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Schumacher adds karting to training programme 06 Aug 2009

(L to R): Luca Badoer (ITA) Ferrari Test Driver with Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 29 March 2009 Michael Schumacher (GER) Formula One Testing, 1-5 March 2009, Jerez, Spain.

Michael Schumacher took to the kart track with Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer on Wednesday, as he continued preparations for his planned Formula One comeback at the European Grand Prix. Subject to passing a fitness test, Schumacher will stand in for the injured Felipe Massa at Valencia later this month.

"Karting has a very good training effect,” Schumacher told his official website. “That is why today I just jumped into a testing day of the Tony Kart Team in Lonato (Italy). There is nothing better for my preparations at the moment - in terms of steering wheel forces for example karting is even more difficult than Formula One.”

Schumacher has already shed three kilos as he trains to ready himself for his first F1 race appearance since retiring at the end of 2006. And with warm weather predicted in Spain, the German said his day of karting should stand him in good stead.

“The fact that it has been boiling hot here is simulating the temperatures expected for Valencia,” he added. “Luca Badoer is with me, and together we found again today that karting is just an awful lot of fun."

Although Schumacher won’t get to test Ferrari’s current F60, he has been using a two-year-old F2007 running on slick tyres. He is expected to undergo medical tests next week to determine his race fitness. The only question mark surrounds the strength of his neck, which he injured in a motorcycle accident earlier this year.

“I have to admit that my neck pinches a bit,” said the seven-time champion this week. “We have to get a grip on that as health has priority.”

If he is passed fit, Schumacher will join Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen for first practice at the Valencia Street Circuit on Friday, August 21.