The F1 season is at the halfway stage. Indianapolis was the ninth race in the eighteen round series. Even Michael Schumacher did not predict the way the season has run. And though this may not seem so extraordinary -- though very positive -- the...
The F1 season is at the halfway stage. Indianapolis was the ninth race in the eighteen round series. Even Michael Schumacher did not predict the way the season has run. And though this may not seem so extraordinary -- though very positive -- the extraordinary thing is that the season has gone much better than anybody (the six-time champion included) could have thought.
"Never, not in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined such a season," declared Michael after spending a weekend in Switzerland with his family. "I sincerely thought the opposite, that is, I thought it would be a really hard season. I'll say it again, as it is often said that it could be...an intentional misunderstanding: at the presentation of the F2004 at Maranello, we thought that the challenge for the title would be very difficult."
"Obviously we based our opinion on the data and the impression we had from the winter tests. Nothing then seemed to suggest that Ferrari would have such a successful season. We didn't try to play things down but only tried to be realistic."
"A little before the last preparatory tests, just before the season started, we started to get a feel for the relative strength of the teams. But to suggest that we would have the season we have had...for this we have to thank our competitors. In some races they began as favourites and we, ourselves, contributed to this. It is because of this that we are going so well."
Michael wanted to make clear that the performances and success were "because the team works constantly and never takes a break. Every chance is taken and no-one ever stops."
For the rest, the saying 'a rest is a step backwards' remains valid and this has been proved over the past few weeks when Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer tested frequently at Barcelona. The champion knows this well: "At first glance it may seem that everything is running smoothly, but in F1 anything can happen. We still have nine races ahead and nothing is yet decided."
Is there anyone that the German champion sees as his main rival for the second half of the season? "Well," began Michael, "I think that BAR-Honda will remain the main adversary as they do well on all types of circuit."
"Saying this, I don't think that Renault or BMW-Williams should be underestimated as there will be races where they do very well. We also have to wait and see what McLaren-Mercedes do with their new car." The fans shouldn't be concerned though as Michael wrapped up by saying: "We are focused on retaining our two titles."