Michael Schumacher cut the odds of his leaving Ferrari and joining another team to just 0.1% when he explained his recent comments regarding his future after 2007 at the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro ski meeting in Italy. "I said that at mid-season...
Michael Schumacher cut the odds of his leaving Ferrari and joining another team to just 0.1% when he explained his recent comments regarding his future after 2007 at the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro ski meeting in Italy.
"I said that at mid-season I will decide if I want to go on or not go on, and 99 percent I do this with Ferrari if I go on. I should say 99.9.
"When I said this sentence I made the comment that unfortunately I would rather say this because I don't want to lie and in life it is simply impossible to be 100 percent certain of what is going to happen, and therefore I see my future with Ferrari . Anyway, who can look so far in advance, and who can tell what is going to happen, particularly in our sport where things sometimes move rather quickly and as I said, I don't want to lie and therefore I am saying the truth and 99 percent that is what it is and then we will see."
The seven time World Champion explained that any decision would be fully discussed with his wife Corinna. "I think it's pretty normal that you involve your family in the whole procedure. My wife is aware of everything I think and what's going on, so it's pretty normal that we discuss any little details and she very often helps me to find a decision. She can watch certain things from a certain distance which I cannot do, so therefore her advice is very important to me."
Asked about Ferrari's performance in testing, Schumacher said "we've had various tests obviously during the winter and things have in general improved compared to what was our position and situation last year. Lately, in Jerez, again we seemed to have made another step and I think things look pretty promising, we're pretty much on schedule for our programme and we look forward to this coming year.
"We seem to be on the right pace at the moment. In a way, we are surprisingly quick compared to the others, due to the good work that we have been doing for a long time. The result that you see now, they have started some months ago. We did 90,000 kilometers last year probably not achieving almost anything and now, in the last month we have achieved a lot. For us, that gives a big boost and extra motivation to do even better, to be more secure and have a better package available from the first race."
Regarding his expectations for 2006, Schumacher said "I think we can only have one target at least and that is to win the championship, in particular after a year like last year where success was so poor to our standards and we would really like to come back to where we had been before, to fight for the championship and maybe finally win it."
Part of Michael's preparation has been to improve his own physical fitness. "I didn't do a particularly good job in this area last year. I can do better and with age, certainly, you have to train harder. Things don't get easier, but the good thing is that with the experience that you have and with what I've seen last year, it sort of woke me up and it pinpointed the areas where I have to improve. You can be certain that I will be there with 100 percent preparation and actually I've been at that level for quite a while now because the first thing (I tackled) was exactly this after I came back from China, I was so frustrated."
Once again, the question of Valentino Rossi came up and Michael Schumacher felt he could become a Formula One driver. "He seemed to go pretty well in the tests he has been doing with us but then there is always the question mark: can you do the last little bit and that's always something you have to find out yourself after more experience in the car? I'm not sure he wants to do this or not. I believe even Ferrari would be happy to support him but then I guess it is in his hands if he wants it or not.
"I think he has some experience in go-karts, if I'm correct, but nevertheless, I think as a race driver, you have this sensitivity, whether it's on two wheels or four wheels. If you go from two wheels to four wheels and we've seen this in the past, it has worked out and it needs somebody with a lot of talent and you can certainly say that Valentino has a lot of talent. In the tests that he was doing, he was consistently improving himself but he himself knows, in his sport, to do this last little bit, to be very competitive against everybody, that's the most difficult part and nobody knows if he can be."
Finally, Michael said he was fully in favour of the implementation and driving of the new V8 engines. "I think, first of all, it was a more than logical approach to reduce power. Over the years we have been tackling aerodynamics, we have been doing tyres, we have been doing all sorts of things to slow down Formula One but we kept decreasing the grip and we kept increasing the power and both together ends up in a combination which is out of proportion, which is why I was very much in favour to hear this decision.
"At certain circuits we were not within the safety limit or we were getting very close to it and with development we would have gone over it, so in general, from this aspect I agree very much.
"In terms of the sensation to driving, it's a lot of fun, it's like a little go-kart now. Before you had this monster in the back which you could not control to a certain degree because the tyres dimensions were not (suitable) for managing horsepower and now it makes it more a package, more together, a lot of fun to drive. Your driving style changes slightly, you use high revs and it's a sensation I do like. I used to enjoy it in the past and I found this back again now."