Michael Schumacher has started his preparations for a return to F1 by getting behind the wheel of a 2007-spec car at Mugello.

While the ban on F1 testing means Schumacher will be unable to get behind the wheel of the current F60 until opening practice for the European Grand Prix in Valencia, the seven-time champion is reported to have hit the track at the wheel of the F2007 as he prepares to take part in his first race since leaving F1 at the end of the 2006 season.

The test comes a day after the German driver visited Ferrari headquarters at Maranello to spend time in a simulator to familiarise himself with the steering wheel fitted to the car he will race as Felipe Massa recovers from injuries he picked up in Hungary.

"Today I was in Maranello in the afternoon to check the functionality of the steering wheel at the static simulator," Schumacher wrote in a message posted on his official website on Thursday. "Of course I was also taking the opportunity to again discuss with the engineers how to proceed further.

"There is this test ban in Formula 1, therefore I contacted some of the guys from F1 Clienti if they could give me a car. Although those cars are not current or last year's ones, I simply like to drive as much as possible, so this is a good option. The next weeks will be totally on preparation then."

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