his advantage.

    Definitely. Apart from re-writing the general rule book, he also re-wrote the rule book regarding training and fitness.

  • Isn’t the testing ban meant to stop the development of the car (through testing) and reduce cost rather than to prevent driver from training and become better? Other drivers probably don’t test/train in old car because they wouldn’t want to upset their feel for the current car anyway. Schumacher is trying to gain as much advantage as possible, but i don’t think it’s against the rule here. And I doubt how much development Ferrari could gain from running/testing 2 years old car!

  • Isn’t the testing ban meant to stop the development of the car (through testing) and reduce cost rather than to prevent driver from training and become better? {fan – 1 comment ago}

    Mostly, the testing ban is to save money. Any advantage – whether it is for the development of the driver, car or something else – generated by the expenditure of money in this way is against the purpose of the testing regulation. The regulations don’t apply to third parties like F1 Clienti (hence why Michael could test the 2007 car without breaking anything), but it’s against the spirit of the regulations and other teams could easily abuse the facility in future.

  • This does seem to be a loophole that should be closed, as there doesn’t appear to be anything preventing a team giving a 3rd party one of their 2009 cars, and conducting testing by proxy.

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