Michael Schumacher: "There were never any doubts about my presence in Indianapolis" Maranello, 25th September -Tomorrow, Michael Schumacher leaves for the United States to take part in the grand prix at Indianapolis, the penultimate round of the...
Michael Schumacher: "There were never any doubts about my presence in Indianapolis"
Maranello, 25th September -Tomorrow, Michael Schumacher leaves for the United States to take part in the grand prix at Indianapolis, the penultimate round of the 2001 season. Before going, the German driver made a few comments regarding rumours circulating last week that he might not take part in this race. Michael stressed that this had never been an option. "I never had any doubts about racing in Indianapolis. Naturally, like everyone, I wanted to see if anything would happen after the attacks in the USA, but, as I said, in principle, I always wanted to race there."
Michael still has the same feelings of grief that affected him in Monza, which is one of the reasons why he feels the Indianapolis race is important. "I really hope we can offer a little moral support and maybe even some form of distraction for the American people," said Michael. "We want to give them a shot of courage and help them get through these difficult times. I think I can speak on behalf of all the drivers when I say we are all deeply shocked by these acts of terrorism and we all offer our sincere and deepest sympathies to the families of the victims."
The rumours began to spread after the Ferrari driver seemed to keep himself to himself over the Monza weekend at the Scuderia's home race, after the terrible acts of terrorism in New York and Washington. Now, Michael describes his feelings that weekend. "The weekend at Monza was very difficult for me. Because of the dreadful events in the USA, I arrived in a sad state of mind and, in Thursday's press conference, that feeling grew even stronger and I could not get the images out of my mind. I had a long conversation with Jean Todt, who offered me the choice as to whether I raced or not. But this was our home grand prix and I felt the need to drive. Over the course of the weekend, my mood was not helped by various incidents which occurred. It started with Jos Verstappen's big accident and then those of Heidfeld and Raikkonen on Friday, followed by Mika Hakkinen's on Saturday. All this added to a sombre atmosphere caused by events in the United States.
"Alessandro Zanardi's horrible accident on Saturday afternoon was the final straw which led to our actions on Sunday morning. Some drivers came to see me, in the same state of mind over what happened in the States and over the weekend and we discussed what we could do to tackle this situation in an appropriate and respectful manner. On top of that, we had in mind the tragic events at this race last year. The drivers agreed not to overtake in the first two chicanes, but after some team bosses forbade their drivers to sign the agreement, there was nothing to do and the race started normally. All of us except one were in agreement. I still believe it would have been the right thing to do and it is absolutely wrong that some team principals can take unfair advantage of the fact that drivers depend on them and can be forced to act against their clear wishes. I still cannot understand it."