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F1 should 'keep tire warmers' - Schumacher
Michael Schumacher testing at Barcelona
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has backed the group of active formula one drivers who believe the FIA should reconsider plans to ban tire warmers next year.

At the Barcelona test this week, teams have been experimenting with the proposed 2009 regulations, including the reintroduction of fully slick tires, a drastic reduction in downforce, and the absence of tire-warming blankets.

But while drivers have enthused about the superior grip provided by Bridgestone's latest development slicks, they are nearly unanimous in their concern that exiting the pits without them being pre-heated is a safety issue.

"Yes, for next year they should keep the tire warmers," Schumacher, after more than 80 laps in the Ferrari on Wednesday, is quoted as saying by the Spanish press.

Not including the extended warming-up phase, which can run into three or four laps at notably reduced speed, the German agreed that driving on slicks is "more fun because there's more grip".

"The decision to bring them back is very positive for formula one," the 39-year-old occasional test driver added.

"Changing the balance between aerodynamic and mechanical adhesion could bring the teams closer together.  But taking away the tire warmers may complicate the racing," he said.

To the Spanish newspaper Diario AS, Fernando Alonso agreed.

"It is true that you have very little grip at the beginning, but it remains to be seen how the issue evolves," he said.

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