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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Schumacher Slimming Down for F1 Comeback

File:Michael Schumacher-I'm the man (cropped).jpg

FRANKFURT (AP) -- Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher says he is slimming down for his Formula One comeback and the only problem is a little neck pain.

Schumacher's first race is expected to be the European Grand Prix in Valencia on Aug. 23. The 40-year-old is returning to his Ferrari team while Felipe Massa recovers from a recent crash.

"I already lost three kilograms even if it is also important to me to build up muscles. So all in all, the practice works pretty well,'' Schumacher wrote on his Web site Tuesday.

Schumacher had a motorcycle crash in February and sustained a neck injury.

"I only have to admit that 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, too,'' said Schumacher, whose comeback is contingent on passing a medical checkup.

Neck injuries are particularly problematic for F1 drivers because of the enormous strain on their necks because of the high G-forces they must endure during high speed cornering. Despite his neck problem, the German declared he was eager to get back on the track.

"I really would like to thank all my fans who keep their fingers crossed for my plans for all the positive feedback. It's incredible how much support I get from all over the world,'' said Schumacher, who retired in 2006.

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