Schumacher at Shell press conference

Having spent Wednesday afternoon playing football for charity, Thursday morning, Michael Schumacher took part in a Shell press conference at the Transamerica Hotel. The German driver stressed how important it was to him to take part in events ...

Having spent Wednesday afternoon playing football for charity, Thursday morning, Michael Schumacher took part in a Shell press conference at the Transamerica Hotel.

The German driver stressed how important it was to him to take part in events aimed at helping youngsters. 'It is always good to do things for charity, as it is important to do things for those who need it and to help make their life enjoyable,' he said. 'The special thing about Brazil is that everyone is always prepared to take part in charity events, even given their difficult living conditions. That can be seen from the fact that 15,000 turned out at the Vila Belmorio stadium and it was really extraordinary.'

Michael Schumacher plays football at Santos.
Photo by Ferrari Media Center.
Journalists were keen to have Michael's opinion on the Interlagos circuit and his predictions for Sunday's race. 'The track is very interesting and difficult,' he replied. 'The race is bound to be tough but intriguing too, especially as this is one of the few tracks with overtaking possibilities.'

In testing at Fiorano, Schumacher was able to complete a long run in the F2003-GA. Didn't the German think he should have been racing with that car here? 'I have nothing new to add to what I have said before,' remarked the Ferrari man. 'The new car is very quick, but we need to be sure of its reliability. So it would not have been the right thing to use it here in Brazil as there are still some areas we need to check.'

On the subject of the state of the championship after the opening two rounds, the reigning champion said: 'we have 16 points in the Constructors' Championship and Rubens and I are both on 8 in the Drivers' classification. It's true to say that circumstances and a few mistakes made for a difficult time for us in these two races, but we have to look at things differently. Despite the problems, we have scored points. This is cause for optimism, especially as the F2002 is perfectly capable of winning.'

Schumacher was also asked who he felt posed the biggest threat to Ferrari. 'McLaren and Williams are our main rivals, even if, at the moment the McLaren seems a bit stronger,' said Michael. 'Nevertheless, the Williams has made progress at the Barcelona test and so it should be more competitive come Sunday's race. Overall, I think the three teams in the running for the championship are Ferrari, McLaren and Williams.'

Schumacher was also quizzed about allegations in some newspapers, that he had betrayed Ferrari. 'It was just a misunderstanding due to different languages, nothing more than the usual mistake,' replied Schumacher. 'It's an old story; after two races which were not so good there were some negative comments. As usual it's not a problem for me.'

Schumacher also commented on another false story published in Germany claiming that Chris Dyer had been replaced by Luca Baldisserri. 'I don't know how such a story could come out. Chris Dyer is still my race engineer and is doing a great job. Luca Baldisserri was in Malaysia simply to help the team with race strategy. Remember that when there was a change between Ignazio Lunetta and Luca we had the same stories doing the rounds, given that Ignazio was still at the track in another role.'

-ferrari-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Luca Baldisserri
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams