Schumacher off to Japan

After a week of rest and relaxation with his children, Michael Schumacher is preparing for the final round of the 2002 season, the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. With a busy schedule ahead of him, Michael leaves for Japan on Tuesday, ready for a...

After a week of rest and relaxation with his children, Michael Schumacher is preparing for the final round of the 2002 season, the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. With a busy schedule ahead of him, Michael leaves for Japan on Tuesday, ready for a press conference organised by tyre supplier Bridgestone in Tokyo on Wednesday, which he will attend along with Jean Todt and Rubens Barrichello.

Michael Schumacher.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
The following day the five times world champion will move to Suzuka, a circuit which he holds in high regard. "I particularly like this race," he said. "Because for the drivers it is yet another real challenge. Things get interesting immediately after the start line and the next five corners are even better. This combination of turns, all slightly uphill are pretty unique in Formula 1. They are tough on the driver and so, if you get it right they are exciting. But in fact the whole track is good fun. Basically, I like this circuit very much."

Schumacher has good reason to look forward to the Japanese race. For starters, he is a big fan of the local cuisine and particularly keen on sushi. Added to that he loves the track and that has been proved over the past few years if one looks at his results in Japan.

"Ferrari usually goes well at this circuit," he explained. "Suzuka has always been a good track for us, especially in qualifying. I have also had some fantastic races here from a personal point of view, such as my duel with Mika Hakkinen in 2000, which I reckon was one of my best ever races. It brings backs great memories. On top of that, we shouldn't forget that Ferrari has a lot of fans in Japan and their support is a big plus factor for us."

Michael appreciates the support he can count on at the Japanese Grand Prix. "It is the last race of the season and so I would like to win and start the winter break on the back of a victory." Given Ferrari's record season and a car that has been fantastic on all the circuits, it would be natural to approach this event with a certain amount of confidence, but over confidence is not Schumacher's or the team's style and so the world champion is playing down expectations. "We saw in Indianapolis that things can change very quickly. The gap to the McLarens was much smaller than in previous races and if we had both been on the same strategy, the gap would have been even smaller. You can never take anything for granted in Formula 1. We are aware of that and we will be ready and extremely motivated for this race."

-ferrari-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Mika Hakkinen , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari , McLaren