After the presentation of the F2003-GA, Michael Schumacher faced the media to expand on his comments from the stage. "I hope the new car is as fast as it looks," began the world champion. "But now we must find out how good it is when we ...
After the presentation of the F2003-GA, Michael Schumacher faced the media to expand on his comments from the stage. "I hope the new car is as fast as it looks," began the world champion. "But now we must find out how good it is when we start testing. I was surprised at how many changes the design team has produced." The German explained he had first seen the car last night. "But today the atmosphere was different," he admitted. "Even though we had a very special season last year, today the mood was a bit sombre out of respect for Mr. Agnelli. I am very proud to have known him and worked so closely with him. I could always rely on his support and if we manage to win the world championship again this year, it will be a tribute to Gianni Agnelli."
Inevitably, Schumacher was quizzed on his chances of beating the record he holds jointly with Juan Manuel Fangio of five world titles. "It is not my goal to beat it," he replied. "The important thing is to do a good job with the new car and get the most out of all the hard work of the whole team. I am proud of my achievement, but I do not compare myself to Fangio.
As for the new rules, Schumacher was pleased with some, but not with others. "I think the one lap qualifying will be good and make the show better, producing a few surprises," he commented. "But I am not such a big fan of the changes coming into effect at Silverstone (the British GP.) "I like the challenge of driving the car with electronic aids, because you can get closer to perfection. I don't think the rule changes will have much effect on the top drivers, but some of the younger, less experienced ones might find it more difficult. Also, not having traction control can be dangerous in the wet, especially as the rules now only allow one type of rain tyre."
Then came the traditional question: are you still as motivated as ever? "No!" joked Schumacher, before admitting he never gets tired of racing and winning. "In my 12 seasons of F1, I have never had a season like last year, so I want more of that. But I don't expect to match last year," he added, referring to Ferrari's 15 wins from 17 races. "I have been surprised at the pace of McLaren in winter testing. If they are not closer to us then Rubens will be my main rival. He is a very fast driver and it is a challenge for me to try and keep the upper hand. If McLaren is strong, then we will also be fighting them. I will not be disappointed if I do not win so many races. The championship is the most important thing for me."