The return of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher to Formula 1 makes him the oldest driver on the grid at 41 years of age, and some might question if he still can withstand the rigours of top level racing, especially after his initial plan to step in for Felipa Massa last season was aborted when his neck couldn’t take the strain. The German has now said that although he “resprays” his greying hair, he is in perfect physical shape for Formula 1.

Schumi, who has signed a three-year contract to drive for Mercedes GP Petronas, told German newspaper Bild: “I started to dye parts of my hair in, I think, 2005.” He also revealed he’d had his eyes tested (“I don’t need glasses!”) and had lost the five kilograms gained since retiring back in 2006. Michael now tips the scales at 74kg, which he describes as his ideal racing weight.

Schumacher’s fitness regime involved playing football and swimming. “I jog very little because I’ve had back and knee problems since the age of 14 but what is strange is that I can play three hours of football without a problem but can’t jog for 45 minutes,” he said. “I now swim a lot. Half an hour of breaststroke a day makes an incredible difference.”