Lewis Hamilton's Race Prep For Spain's European Grand Prix
UPDATED: August 20,2009 (Schumacher Will Not Compete In Valencia)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - The European Grand Prix will take place this Sunday (August 23, 2009 - 14:00 CET) and will run on the Valencia street circuit in Spain. Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher was to have returned to pilot Ferrari's F1 car this weekend but due to a previous neck injury he was forced to abandon his start at the European Grand Prix. Luca Badoer will now take the seat vacated by Schumacher and appear alongside Kimi Raikkonen as Ferrari's second driver at the Practice Session that takes place on Friday.
Michael Schumacher, who had been in retirement from F1 for three seasons, was to replace injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who suffered a severe skull fracture after being hit by debris during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Massa is now recovering well back at his home in Brazil.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (seen in photo above) has high hopes for this Sunday's race and had been thrilled about competing on the same track as Michael Schumacher, but in Valencia this will now not be the situation. Hamilton said, "I'm still buzzing from the win in Hungary and I'm hopeful of being able to carry that pace into the Valencia weekend - particularly with our new upgrades to the car. It's a very demanding circuit, the kind of place that punishes any mistakes hard."
Lewis Hamilton also spoke about the technical advances that Mercedes engineers have made on the KERS Hybrid system of the MP4-24 car. Lewis said, "...with our KERS, Mercedes-Benz has proved that anything can happen and I'm once again hoping that it will provide the difference in the race." KERS recovers the braking energy of F1 cars to re-apply it later in the lap as additional input power.
F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton's team mate at the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team said that the upgrades that have been made to MP4-24 have made it "much easier to drive at the limit, and which really rewards your input."
Michael Schumacher went through a thorough preparation for a return to Formula 1 at the Ferrari factory. Through a series of increased g-forces on his neck in testing on pre-2009 series Ferrari F1 cars, he unfortunately found that the forces in the single-seater were too strong against his recovering neck injury suffered earlier in motorcycle racing. Schumacher had also been testing the 2009 spec car on a simulator at Ferrari's factory and getting accustomed to the functioning of the Ferrari KERS, which is activated through driver control off of the steering wheel.
Unfortunately for F1 enthusiasts, Michael Schumacher won't take to the track in Valencia this weekend, but he may enter the car later this year if his neck recovers and he has more time to condition himself to the high g-forces posed by cornering and braking in an F1 car.