Mike Stevens | Jan 21, 2010

RETURNING FORMULA 1 legend Michael Schumacher says he hasn't felt any lingering effects of the neck injury which prevented his Ferrari comeback last year after completing an extended GP2 test.

Schumacher completed three days of testing on behalf of GP2 organisers as preparations for his stunning F1 return begin to reach fever pitch.

The GP2 car provides the closest level of performance to an F1 of all the junior formula, and is considered the series' premier preparatory category, with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg among recent graduates.

Schumacher said the intense training regimen he has undertaken since confirming his comeback has left him prepared to withstand the extreme demands of elite level racing.

"The after-effects of that accident have been gone for a long time - that's why I was sure that the neck would not cause any problems," he told his official website.

"This was one year ago; it's over. I have been practising physically very carefully since December and feel extremely fresh and fit. That was one of the reasons why I felt so good in the car in Jerez."

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However, he admitted that it will be impossible to accurately gauge how his neck will truly react until completing an extended stint behind the wheel of an F1.

"But then Formula 1 is another thing. The g-forces are higher; it's not really comparable," he said.

"That is why I look forward so much to testing [the new Mercedes F1 car] in February. Only then will the old feeling be completely back. I can't wait to be back there."

The seven-time World Champion said he was overwhelmed by a sense of "relief" after retiring in 2006 as he grew weary of the demands associated with being F1's leading man.

But his sabbatical away from the sport has regenerated his enthusiasm, and sparked a fresh wave of excitement for the sport he dominated so absolutely for over a decade.

"After my retirement at the end of 2006 I was very happy, I felt relief, just like freedom," he said.

"I enjoyed that feeling because especially in the last two years F1 had demanded a great deal from me - not the racing, that I loved during all the time, but all those things which relate to living under constant observation. It did me extremely well to be quiet for those three years.

"It really is as if my batteries were fully loaded. My energy is back completely. I really notice how the prickle is coming, how motivated I am because I so much look forward to this competition. It is about time to start this whole thing."

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