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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Williams blocks Michael Schumacher's Plans to Test Car Ahead of F1 Return

Michael Schumacher's bid to step up his comeback by testing Ferrari's current car has been blocked by Formula One rivals Williams.

Ferrari last week wrote to the other nine Formula One teams and the FIA requesting Schumacher be granted a day at the wheel of the F60 ahead of the German legend's return to racing at the European Grand Prix in Valencia on August 23.

Under current regulations in-season testing is banned, but Schumacher hasn't raced since his retirement in 2006, so Ferrari were hoping the seven-time world champion, who is standing in for Felipe Massa after the Brazilian's horrific crash in Hungary, would be allowed to practise.

Out of courtesy, the other seven members of the Formula One Teams' Association – McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Brawn GP, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso – gave Schumacher and Ferrari the green light.

Williams, however, see no reason why Schumacher should be given special dispensation, citing the recent arrival of 19-year-old rookie Jaime Alguersuari into F1.

"While we welcome Michael Schumacher back to Formula One, the fact is any form of in-season circuit testing is strictly prohibited, a regulation clearly laid out by the FIA and adhered to by all of the teams," said Williams in a statement.

"It was for this reason Alguersuari, who drove an F1 car for the first time in Hungary, did not have the opportunity to familiarise himself with the Toro Rosso before he made his race debut.

"Williams sees no distinction between Alguersuari's situation and Schumacher's and feels any deviation from the rule would create a precedent for the future.

"For the sake of consistency and fairness, therefore, we oppose Ferrari's proposal to test ahead of the European Grand Prix."

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