Schuey admits new cars are fun

Michael Schumacher has admitted that he is enjoying getting to grips with the 2005-spec grand prix cars, and reckons they put a higher premium on driving ability than last year's machines

Schuey admits new cars are fun

The German returned from his traditional long winter break last week to begin testing at Barcelona, and from Friday onwards drove the hybrid Ferrari chassis that the team will campaign in the opening races.

After immediately getting down to some impressive lap times in the F2004M, the seven-times world champion commented: "The natural behaviour of the car is different because of less downforce and less grip from the tyres, and it is sliding a bit more, but it's not really anything to worry about.

"In terms of driving it is quite exciting actually, because the car moves around a lot more. We play with and work the car a lot more, and there is more room for driving abilities than before."

Schumacher's enthusiasm for regulation changes designed to stem technological progress doesn't always match his unerring ability to extract more from any given technical package than his competitors. The fact that he is so sanguine about the 2005 regs is rather ominous news for the rest of the field, most of whom have emphasised how difficult the new cars are to drive.

"It is a lot more on the knife edge, that is true," allowed Schumacher, "but so far we have had very cold conditions, and I think it will be different when the temperature goes up. It will become more forgiving."

Asked whether the downforce reductions have made driving the cars a more mentally demanding process than before, Schumacher said: "It is tough in a different way. Formula 1 has always been tough, it just shifts the effort to somewhere else. Maybe before there was a lot of G-force involved and less working on the steering wheel but now with less G-force we have to work more on the steering - that is where the effort is."

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