Schumacher keeping future doors open

Schumacher keeping future doors open

Michael Schumacher is contracted to Ferrari until the end of 2006 but the six-time champion is not necessarily planning to hang up his helmet after that. Schumacher must be getting a little weary of people asking him when he's going to retire; as...

Michael Schumacher is contracted to Ferrari until the end of 2006 but the six-time champion is not necessarily planning to hang up his helmet after that. Schumacher must be getting a little weary of people asking him when he's going to retire; as far as he's concerned if the will to race is still there and he's still competitive, he will keep going.

Michael Schumacher.
Photo by Ferrari Media Center.
"I have to see a steering wheel to be happy," he explained at a press conference at Ferrari's annual ski event at Madonna di Campiglio. "I hope to continue racing until I am no longer competitive. I measure myself against my teammate; when I see that I can no longer compete with him, then some motivational problems could arise. But I did some kart racing during the break and it seems I am still quite good!"

"I have never excluded continuing after 2006. When we extended the contract to 2006, the president (Luca di Montezemolo) told me: 'Stay as long as you like, as long as you are motivated and quick'. There is no reason to close doors for the future. If I feel then as I do now then it is an open future."

Some might be complacent with six championships to their name but Schumacher is still as motivated as ever. "We had a tough end to the year and it showed to all of us what is needed to finally succeed and actually I think that helped a lot with the motivation of the whole team," he explained.

"For me it is easy, I love what I am doing, I love the sport, love preparing for races. For me there is no question about not being motivated and it is important that everyone around has the same motivation and from what I have seen over the winter I am not concerned at all."

Teammate Rubens Barrichello recently renewed his contract with Ferrari for a further two year and Schumacher is pleased to have the Brazilian on board again -- even if Barrichello said he is determined to take Michael's crown.

"I am very happy for Rubens, the extension of his contract is a natural and logical decision," Schumacher said. "Ferrari has made the right choice not only because Rubens is a good, fast driver but because this means that we can go on working in the same great atmosphere of recent years."

"It doesn't worry me that Rubens has declared that he wants to be world champion…every driver wants to win; it's our job. And, we should remember that being competitive and winning are often not the same thing."

Ferrari launches its 2004 challenger on the 26th of January at the team headquarters in Maranello. After spending the last two years starting at Melbourne with the previous season's chassis, Schumacher would like to get to work in a new one this time around.

"We would like to begin the championship with the new car so that we can identify immediately the areas in which we need to work and what needs to be improved," he said.

"As regards the new circuits, from a driver's point of view they don't constitute a problem. On the Thursday I will get on my bike and ride around the circuit so that I can memorise the track. Maybe from the team point of view it is more difficult because you are working in unknown conditions, but even so, it all remains to be seen!"

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Luca di Montezemolo
Teams Ferrari