On the eve of the first race of the year, in Australia, Michael Schumacher gave his thoughts on the many upcoming changes this season. After twelve years at the top level, it is almost taken for granted that the five-time World Champion would ...
On the eve of the first race of the year, in Australia, Michael Schumacher gave his thoughts on the many upcoming changes this season. After twelve years at the top level, it is almost taken for granted that the five-time World Champion would prepare for the Australian GP in a state of total tranquillity.
Michael, though, states that: "it is not so simple. In some way I am always nervous before a race, above all at the beginning of the season. You never know what the new year will bring: in Formula 1 things can change very quickly. It is a physical thing that you feel in the stomach, a mix of satisfaction and nervousness. This happens even if there are no apparent reasons to worry. We have worked hard throughout winter and the figures of last week's testing show that there is nothing to be worried about. Anyway, to allow yourself a feeling of security at the start is the first step in the wrong direction."
The 2003 Formula 1 Championship will not only signal a new season; there are many changes which will revolutionise the traditional routine of the Grand Prix weekend. "We will be able to see the effects of these changes only in Australia. They won't alter my attitude towards the race weekend, but will undoubtedly affect the preparation, in particular because the Friday is now much more important. I would like to get a better idea before giving my verdict on the changes. On the other hand, I think I know enough about the world of racing to know that it is nonsense to worry about the implications of events before they have even taken place. I believe we can do this thing though."
"I do realise that it is necessary to improve Formula 1 as a spectacle and make it more easily accessible for potential sponsors. The entire world economy is going through difficult times and some Formula 1 teams have also been affected, so I think these changes are a move in the right direction."
Despite backing the changes in principle, not all the new regulations meet the approval of the German: "I'm not too keen on the idea of not allowing supplies between the second qualifying session and the race. I have also enjoyed the challenge implicit in the search for the perfect set up in qualifying; I feel that in this way you lose an exciting spectacle, for the spectators too. Maybe the "pirit of qualification' will exist on the Friday, but the Friday doesn't count towards the starting positions. All in all it is a new type of Formula 1; saying this, I have always like the idea of a single fast lap: it will be more entertaining."