Michael Schumacher has his sights set on a Ferrari one-two finish at the upcoming Brazilian Grand Prix to hopefully give his team the constructors' title for 2006. Ferrari is nine points behind Renault so the French squad is equally gunning for the crown but both will lose their star drivers at the end of this season, no matter what.
Defending champion Fernando Alonso leaves Renault for McLaren in 2007 while Schumacher will finally hang up his helmet after five consecutive world championships with Ferrari. The German still has a chance of making it eight titles in his F1 career but needs to win at Interlagos and have Alonso not score.
"The boys deserve the title," Schumacher said, referring to his team. "Whoever is able to turn around a situation like the one we found ourselves in this year, climbing back to the top and working extremely hard and passionately, merits huge respect and they have all my respect. They are the best at what they do and the constructors' crown would be fully deserved."
Schumacher has already said that the drivers' title is out of his grasp -- although many believe that it is not in the seven-time champion's nature to give up so easily -- but he aims to go out on a high. "We are aiming for a one-two, nothing less," he stated. "This is the only hope we have of taking the constructors' title and it is all we can do. Everything else is out of our hands."
Ferrari had been on a high in the second part of the season but at the last race, Suzuka, Schumacher had to retire from the lead due to a rare engine failure. Rival Alonso suffered the same at Monza but Schumacher's was more costly, handing Alonso the Japanese win and a 10 point lead in the title fight. They are tied on race wins with seven apiece but while Schumacher needs number eight, Alonso only needs eighth place.
So what is Schumacher's attitude going into his final Formula One event? "Naturally, I am aware of the fact that, after almost sixteen years, this is my last race," commented the sport's most successful driver. "I hope that it will be an exciting race, that way I will take with me the marvellous feeling that only a win can bring."
Obviously, Schumacher will need his teammate, Felipe Massa, to succeed in that hoped for one-two. The Brazilian is under no illusions that, given the title circumstances, a win at his home race is going to happen. It's possible, depending what Schumacher and Alonso do, but Massa is firstly prepared to help Schumacher, as he has done all season.
"Of course, it is obvious that, given the situation in the Drivers' classification, for me to win the Brazilian Grand Prix, that would mean that Alonso is in a points scoring position, whereas if he is not, then my race will take on a different direction and it will be no problem for me to help Michael," Massa said. "I will even be happy to help him."