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Schumacher sheds weight, boosts KERS potential 05 Aug 2009

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari signs autographs for the fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 4 April 2009 Michael Schumacher (GER) tests a Ferrari F2007 at Mugello, Italy. July 31, 2009. © Ferrari

Michael Schumacher is clearly taking preparations for his proposed race comeback pretty seriously. The Ferrari star has already lost three kilograms in body weight as he looks to be fit enough for the European Grand Prix on August 23.

Schumacher, who retired from Formula One competition at the end of 2006, will replace the injured Felipe Massa at Valencia, assuming his strength and stamina are considered up to the task. A final decision will be made nearer the time of the event.

“I'm currently in the midst of my preparations for the upcoming race,” Schumacher told fans on his official website. “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.”

With Ferrari still running KERS, Schumacher’s weight loss could prove significant, allowing him more set-up flexibility when the team come to adjust his car’s weight distribution. He used a factory simulator to get to grips with the current F60’s controls last week and then spent a day lapping the team’s Mugello circuit in a two-year-old F2007 running on GP2 slick tyres.

Having not tested an F1 car since April 2008, the seven-time champion confessed that his neck still needs some work: “I 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.”

Schumacher had hoped to be granted special permission to test the F60 prior to his Spanish return, but Ferrari failed to obtain the required unanimous support of their rival teams. Nevertheless, the 40-year-old German insists he will be up to the job.

“It's on!” he added. “I accepted the challenge. And as you all know, I really love challenges.”