Zurich Gnome

The journal of a Swiss-based motor-racing enthusiast.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Shy and Retiring

As I mentioned yesterday, testing has started in earnest for the new season. Testing has often been called the “Winter Championship” because some teams seem desperate to impress new sponsors and run fast, while other teams tend to run with heavy fuel loads and run slower than they could so as not to give the game away. Sandbagging, in other words.

So we really can’t draw many conclusions from what is happening in Jerez, in that sense it’s very much like Friday mornings at GP weekends. The cars are going round, the teams are learning and making decisions, but we have no idea exactly what is happening. But at least it’s possible to say that if someone finishes at the top of the timesheet that they were probably trying fairly hard. If they are over a second ahead, either the car is good or the driver is fairly committed.

Which is good news for Michael Schumacher. On the first day's testing of the year, he was out putting the new Ferrari through its paces, completing more than a race distance and setting fastest time by more than a second. Normally at this time of year, Michael would be in the Alps skiing, or up in Norway, but this year he's down in Spain and he's not just there for the weather. It's been reported that he will make a decision mid-season on whether to retire when his contract expires at the end of the year. But it appears to me that he wants that decision to be to continue racing. So he's putting in the effort now so that halfway through the season, he'll be leading the championship and he'll have no trouble deciding. The last thing he needs is a season like last year. On yesterday's form, and with continued commitment, there's a good chance he'll still be racing next year.


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