Schumacher on hand as Ferrari launches 2007 car
Maranello (Italy), Jan 15 (DPA) Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher was a visitor as Ferrari launched its car for the 2007 Formula One season at the team headquarters in Maranello.
The retired 38-year-old driver inspected the new car launched Sunday along with Ferrari's new driver Kimi Raikkonen and his teammate Felipe Massa before the official presentation.
None of the few journalists at the Ferrari headquarter for the modest presentation was able to see Schumacher and media representatives were given only a brief five-minute glimpse of the new red machine.
"It was an unusual feeling to see him here as a spectator and not as a racing driver," said Ferrari general director Jean Todt of Schumacher's presence at the launch. But on the question whether Schumacher's misses racing he said 'no'.
Todt, who has stepped up to team general director and will be less involved in day-to-day affairs as team chief, said he spoke to Schumacher about a future role with Ferrari.
"As general director I won't be able to concern myself with Formula One so intensively. He could be a big help to me here," he said.
In naming the new car F2007, Ferrari has reverted to the designation used between 2001 and 2005.
Last year's Ferrari was called 248 F1 in reference to new engine regulations, when 24 meant 2.4 litres and eight referred to the number of cylinders.
"It's always like having a new baby," said Massa who along with Finnish driver Raikkonen will be aiming to deny Fernando Alonso a third successive drivers' title.
The F2007 incorporates mainly aerodynamic and safety modifications in a number of technical changes over the previous model, making it around 10 kg heavier.
According to Ferrari, the F2007 chassis has been significantly modified when compared to the 248 F1 to accommodate a new front suspension.
Modifications have also been made among other things to the cooling system and engine air intake, while the car has a longer wheelbase and the rear is much narrower than its predecessor.