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  • Schu to drive Ferrari at major F1 test
  • Schu stuns with MotoGP pace
  • Kovalainen attains goal in New York marathon
  • British hopefuls to test McLaren on Tuesday
  • Hamilton not involved in teammate decision

Schu to drive Ferrari at major F1 test
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher will drive Ferrari's 2007 formula one car at the upcoming post-season test at Circuit de Catalunya.

The retired seven time world champion has ruled out wild speculation that he might replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren next year.

But it did emerge late on Monday that Schumacher, who raced for the Italian team between 1996 and last year, will emerge from the Ferrari garage early next week at the wheel of the championship-winning F2007 in Barcelona.

At Valencia where the German impressively tested Ducati's MotoGP bike on Monday, Schumacher told the newspaper Bild-Zeitung that he would test the Ferrari not for fun but to contribute to the team's development program ahead of the traction control ban in 2008.

"I am glad that I can help the team," he said.

Schu stuns with MotoGP pace
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher on Monday stunned observers at the Valencia circuit by setting competitive lap times on the saddle of Casey Stoner's championship-winning Ducati MotoGP bike.

As a host of guest riders tested the grand prix machinery at the Spanish circuit following the conclusion of the 2007 season, the former formula one seven time world champion came close to just five seconds off Valencia winner Dani Pedrosa's fastest lap at the end of his 58-lap test.

Schumacher, 38, wearing a plain orange riding suit and white helmet, proved radically improved since his Ducati test in 2005; fully leaning into the corners and putting to good effect the tips of experts he consulted in the pits.

"I remember the last time I was riding and I was about 15 seconds slower than what you could do, so I thought maybe if I could run within ten seconds, that would nice," he said afterwards in Spain, according to Motorcycle News (MCN).

Following wild theories that he might replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren next year, meanwhile, he also fended off speculation that he could be good enough to race in MotoGP.

"I'm just doing this for fun.  I don't want to race," Schumacher insisted.

He also played down any comparison between MotoGP and formula one.

"It is like being on earth and going to the moon," Schumacher smiled.

Kovalainen attains goal in New York marathon
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen on Sunday achieved his goal as he ran in the famous New York marathon for the first time.

The formula one rookie, who is reportedly among the contenders for Fernando Alonso's newly vacant McLaren seat in 2008, earlier stated that he primarily wanted to beat fellow grand prix racer Jarno Trulli's time of just over four hours.

Kovalainen, who is 26, completed the 42km course in 3 hours, 36 minutes and 56 seconds; nearly an hour and a half behind the winner but nearly 25 minutes quicker than Trulli had managed in 2000.

He placed 592nd in his age group, 4,571st of the male competitors, and 5,370th overall, behind GP2 driver Lucas di Grassi (3:34.18) but in front of Kovalainen's trainer Gabriele Polcari (3:55.02).

Former formula one and Champ Car driver Alex Zanardi, meanwhile, who lost his legs in a crash in 2001, finished fourth in the hand-cycle category with a time of 1:33.17.

"I've been in better shape, but I'm not demolished," the 41-year-old Italian smiled to the New York Times.

British hopefuls to test McLaren on Tuesday
(GMM)  Two young hopefuls on Tuesday will sample formula one machinery at Silverstone, McLaren said.

Britons Paul di Resta (21) and Oliver Jarvis (23) will each get around 20 laps of the British grand prix venue's short layout as their prize for winning for McLaren Autosport BRDC awards in, respectively, 2004 and 2005.

They will both drive a 2006-spec MP4-21, and test driver Pedro de la Rosa will be on hand to offer advice and driving tips, the British team said in a statement.

Hamilton not involved in teammate decision
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton on Monday said he was not involved in determining the identity of his McLaren teammate for the 2008 season.

The 22-year-old rookie was recently quoted as musing on a likely trio to replace Fernando Alonso next year, but in London he clarified that he will not actually have any input into selecting the successful nominee.

"It's a team decision and nothing to do with me," Hamilton, speaking with reporters in the British capital as he launched his first biography entitled 'My Story', insisted.

"I don't need to get involved.  I'm going to keep quiet.  I have my own seat.  The car will be built around me and whoever joins," he added.

And although in Stuttgart at the weekend he said Nico Rosberg was the "best" of the hopeful trio including Adrian Sutil and Heikki Kovalainen, Hamilton also did not baulk at wild speculation that Michael Schumacher might even be lured out of retirement to race the MP4-23.

"Cool.  Go for it," he said in a message to the seven time world champion.  "That would be brilliant.  He's an incredible driver."

Hamilton, meanwhile, said he was not aware that he had been attacked by the press in recent days for failing to admit that his impending move to Switzerland is in fact to dodge high taxes.

He also admitted to being "surprised" that he was criticized for blaming over-eager British fans for the move.  The latest negative piece appeared in The Times, which slammed Hamilton for shying away from British fans "only then to appear on ITV's National Television Awards and the MTV Europe Music Awards".

"First of all we are here to talk about the book," he snapped, before adding: "I speak from the heart, but perhaps I need to learn better communication skills.

"There is so much more than driving the car to this business these days," he acknowledged.

"I love my fans, but you can't live at home all your life.  You need to get out and experience living on your own, cooking for yourself.

"I don't see why I can't go somewhere else.  And I chose Switzerland.  For me, it is not a tax haven.  I've been in England the last few years paying tax.  It's not an issue," Hamilton added.

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