Germany had an extra fan sitting in front of the television for the World Cup, thanks to a private plane. Given his heavy workload, Michael would find it difficult to do without one and sometimes, it comes in really handy. Last Friday was one of...
Germany had an extra fan sitting in front of the television for the World Cup, thanks to a private plane. Given his heavy workload, Michael would find it difficult to do without one and sometimes, it comes in really handy. Last Friday was one of those occasions. No sooner was Mugello testing over than the world champion dashed back home to Switzerland. That way, Michael managed to watch the Germany v Paraguay game in the last sixteen phase of the tournament.
"I wanted to do it at all costs," said Michael. "It was a bit of a tough game right to the end, but the goal and the pass were great. Of course, I also have my fingers crossed for Italy and I would be happy to see a Germany v Italy semi-final." The entire family was glued to the screen, as it was on Monday morning to see the United States come through as the German team's opponent for the quarter finals.
Apart from the World Cup, Michael has also been preparing for the Nurburgring weekend. The three day test at Mugello went well, with no major problems.
"We feel ready, given that apart from my work, Luca Badoer tested at Mugello and Luciano Burti in Jerez," said Michael. "The most important thing for the Nurburgring is to have a well balanced car, which is not easy to achieve. The cars tend to understeer on this track. But I feel we can be confident and competitive even here at the Nurburgring. However, it is clear to see that the competition has got closer, as can be seen from the fact we did not get pole position at either of the last two races. I think it could be the same situation at the Nurburgring."
"I think BMW-Williams will go very well there. It is obvious that in Canada, they would have been ahead of the McLaren-Mercedes if they had not had problems. I reckon they will be even stronger than McLaren. Overall, I feel the Silver Arrows are making progress and have improved a great deal, but BMW-Williams are definitely quicker. The McLarens go well on circuits where you need a lot of traction and that is not the case at the Nurburgring. The tyres will be very important in terms of the overall package. We will have to wait and see who has the better tyre to suit the conditions."
Naturally, Michael is keen to race at the Nurburgring, given that his birthplace Kerpen is not far away. Like most drivers Michael has old memories of the circuit. "I still remember very well the first time I drove at the Nurburgring. It was at the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo G40 before a Formula Ford race and I had Mr. Bergmeister alongside me to get to know the track better. It was a long time back and we drove on the current track, but without the most recent modifications which I have not seen yet."
"A few years later, I drove on the Nordscheife in a Mercedes 190. The car needed a full service when I'd finished! The Old Ring is really interesting, like riding a really long rollercoaster. It goes without saying that I'm looking forward to this weekend as I am always happy to tackle my home race. Most of all, I particularly enjoy the atmosphere on the formation lap on Sunday. It is always something special, thanks to all the fans who give me such a warm welcome."