Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug says his company would be happy to allow Michael Schumacher to test the 2009 Ferrari before his comeback in the European Grand Prix, and hopes rival teams take the same stance.
Ferrari has requested that an exemption to the testing ban be made to help Schumacher reacclimatise before he deputises for the injured Felipe Massa in Valencia. The former world champion last raced in Formula 1 in 2006, and last tested a contemporary car in April 2008, although he drove a 2007 F1 Ferrari fitted with GP2 tyres at Mugello on Friday.
Haug said he could see no reason why Ferrari's request should be rejected.
"Whatever we can do to support him we will do," Haug told AUTOSPORT. "I just think it is fair. This is an exception. If Michael had said he would come back under the condition that he could test, everybody would have said yes.
"His team-mate has thousands of kilometres in this car, and he has nothing. As we are fair players, why should he not get some testing? I would be very open to that.
Toro Rosso's new driver Jaime Alguersuari had to make his F1 debut in Hungary with minimal preparation due to the testing ban, but Haug thinks the young Spaniard would also have been granted an exemption if his team had asked.
"Maybe even a newcomer should get a test," said Haug. "If I would be asked to make an exception for a young guy, I would say yes.
"Giving Jaime a test would have been justifiable, but having said that I don't think there was an official request."
AUTOSPORT understands that there remains some resistance to allowing Schumacher to test the F60, although the FOTA teams are believed to support Ferrari's case.
"You will find some guys that will try to block it," Haug admitted. "But what goes around comes around. They will need some help at another stage. It's not giving people presents, it's being fair when it's justifiable."
But he reckons Schumacher will be a threat for victory whether he is permitted to test or not.
"He is good enough that he could get the job done on Friday if the car is quick," said Haug. "Michael is a competitive guy, he will prepare himself in a very mature and thorough manner.
"If the car is a potentially winning car, then he will be able to win in it. The characteristics at Valencia are not too different to Hungary."
The Mercedes chief added that Schumacher's shock return and Massa's good progress in hospital had both been huge boosts for the sport.
"This is the best thing that can happen to Formula 1," Haug said. "The best news is that Felipe is quite okay and can leave the hospital. That looked really frightening."