Ferrari #1 Michael Schumacher visited Maranello for the first time last week as a six-times world champion.

Michael briefly interrupted his holiday to spend a day at Ferrari, where he met up with managing director of the Gestione Sportiva, Jean Todt, as well as Rory Byrne and Paolo Martinelli, with whom he discussed the development of the car which the Scuderia will field in the 2004 Formula 1 World Championship.

Also on the day's agenda was a visit to the Gestione Industriale. This gave Schumacher the opportunity to celebrate his fourth consecutive title in the Scuderia's colours with the workforce.

"It was great to be back in Maranello for the first time since Suzuka," said the German, "Meeting up with Jean, Rory and Paolo has made me even keener to get back on track, especially as they told me so much about the new car, which sounds really promising.

"I keep in regular contact with them but today [Friday] I was able to see the latest developments in the project for myself. We are still right in the middle of preparations for next year, but already I can feel the desire to go racing again.

"I also visited the Gestione Industriale where I saw a lot of interesting things, including the new 612 Scaglietti. It's really beautiful! I received a warm welcome from the people working there and it's true that we are one big family!"

Michael then left for Parma airport at the wheel of a Maserati Quattroporte. Friday's visit was thus also an opportunity for him to take to the road for the first time in the Trident marque's latest model.



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