Schumacher predicts close contest

Monza is without doubt a special event for Ferrari. The Italian Grand Prix is the Maranello Scuderia's home race and can boast the greatest level of support from the "tifosi." Michael Schumacher underlined just how special is this race for a ...

Monza is without doubt a special event for Ferrari. The Italian Grand Prix is the Maranello Scuderia's home race and can boast the greatest level of support from the "tifosi."

Michael Schumacher underlined just how special is this race for a Ferrari driver. "From the perspective of how much support the crowd gives you, Monza is definitely a special case," said the German at a Vodafone press conference at the circuit, not far from Milan on the eve of the fifteenth round of the season. "We won here in 1998 and 2000 and on both occasions it was fantastic to celebrate these moments with our fans. For the second consecutive year, we come to Monza having already won both world titles and that is really special. Unfortunately, last year the mood was anything but celebratory because of what happened in the States. However, this year we will be able to celebrate our success with our fans and we will be doing all we can to do it with a win."

Michael predicts this should be a closely contested event. "We had tough races in Malaysia and in Brazil and I think Monza will be the same and the fight with our rivals will be much closer," said the world champion. "Apart from Malaysia, Ferrari has been competitive at every race, capable of fighting for the win. Overall, we have been dominant. I think we are in with a chance of winning here in Monza, but it will be tougher than usual."

Schumacher was asked if he approached the races in a different frame of mind now that both championships were won and that he had broken so many records. "At the start of every year, our aim is obviously to win the championship," he replied. "Once the title is decided, you can concentrate on each grand prix as it comes and that definitely makes life easier. Sometimes, when you are thinking about the title, you can opt to be more prudent to bring home a safe result. Now I am free to push harder and take more risks! Each race is a small battle, even when one has won everything. I love to race and fight on track and that never changes. As proof of that, I even changed my schedule yesterday to be able to go karting. I just love to race and I never have enough of it!"

Michael also touched on the fact that for this race, Chris Dyer will be acting as his race engineer in the place of the usual incumbent, Luca Baldisserri. "Luca and I have been a perfect team from start to finish," said Michael. Together, we have won three championships and I really rate him. We are close on the personal front as well as the professional. This is the first time I will be working with Chris as my race engineer. Up until now, he has been my chassis engineer and I think this will be an interesting experiment."

Given the conference was organised by Vodafone, inevitably Michael was asked about his use of mobile phones. "Working in Formula 1 means having a constant relationship with technology. I travel a lot and I am often away from home," he explained. "Keeping in touch with my family is vital to me and Vodafone allows me to stay in constant contact, especially now they are developing photo and video technology on the mobiles. It is wonderful to be able to see my wife and children when I am travelling the world!"

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher
Teams Ferrari