Michael Schumacher is expecting Ferrari's main rivals to be the same teams as last year but he believes the competition will be closer in 2005. Ferrari will start this season with an interim chassis, with the new car not due to be introduced until...
Michael Schumacher is expecting Ferrari's main rivals to be the same teams as last year but he believes the competition will be closer in 2005. Ferrari will start this season with an interim chassis, with the new car not due to be introduced until a few races have been run, but only when the time comes will we see if that works out for the Scuderia or not.
Speaking at Ferrari's annual winter event at Madonna di Campiglio, Schumacher said about rivals: "I'm pretty sure it will be more or less the same as last year. I would expect Mercedes to be there more from the beginning so they will be stronger for the whole year, but other than that, it will be pretty much be the same."
"It will probably be more or less the same drivers and teams as we have had last year fighting for the championship, but I think it will be more close and more tough because the teams will be better prepared than they were last year, so they will be fighting right from the beginning with us."
"Obviously for us it will be tough as we are going to race the interim solution, but therefore we will be stronger when we get our new car and over the whole year, we will have to see which strategy is working out better."
Inevitably, the champion was asked if he has a retirement date in mind. "There is no time frame for me," Schumacher commented. "There is obviously not the intention to make long term contracts because you have to take in my age, from year to year, and I will obviously think what is going to be my future at the appropriate time."
"That's obviously the question it leads to. But the contract runs out at the end of 2006 so for me there is enough time to then talk about it at the right moment. But I see no end at the moment, no. Sorry!"
Many times in this era of F1 we've heard an up-and-coming driver described as "the next Schumacher", a commendable accolade if a perhaps unwisely-used one. The man himself is not very keen on the comparison and believes each driver should be successful in his own way.
Asked if he could say which of the current drivers might be his successor, Schumacher replied: "Nobody, because honestly I never wanted to be liaised to anyone. I always wanted to be myself. People tried to compare me with other drivers in the past and I always refused that comparison and I'm pretty sure none of the other drivers want to be what I am."
"They want to be successful in their way that they do it. And there are quite a lot of talents around and I'm pretty sure that sooner or later they are going to be in the position to win Championships as well but they do it in their style."