Schumacher geared up for Race of Champions

Sat, 15 December 2007, 10:24

Michael Schumacher had his first taste of racing on the Wembley tarmac today as he prepared for tomorrow’s Race of Champions event at Wembley Stadium.

The seven-time Formula 1 World Champion arrived in London earlier today and will face five-time Norwegian Rally Champion, Henning Solberg, in tomorrow’s first heat.

“All of these guys are good in their way,” said Schumacher, giving his reaction to the draw. “I don’t know Henning too much to judge but I’ll take it as it comes.”

Schumacher was one of the first drivers out this afternoon in the second of two practise sessions, getting track time in all the cars he is scheduled to drive in tomorrow’s event.

“I haven’t driven all the cars yet, just the buggie and the Solution F,” said Schumacher, who retired from F1 in 2006 but who has been testing for Ferrari at Barcelona and Jerez last month. “The Solution F is a bit big for this track I think, but it’s the same for everyone. I prefer the buggie; it’s like a go kart in the rain! There is absolutely no grip!”

Also testing this afternoon was Schumacher’s ROC Nations Cup Team Germany partner, Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Toro Rosso. “It was very narrow,” said Vettel, speaking of the parallel race track constructed at Wembley Stadium for The Race of Champions using 1,800 tonnes of tarmac. “Maybe it looks easy from outside but there is no space for mistakes. There is one line that is very grippy but if you are off-line, it’s very dusty. I’m really enjoying it though; it’s a lot of fun.”

Honda Racing driver Jenson Button will be debuting in The Race of Champions tomorrow and thinks the cars are completely different to what he is used to after sampling them in practice this afternoon.

“The Solution F is probably the closest to what I drive,” said Button, who races for Honda F1. “It’s a fun car but there’s so little grip out there. It’s fun; I enjoyed it.

“With all the cars here you get very little grip so you get a lot of sideways action! I’ve been very close to the wall, but if you’re pushing, you’re almost touching the barriers here anyway!”

David Coulthard was the only driver to make a mistake on the tight and twisty Wembley circuit, making contact with the barriers in the Solution F.

“I was really enjoying the practise until I crashed the car!” said the Red Bull Racing driver. “I was feeling quite confident; I thought I knew where the balance was, but today was a chance to push the limits of the car. Tomorrow I’ll have to be a bit more conservative.”

The Race of Champions draw for tomorrow’s first heat:

Michael Schumacher Vs Henning Solberg

Jenson Button Vs Alister McRae

Jimmie Johnson Vs Sébastien Bourdais

David Coulthard Vs Petter Solberg

Heikki Kovalainen Vs Sebastian Vettel

Andy Priaulx Vs Yvan Muller

Mattias Ekström Vs Tom Kristensen

Marcus Gronhölm Vs Travis Pastrana

Lawrence Barretto

You may also like